New York Field Office
Northeast Region

Fish Enhancement, Mitigation and Research Outreach

How to submit a FEMRF proposal:

Fisheries Advisory Committee
Eel Study Group
Conservation Work Group
What kind of proposals would qualify for FEMRF funding?
How to submit proposals

Fisheries Advisory Committee (FAC)

The Fisheries Advisory Committee (FAC) reviews incoming proposals and advises the Service on the selection of projects for funding from the FEMRF. A list of members who serve on the FAC can be found on the FEMRF Fact Sheet. Two subcommittees of the FAC have been established, the Eel Study Group and the Conservation Work Group. The primary task of both of these groups is to develop a strategy for requesting, receiving, and evaluating incoming proposals in a particular area of interest.

Eel Study Group
The Eel Study Group (ESG) is a continuation of the Eel Work Group established during the relicensing negotiations for the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project. It includes representatives from the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the Service. The task of this group is to investigate and develop upstream and downstream passage for American eel (Anguilla rostrata) at the Moses-Saunders Dam. Upstream passage for the American eel has been developed and implemented. A state-of-the-art eel ladder was installed in July 2006. The ESG is now focusing its attention on developing a method for downstream passage of the American eel.

The ESG has developed a strategy and a framework for a study program designed to identify and test a program to trap and transport outmigrating silver eels around the hydroelectric power dams in the upper St. Lawrence River (River) and thereby improve the survival of these eels. This program has identified five preliminary research areas:

• Collecting, holding and transporting of eels
• Potential use of light as part of a system to concentrate and collect eels at Iroquois Dam,
• Potential use of infrasound as part of a system to concentrate and collect eels at Iroquois Dam,
• Potential use of attractants or deterrents as part of a system to concentrate and collect eels at Iroquois Dam, and
• Methods to tag and track outmigrating eels as part of a deterrent or concentrating system utilizing some or all of the above bulleted items in the River near Iroquois Dam

The first phase of the ESG’s plan involves a series of white papers to review the status of the five areas. Based on these papers, additional research, evaluations and pilot studies may be pursued in some or all of these areas. The program is expected to be adaptive and build upon what is learned. It is anticipated that much of the future work will be directed by the ESG and that much of the work will be conducted in direct response to Requests for Proposals that will be developed by the ESG. Individuals interested in learning more about this work and in submitting proposals for consideration by the FAC should contact Scott Schlueter of the Service at (607) 753-9334 or

Conservation Work Group
The Conservation Work Group (CWG) includes representatives from U.S. Geological Services, New York Rivers United, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, the Thousand Islands Land Trust, Ducks Unlimited, the NYSDEC, NYPA, SUNY-Environmental College of Forestry, and the Service. The expert fisheries scientists included in the CWG are developing a conservation strategy to benefit the recovery of the native fish species and State-listed fish species that were historically found in the St. Lawrence River. These species were discussed at length in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement prepared in 2003 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the relicensing of the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project. These same native fish species are also targeted in 18 comprehensive plans developed by international conservation agencies and groups on both sides of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Five target native fish species have been selected to facilitate species-based planning: lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), northern pike (Esox lucius), walleye (Sander vitreus) and sensitive minnows and darters. The category of sensitive minnows and darters includes primarily the State-listed eastern sand darter (Ammocrypta pellucida), mooneye (Hiodon tergisus), and pugnose shiner (Notropis anogenus).

The target area would encompass New York and Canadian waters of the upper St. Lawrence River, including Akwesasne tribal lands and surrounding tributaries and catchments. Enhancement or restoration of spawning and nursery habitat, both quantity and quality, is a primary focus.

What kind of proposals would qualify for FEMRF funding?
The Service is especially looking for projects that will benefit fish species native to the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries. The FEMRF will give priority consideration to any projects related to on-the-ground restoration or enhancement of aquatic habitats for these native fish species. Priority aquatic habitats to enhance or restore are those needed for spawning, rearing and fish passage corridors. We are also interested in research that would support downstream passage of the American eel.

The Service also will accept proposals consistent with the purpose of the FEMRF, i.e., mitigation and enhancement of fisheries resources of the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Basin. For more information on the purpose of the FEMRF, go to the FEMRF Fact Sheet

All proposals need to include a monitoring component to evaluate the benefits of the research or effects of the habitat improvements on the target population. Operation and maintenance costs for any proposals will only be for a specified period and should be requested with the proposal costs.

Proposals targeting New York State-listed fish species, e.g., lake sturgeon, also need to be compatible with NYSDEC's recovery objectives for these species. For more information about these objectives, click on the underscored species' name above.

How to submit proposals
Contact the FEMRF Project Manager Scott Schlueter at (607) 753-9334 or to discuss your idea for a proposal. He can help you determine if your proposal has a good chance of being funded as is, or if you need to develop it further. The next step is to fill out the Pre-proposal Form and submit it to the FEMRF Project Manager. Please refer to the Pre-proposal Form Instructions prior to submitting the form. Any proposals relating to the American eel will be forwarded to the ESG for their preliminary evaluation and recommendations prior to FAC review. Proposals relative to fish species native to the St. Lawrence River may similarly be evaluated by members of the CWG.

The Service accepts Pre-proposals throughout the year; there is no filing period or deadline. The FEMRF is also linked to the Great Lakes Watershed Restoration Grant Program's Request for Proposals, to solicit proposals. We anticipate that there will be requests for specifically targeted proposals, as an outgrowth of the conservation and research strategies developed by the ESG and the CWG in the future.

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Last updated: April 25, 2016
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