Purpose of the project:
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.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
This project will benefit the health of the land and water utilized by citizens visiting the nearby USFS property. At least 20 students from the Oark Public School will assist in planting 515 native trees, shrubs and grasses. They will also assist with the construction of 800’ of livestock exclusion fencing to protect the riparian corridor. An isolated community, the people of Oark work together to help each other. Residents know Ms. Brown’s property and are aware of the unsightly erosion issue she is dealing with. This project is the centerpiece of a historical site known as the “swinging bridge”, originally constructed in the late 1930s and restored in 2015. It is a 150’ long foot bridge that people can walk across from Highway 215 to access the river. Many people drive up and down Highway 215 every day and can see the ugly vertical walls of exposed soil that are dumping sediment into an “Extraordinary Resource Water” and a “Natural and Scenic Waterbody”. This project will have a huge impact on the community and it is likely that the nearby Environmental Science class at the Oark School will use this site as an educational opportunity.
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting was completed in the winter of 2015/2016. Streambank stabilization work will be completed during low flow conditions in the summer of 2016. It should take approximately two weeks to complete excavation work. Livestock exclusion fencing will be constructed after rock vanes are installed in late summer or early Fall 2016. Tree and shrub planting will occur during dormancy in the winter of 2016/2017.
Economic Calculator results:
$228,005.91 USD total sales,
$131,883.11 USD value added, and
$86,730.57 USD income.
Arkansas Game & Fish Commission (AGFC),
United States Forest Service (USFS),
Cathie Brown (private landowner),
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS),
Clarksville Chamber of Commerce –
Johnson County Development Foundation,
and Oark Public School.
Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
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.
Roosevelt Lake provides a variety of recreational and environmental benefits with an estimated 451,242 angler use days per year (Fisheries Branch 2015). The lake is one of the top bass fishing lakes in Arizona and has been the destination of premier bass tournaments such as WON BASS Roosevelt Pro/Am (2012). However, electrofishing surveys in 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013 indicated declines in largemouth bass, crappie and bluegill populations. Anglers have expressed concerns over the fishery declines and local communities, having felt the economic impacts of this decline, have contacted Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) to work cooperatively to reverse the declining trends in the fishery.
The decline in the fishery may be explained by a variety of factors including invasion and establishment of non-native gizzard shad, water quality (e.g. golden algae), diseases (e.g. largemouth bass virus), and lack of habitat due to the aging reservoir syndrome and the fluctuating levels. Roosevelt Lake has never had a fisheries habitat enhancement project and recent habitat analysis conducted at lower water levels (2070-2090 foot elevations) using side-scan sonar revealed minimal complex habitat available throughout the main lake body. The cumulative impacts of these stressors have negatively affected multiple species populations. There is also minimal ability to address each of the stressors due to limited availability of appropriate tools, methods, and feasibility. However, a collaborative partnership has been formed to address habitat issues.
The objective of the project is to improve fish community structure by providing structural habitat needed for various life stages of a variety of sport species important to the recreational fishery. The project targets structural habitat improvements to a minimum of 50 acres of the 2,719 littoral acres available between surface elevations 2060ft and 2080ft within the next ten years. We are seeking to provide a diverse array of structural habitat that will have a positive effect on multiple life stages of sportfish and their prey. The types of artificial structures being installed include Concrete Fish Balls, Mossback and Fishiding structures, and Georgia cubes, along with brush bundles comprised of native trees. The AZGFD, with the assistance of the local community, completed 620 volunteer hours and stockpiled a large number of structures for deployment. The AZGFD received a grant for $33,584.50 from the RFHP in FY2017. Partner contributions total $176,614.50 ensuring a robust addition of structural habitat. This effort is ongoing and will continue with local support and future support from the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership (RFHP) and Friends of Reservoirs.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
Local businesses have experienced an economic decline associated with the decline in the quality of the fisheries and decreased angler use. These communities have contacted Arizona Game and Fish to work cooperatively to reverse these declines.
Project Timeline: May 2017 through December 2027
Economic Calculator results:
Create 23.5 jobs,
generate $2,487,428 in total sales,
$1.29 million in value
added creating income of $936,124 over the 10-year implementation
Arizona Game and Fish Department in partnership with the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership, Midweek Bass Friends of Reservoirs, Don McDowell Friends of Arizona Reservoirs, Tonto Basin Community, Tonto National Forest, and anglers have proposed to conduct a long-term (20 years) habitat enhancement project at Roosevelt Lake to address the habitat issues. Multiple Angler Roundtable meetings have been held in Tonto Basin to discuss the project and its. AGFD has initiated a media campaign that includes outdoor radio shows, websites, blogs, and newsletters to both inform and garner public support and raise funds for the project.
Tincup Creek, Idaho
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.
A review conducted using historical aerial photos and on-the-ground knowledge shows a system that was very much intact in 1953 as primarily a single-thread channel with a high density of willows. In 1956, aerial spraying conducted in the drainage eliminated the majority of the willows. Remnants of the historic channel indicate historic bank full widths of 15 feet, versus bank full widths of up to 30 feet found currently. The 1964 and 1976 photos show a stream that became a braided, over-widened gravel bed system, while willows gradually returned. Currently, the willow community has greatly recovered. However, there are lingering effects to the system that will take decades to recover without restoration or intervention. The evidence of this degradation is the many outside meander bends are raw, vertical and eroding, rather than being stabilized by willows. Further adding to the impairment is the loss of channel length due to meander cutoffs, the resulting steepening of the gradient, and the 1 to 3-foot downcutting of the channel, leading to an unhealthy, disconnected floodplain and riparian zone.
This project is not being designed to stabilize the stream in place, but rather to re-elevate it to restore the functions and processes that make for healthy habitat, floodplains, and riparian zones. During mark-recapture studies of Northern Leatherside chub in this drainage, CTNF found the greatest concentrations associated with beaver dams and in the area of previous restoration work where large woody debris was used to stabilize eroding bends. By focusing on restoring floodplain connectivity, proper channel dimensions, and old meanders using native willows and sod as well as imported wood, habitat for native species will be improved.
Once this multi-year project is completed a full 4 miles of degraded stream will be restored. Many benefits are expected, including a healthier floodplain and riparian area – with a shift toward more mesic species in the floodplain as overland flow increases, especially in the spring. Beaver populations and dams are expected to increase as runoff forces are better dissipated on the floodplain instead of staying in-channel. Habitat diversity and complexity are expected to increase with more rearing and hiding cover available to different life stages and different fishes. Northern Leatherside chubs are expected to increase in population density due to greater habitat complexity and beaver activity (especially in the upper reaches of the project area). The sediment load in the system will decrease due to the treatment of eroding banks. Sediment deposition will also decrease as the channel is narrowed and fines are more easily transported down the system. These improvements should result in higher reproductive success and recruitment, with surges expected in population densities of all native fishes. Most of all, project partners expect to see a healthy and functioning riparian system that continues to improve through time.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: Throughout the years the awe-inspiring majesty of many of the United States western waters have been reduced through the damning of rivers and the creation of cities and towns as our population across the country has grown. While the convenience of better jobs, shorter commutes, and access to a plethora of dining and shopping venues is wonderful, the downside is the diminishing appreciation and use of our countries federal and state lands for hunting, fishing, and general leisure activities. There are now few who regularly enjoy a backdrop as unique and beautiful as the one found at Tincup Creek.
