Waters to Watch

A list assembled by the nation’s leading authorities on aquatic conservation to create cleaner and healthier habitats for the many fish and wilfdlife species and people who call these areas home

So what is Waters to watch and why Should I care?

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.

1. Bayou Pierre and Tributaries in Copiah, Hinds, and Lincoln Counties, Mississippi

Project Submission by: The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership

Purpose of the project: Extensive headcutting has resulted in increased sediment loads within Bayou Pierre and its tributaries, which has negatively impacted habitats used by several fish species including the Federally threatened bayou darter. Over 50% of the land adjacent to Bayou Pierre has been converted to fields or pastures causing increased bank erosion and sediment loads. The purpose of this project will install conservation measures to reduce sediment and improve water quality within the Bayou Pierre systems by leveraging existing conservation practices available through programs in NRCS and other landowner assistance programs.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: The bayou darter is only found in the Bayou Pierre River and its tributaries. Habitat degradation due to increased sedimentation has been identified as a major contributor to the reduction in bayou darter numbers. This system also is important to a number of other fish species and local recreation users. Numerous game fish occur in the Bayou Pierre and will be benefited by this project including white bass, spotted bass, largemouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, bluegill, warmouth, green sunfish, black bullhead catfish, longear sunfish, and redear sunfish. These populations will increase through habitat restoration. These projects will also increase food sources for these game species and benefit the bayou darter, a Federally threatened species, endemic to the Bayou Pierre River and its tributaries.

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2. Big River, California

Project Submission by: The California Fish Passage Forum

Purpose of the Project: The project restored access for coho salmon and steelhead trout to an estimated 4,000 feet of potential spawning and rearing habitat in the upstream reaches of Manly Gulch, a tributary to the Little North Fork of the Big River, that was previously flowing through Camp 3 and a parking lot. Camp 3 was part of the New Deal, constructed in the 1930s by the WPA and the CCC – it was conceived as a place to introduce people to the world of nature. Annually, juvenile coho and steelhead were observed stranded in drying pools in the aggraded reaches and in the road ditch that conveys Manly Gulch into Rocky Gulch. These conditions allowed the project area to be classified as a RED (100%) barrier for both adult and juvenile salmonid ingress and egress to and from Manly Gulch. The specific objective consisted of restoration and realigning 600 feet of Manly Gulch to connect directly to the LNF of the Big River. This included a 70-foot long backwater alcove and 530 feet of large-wood controlled channel with gravel riffles, pools and large wood cover structure. The project also included installation of a new bridge crossing over Manly Gulch where it crosses State Park Road. The direct connection between Manly Gulch to the LNF Big also improved both flow conveyance and sediment transport continuity within Manly Gulch from upstream of the project area to the LNF Big, thus improving fisheries access and habitat, geomorphic function, and reducing risk of fish stranding. The project also provided off-channel high-flow refugia for juvenile salmonids during elevated flows in the Little North Fork of the Big River.

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3. Bitter Creek, Wyoming

Project Submission by: The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

Purpose of the project: Located just outside of Rock Springs, Wyoming is Bitter Creek, an 80 mile stretch of stream that provides important habitat to many species of fish, including the native Flannelmouth Sucker, a species that has been identified as one of greatest conservation need. To ensure the Flannelmouth Sucker continues to flourish in Bitter Creek the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, Anadarko, BLM, Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative (WLCI), the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department have partnered up to replace a failing drop structure. Over the last 40 years this drop structure has helped protect Flannelmouth Sucker populations by providing a fish barrier to invasive White Suckers, a species that is able to hybridize with Flannelmouth Suckers.

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4. Blanco River, Texas

Project Submission by: The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership

Purpose of the project:
The purpose of this project was to implement landscape-scale conservation through a network of landowners that would willingly take restoration actions to address issues and threats that degrade water quality, reduce water quantity, and degrade riparian habitats that in turn favor exotic species. This network of willing landowners and subsequent habitat to support the repatriation of Guadalupe bass in the upper portion of the Blanco River. SARP funds were leveraged with state invasive species funds to combat the spread of invasive species that degrade instream and riparian habitats. A historic flood in May 2015 brought intense public interest in riparian restoration. Human Interest/Community Benefit:
The Blanco River is one of the primary river networks in the Edwards Plateau that residents in Austin, San Marcos, San Antonio, and surrounding communities depend upon for drinking water, flood abatement, agricultural production as well as recreation (e.g. fly fishing, paddling, and birding. The number of Texans that participate in paddle sports has increased 300% over 10 years. According to TPWD, the economic impact of stream fishing in the Edward’s Plateau if valued at over $74M. This project will expand fishing opportunities for the State Fish of Texas to a river that is geographically located in the center of Austin-San Antonio corridor.

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5. Deep Creek Town Diversion, Oregon

Project Submission by: The Western Native Trout Initiative

Purpose of the project: Restoring fish passage for Warner Lakes Redband Trout (State and Federal Sensitive species) and Warner Sucker (Endangered Species Act Threatened species) is the focus of this project. The primary limiting factor for fish in the Warner Valley Watershed (Oregon) is passage at irrigation diversion structures, especially on Deep and Honey Creeks. Limited water in the eastern Oregon desert means that Warner Basin streams are a critical water source to both irrigators and native fish. Several Warner Basin streams provide both irrigation water critical to local ranches, and spawning, rearing, and migratory habitat for Warner Basin Redband Trout, Warner sucker, and other native fishes. The low-lying portion of the Warner Basin provides the most fertile agricultural land in the area, as well as stream reaches critical to fish migrating from the large lakes in the valley upstream to high-quality spawning and rearing habitats. More than 10 diversions exist in the lower basin that provides water to irrigators and have been identified as fish passage barriers. The diversions make it impossible for large fish that rear in the Warner Lakes to access the prime spawning grounds in the upper basin on lands primarily administered by the Lakeview Bureau of Land Management and the Fremont Winema National Forest.

