Habitat Restoration Projects
Chautauqua Creek fish passageway, Westfield, NY - Chautauqua Creek has high quality spawning habitat for several native Great Lakes fish, including white sucker, smallmouth bass and naturalized steelhead. Three fish barriers hampered upstream fish passage. The lowermost passage barrier was a perched railroad bridge crossing; the middle barrier was the remnant of a former water control dam; and the uppermost barrier is a diversion dam that supplies water to the Village of Westfield, NY. The objective of this project was to utilize in-stream rock ramp construction to allow fish upstream passage over the three barriers. Boulders will be pinned at each location to ensure that the project does not fail during high flows. A v-notch weir was cut in the middle passage barrier. Grooves for stop logs were added as a control measure for sea lamprey. Partners included Chautauqua County Soil and Water Conservation District, Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Village of Westfield, Western New York Trout Unlimited and Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership.
(Photo caption: Barrier at Rail Road Crossing before and after installation of rock ramp - Credit: Chautauqua County SWCD)
Road Crossing Fish Passage Restoration
Old Seventysix Road culvert replacement on tributary to Sixmile Creek, Caroline, NY. - Brook trout, the only native inland trout in New York State, have undergone drastic declines throughout its native range. The existing culvert on Old Seventysix Road was undersized, had excessive water velocities and a perched outlet. These conditions made the road-crossing culvert impassable for fish including brook trout. The undersized culvert was replaced with a 12' wide elliptical culvert which was counter-sunk to promote deposition of natural substrate within the crossing, reduce water velocities, and eliminate the perched outlet. This project opened approximately 2 miles of high quality stream habitat to brook trout. Partners included Finger Lakes – Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, USFWS Ecological Services Partners for Fish and Wildlife, and Tompkins County Soil and Water Conservation District.
(Photo caption: Measuring culvert inlet dimensions - Credit: USFWS)
Spring Brook Stream Enhancement for native brook trout, Springville, NY - Spring Brook is the largest wild brook trout stream in western NY that is unaffected by non-native trout. A man-made impassible barrier blocks brown and rainbow trout from moving into and establishing populations in Spring Brook. The upper section of Spring Brook is dominated by agricultural land uses. These sections provide sediment and nutrient inputs, and are a source of thermal loading to the stream. Furthermore, banks along the lower sections were undergoing excess erosion. A combination of in-stream structures and riparian plantings improved brook trout habitat conditions by reducing sediment and nutrient inputs, in-stream water temperatures, and bank erosion. Partners included Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Village of Springville, Western New York Trout Unlimited and Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership.(Photo caption: Left/Before – Stream section in Village Park showing erosion and failing gabion baskets (foreground) (Photo credit: Chuck Godfrey, Trout Unlimited). Right/During – Construction crew placing lunkers, Sept 26, 2014/USFWS)
Fish Habitat Enhancement at Lake Shore Marshes Wildlife Management Area, Wayne County, NY - Coastal wetlands in Lake Ontario provide critical habitats for fish and wildlife. Coastal wetlands along Lake Ontario have undergone significant declines. Shoreline stabilization, navigation channel dredging, excess sedimentation, competition from invasive plants, and water-level fluctuations have affected their availability and function. The objective of this project was to improve fish passage into 59 acres of coastal wetlands located within the Lake Shore Marshes Wildlife Management Area. To provide access, shallow water pools and connecting channels were excavated into the marsh to improve fish passage, and increase habitat heterogeneity and plant diversity. Partners included Ducks Unlimited, Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Constellation Energy.(Photo caption: Left - Excavated channel at Lake Shore Marshes WMA; Right - Excavation of pool, Lake Shore Marshes WMA - Credit: Sarah Fleming, Ducks Unlimited)