Tincup Creek in Bonneville and Caribou Counties is 37.0 miles in length and flows from an elevation of 9,076 to 5,741 feet. This high elevation stream historically provided locals and visitors with excellent fishing opportunities. By restoring Tincup Creek to its natural historic state visitors and locals alike will be able to once again enjoy the beauty of a healthy stream filled with delightfully tasty and eye-catching fish. To protect this incredible resource, Trout Unlimited, the U.S Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and many others have banded together to develop and implement this high-priority restoration project.
The first phase of this project was funded with $44,000 in National Fish Habitat Partnership funds, $150,140 in federal funds, and $58,760 in non-federal funds for a total project cost of $252,900.
The project will be completed over a three-year time frame. Phase I started in August of 2017. Phase II is scheduled for August 2018 and Phase III is expected to be completed in 2019.
Economic Calculator results:
As per a model developed by the Genter Consulting Group, the habitat enhancement aspects of the project alone will result in the creation of 28 additional jobs and an estimated $1,234,851.48 million dollar increase in economic activity.
This project was funded by the following partners; Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, Western Native Trout Initiative, U.S. Forest Service, Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited, Jackson Hole One Fly, Snake River Cutthroats Trout Unlimited, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Additional in-kind support was provided by Agrium, Bear Lakes Grazing Association, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, grazing permittees and Caribou County.
Newport Bay, California
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. Simultaneous restoration of the Olympia oyster and eelgrass has never been attempted in southern California, but smaller restoration efforts of both species individually in Newport Bay have been successful. Because of the benefits, these species may have on each other, integrated restoration of the two species is the logical next step to recover greater ecosystem connectivity and function to Newport Bay.
Preliminary analysis of in-shore sediments shows plots with restored eelgrass have experienced an accumulation of finer grained sediments, suggesting that the restored eelgrass beds may be starting to mitigate in-shore erosion.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: We believe the creation of this more complex habitat mosaic which more closely resembles historic connectivity, will support a more diverse and abundant fish community. The ecosystem services provided by healthy oyster reefs and eelgrass beds help improve water quality and attenuate wave energy, benefiting the surrounding community and visitors. The project involves a robust group of community volunteers in the restoration and monitoring efforts. This has increased community engagement and stewardship in Newport Bay.
The project has involved many members of the community in a variety of aspects including University presentations, community events and engaging volunteers hands-on in restoration activities. Over 150 volunteers participated in the oyster field implementation in April 2017. In addition, Coastkeeper hosted oyster bag making workshops with students and Universities including Soka University, Saddleback University, Concordia University of Irvine and with the girl scouts of Southern California. To date, the project has utilized over 2,549 volunteer hours by over 450 volunteers.
Eelgrass restoration took place in June and July 2016, and oyster restoration took place in April 2017. Pre-restoration surveys began in January 2016 and continue on a twice-yearly schedule through 2 years after restoration to document baseline and post-restoration conditions. Pending additional funding we are hoping to expand and continue our monitoring to assess the use of the restored oyster and eelgrass habitat by juvenile and adult fish, invertebrates and the bird community.
Orange County Coastkeeper,
California Coastal Conservancy,
California State Universities Fullerton, and Long Beach and San Diego,
The University of Southern California,
The city of Newport Beach,
County of Orange,
California Department of Fish and Wildlife,
over 160 community volunteers
Shelikof Creek, Alaska
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. As a result, Shelikof Creek became a wide and shallow stream lacking the complex habitat critical to salmonid growth and survival.
Restoring fish habitat in the Iris Meadows watershed was identified as a high priority by the Tongass National Forest through the US Forest Service Watershed Condition Framework, as well as the people of Sitka in a community-wide survey conducted by the Sitka Conservation Society. A watershed restoration plan was completed in 2013, identifying a suite of restoration projects to restore watershed function and improve aquatic and terrestrial habitat conditions. Projects were planned and designed in an interdisciplinary context utilizing expertise from fish and wildlife biologists, hydrologists, soil scientists, engineers, and foresters. The watershed was nominated as a Priority Watershed for restoration by the Tongass National Forest in 2014. Restoration began in 2014 and will be completed in 2018. Sustained commitment and support from a broad spectrum of public, private, and non-governmental partners and the community of Sitka have been instrumental in the success of this major restoration effort.
Measurable outcomes to date include:
• Restored 2.5 miles of productive salmonid lower mainstem Shelikof Creek through the installation of over 450 logs with heavy machinery and helicopters at 50 sites. These log structures have already created 43 new pools and improved channel function and overall resiliency, critical for coho salmon and other salmonid species.
• Replaced two culverts blocking anadromous fish passage, restoring over a mile of previously inaccessible spawning and rearing habitat through the installation of new stream simulation design culverts.
• Completed 1.5 miles of motorized trail rehabilitation to improve drainage and reduce sedimentation to stream/fish habitat.
• Thinned over one hundred acres of riparian forest and installed large wood in Iris Creek tributaries to accelerate the long-term recovery of in-stream habitat and stream processes dependent on large wood.
Purpose of the project:
The Shelikof and Iris Creek restoration projects focused on reducing erosion from roads, eliminating anadromous fish barriers at roads, promoting natural in-stream and floodplain processes, improving aquatic habitat complexity and diversity through large wood supplementation, reducing bank erosion, reducing stream diversion potential, and improving wildlife habitat.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
This project benefits the community of Sitka through employment opportunities and ultimately an improved abundance of valued resources that are important to meet their social and cultural needs. Community members were consulted to provide status updates and to seek input on program objectives. Local contractors and businesses contributed to the success of this project. A local contractor was hired by The Nature Conservancy for the stream restoration and culvert replacement work. The contractor’s crew included his two children, ages 14 and 20. They noted how rewarding the work was, given their reliance on fish.
Riparian forest thinning and placement of large wood in Iris Creek tributaries began in 2014 and continued in 2015. Shelikof Creek restoration, road maintenance, and culvert replacement were completed in 2016. Riparian forest thinning and placement of large wood in Iris Creek tributaries continue in 2017 and 2018. All essential restoration will be completed in 2018.
Economic Calculator results:
Use of the NFHAP Economic Impact Calculator suggests that the combined federal and partner investment of $1.1 million in Iris Meadows restoration supported 18.7 jobs, generating $1.86 million in total sales, $1.13 million in value added and $949,000 in income.
