Habitat Restoration and Enhancement
The session began with self-introductions and description
of work each person is currently conducting.
- Methods/ideas/challenges related to habitat improvement
Luther Aadland, Brenda Archambo, Tom Burzynski, Kim
Carmichael, Jerry Edde,
Brad Eggold (facilitator), Mitchell Eshkakga, Steve
Hogler, Marty Holtgren, William Kieper, Janet Lowe,
Robert McNeely, Steph Ogren, Maureen Peltier, Henry
Quinlan, Kandi Schnurer, Randy Seymour, Chris Vandergoot
Luther Aadland – Brief description of work in
the Red River Basin
Brad Eggold/Tom Burzynski – Summarized work on
the Milwaukee River
Marty Holtgren – Information on habitat in the
Brenda Archambo – Habitat work in the Black River
General comments of group
Aadland – Red River Basin. Reconnect spawning
areas to main stem of the river. Rapid creation over
dam sites. Rivers have been really messed up over time,
channelized, straightened, etc.
Removed dams were possible, sediment load behind is
a problem. Dig meandering channel through sediment load
and line with rip-rap. Recovery of fish species when
these are completed, no pool or riffle before this occurred.
Spawning structures below dams have been installed.
Boulders or out-copping of limestone, sturgeon seem
to spawn in these areas due to up-wellings, hydraulics
of up-welling seem to be important. U-shaped boulder
clusters to provide spawning habitat and correct flow
St. Louis River system – Last spot before Fond
du lac dam. It’s a very short reach. Flow from
dam could be critical here.
Holtgren – we only have qualitative data on sturgeon
spawning in areas that have been modified but very little
quantitative work. We need to move in this direction
to really analyze how well the habitat improvements
Grant writing has to have things you deliver on with
regards to habitat improvements. You can’t just
throw rock in and call it a day. There has to be assessments
tied to habitat and then number of fish produced from
this work back to report to the grantee.
Need to pre-assess the area, do the work, and assess
the aftermath. Many times we skip the first and last
steps of this procedure.
Brenda Archambo – Downstream sections also important
not just at the spawning sites. Biologists need to be
aware of this fact.
General Comments - Hydro-dams – FERC is re-licensing
these dams but no new dams are being built. The FERC
license has pretty strict rules governing flow, temps
etc. Ontario may be letting hydro-dams to be built which
is a little different than in the USA.
Sturgeon are recovering in the Rainy River system where
tributaries with suitable spawning habitat have no or
very few dams. Access to multiple spawning areas is
a key to recovery.
Sturgeon spawn in high gradient streams and that is
where the dams have been created. Creating more riverine
type environments will probably bring back native species.
It has been documented in many river systems around
Look at more species that just sturgeon. Do habitat
work based on stream morphology rather than by species.
Don’t try and put habitat in spots that it can’t
support (i.e. rock and rip rap in areas that will be
silted in very quickly).
Throwing rip-rap down is not just the answer. You have
to place the habitat in correct location so that is
can be maintained over time by the river (i.e. no siltation,
low water, temperatures etc).
Need to have assessments pre and post work. This work
needs to be documented and published so that all the
agencies can use this body of work in grant writing
and project writing.
Several main concepts came out of our discussion. These
are listed below.
• If you are trying to re-establish fish communities
above dams, the best solution from a fisheries perspective
is to remove the dam. The next best alternative is to
create fish passage around or through dams.
• Habitat work is generally installed and assessments
before and after installation are rarely completed.
In order to write complete grants, information needs
to be published on the effects of habitat work. Projects
of this type need to be conducted focusing on quantitative
measures not just qualitative.
• Other factors should be considered before removal
of dams including contaminated sediments, spread of
exotics, riparian effects, etc.
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