New York Field Office
Northeast Region

In-stream Restorations

In-stream--or fluvial geomorphic--restoration is a relatively new concept in New York's Partners program. As the name implies, it involves the restoration of streams utilizing natural design. Historically, streams were "restored" by building elaborate structures, removing debris, dredging or placing rip-rap along stream banks. Often, these former methods of restoration created more problems, especially downstream of the project. If they did work, they sometimes failed after only a few years. Fluvial geomorphic restoration involves extensive data collection coupled with a strongly engineered design. The end result is very impressive. The work is designed to return natural flows to the streams and give a more natural look to the previously degraded stream. Typically, large rocks are placed in specific locations and different configurations to achieve the desired results. Use of this type of restoration is expected to grow rapidly in New York.

Spafford stream before restoration - bankful flow
Spafford restoration (bankful flow)

Spafford stream after restoration downstream
Spafford (downstream) after restoration

Bidwell stream before restoration - bankful flow
Bidwell - before restoration

Bidwell stream after restoration downstream
Bidwell - after restoration

stream restoration using willow
Willow restoration example (before)

restored stream with willow still in place
Willow restoration (after)






























Birch Creek Restoration:

Birch Creek, located in Ulster County in the Catskill Mountain region of New York, is described by the NYSDEC biologists as an important trout stream corridor of the Esopus drainage.

The Birch Creek restoration project involved the design of a fish passage structure to provide spawning access for important fish species including brook, brown and rainbow trout.

Wood baffles were placed
under a bridge to create an artificial channel for
fish to pass through.

The project involved a number of volunteers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Trout Unlimited Catskill Chapter headed by Norman Turner, and also the Town of Shandaken.

The finished project allows the fish to swim around (or jump over) the baffles.





















National Partners for Fish and Wildlife Site
Region 5 Partners for Fish and Wildlife Site

Logo for Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program

Partners for Fish & Wildlife








Last updated: October 27, 2014
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.