Partners played a key role in garnering public support, providing funding, technical review, and innovative media coverage for the Shelikof Creek, Iris Meadows restoration. The Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) helped coordinate public meetings for area use and project development, applied and received grants (State of Alaska-Sustainable Salmon Fund and Trout Unlimited) for direct project funding and provided volunteers for surveys and pre-implementation monitoring. The Pacific Northwest Research Station provided key scientific advice during the planning stages of the riparian restoration effort and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game fisheries biologists (Divisions of Sport Fish and Habitat) spent time assisting with project design and consultation for the in-stream project. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) also played a major role contributing substantial financial and story development resources for the large-scale restoration effort through grants and additional partnerships from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and National Forest Foundation. The State of Alaska also supported salmon habitat restoration activities through an Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund grant. Additional partner-hosted information includes:
• Sitka Conservation Society developed a project video
• The Nature Conservancy featured Shelikof Creek restoration on page 5 of their Alaska Annual Report 2016 (page 5)
• The Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition contributed resources to monitoring efforts and developed a restoration video for the project
• The Southeast Alaska Long-Term Monitoring Network (SALMoN) hosts project monitoring reports and photos.
Benbow Dam Removal, California
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.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: Press releases to the local newspapers have been issued approximately every other month regarding project progress during demolition; public meetings have received both television and press coverage; neighbors have received certified mailings about project progress; presentation and field trip at the Eel River Forum (a group interested in restoration of the Eel); two public meetings regarding environmental review and design; meetings by the sector superintendent with the Garberville Chamber of Commerce; we have a request for Bay Area television coverage under review; an interpretive panel has been prepared for placement in the park upon completion of demolition; volunteers (Eel River Recovery Project, Americorps) have assisted with fooothill yellow legged frog relocation and sensitive plant transplanting.
2009 to 2012- Dam removal feasibility studies and design completed by California Parks & Recreation Department, NOAA and American Rivers ($75,000)
September 2014- Final permitting and construction funding awarded by NOAA Fisheries Restoration Center ($2.43 million).
September 2013 to June 2016 – Completed SHPO review of historical study, NEPA, CEQA, and all other needed permitting (County, Air Quality, CDFW, RWQCB, USACOE, NPS, Department of Water Resources - Division of Dam Safety) and engineering studies, pre-project environmental studies, including yellow-legged frog research level study
Spring 2015 – Initiated riparian vegetation propagation
November 2015 to May 2016 – Performed contracting for dam removal, engineering oversight, and planting; spot environmental surveys (foothill yellow-legged frogs, northern spotted owls)
June 2016 to October 2016 – Implemented dam removal and erosion control; final demolition delayed by high flows with approximately 80% of concrete demolition completed
Fall 2016 – Initial vegetation planting
Spring 2017 – Develop cross sections to observe channel changes from 2016 demolition; spot environmental surveys
Summer 2017 – Complete demolition – the estimated time frame for demolition completion is about 1.5 months – this can be accomplished to avoid both high spring flows that could persist into late June and early flows that have occurred in mid-October (c.f. 2016) - the estimated duration also allows avoidance for fledging of nearby eagles (the latest estimated fledging is early July) or nesting for Northern Spotted Owls (July 10 is end of nesting season) if nesting is encountered (none to date in 4 years of monitoring). US Fish and Wildlife Service have determined that marbled murrelets are unlikely to occupy nearby old growth due to the distance from the coast. No other factors are anticipated that could delay the project.
Fall –Winter 2017 – Complete vegetation planting
Spring 2018 – Develop long profile and cross sections to review channel response; collect yellow-legged frog and vegetation success and other survey data, including fisheries data from CDFW – vegetation will be monitored for 3 years from initial planting per permit and will extend beyond this date. Collate data and submit a final report to grantors.
Partners: NOAA Fisheries, California Parks & Recreation Department, California Conservation Corps, American Rivers, California Fish Passage Forum
Boundary Creek, Oregon
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. By replacing these ineffective culverts, this project will improve fish passage, open approximately 10 miles of viable habitat, enhance watershed health, and increase awareness of the species: Columbia River Basin Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus), interior Redband Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss gairdneri), Middle Columbia River steelhead (O. mykiss) and Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha). The culverts are passage barriers which fragment fish populations in the streams or eliminate fish from some reaches altogether. Installation of wider, open- bottom style culverts will promote a continuous streambed with appropriate water flow. The new culverts will accommodate 100-year flow volumes while concurrently preventing constriction of the 2-year flow in the selected sites. In addition, approximately 3 miles of road will be re-routed to reduce direct sediment outwash into the streams. The project may also re-construct two enhancement culverts on small, intermittent tributaries of Boundary Creek. Correcting the flow of the Boundary and Corral Creeks will improve western native trout populations currently impacted by the barriers in the creek systems and strengthen population integrity in the Granite Creek Watershed, a crucial high- elevation habitat that will become increasingly important for fish populations as temperatures continue to rise.
Specific Project Accomplishments:
1. The project will restore fish accessibility to cold headwaters throughout 9.2 miles in an area which provides multiple lifecycle habitats including spawning and rearing for endangered trout species.
2. The source of sedimentation will be minimized by realigning roads that were originally located without adequate consideration for stream impacts.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: The John Day River, as one of the longest undammed rivers in the United States, provides essential habitat for a variety of anadromous fish and native federally listed endangered or threatened species of trout. Historic land use of the Granite Creek watershed and Bull Run sub-watershed created many long-lasting environmental problems. Initially, excessive beaver trapping altered the shade-producing vegetation of the riparian zones. With the discovery of gold in 1861 in Granite Creek, came the relentless search for the precious commodity and the imminent, structural decline of the river channel. The forest was heavily logged for timber. As roads were hastily constructed in the area, the culverts were placed irrespective of the environmental impacts, resulting in partial barriers to migrating fish and utilization voids in places that once supported spawning. Today, the system is constrained by two definitive manmade characteristics: 1) Passage barriers caused by culverts which are incompatible with fish migration and spawning and, 2) Sediment inputs originating at roads that are closely aligned with the stream flow. In one instance the road arcs around the culvert, submitting sediment from both sides. Just downstream of Boundary Creek, Bull Run Creek has been 303(d) listed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality due to high levels of sediment and elevated summer stream temperatures, further emphasizing the critical need to open the access to the higher elevation, cold water habitats.
This project will emphasize the importance of collaboration through partnerships with two high schools - the local Ukiah and Prairie City high schools- and a collaborative Student Day of teaching citizen science-style experiential stream monitoring will be presented. Local students will learn about the importance of restoration projects and will receive hands-on practice in field science, and monitoring water temperature, sediment levels and flow. This aspect of the project will increase community awareness of fish habitat, the life cycles of western native trout, and the effectiveness of regional efforts focus on restoring trout populations. In conjunction with content supported by the science teachers from the two schools, the Student Day will meet and exceed Oregon Department of Education Content Standards for a high school science class. This opportunity will give students the chance to practice science in the field under the guidance of working practitioners and to observe the importance of restoration projects such as this. Using the streams as a classroom, the Student Day will emphasize the importance of habitat rehabilitation for fish which rely on connectivity in their environment in order to complete their life cycle and increase population numbers. The project will also be featured on the North Fork John Day Watershed Council website and Facebook page, reaching a broad audience through social media and online presence.