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6. Five Springs complex at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada

Project Submission by: The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

Purpose of the project: The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) supports the only endemic population of the critically endangered Ash Meadows Amargosa Pupfish and the Ash Meadows Speckled Dace. In an effort to address the direct threats of small population size, genetic isolation, and to improve aquatic habitat conditions for the pupfish the Ash Meadows NWR, the Nevada Department of Wildlife, and numerous other partners are working together to restore natural hydrologic connectivity between the Five Springs complex and downstream habitats. This project removed non-native species and restored the natural historic floods that were hindered by a road and fallow field. This restoration has benefitted the Ash Meadows Amargosa Pupfish, the Ash Meadows Speckled Dace, and numerous other plant and animal species by improved fish passage and connectivity through the removal of barriers and impoundments, yielding increased genetic exchange for the pupfish, and increasing the available habitat for both the pupfish and the speckled dace.

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7. Indian River, Alaska

Project Submission by: The Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership

Purpose of the project: Source Document for this submission: The Indian River watershed is an important asset with significant economic, ecological and cultural value to the community of Sitka, Alaska. In 2017, the Indian River Working Group was formed to improve communication and cooperation between different agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and community members with interests in the watershed. In addition to their participation as stakeholders, members also have voiced personal and organizational interest in ensuring that Indian River is managed to maintain or improve watershed values. These include trail systems, fishing and hunting opportunities, and exploring several hundred acres of intact old-growth forest just out Sitka’s back door. Primary goals informing the working group effort are: 1. Bring together stakeholders to develop a feasible watershed management strategy. 2. Provide a unique opportunity for collaboration and effective communication between stakeholders in the Indian River watershed. 3. Engage Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) to facilitate group discussions, manage data, develop partnerships and gain insights into watershed management techniques shared by other experienced natural resource managers serving in the working group. 4. Develop a prioritized list of action items to improve watershed stewardship and accomplish restoration objectives.

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8. East Branch Passumpsic River, Vermont

Project Submission by: The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture

Purpose of the project: Removal of this deteriorating dam improves natural flow regimes, free-flowing river conditions, water quality and temperature, sediment release and transport, and connectivity resulting in the restoration of Aquatic Organism Passage for native Brook Trout, sculpin and minnows; opening 99 migratory miles throughout the East Branch of the Passumpsic River sub-watershed. In addition, 3.4 acres of shrub-scrub wetland will be enhanced by removal of the dam and subsequent restoration work. Human Interest/Community Benefit: The East Burke dam is the last Aquatic Organism Passage impediment on the East Branch Passumpsic River up to its headwaters, which allows native Brook Trout access to important spawning habitat and thermal refugia. The East Branch Passumpsic River is also a popular fishing destination for Brook Trout anglers who will benefit from a more robust fishery.

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9. Lake Shelbyville, Illinois

Project Submission by: The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership

Purpose of the Project:
Lake Shelbyville is the second largest reservoir in Illinois and is an important recreational and economic feature in east-central Illinois. Habitat degradation threatens the viability of the fishery and the associated recreational and economic value. Lake Shelbyville has been impounded for 46+ years. Major habitat impairments include sedimentation due to sediment inputs from the watershed and shoreline erosion largely due to frequent water level fluctuations and loss of woody structure commensurate with the reservoir aging process. Very little dead standing timber remains in coves as most have decayed over the last 40 years. Long-duration floods, on occasion in excess of 12’, have further stranded woody habitat in uplands resulting in additional habitat loss. These floods have made conditions difficult for aquatic vegetation to establish. This lack of habitat and associated erosion and reduced water quality are negatively affecting the quality of the fishery and habitat restoration efforts have not kept up with losses. Standard management practices help maintain the quality of the fishery, but the standard reduction in quality with reservoir age continues with rippling economic effects throughout the community and region.

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10. Upper Sycan River, Oregon

Project Submission by: The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

Purpose of the project: The upper Sycan River supports one of the few remaining populations for two species of lamprey, the Miller Lake lamprey, and Pit-Klamath brook lamprey and has been designated as critical habitat for bull trout. In an effort to improve aquatic habitat conditions for these species as well as the Klamath Speckled dace the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Paisley Ranger District, Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership are working together to restore the riparian and floodplain functions along the river. Through a combination of historic grazing practices, timber harvest, and road construction throughout the years the project area has experienced a loss of riparian vegetation and an altered hydrologic regime. These changes have had a negative impact and have led to eroding streambanks which have resulted in a down cut channel, a disconnection to floodplain terraces, increased levels of fine sediment, and a lack of aquatic habitat connectivity.

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11. Benbow Dam Removal, California

Project Submission by: The California Fish Passage Forum

The second largest dam removal in California will eliminate a winter velocity barrier through a narrow fish passage slot in the dam (higher winter flows focus all flow through the slot for a distance of about 60 feet parallel to the thalweg). Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead/rainbow trout, and Pacific lamprey would benefit from the project, and 100 miles of stream will be opened as a result of the project. Permanent interpretive panels will be placed in the park that discusses the fishery and reasons for removing the dam. A video will be developed and presented in the parks and used for other interpretive opportunities.

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12. Boundary Creek, Oregon

Project Submission by: The Western Native Trout Initiative

This project will improve fish passage and riverine connectivity in the Granite Creek Watershed which is a high priority watershed located in Eastern Oregon. The project targets 3 specific sites on Boundary and Corral Creeks, which are located east of the rural town of Granite in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. These streams are critical spawning and rearing habitat for Endangered Species Act designated threatened Bull Trout. Three old culverts, located on two perennially flowing creeks, are undersized and poorly aligned relative to the road. The erosion, sedimentation, and passage barriers produced by the road and culvert placements cause habitat quality reduction and species fragmentation. The outcome is deterioration of the aquatic ecosystem in the Bull Run sub-watershed.

