Tropical Storm Irene devastated much of the upper reaches of the White River. Rochester was one of those towns ravaged by sudden and historic rain falls that swept across Vermont on August 2011. Roads and infrastructure where destroyed by the unprecedented stream flow. The town was stranded from the surrounding communities. There is still much work left to be done to secure infrastructure throughout affected parts of the state.
2012 Waters to Watch
This project is intended to protect native fishes and improve water use efficiency for water companies in the Weber River drainage. It will re-connect 17.5 total river miles and allow native trout and sucker species to pass one mainstem diversion and two culvert barriers in two tributaries.
Habitat fragmentation is the primary threat to the persistence of the bonneville cutthroat trout population. These barriers have fragmented mainstem and spawning habitats. Restoring connectivity at these sites is a critical step towards improving the resiliency and genetic diversity of this population.
Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo are located in the White River Hills region of the Ozark Plateau along the Missouri-Arkansas border. At conservation pool, Table Rock Lake encompasses 43,100 acres with 745 miles of shoreline, and Lake Taneycomo covers just over 2,000 acres. Table Rock Lake is the second largest of five reservoirs in the upper White River drainage basin which covers over 5,000 square miles in both Missouri and Arkansas. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates the recreational use of the lake at between 40 and 50 million visitor visits annually with the economic value of the fishery estimated at $41 million (1997 estimate). Along with the Branson tourism industry, Table Rock and the other White River impoundments are responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into the local economies.
The Rio Grande, which runs through the heart of the northern Chihuahuan Desert in the Big Bend region of Texas, is the centerpiece of an emerging bi-national system of lands dedicated to conservation.
Rio Grande tributary watersheds, such as Terlingua and Alamito creeks, are important spawning and refuge areas for imperiled fishes, including the federally listed Rio Grande silvery minnow.
The Harpeth River, one of the most ecologically, culturally, historically, and recreationally significant rivers in Tennessee, drains nearly 900 square miles in Middle Tennessee and flows through one of the fastest growing areas in the country. It is a state designated Scenic River in Davidson County outside, but easily accessible from, downtown Nashville.
The Conner Creek Project will provide full passage for all life stages of coho salmon and steelhead by removing two culverts. Conner Creek flows directly into the Trinity River, a tributary of the Klamath River. The first phase, accomplished in 2011, provides full fish and flood/debris passage; eliminates the potential for sediment; decreases the potential for upstream headcutting; improves flow capacity; reintroduces large wood routing in the stream, and restores natural stream function.
The Oxbow Restoration Project within the Boone River Watershed (BRW) includes White Fox Creek, Eagle Creek, Buck Creek and Lyons Creek (Hamilton and Wright Counties). The BRW is a Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) watershed and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has designated the lower 26 miles as a “Protected Water Area.” The Boone River is a tributary of the Des Moines River in north-central Iowa.
Bear Creek begins in Sauk County and flows for nearly 27 miles before entering the Wisconsin River, approximately 1.7 miles west of Lone Rock, in Richland County. It is currently classified by statute as a cold water stream in the upper reaches and as a warm water sport fishery in the lower 8.2 mile reach near the mouth. Six major tributary streams and many small tributaries flow into Bear Creek.
Years of erosion, has taken its toll on Bear Creek and several partners jumped into action to remediate the problem. Wisconsin DNR worked with a private landowner to secure a public fishing easement which helped catapult the streambank work.
To improve landscape-scale resilience for salmon in the Anchor River, Cook Inletkeeper, Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, and Kenai Watershed Forum will integrate KBRR and USFWS watershed models and spatially-explicit, remotely-sensed thermal data to help Kachemak Heritage Land Trust determine which parcels with key Chinook and coho salmon habitat are the highest priority for permanent conservation, and work together to create and implement an outreach strategy for public and private landowner contact.
In South Carolina, shorelines adjacent to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (ACE Basin - Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers are subject to severe erosion due to heavy boat traffic and artificial channelization, which disrupts natural shoreline processes. This erosion destroys or threatens oyster reef and salt marsh habitats. In the project area, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has documented 2.25miles of shoreline on the Ashepoo/Rock Creek cut as suffering from severe marsh erosion and in need of protection.
Waters to Watch
The 10 Waters to Watch list, assembled by the nation’s leading authorities on aquatic conservation, is a collection of rivers, streams and shores that will be cleaner and healthier habitats for the many fish and wildlife species and people who call these areas home.
Thanks to the combined actions of concerned community groups, non-profit organizations, local watershed groups, Native American tribes and state and federal agencies, these waters are being improved by planting stream-side vegetation, removing structures blocking fish from habitat and protecting bodies of water from the effects of industrial processes, agriculture and livestock.
They are representative of freshwater to marine waters across the country including lakes and reservoirs that are improving through the conservation efforts of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan — a bold initiative to reverse persistent declines in aquatic habitat.