Project Timeline: The designs were completed as of April 2017. In early 2018, fish capture and exclusion will take place at the building sites prior to the removal of the old culverts. In the summer in-stream work window of the same year, the new, open-bottomed culverts will be implemented and the road relocation will occur.
Monitoring and evaluation: For three years following construction of the culverts and road re-alignment, the success and impact of the project will be monitored by a Project Coordinator from the North Fork John Day Watershed Council. The three sites will be monitored for flow, turbidity, and other water quality metrics two times per year during the monitoring time period. Redd count monitoring will take place annually and presence/absence will be established by fish surveys. In addition, the Wallowa Whitman National Forest will conduct annual structure inspections to determine design effectiveness. Photo-points will be established prior to work and will be repeated annually for three years. The first year of monitoring will include short courses taught to Ukiah and Prairie City high school students on stream health and restoration as well as the impacts of environmental degradation on sensitive species of fish (i.e. Bull Trout, interior Redband Trout, Chinook, and steelhead). The students will then assist the Project Coordinator in monitoring water temperature, sediment levels, and stream discharge.
Economic Calculator results:
Total Sales: US$792,765 Value Added: US$496,994 Income: US$360,016
Partners: North Fork John Day Watershed Council, Wallowa Whitman National Forest, the Confederated Tribes Umatilla Indian Reservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board.
Crane Lake, Minnesota
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.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: The Crane Lake Fish Passage project will connect upstream Crane and Belmont Lakes to downstream Clitherall Lake, allowing important game species such as Walleye and Northern Pike to travel among lakes providing more resilient fish populations for popular fisheries on the lakes. These lakes are within 2-3 hours of Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN and 1.5 hours of St. Cloud, MN and Fargo, ND, so this project will benefit and serve as an example to anglers from multiple states and markets. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is collaborating with the local township to accomplish the project.
Project Timeline: Project match dollars have already been awarded by Minnesota’s Clean Water, Land, and Legacy program. Once a USFWS contract is created, construction will begin and is anticipated to be complete fall 2017.
Economic Calculator results:
Administrative/Technical Services Expenditures: $35,600
Construction Materials Expenditures: $14,400
Construction Labor Expenditures: $0
Total Sales: USD 98,533.28
Value Added: USD 54,796.24
Income: USD 40,859.65
Partners: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Otter Tail County
The Crane Lake Fish Passage project has been approved by the Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership and a contract is under preparation with USFWS. The project is in alignment with NFHP strategic plan objective 1, addressing the ecosystem process of connectivity.
*Please include high resolution photos as part of your submission: See photos below; additional photos can be provided after site visits by the MGLP coordinator in July.
Lake Wichita, Texas
Purpose of the project:
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.
The Lake Wichita project is a holistic project that addresses all of these habitat issues and intends to galvanize community support for the restoration effort, improve the quality of life of the citizens of Wichita Falls, and provide major economic impacts to the local and regional community. Details of the project can be found at www.lakewichita.org but the majority of this nearly $55-million project includes the removal of approximately 7-million cubic yards of sediment. Over 200 acres of wetlands and aquatic vegetation plantings are planned, invasive salt cedar and mesquite control on private property (in conjunction with willing land owners) on the 134 mile2 watershed, addition of structural habitat in the littoral zone, amenities that include boat ramps, fishing jetties, wildlife viewing areas, walking trails, ADA paddling trails, camping areas, and a boardwalk that includes reconstruction of a historically
significant pavilion. These amenities are intended to create an environment for retail development along the shoreline and provide for a “destination” for the community and an opportunity to see first-hand what a healthy and vibrant aquatic system can mean to the quality of life.
The Lake Wichita project will serve as a model of the type of projects with community support that the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership envisions as the Partnership matures. The “vision” for Lake Wichita has been already been presented at several RFHP- and NFHP-sponsored symposia at scientific meetings and showcased as the type of restoration effort that collaborative partnerships can create.
A project of this magnitude requires the support of the community and to achieve this a massive outreach effort is ongoing. The project has conducted 69 public presentations to a total 2,230 people, participated in 20 public events with their trade show booth reaching more than 20,000 people, and has an active following on Facebook by more than 2,200 people. Additional outreach efforts include a website, www.lakewichita.org that has garnered 1,000s of visits since being launched in May 2015, a Facebook page www.facebook.com/ourlakeourlife with more than 1,500 followers, a promotional video that has been viewed more than 100,000 times since being unveiled in May 2015, a kiosk in Sikes Senter Mall displaying informational materials, donated ad space in the local newspaper, Public Service Announcements being run on local television and radio, the project being a pillar of an ongoing newspaper series entitled “Imagine Wichita Falls,” more than 250 yards signs and banners posted throughout the local community, the yard sign artwork being utilized on multiple digital billboards throughout the community, promotional t-shirts and pint glasses, coasters, table tents, and posters being utilized by local business to promote the project, rack cards with pertinent project information are being distributed, and a steady stream of television, radio, and newspaper stories continue to be developed and distributed. All of these public outreach efforts have included recognition of our principle partners, including the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and the Friends of Reservoirs. To evaluate the effectiveness of the outreach efforts, the Lake Wichita Committee conducted a public opinion survey. In that survey, 96% of respondents said they felt that a “developed Lake Wichita would be an economic benefit to the community,” and 97% said they would “take advantage of a viable Lake Wichita.” In that same survey, respondents listed fishing as the number one activity they wanted to be able to enjoy at Lake Wichita, followed by walking/jogging, boating, picnicking, swimming, wildlife observation, camping, personal watercraft, beach activities, and cycling respectively. All of these efforts result in a more environmentally literate community with an emphasis on understanding the importance of fisheries habitats and watershed connectivity.
Project Timeline: January 2014 through December 2020
Economic Calculator Results
As per a model developed by the Genter Consulting Group, the habitat enhancement aspects of the project alone will result in creation of 816 jobs and an $81-million increase in economic activity. In another economic evaluation conducted by Midwestern State University’s Dillard College of Business Administration, completion of the “vision” outlined for revitalization of Lake Wichita is expected to annually support 11,800 jobs in the MSA, increase annual retail sales in the MSA by
$300-million, and provide an increase to annual City, County, and ISD (within the MSA) revenue of $27.5-million.
Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-Inland Fisheries Division
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
City of Lakeside City
City of Wichita Falls
Lakeside City (Lake Wichita) Chapter of Friends of Reservoirs
Qwuloolt Estuary, Washington
Purpose of the project:
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 marsh and 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.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
Today, only 17% of intact estuary area remains in the Snohomish River delta due to extensive diking and tide gates, which have cut off the main channel and its distributary network from its historical floodplain. As was the case with much of the Euro-American agricultural and economic development in estuaries throughout North America, levees were constructed along Ebey Slough, linear drainage channels were constructed, and tide gates were installed at the mouth of Allen and Jones creeks to create grazing and crop land. The levees and tide gates prevented tidal flows from reaching the floodplain, which drastically altered hydrology (such as water quantity and quality) and brackish water-dependent vegetation within this ecosystem, thereby changing the wildlife and fish assemblages within this area. Most notably, these built elements have restricted anadromous fish species from using critical rearing areas in the project site, as well as spawning habitat upstream in Jones and Allen Creeks.
This project has returned some natural hydrologic processes to the ecosystem, thereby initiating the restoration of estuarine habitat at Qwuloolt, as manifested by the re-establishment of native salmon, wildlife, and plant communities. The estuary acts as a biotic refuge and natural buffer between marine and upland environments that is valued for its beauty and ecosystem functions. Today people benefit from the clean water and air the estuary supports, recreational opportunities, flood storage and protection, carbon sequestration, and its use for commercial, industrial, agricultural purposes. The Qwuloolt Estuary
Restoration Project represents a significant rejuvenation of a critical natural and cultural resource for all peoples within northern Puget Sound. In addition, Qwuloolt is the first of several large restoration projects that could collectively result in approximately 50% of historical tidal wetland area returned to tidal influence.
Project scoping occurred from 1994–2006,
property acquisition occurred from 1994-2013,
property easements occurred from 2008–2015,
design and permitting occurred from 2008–2012,
interior habitat work (i.e., structure demolition, garbage removal, channel work, ditch fill, berm building, and native planting) occurred from 2008–2015,
stormwater pond construction and stormwater retrofitting occurred from 2013–2015,
setback and levee construction occurred from 2013–2015,
levee breach occurred in 2015, and
tidegate sealing occurred in 2015.
US Army Corps of Engineers,
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office,
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
Washington Department of Ecology,
US Fish and Wildlife Service,
Natural Resources Conservation Service,
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife,
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and
Environmental Protection Agency
Peno Creek, Missouri
Purpose of the project: 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.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: In 2007, Peno Creek watershed, one of the highest-quality streams in northeast Missouri, was designated an Aquatic Conservation Opportunity Area. Intensive sampling in 2009 and a watershed characterization in 2011 revealed a robust aquatic community and quality habitat. The watershed was designated a MDC Priority Watershed in 2011. In 2015, Peno Creek was added to the NRCS Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI) list. Peno Creek watershed also provides critical habitat in caves due to the karst topography. Some of these caves contain Gray bats (Myotis grisescens), Indiana bats (Myotis sodalist), Northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis), and other fauna.
Peno Creek has been a popular destination for anglers looking for a quality stream-fishing experience for years. It is one of a few streams in northern Missouri that supports smallmouth bass and rock bass populations. Combined with clear water and quality habitat, this stream system provides a unique experience for northern Missouri anglers. Public fishing access is provided at Ranacker Conservation Area (1,831 acres) and numerous road crossings.
In March 2013, MDC engaged NRCS and the Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District and hosted an informational meeting with a select group of watershed landowners. Since then they have engaged even more stakeholders by forming a landowner advisory council (Peno Creek Cooperative Partnership) to help guide and promote watershed conservation efforts. In 2014, 13 producer families enrolled in the cover crop cost-share program and 466 acres were planted. Now more watershed landowners are interested in using cover crops, and are interested in how to incorporate them into their operations. Providing technical and cost-share assistance will help landowners utilize this unique practice to conserve aquatic resources, while improving their bottom line. Implementing this project will complement long-term efforts to maintain and protect this high-quality system.
The goal of MDC, NRCS, Pike County SWCD, Fishers & Farmers Partnership and landowners in the watershed is to improve stream habitat for aquatic communities while adding value for agricultural producers. Since the watershed is a priority for Fishers & Farmers, more funding is anticipated next year.
Project Timeline: To date, several projects in the Peno Creek Watershed have been completed. A large pasture improvement project involving cross fencing for rotational grazing, exclusion fencing, and alternative water sources was completed in 2014. A reinforced stream crossing was installed on Peno Creek and an exclusion fencing and alternative water project was completed in 2015. The cover crop cost-share program has helped producers learn how to incorporate this practice into their operation on 1,125 acres since 2014. In 2016, 26 landowners will plant 1,277 acres of cover crops within the watershed. Helping producers incorporate cover crops into their operation may be the most significant lasting impact of this project. Each project will be completed in less than 2 years, but multiple projects will be funded over a 10-year period. Fishers & Farmers plans to fund Peno Creek every 2-4 years or so. Peno Creek was first funded in 2014 and will be proposed again for FY2017.
Economic Calculator results:
Total Sales: $41,804.85
Value Added: $21,911.70,
Income: $17,429.30. http://gentnergroup.com/NFHAP/
Partners: Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District, Peno Creek Landowner Advisor Council/Farmer-led Committee, Peno Creek Watershed Farmers/Landowners, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Mill Creek and Deer Creek, California
Purpose of the project(s):
Chinook salmon and steelhead are part California’s natural heritage, and their recovery and preservation for future generations presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Meeting that challenge requires that Deer Creek and Mill Creek, in Tehama County, are restored to their full potential as streams that have been home to salmonids for thousands of years. Deer and Mill creeks are two of only three streams supporting extant self-sustaining wild populations of Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). The Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) is listed as threatened under the State and Federal Endangered Species Acts. 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.
Successful survival and recruitment of salmonids requires freshwater migration corridors thatfunction sufficiently to provide adequate passage. For this reason, freshwater migration corridors are considered to have a high conservation value and are ofutmost priority for restoration in Mill and Deer Creek watersheds within this critical decade.
Deer Creek is a Northern Sierra Nevada Mountain tributary that flows southwesterly to the Sacramento River for about 60 miles, draining 134 square miles. Deer Creek originates near the summit of Butt Mountain at an elevation of about 7,320 feet. It initially flows through meadows and dense forests and then descends rapidly through a steep rock canyon into the Sacramento Valley. Upon emerging from the canyon, the creek flows 11 miles across the Sacramento Valley floor, entering the Sacramento River at about 1 mile west of the town of Vina at an elevation of about 180 feet.
Mill Creek originates on the southern slopes of Lassen Peak at an approximate elevation of 8,000 feet. It flows to its confluence with the Sacramento River at an approximate elevation of 200 feet, adjacent to the unincorporated community of Los Molinos. The watershed drains about 134 square miles through a stream length of about 60 miles. The stream has several unique features that include its course through steep-sided canyons. These make Mill Creek relatively inaccessible in the upper watershed and provide some of the highest elevation-spawning habitat for Chinook salmon known in North America.