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13. Crane Lake, Minnesota

Project Submission by: The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership

The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership is proposing to replace an undersized and perched culvert at the outlet from Crane Lake with one that is more appropriately-sized, creating connectivity from waterbodies downstream. Crane Lake currently has lower populations than downstream lakes of migratory fish species such as walleye, white sucker, and numerous minnow species including the weed shiner, a species of greatest conservation need, which is listed in Minnesota’s State Wildlife Action Plan. We expect that the project will increase fish community resiliency. If walleye numbers increase, it will benefit anglers.

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14. Newport Bay, California

Project Submission by: The Pacific Marine and Estuarine Partnership

The overall goals of this project are to return historically present (but currently depleted) species to the area, enhance habitat quality and connectivity for fish and wildlife, improve water quality, control erosion, and help adapt to sea level rise. PMEP’s funding will help to integrate native Olympia oyster habitat restoration into a larger multi-species restoration project in Upper Newport Bay in Southern California. The project has added 240 square meters of oyster habitat and 1,280 square meters of eelgrass habitat. Restoration of oyster reefs and eelgrass beds will return many ecosystem services back to the area’s coastal wetlands. Oysters increase the abundance of fish and wildlife through the creation of complex habitat and improve water quality through filter feeding. Oysters also stabilize sediments, buffer erosion, and attenuate wave energy, which will reduce impacts of sea level rise. Eelgrass meadows provide similar ecosystem services, including habitat and foraging grounds for many invertebrates, fish, and bird species; nutrient cycling; carbon sequestration; sediment stabilization; and water quality improvement.

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15. Roosevelt Lake, Arizona

Project Submission by: The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership

Roosevelt Lake is the upper-most reservoir of a four-reservoir chain in the Salt River watershed. Roosevelt Lake is the largest and is formed by Theodore Roosevelt Dam constructed in 1911 by the Bureau of Reclamation. Roosevelt Lake is located on the Tonto National Forest (TNF) in central Arizona almost entirely within Gila County. At full capacity, the lake is approximately 22 miles long with nearly 128 miles of shoreline with a water surface elevation of 2151 feet. The reservoir can store approximately 1,653,043 acre-feet (AF) of water at maximum conservation pool. The lake level fluctuates over time in response to water use, evaporation, and annual precipitation and runoff. As of June 2017, the lake is 69% full at an elevation of 2124ft with approximately 17,129 surface acres.

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16. Shelikof Creek, Alaska

Project Submission by: The Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership

The Iris Meadows watershed is located on Kruzof Island near Sitka in southeast Alaska. Shelikof Creek, a tributary to Iris Creek, is the largest river on the island. The watershed supports three species of anadromous salmon – Coho, pink, and chum; as well as resident and anadromous forms of coastal cutthroat and rainbow/steelhead trout, and Dolly Varden char. Brown bears and Sitka black-tailed deer are important terrestrial species. In the 1960s, Kruzof Island was impacted by large-scale timber harvest and associated road construction. Trees lining the banks of Iris Creek and Shelikof Creek were removed, long segments of the stream were "cleaned" of wood and converted to corridors to haul equipment upstream into the forest and logs downstream to the ocean

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17. Tincup Creek, Idaho

Project Submission by: The Western Native Trout Initiative & The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

The Tincup Creek Stream Restoration project will improve riparian conditions and habitat for a full assemblage of native fishes such as Longnose and Speckled dace, Sculpin, Redside shiners, Mountain suckers, the rare Northern Leatherside chub, and Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. In addition, at least three other aquatic or semiaquatic species of interest are present including a native pilose crayfish, western pearl shell mussel, and a unique clade of boreal toads. These are all native species with a special management emphasis. Because of the assemblage of these native species, and the degraded yet recoverable nature of the system, Trout Unlimited (TU) and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest (CTNF) have chosen to focus their efforts here.

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18. Carmel River, California

Project Submission by: The California Fish Passage Forum

The Carmel River Reroute and San Clemente Dam Project is the largest dam removal project ever to occur in California ($83 million) and one of the largest to occur on the West Coast.

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19. Eel River, Indiana

Project Submission by: The Ohio River Basin Fish Habitat Partnership

The mission of the Eel River Initiative is to design and implement a holistic strategy to restore the ecological integrity of the Eel River basin within the context of human endeavors and to provide ecological research opportunities for Manchester University Environmental Studies students.

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20. Mill Creek and Deer Creek, California

Project Submission by: The California Fish Passage Forum

Both Deer and Mill creeks are considered conservation strongholds for this ESU, as well as Central Valley steelhead (O. mykiss), which are listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act, and fall-run Chinook salmon, listed as a State Species of Special Concern. The Final Central Valley Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Plan identifies Deer and Mill creeks as top priority watersheds for the recovery of Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead (National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS 2014). Improving fish passage on both creeks is vital to the overall health and recovery of Chinook salmon and steelhead in California’s Central Valley.

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Peno Creek, MO.

21. Peno Creek, Missouri

Project Submission by: The Fishers & Farmers Partnership

Agricultural landowners in Peno Creek Priority Watershed (Salt River Basin) are voluntarily installing best management practices to meet NFHP/FFP goals through water quality improvement and habitat protection. Best management practices will reduce erosion, sedimentation, and nutrient loading. Some of these actions include installing alternative drinking sources and stream crossings, fencing cattle out of the stream, reforestation of the riparian corridor, streambank stabilization or other aquatic habitat restoration, and establishment of cover crops to improve soil health. Stakeholders will continue to be consulted to guide long-term community watershed efforts with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Practices are installed by landowners and contractors under MDC guidance and are guaranteed in place for at least 10 years.

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22. Qwuloolt Estuary, Washington

Project Submission by: The Pacific Marine and Estuarine Partnerships

The Qwuloolt (Qwuloolt means “marsh” in the Lushootseed language) Estuary is located within the Snohomish River floodplain about three miles upstream from its outlet to Puget Sound. Historically, the area was tidal marshand forest scrub-shrub habitat, interlaced by tidal channels, mudflats and streams. The project area was cut off from the natural influence of the Snohomish River and Salish Sea tides by levees and drained by ditches instead of stream channels. Prior to the breach, the area was characterized mostly by a monoculture of invasive reed canary grass instead of native estuarine vegetation, and warm water invasive fishes and amphibians. Through the cooperation of its many partners, this project has returned some of the historic and natural influences of the river and tides to the Qwuloolt area.

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Lake Wichita

23. Lake Wichita, Texas

Project Submission by: The Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership

Lake Wichita is the third oldest reservoir in Texas, completed in 1901. Historically Lake Wichita was known as the “Gem of North Texas”, and served as a recreation destination social mecca, a driving economic force, as a haven for the wise-use and conservation of fish and wildlife resources, and as a foundation for community growth by serving as a drinking water source. Having surpassed its expected 100-year lifespan, Lake Wichita is no longer able to provide significant social, economic, ecological, or recreational benefits to the community. Having recently gone through a historic drought, we were able to see first-hand the fisheries habitat impairments that plague Lake Wichita. Siltation, degraded shoreline areas, loss of connectivity, excessive nutrients, lack of structural habitat, and lack of water coming from the watershed combine to cause Lake Wichita to cease to meet any of its intended purposes.

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24. Cathie Brown Streambank Stabilization and Habitat Project, Mulberry River, Oark, Arkansas

Project Submission by:

This project seeks to stop erosion, reduce sedimentation, reduce elevated water temperatures, and restore a riparian zone of the Mulberry River, a state-designated Extraordinary Resource Waterbody and nationally designated Scenic River. Restoration will take place on private property adjacent to US Forest Service (USFS) lands. This is a cooperative community project that will restore the streambank, reestablish the riparian zone 60 feet out into the floodplain, and educate citizens on water quality and river protection.

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25. Weber River, Utah (2012)

Project Submission by: The Western Native Trout Initiative & The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

This project was funded to protect native fish species and improve water use efficiency for water companies in the Weber River drainage, Utah. It re-connects 17.5 river miles and allows native Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki utah) and Bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus) to pass one mainstem diversion and two culvert barriers that had fragmented mainstem and spawning habitats in two tributaries. Both Bluehead sucker and Bonneville Cutthroat Trout have experienced extensive population declines and range contraction. In the Weber River, Bluehead sucker occur in three remaining fragmented reaches with the strongest population in the Weber River confined below the diversion structure. Allowing passage around this diversion provides Bluehead sucker access to canyon habitat. Large fluvial Bonneville Cutthroat Trout have been virtually eliminated from river mainstems rangewide, but still persist within isolated mainstem segments of the Weber River, unable to migrate back to spawning grounds in tributary streams. Each reach in the Weber River supporting these two species has been fragmented by mainstem diversions threatening the population resiliency, genetic diversity and long-term persistence of both species.

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26. Harpeth River, Tennessee (2012)

Project Submission by: The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership

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 and easily accessible from downtown Nashville.

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27. Table Rock Lake, Missouri (2012)

Project Submission by: The Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership

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.

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28. Alexander Creek, Alaska

Project Submission by: The Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership

Alexander Creek Watershed, a tributary of the Susitna River, and formerly significant sport fishing area. This system includes 690 acre Alexander Lake, 40 mile long Alexander Creek and tributaries to that system that cover hundreds of square miles in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Approximately 50 air miles northwest of Anchorage, the Alexander Creek Watershed is a remote and slow moving meandering river system with numerous tributaries and shallow lakes and ponds. It has thousands of acres of adjacent wetlands with side-sloughs and oxbow channels. In the late 1990s Alexander Watershed was highly productive Chinook and coho salmon habitat, and, arguably, the premier Chinook sport fishing area in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. It supported what was likely a multi-million dollar salmon fishery with lodges, daily flight service and boat charters. Today, however, due to low returns, the Alexander drainage is closed to Chinook harvest, and is no longer the economic driver it once was. Fishermen today are motivated to travel to the remote lake to catch invasive northern pike, rather than salmon.

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29. Kasilof and Anchor River Watersheds, Alaska

Project Submission by: The Kenai Penisula Fish Habitat Partnership

The Kenai Peninsula Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Project (Project) will help restore physical and biological processes within the Kasilof and Anchor River Watersheds in order to contribute to a healthy, productive and biologically diverse ecosystem for the benefit of injured species and services. This project addresses root causes to ecosystem impacts by eliminating four aquatic organism passage barriers in the Kasilof and Anchor River Watersheds in order to restore healthy ecosystems in these watersheds. This project builds on the long standings interest of multiple state and federal agencies and organizations (e.g. Kenai Watershed Forum, Trout Unlimited) to restore physical and biological processes within these and other watersheds on the Peninsula. This project supports the overarching stated goal of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council (EVOSTC) Restoration Program by providing benefits to injured resources and services, and helping to sustain healthy, productive ecosystems in order to maintain naturally occurring diversity.

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30. Kilchis Estuary, Oregon

Project Submission by:

Restore freshwater and tidal connections, provide off-channel rearing habitat for salmonids, and restore historic spruce swamp habitat. A primary limiting factor for salmonids in the Kilchis system is the availability of off-channel habitat in low-lying areas, especially habitat in the saltwater-freshwater transition zone of the estuary (Kilchis Watershed Analysis, Tillamook Estuaries Partnership 1998). The site provides habitat for coho, Chinook and chum salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout as well as a myriad of other wetland species, including colonial nesting waterbirds, migrating waterfowl, juvenile marine fishes and resident mammals. Human alterations of the estuary (e.g., dredging, diking, draining, filling, dairy pasture creation, jetty construction, sedimentation) as well as species loss have resulted in loss of habitats and their associated biotic communities. Current restoration is aimed at increasing protections for existing salmonid core areas, restoring tidal marsh habitat, re-creating tidal channels and restoring connectivity between tidal sloughs and the Kilchis River. Past restoration efforts have occurred above the project site and complement existing restoration efforts.