Current Priority Actions in Deer Creek include:
Modify the fish passage facilities to modern standards at Stanford-Vina Ranch Irrigation Company Diversion Dam, the Deer Creek Irrigation District Diversion Dam, the Cone-Kimball Diversion Dam, and at Lower Deer Creek Falls in order to provide unimpeded passage for adult and juvenile Chinook salmon and steelhead to their upstream spawning and rearing habitat.
Develop and implement instream flow agreements with the Deer Creek Irrigation District, the Stanford-Vina Ranch Irrigation Company to provide flows that best support all life stages of spring-run Chinook salmon and steelhead.
Active Restoration Projects in Deer Creek:
Lower Deer Creek Falls: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) are co-funding an upgrade to a fish passage structure on Deer Creek located on private property in eastern Tehama County at a site known as Lower Deer Creek Falls. The purpose of the action is to improve upstream and downstream passage conditions for Chinook salmon, steelhead and other aquatic fish and wildlife species. The current concrete fish passage structure adjacent to the falls inhibits the movement of salmon and steelhead into the upper watershed. The proposed action was developed in cooperation with the willing landowner and the U.S. Forest Service and involves the removal and replacement of the existing fish passage structure. Construction is expected to occur in summer 2016.
Deer Creek Irrigation District Dam: This project will construct channel and habitat modifications below the diversion dam operated by the Deer Creek Irrigation District (DCID) on Deer Creek approximately 12 miles upstream of the Sacramento River. The project is the culmination of multi-year collaborative efforts involving DCID, CDFW, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), USFWS, NMFS, and Trout Unlimited. When completed, the project will remedy a major element of the fish passage issues in lower Deer Creek that have been identified as the most important limiting factor affecting spring-run Chinook salmon and Central Valley steelhead in the watershed.
The existing DCID diversion on Deer Creek includes a concrete dam, diversion canal entrance on the left bank upstream of the dam, in-canal fish screens, and an in-canal flume to measure diversion flow. The concrete dam is about 3 feet high across much of the channel however, flashboards are typically installed along the dam crest to provide adequate head to provide DCID diversion flows. The restoration project includes constructing a roughened rock ramp downstream of the existing dam, re-profiling the upstream 1,100 feet of the diversion canal, adjusting the existing fish screens to account for the diversion canal reprofile, and replacing the existing flume with a low head loss flow monitoring device. The roughened rock ramp will improve hydraulic conditions at the site to meet fish passage criteria. Re-profiling the diversion canal and replacing the flume will reduce the head needed at the diversion dam to provide diversion flows. The roughened rock ramp will provide adequate head at the diversion take-off to meet diversion needs in the re-profiled canal negating the need for flashboards to be installed. Based on preliminary discussions with DCID, the diversion dam could later be removed as a separate project once the performance of the rock ramp to meet diversion needs is verified. If funding through pending grant program applications is awarded, the project is slated for construction in summer 2018.
Current Priority Actions
in Mill Creek include:
Dam and Ward Dam.
- Implement fish passage improvement projects at the Los Molinos Mutual Water Company (LMMWC) Upper
- Improve instream flow conditions during migration periods through cooperative efforts with landowners, LMMWC, and water right holders.
Active Projects in Mill Creek:
Ward Diversion Dam: This project was initiated in 2015 and is located on a privately owned working organic cattle ranch referred to as the “Mill Creek Ranch.” Ward Dam is part of a private stream diversion system that supplies irrigation water for agricultural and residential uses. Ward Dam is located about 1.25 miles upstream of the Shasta Boulevard Bridge and about 4,000 feet downstream of another diversion dam on Mill Creek referred to as the “Upper Dam”. The elevation of Ward Dam is approximately 291 feet. It is in a wide section of Mill Creek where the south channel bank is above the 100-year water surface elevation. The dam has been in place for at least 50 years and it has impounded coarse sediment up to an elevation of about 290 feet behind the dam crest. The purpose of the proposed project is to improve upstream and downstream passage for anadromous fish and other native aquatic species in Mill Creek. The upgrades and modifications to the fish ladder, fish screen, and water diversion infrastructure provide improved passage for adult migration upstream and juvenile migration downstream of Ward Dam. This project was constructed in summer/fall 2015; final restoration actions (such as replanting riparian areas disturbed by project activity) are underway in spring 2016.
Upper Dam: Upper Dam is located on Mill Creek about 5.4 miles upstream of its confluence with the Sacramento River, and about 2.5 miles upstream of LMMWC’s diversion facility at Ward Dam. The dam is located in a straight section of canyon with little to no floodplain. Upper Dam is a concrete
structure with a crest that is about 55 feet wide at an elevation of 380.0 feet. The concrete dam face slopes at about 25% to an elevation of 375.9 feet over a distance of about 20 feet. A 10-foot wide sluice gate is located in line with the dam on the right bank. An abandoned on-channel fish screens structure is
used as a trash rack, although the top elevation of the structure is only about 2.5 feet above the dam crest. The fish ladder is a concrete pool weir fish ladder with 3 pools and 4 weirs. The structure is about 8 feet wide (including walls) and 25 feet long. Northwest Hydraulic Consultants, a private consulting
firm, determined the ladder did not meet CDFW and NMFS criteria for the full range of fish passage flows. The primary deficiencies include inadequate freeboard on the fishway walls, and inadequate pool volume for energy dissipation. The proposed design will replace the existing fishway with a wider and longer half chute-and-pool fishway. The fish screen facility will be at an on-canal location about 50 feet downstream of the dam. The juvenile bypass pipe will be buried under the existing canal and extend about 300 feet downstream of the fish screens before exiting back into Mill Creek. The diversion channel will extend further upstream with a fish fence placed across the channel entrance to help prevent entrainment of adult salmonids. As of spring 2016, 100% designs are nearly complete, as are environmental documents and permits. However, funding is not yet in place for construction, so the construction date is unknown.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: Chinook salmon are an iconic species in California. Spring-run Chinook salmon endure in the Central Valley, where they must migrate hundreds of miles of degraded habitat conditions and ascend into high elevation streams to reach their natal grounds, a true testimony to the persistence of a cornerstone of California culture. The prospect of restoring to greatness, the last remaining populations of Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon, is an opportunity that well captures the attention of not just the local community, but the entire State of
California. Success of this endeavor will enable many interest groups to protect rare and iconic species, preserve unique watersheds, and foster partnerships that span water use, agricultural, and environmental issues.
The Sacramento River Basin is the largest river basin in California, covering 27,000 square miles with about 31% of the state’s total annual surface water runoff. The Sacramento River and its contributing watershed areas are vital to the state’s economy, provide drinking water for residents of two-thirds of the state, and required habitat for many hundreds of fish and wildlife species. From the mountains to the valley, small towns and large cities, it is the place many Californians live, work, and play.*
- The Sacramento River is the dominant source of fresh water critical to the long-term health of its watershed and the San Francisco Bay and Delta ecosystems.