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31. Lake Livingston, Texas

Project Submission by: The Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership

Lake Livingston, TX is located on the Trinity River in Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity and Walker counties and has a surface area of approximately 83,000 acres with a maximum depth of 77 feet. The reservoir was constructed in 1971 and is located seven miles west of Livingston, TX, and is 50 miles north of Houston, a metropolitan center with 6.2 million people. For 10-15 years post-impoundment, Lake Livingston was a bass fishing destination with numerous regional and national bass fishing tournaments held on the lake. The fishery was an economic engine for the local economy. Sedimentation with its associated turbidity, along with extensive shoreline development have negatively impacted shoreline habitat for littoral fishes. In addition, invasive aquatic plants, hydrilla and giant salvinia have become established and have further impacted littoral fisheries habitat.

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32. Lower He’eia Stream, Hawaii

Project Submission by: The Hawaii Fish Habitat Partnership

This project will restore native vegetation in the tidally influenced portion of Heʻeia Stream and its adjacent estuary. Project implementation will involve removal of a large stand of invasive riparian trees, followed by soil preparation, erosion control and riparian forest restoration using native and Polynesian-introduced plant species. Several segments of Heeia Stream and the surrounding ahupuaʻa (watershed) are the focus of synergistic restoration efforts which can serve as a model for community-supported watershed restoration in Hawaii. The estuary project builds on this ongoing work (nearly 2-miles of riparian habitat restoration) lead by Hui O Ko'olaupoko and partners in the upper reaches of the stream. In addition, this project complements other fish improvement, habitat improvement and wetland restoration on adjacent properties immediately upstream. It is anticipated that upwards of 5,000 community volunteer hours will be contributed to the project from local community members, school groups and service organizations.

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33. Mill Creek, West Virginia

Project Submission by: The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture

In 2012, the Mid-Atlantic Region, and in particular, West Virginia suffered great loss and damages from the Derecho in June and Super Storm Sandy in October. While these storms did billions of dollars of property and infrastructure damage, they also had profoundly detrimental impacts to streams. Many of West Virginia’s best brook trout streams have been covered densely in down and suspended trees offering no Large Woody Material benefits to fish and severely obstructing stream access for recreation and fishing. Along with suspended fallen trees in narrow valleys are large debris jams and exposed root wads that threaten damaging channel morphology impacts, bank erosion, and increased sedimentation.

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34. Pinole Creek, California

Project Submission by: The California Fish Passage Forum

The purpose of this project is to restore access to the upper reaches of Pinole Creek for the current population of Central California Coast Steelhead by modifying the existing box culverts where Pinole Creek passes under Interstate Highway 80 (I-80). Habitat assessments conducted on Pinole Creek in 2009 indicate sufficient habitat to support anadromous steelhead spawning and rearing if passage issues at the I-80 culvert are remedied. This project will improve access to nearly 7 miles of documented quality steelhead spawning and rearing habitat on the main stem of Pinole Creek.

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35. Shoshone Springs, California

Project Submission by: The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

Shoshone pupfish are one of the most imperiled species in the Death Valley region due to their natural rarity, historic disruption of their habitats, lack of replication of the one remaining population, and genetic effects of small population size. Shoshone Spring and wetlands have been owned by one family for over 50 years. Endemic Shoshone pupfish were considered extinct by 1969, but rediscovered in a ditch near the springs in 1986. A single pond was built and stocked with 75 of these fish, believed to be the last of their kind. The purpose of the project was to construct two new additional habitats, one secluded in a mesquite bosque, and one in a landscaped tourist area. The project secured the existence of Shoshone pupfish in their native range far into the future, and will educate the public about their importance. The project quadrupled the habitat area occupied by endemic Shoshone pupfish, benefiting the entire known population in the one spring, springbrook, and spring supported riparian system where they naturally occur.

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36. Sun Creek, Oregon

Project Submission by: The Western Native Trout Initiative

Sun Creek originates on the southern slopes of Crater Lake National Park (CLNP) and was historically a tributary to the Wood River in the Upper Klamath Basin. Due to agricultural land use there have been extensive channel alterations over the last century and Sun Creek is no longer connected to the Wood River. A population of federally threatened bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) inhabits Sun Creek and with aggressive management from CLNP, increased in abundance ten-fold in the last two decades. This project will reconnect Sun Creek to the Wood River, creating a migratory corridor for the isolated bull trout population and expanding available habitat for redband trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) already present in the Wood River. To accomplish this objective, a new Sun Creek stream corridor will be established, flow in the new channel will be increased by permanently transferring water instream, and diversions will be screened to prevent fish entrainment in irrigation ditches. This project represents a highly successful collaboration between federal, state, tribal, non-profit, and private entities.

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37. Ulele Springs (Hillsborough River), Florida

Project Submission by:

In 1907, the City of Tampa built a pumping station at Ulele Spring, near the banks of the Hillsborough River. In 1910 the Tampa Streetcar Company built the hub of Tampa’s streetcar system and this beautiful stretch of river quickly filled in with heavy industrial uses. A fish processing plant, a shipyard, a dredging operation and the City of Tampa’s Police Station and Maintenance Facility ultimately choked off access to the Hillsborough River for the surrounding neighborhoods and filled in the natural spring run. In 2010, a project was initiated by the Ecosphere Restoration Institute to recreate this natural spring run. Approximately 500 feet of stream was restored (the spring drained through a pipe) and the spring ‘boil’ and associated ecosystem was also expanded in size and enhanced. The engineering and design portion of this project was funded, in part, through the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership’s NOAA Community-based Restoration Program. Today, Ulele Spring’s shines as the focal piece of the City of Tampa’s new Water Work’s Park along the Riverwalk and is a natural feature that is drawing visitors world-wide to the area and enhancing, not only the habitat for fish and wildlife, but providing positive economic and recreational opportunities for years to come.

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38. Bear Creek, Colorado

Project Submission by: The Western Native Trout Initiative

The Western Native Trout Initiative funded Phases I and II that provided short-term immediate relief for sediment issue on Bear Creek in 2010 and 2011. These projects were meant to protect the Bear Creek Cutthroat habitat until a broader sediment control plan was in place. In 2013 WNTI funded a portion of Phase III, which, coupled with a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant, will provide permanent sediment control for the Bear Creek Greenback cutthroat trout, which have been recently considered the only remaining population of true native Greenback Cutthroat trout.

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39. Boardman River, Michigan

Project Submission by: The Great Lakes Basin Partnership

The nearly 300 square mile Boardman River watershed is located in Grand Traverse and Kalkaska Counties in northwest Michigan. With the exception of the extreme lower river and three impoundments, the Boardman is an oligotrophic river system with excellent water quality characterized by cold temperatures, high dissolved oxygen concentrations, and nutrients provided by allochthonous inputs. Of the approximately 179 miles of river and tributary streams in the Boardman system, 36 miles are designated as “Blue Ribbon” trout streams, providing premier fish habitat. Anglers from near and far come to enjoy the predominantly resident brook and brown trout fishery, providing important economic benefits to the region. The entire watershed is also used for activities such as canoeing, tubing, kayaking, hiking, hunting, and bird watching. These uses make it a destination for an estimated 2 million Recreational User Days annually.

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40. Eel River Delta, California

Project Submission by: The California Fish Passage Forum

Tidal marsh enhancement of habitat to benefit Pacific salmon, migratory waterfowl, Tidewater goby, Green sturgeon and scores of other species that once flourished in the Eel River Delta. Just as the Eel River Delta provides a rich habitat mosaic for abundant aquatic and terrestrial species, so too does it host flourishing agricultural communities, primarily dairy and beef cattle. All of the proposed projects underway in the Delta seek to reverse adverse drainage patterns that have resulted from more than a century of tidal marsh reclamation.

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41. Lake Bloomington, Illinois

Project Submission by: The Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership

Lake Bloomington is located in central Illinois about 160 miles northeast of St. Louis and approximately 125 miles southwest of Chicago. It was constructed in 1929 by the impoundment of Money Creek. Lake Bloomington, as of 2007, has a surface area of 572 acres, 9.5 miles of shoreline, a maximum depth of 35 feet, a mean depth of 12.9 feet, and a storage volume of 6768 acre feet. The lake was constructed to expand the water supply for the City of Bloomington and several other small communities. To fully utilize the lake’s potential, recreation and residential development were established as second and third priority uses, respectively. The lake supports a diverse group of users including Camp Pearis, a Girl Scout Camp which houses over 1300 scouts during the summer and the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center which serves over 1500 children with special needs annually.

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42. Montana Creek, Alaska

Project Submission by: The Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership

Mat-Su’s Montana Creek has been specified by the State of Alaska as important for the spawning, rearing, or migration of anadromous fish (AS 41.14.870). This alluvial system has high quality spawning gravels and provides critical spawning, rearing, and overwintering habitats for Chinook, coho, pink, and chum salmon. It receives heavy angling attention during the summer months and is the focus of a variety of ongoing habitat and fish assessment projects, streambank restoration activities, as well as parcel conservation activities and community asset planning. This water is also important to watch due to its location within the Mat-Su Basin, a fast-growing area in the state that currently has the most fish stocks of concern in Alaska. These stocks include Susitna River basin sockeye salmon and six stocks of Chinook, including Goose Creek Chinook (enters the Susitna just downstream of Montana Creek).

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43. Milltown Island Estuary, Washington

Project Submission by: The Pacific Marine and Estuarine Partnership

Milltown Island historically was an estuarine wetland and is located in the Skagit tidal delta. Restoration of this island was identified in the federally adopted Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan. Phased restoration began at the 212-acre Milltown Island in 2007 through the use of explosives to breach the dike surrounding the perimeter of the island. The primary purpose of restoration at Milltown is to increase rearing habitat capacity to natural origin juvenile Chinook salmon. Carrying capacity in the Skagit estuary is limiting the Chinook population to recover.

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44. Muddy River, Nevada

Project Submission by: The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

The Muddy River Ecosystem Recovery project is designed to recovery the endemic Moapa dace (Moapa coriacea) and other native biodiversity dependent upon the Muddy River in southern Nevada. It is a basin wide recovery effort focused primarily on upstream portions of the river (springheads, springbrooks), but extending downstream nearly 30 km to Lake Mead.

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45. Nash Stream, New Hampshire

Project Submission by: The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture

Historically, Nash Stream (NH) was known as a high quality wild Brook Trout stream that provided exceptional angling opportunities. Unfortunately, in 1969, the dam used to release water from Nash Bog Pond for log drives failed, sending a torrent of water akin to the 500-year flood event down Nash Stream. Immediately thereafter and in response to the dam failure, stretches of Nash Stream were straightened and its banks made higher by bulldozers. Consequently, much of the instream and riparian habitat was altered to the detriment of wild Brook Trout and other fish species. Additionally, many essential Brook Trout spawning tributaries were culverted with undersized pipes that impeded fish passage and/or have led to geomorphic instability.