- It provides nearly all of the water for the State and federal water projects.
- The major land uses in the watershed are forestry, agriculture, urban settlement, mining, and recreation.
- The watershed’s urban population is projected to double over the next 50 years.
- Two million acres, about 12 percent of the watershed, are currently irrigated, producing economically significant yields of rice, fruits, nuts, alfalfa, grain, and tomatoes.
- Its rivers and streams support a multitude of important resident and anadromous fisheries.
- It also supports numerous additional beneficial uses, including local drinking and industrial water supplies, wildlife habitat, and recreation.*
*Excerpted from the Sacramento River Watershed Program
Creek Falls Fishway Improvement Project: July 1–September 30, 2016.
Irrigation District Fishway Improvement Project: Funding needed. July 1–September 30, 2018, provided that pending grant applications are selected and funds are awarded.
Standford Vina Ranch Fishway Improvement Project: Funding needed. July 1–September 30, 2018, provided that funding is obtained.
Upper Dam Fishway Improvement Project: Funding needed. If funding is obtained this summer, construction could occur in 2017.
Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation),
and the Northern California Regional Land Trust
Mill Creek Fish Passage
Restoration Project Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), comprised of
representatives from USFWS, NMFS, Reclamation, CDFW, DWR, Mill Creek
Conservancy, LMMWC, multiple private landowners and several private consulting
Updates (Completed in August and December):
Best weeks for site
Eel River, Indiana
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.
Benefit: The Eel River is a major tributary of the Wabash River in Northern Indiana. The Eel is a 5th order stream which has a watershed with land use nearly 80% row crop agriculture. In spite of this agriculturally dominated landscape, the Eel supports indicators of biological hope. There are bald eagles that nest along the river, nearly 60 species of fishes, over 20 species of freshwater mussels (including one federally endangered species and a recent reintroduction of an additional federally endangered mussel species), and river otters widely distributed throughout the basin. Highly regarded by anglers, the Eel also supports a strong sport fishery consisting of smallmouth bass and various panfish. In fact, the Eel River was featured on one of the early televised fishing shows in the 1960s called the “Flying Fisherman” by Gadabout Gaddis. The episode featured the Eel River as an outstanding smallmouth bass fishery. Since this time the smallmouth fishery has shown inconsistent year-classes and has been the focus of much of our research.
As a result of a basin-wide initiative led by the Environmental Studies Program at Manchester University, a broad support base of conservation partners and local residents have become sincerely involved and aware of the Eel River as a natural resource treasure. We have removed two low-head dams with assistances from NFHP funding and a third dam is scheduled for removal in fall 2016 with NFHP funding as well. These are the first three dams in Indiana to be removed using NFHP funds. On the political front, these removals resulted in a larger state-wide interest and effort to remove dams from Indiana streams. In the fall of 2015, the first dam removal symposium was held in Indiana, where the Eel River dam removals and NFHP were highlighted. Ecologically, the Eel River is now safer for humans and our research has shown a significantly positive response in stream habitat and fish community structure after the dams were removed. Our research illustrated an amazing immediate positive response in stream habitat scores and fish indices once the dams were removed. This response was a fantastic opportunity for students to witness and to scientifically document. For the first time since the early 1800s the Eel flows freely and anglers enjoy new and better places to go fishing, and paddlers are experiencing a smoother float due to reduced portages.
An additional NFHP project, located in the Eel at river mile 30, is old Stockdale grist mill and dam, which have been restored to operational condition. There is no option for removal of the dam, but a partnership was established with the Stockdale Mill Foundation to explore a fish passageway alternative. Through our relationship with the NFHP a plan was funded in cooperation with the Stockdale Mill Foundation to build a prototype modular fish passageway around the mill dam. The project includes research to describe the efficiency of this new design and the project has generated a great deal of public interest. Plans also include an informational kiosk, a viewing window in the fish ladder, and an improved parking lot to encourage use and promote awareness of both the river and history at this site. This project has wide application across the Midwest United States.
Awareness of the Eel River ecosystem as a significant natural resource in our communities (particularly with farmers) has grown significantly. The NFHP has led to countless positive relationships with agricultural producers through water quality funding and on-the-ground conservation. This work has spurred additional partnerships with state and federal agencies and private nonprofit organizations like the Indiana Corn Marketing Council and Indiana Soybean Alliance (see list below).
The NFHP work in the Eel Basin has complimented other conservation work with the following partners:
Manchester University(Environmental Studies Programs),
Natural Resources Conservation Service,
Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts,
Wabash, Miami, Kosciusko, Whitley, Fulton, and Cass County Soil and Water Conservation Districts,
Indiana Department of Natural Resources,
Indiana Department of Environmental Management,
Indiana Soybean Alliance,
Indiana Corn Marketing Council,
United States Fish and Wildlife Service,
Environmental Defense Fund,
and the Cargill Foundation.
These partners have added significantly to the broad-base of conservation support in the basin. As an example, the Manchester University Environmental Studies Program has partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI). This partnership promotes cost-share of soil and water conservation practices that reduce export of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment from agricultural fields and improves soil health. This mission is directed to help improve local stream ecological integrity, contribute toward a 45% reduction in nutrients
to the Gulf of Mexico, build positive conservation partnerships with local producers, provide soil and water conservation opportunities that improve soil health and maintains economically viable production of food and fiber, and finally provide research and experiential learning opportunities for Manchester
University Environmental Studies students.
This effort in the Eel River basin of north-central Indiana has resulted in expenditures of nearly $5 million in the middle Eel River region since the first round of MRBI in 2010. In 2015-16 over $300,000 of cost-share has been obligated in Miami, Wabash, and Kosciusko Counties. Practices included:
1. No-till, Nutrient Management, pest management, cover crops.
2. Animal waste pit closure with cover crops.
3. Cover crops.
4. No-till, Nutrient Management, pest management, cover crops, hay seedings, water lines, water tanks, well.
1. Four contracts APPROVED for $212,055
2. Three applications PRE-APPROVED (waiting on more funding) for $49,588
3. Eight applications PENDING or ELIGIBLE requesting in excess of $40,000
*The below data was analyzed in the NFHP economic calculation separately.
Based on the Gentner Consulting Group, Inc. Economic model for the *National Fish Habitat Partnership Program, the economic impact of these dollars in the region includes:
Jobs Created: 6
Total Sales: $569,745
Value added: $297,092
Conservation partnerships have connected agricultural producers, natural resource agencies like USFWS/NFHP, and Manchester University students who have worked together to examine and describe water quality in area streams and ecological research. Over 40 students have participated in water quality monitoring programs and research since 2010. Students have had the opportunity to learn about the business of agriculture, natural resource programs like NFHP, stream ecology, and fisheries science. As a result of this cooperative and positive approach local producers have allowed water quality stations on their farms and have asked for data from these stations. The agricultural producers are concerned about water quality and want to know what levels of nutrients and sediment end up in the streams. This dialogue is critically important as the conservation movement continues forward and more producers adopt better farming practices. Through funding from NFHP, this dialogue has expanded to include the USFWS.