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46. Tolomato River, Florida

Project Submission by: The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership & The Atlantic Coastal Fish Habitat Partnership

During the past two years, both SARP and ACFHP have supported marsh restoration/living shoreline projects on the Tolomato River in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR). These adjacent projects are located on the southern portion of the Guana Peninsula and are helping to create a contiguous swath of restored marsh that is improving and enhancing fish habitat, preventing shoreline erosion, and fostering opportunities for community stewardship and involvement that will provide benefits for years to come. They are also helping to address national conservation goals, regional habitat priorities and coast wide conservation objectives identified by SARP and ACFP, and that are found in the Southeast Aquatic Habitat Plan (SAHP).

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47. Twelvemile Creek, Alaska

Project Submission by: The Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership

The Twelvemile Creek watershed encompasses 28 miles of salmon and other fish-bearing streams as well as 59 miles of additional streams covering an area just under 20 square miles in central Prince of Wales Island in Southeast Alaska. Logging practices that took place during the era when there was little protection for stream habitat and adjacent riparian vegetation left Twelvemile Creek Watershed in an impaired state. These practices included clear-cutting riparian corridors (areas adjacent to streams), removing large wood from the stream channels, extracting gravel from the stream to build roads, and yarding logs over the stream banks and through riparian vegetation.

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48. Balmorhea Springs, Texas

Project Submission by: The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

Conservation Action:
This spring system supports three endangered fish species and four species of concern. They are threatened by issues including complete dewatering, depletion of aquifers by groundwater pumping, conversion for agricultural or recreation use, and poor land management practices. Management of spring and ciénega systems requires a holistic, watershed approach with private, state, federal, and local partners to conserve, restore, and address threats to these important desert habitats. Project Partners: Desert Fish Habitat Partnership Texas Parks and Wildlife Department US Fish and Wildlife Service US Bureau of Reclamation The Nature Conservancy Dexter National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center Reeves County Water Improvement District Texas Department of Agriculture Environmental Protection Agency USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Texas Agricultural Extension Service University of Texas at Austin University of Texas – Pan American Sul Ross University Texas Department of Transportation Texas Department of Criminal Justice Educational Foundation of America National Fish and Wildlife Foundation City of Balmorhea

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49. Lake Conroe, Texas

Project Submission by: The Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership

The primary issue at Lake Conroe is the need to enhance littoral habitat including the native aquatic plant community while controlling invasive exotic aquatic vegetation. Lake Conroe has been in a state of flux since its impoundment in the late 1970’s with an early infestation of hydrilla followed by total removal of the aquatic plant community by 270,000 diploid grass carp stocked in the early 1980’s. Native vegetation restoration was begun in 1995 by Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) and its partners, but increased nutrient loading caused by rampant urbanization along with attrition of the grass carp population led to a re-infestation of the reservoir by hydrilla and water hyacinth. In addition, the exotic aquatic fern, giant salvinia, was discovered in Lake Conroe in 2000. In 2006 TPWD, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), the Lake Conroe Association (LCA), the Seven Coves Bass Club (SCBC), and other constituent groups created the Lake Conroe Habitat Management Plan for the control of exotic vegetation and the enhancement of the native aquatic plant community. Hydrilla, water hyacinth, and giant salvinia are now under control, but as a result of grass carp stockings as part of the integrated pest management (IPM) strategy, native vegetation was greatly reduced. In Phase 1 of the Lake Conroe Habitat Improvement Project (2005-2010) SCBC, SJRA, TPWD, and the US Army Corps of Engineers Lewisville Ecosystem Research Facility (LAERF) constructed a native aquatic plant nursery below the Lake Conroe Dam using grant funding provided by BASS; SCBC, SJRA, LAERF, and TPWD transferred approximately 2,500 mature plants from the nursery into Lake Conroe; and SJRA and LCA controlled approximately 2,000 acres of exotic vegetation including hydrilla, giant salvinia, and water hyacinth using a combination of herbicide, mechanical control, and grass carp introductions.

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50. Big Lake, Alaska

Project Submission by: The Mat-Su Basin Salmon Habitat Partnership

Big Lake, located in the fast-developing Mat-Su Basin, is a large well populated and heavily recreated lake in the growing community of Big Lake just west of the City of Wasilla. The lake itself, with 26 miles of shoreline, and two streams in its basin, are used by spawning sockeye and coho salmon each year, and host resident populations of Dolly Varden, Rainbow Trout, and other fish. Both Fish Creek, which drains directly into the Pacific at the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet, and Meadow Creek, a spring-fed system which empties into Big Lake, are important salmon waters with several active partner studies, angling recreation, water monitoring, and youth & community volunteers participating in hands-on restoration projects. This waterbody has been the centerpiece of the Big Lake Community's discussions in plans to expand, possibly incorporating as City, and in the oncoming construction of a rail spur connecting Port Mackenzie in the south to Alaska's Interior and the rest of 26,000 square miles Mat-Su Borough and industrial opportunities along the railway. The area is changing rapidly, and it is hoped that designation as a Water to Water 2013 will serve to celebrate and highlight many partners' efforts and projects towards a healthy development model embracing preservation of clean water and the integrity of fish habitat. Big Lake Community is working on a Community Impact Assessment Project with the Mat-Su Borough to address responsible growth, including habitat concerns.

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51. Bear River Estuary, Washington

Project Submission by: The Pacific Marine and Estuarine Partnership

Conservation Action: The Bear River Estuary Restoration project would restore 500 acres of high quality, estuarine habitat on the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge. Re-establishment of natural estuarine processes and habitats will benefit a diverse array of aquatic and avian species including marine invertebrates, salmon and trout, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Restoration will provide habitat for juveniles salmon, reconnect spawning streams for salmon and trout, and contribute to the overall health of Willapa Bay. Project Partners: Ron Craig, Craig Enterprises, Project Design John Evans, NDC Timber Western Washington Fisheries Resource Office and Columbia River Fisheries Office Friends of Willapa National Wildlife Refuge Willapa Fisheries Enhancement Group and the Salmon Recovery Funding Board AMEC Earth and Infrastructure, Inc. Herrera Environmental Ducks Unlimited. Sustainable Fisheries Foundation. Washington Coast Sustainable Salmon Partnership.

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Cape Fear

52. Cape Fear River, North Carolina

Project Submission by: The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership

Conservation Action: Located in a priority area identified in the North Carolina Department of Marine Fisheries Coastal Habitat Protection Plan, this project will restore .5 acres of fish habitat by placing approximately 1,000 tons of crushed granite (over 2,000 cubic yards, .5 acres downstream of lock and dam #2) in the Cape Fear River below Lock & Dam No. 2 in Bladen County. Currently, less than 35% of the fish population is able to reach historical spawning grounds. Project Partners: Cape Fear River Watch (CPRW) US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), NC Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF), NC Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) Dial Cordy and Associates, Inc. (DC&A) Maritech Dredging US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Wilmington Division Martin Marietta Aggregates

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53. Chipola River, Florida

Project Submission by: The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership

Conservation Action: This project will result in 1.9 miles of stream bank restoration, removal of livestock from the river, and replacement of a perched culvert within the Chipola River for the benefit of shoal bass and imperiled mussel species.

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54. Grape Creek, California

Project Submission by: The California Fish Passage Forum

Conservation Action: Grape Creek is located in the Russian River watershed, the first Habitat Focus Area selected as part of NOAA's new agency-wide Habitat Blueprint initiative. Habitat Focus Areas are places where NOAA is pooling resources and expertise to maximize conservation of important habitat. This project will improve streamflow for endangered coho and threatened chinook salmon and steelhead trout in Northern California wine country. NOAA will take a similar approach in other watersheds in coastal California through the Water and Wine Stewardship program.

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55. Leech Lake, Minnesota

Project Submission by: Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership

Conservation Action: This watershed includes 750,000 acres with 273 lakes. With steady population growth in the region and projected population increases of up to 50% by 2030, the lakes and streams in the watershed are under pressure from increased shoreline development. Conservation initiatives such as the establishment of Conservation Easements, and improving connectivity for fish in tributaries will benefit fish and fish habitats in the watershed.

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56. Millenium Reserve Initiative, Illinois

Project Submission by: Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership

Conservation Action: This project is part of the President's Great Outdoors Initiative. The project seeks to transform the Calumet region of Chicago into a one-of-a kind open space destination. The environment will be improved by restoring 6000 acres of natural areas within the 140,000 acre project area, including 18,554 acres of wetlands and several lakes adjacent to and upstream of Lake Michigan, as well as Lake Michigan lakeshore. This project is currently the largest open space project in the country.

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57. Upper Tippecanoe River, Indiana

Project Submission by: Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership

Conservation Action: The Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation created the Healthy Shorelines Initiative in 2011 to improve the quality and health of shorelines and lakes in the Upper Tippecanoe River Watershed, one of the Partnership's priority watersheds. The Foundation provides cost-share funds to landowners for shoreline projects that reduce erosion and nutrient loading from the shoreline, reduce wave action, and reduce scouring and re-suspension of bottom sediments, actions aligning with several of The National Fish Habitat Partnerships objectives.

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58. Ace Basin, South Carolina

Project Submission by: The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership

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.

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59. Anchor River, Alaska

Project Submission by: The Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership

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.

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60. Bear Creek, Wisconsin

Project Submission by: The Driftless Area Restoration Effort

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.

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61. Boone River Watershed, Iowa

Project Submission by: The Fishers and Farmers Partnership

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. Current and past land use practices in the Boone River Watershed have affected both stream hydrology and hydraulics. As a result, these affects have degraded and fragmented oxbow habitat and have caused impairments to water quality. Fishers & Farmers partners are working together with landowners to restore oxbow habitat critical to all fish species and especially to the federally listed endangered species.

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62. Conner Creek, California

Project Submission by: The California Fish Passage Forum

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 second phase removal of the culvert at Red Hill Road will build on the benefits of the completed first phase of the project and is scheduled for summer 2012. The completion of both Conner Creek project opens 2.5 miles of habitat to adult and juvenile salmonids. This project is part of a larger effort by the Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program (5C). The 5C Program serves the counties of northwestern California - Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Siskiyou, and Trinity. The goal of 5C is to formulate strategic land use conservation standards and implement practices to restore fisheries habitat.

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63. Rio Grande River, Texas

Project Submission by: The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership

Fish within the Chihuahuan Desert exhibit remarkable adaptation to a harsh environment and climate, yet these species rely on a delicate balance of limited natural resources and are thus extremely vulnerable to drought and human-induced stressors. As Texas suffers through a period of exceptional drought, the persistence of aquatic habitats is severely threatened. Threats to habitats in this region are exacerbated by decreasing water availability from surface and groundwater withdrawals, encroachment of non-native plant species, and land use practices. The Rio Grande, which runs through the heart of the northern Chihuahuan Desert in the Big Bend region, is the centerpiece of an emerging bi-national system of lands dedicated to conservation. Three million acres of protected lands lie on both sides of the U.S./ Mexico border within the greater Big Bend ecosystem. In May 2009, United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Mexican Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Juan Elvira Quesada announced their commitment to strengthen cross-border conservation efforts in the Big Bend region. This presents a unique opportunity to unify Department of Interior agencies and other Federal, State, and local partners to lead strategic conservation planning, design, and implementation at broad, bi-national scales.

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64. White River, Vermont

Project Submission by: The Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture

This project will address flood and flood recovery related habitat modifications on four tributaries to the Upper White River in Rochester, Vermont by utilizing active instream management and design; establishing riparian buffers; and removing barriers to fish passage in order to restore brook trout habitat and the natural hydrologic regime. When complete, the project will result in the protection and enhancement of 2.75 miles of in-stream habtiat and over 30 acres of floodplain and riparian habitat on the West Branch as well as 8.1 miles of in-stream habtiat in Howe, Marsh, and Nason Brooks.

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