The challenge for conservation programs is to provide supporting data that illustrates positive changes such as a decrease in nutrient and sediment export due to upland conservation practices. For watershed scale research in agricultural watersheds it will require continuous ecological monitoring to illuminate
patterns and trends over an extended time period. The monitoring program used by Manchester University scientists and students is comprehensive and examines time integrated water quality data along with biological data to provide historic ecological benchmarks. The loss of nutrients from the agricultural landscape is significant, measuring in tons per year in the Eel River, but soil loss continues to be orders of magnitude a much larger nonpoint source pollutant. There is tremendous natural variability in watershed science that becomes the rationale for long-term data sets. Goals will be reached through strategic conservation initiatives and strengthened relationships with agricultural producers. The documentation of future changes is critical through good science. Success of the Manchester University Environmental Studies initiatives is not always found in data that illustrates a downward trend in nutrient or sediment export or fish community improvement, but rather in the positive conservation partnerships and newly established lines of communication with agricultural producers. The success is found in the lives of the over 40 students who have participated in water quality monitoring and stream ecological research, or in the hundreds of local community people who have learned about the Eel River ecosystem. Values and attitudes of farmers toward soil health, nutrient management, and water quality is changing as a result of our work - and this is critical. Farmers visit the Manchester University water quality laboratory, they ask to see data, and they ask for streams to be tested. Agricultural landscape level changes will require programs with vision and continuity and a firm understanding of temporal and spatial natural science processes. Our success is a testament to a community of people who recognize that it is clearly possible to have an economically viable landscape and a clean and healthy river ecosystem.
2012: Removal of two low-head dams from the Eel River of north-central Indiana (These are the first two dams to be removed in Indiana and removal reconnected 200 stream miles)
2014: Efficacy of agricultural best management practices on stream water quality
2015: Reintroduction of federally endangered freshwater mussel (Clubshell) to the Eel River.
2016: Removal of low-head dam in the Eel River near the town of Mexico, Indiana (reconnects 300 stream miles)
2016: Construction of a two-stage ditch in Beargrass Creek.
2016: A new approach to fish passage over low-head dams: Design and installation at the Stockdale dam, Eel River of North-Central Indiana
NFHP Economic Calculator Results:
Services Expenditures: $2,176,000.00
Expenditures: $ 0
Expenditures: $ 93,000
Total Sales: $4,283,188
Value Added: $ 2,245,373
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. It involved removal of a 106-foot high antiquated dam and implemented a watershed restoration process. The project is intended to:
• Provide a long-term solution to the public safety risk posed by the potential collapse of the outdated San Clemente Dam in the event of a large flood or earthquake, which would have threatened 1,500 homes and other public buildings.
• Provide unimpeded access to over 25 miles of essential spawning and rearing habitat, thereby aiding in the recovery of threatened South-Central California Coast steelhead.
• Restore the river’s natural sediment flow, helping to replenish sand on Carmel Beach and improve habitat downstream of the dam for steelhead.
• Reduce beach erosion that contributes to destabilization of homes, roads, and infrastructure.
• Re-establish a healthy connection between the lower Carmel River and the watershed above San Clemente Dam.
• Improve habitat for threatened California red-legged frogs.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
The San Clemente Dam Removal and Carmel River Reroute Project represents one of the best opportunities for river restoration on California’s Central Coast. Permanently removing the dam eliminated the public safety risk posed by San Clemente Dam, which was declared seismically unsafe by the State of California and threatened 1,500 homes and other buildings. The removal of the dam will also aid in the recovery of South-Central California Coast steelhead, a threatened species, by providing unimpaired access to over 25 miles of spawning and rearing habitat. The National Marine Fisheries Service has determined restoration of the Carmel River steelhead population is critical to the recovery of the species, in part because it serves as an “anchor” providing occasional dispersal of fish to nearby smaller coastal populations which would not persist otherwise. Additional benefits of the project include: restoring the natural sediment regime, reducing channel incision and reducing beach erosion that now contributes to destabilization of homes, roads and infrastructure; improving habitat for threatened California Red-Legged Frogs; and expanding public recreation opportunities in the region by preserving over 900 acres of watershed lands, resulting in over 5,400 acres of contiguous park land.
The San Clemente Dam was removed during the summer of 2015 after two years of construction work to reroute the river, relocate the reservoir sediments, and prepare the site. Remaining work on the site includes habitat restoration and removal of a small, obsolete dam downstream of the project site.
- California American Water
- California Department of Fish & Wildlife
- California Natural Resources Agency
- California Wildlife Conservation Board
- California State Coastal Conservancy
- National Marine Fisheries Service – NOAA
- Resources Legacy Fund
- The Nature Conservancy
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Project supporters and participants:
- U.S. Congressman Sam Farr, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer
- California State Assembly member Bill Monning, California State Assembly member Mark Stone
- Monterey County Board District Supervisor Dave Potter
- American Rivers
- California Department of Fish & Wildlife
- California Natural Resources Agency
- California Wildlife Conservation Board
- Carmel River Steelhead Association
- Carmel River Watershed Conservancy
- Central Coastal Regional Water Quality Control Board
- Friends of the River
- Monterey CoastKeeper
- Monterey County Water Resource Agency
- Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District
- Monterey Peninsula Water Management District
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- Planning and Conservation League Foundation
- Resources Legacy Fund
- San Clemente Rancho
- Surfrider Foundation, Monterey Chapter
- The Nature Conservancy
- Trout Unlimited
- Bureau of Land Management
- Bureau of Reclamation
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Shoshone Springs, California
Purpose of the project:
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. The long term extinction risk of Shoshone pupfish due to stochastic factors is greatly reduced by spreading the risk among three populations, instead of one. Cumulative loss of genetic diversity due to genetic drift will be slowed or arrested by increasing the population size. Creation of a pond suitable for public viewing and interpretation in an existing ecotourism area has the ancillary benefit of promoting public and business support for conservation of pupfish, wildlife, and the environment. The pond also benefits riparian birds, waterfowl, and neotropical migrant birds. There is now a series of ponds along the original stream leading to the Amargosa River where the first pupfish were found. It also includes a pond in a public area that is landscaped with native vegetation. Walking trails have been created to guide the public to view points, and interpretive signs will soon be placed around the pond to educate residents and visitors about the pupfish, its native habitat, the importance of sustaining all endangered species, and about biodiversity. In addition to being drawn by birding and ecotourism, visitors to Shoshone Village have begun to ask “where can I see the pupfish?”
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
The rural town of Shoshone is a Mojave Desert Community intentionally transitioning from a mining economy to one based on ecotourism. An abundance of natural thermal spring water makes this a literal oasis in the desert east of Death Valley National Park. Visitors are drawn for the birding, scenery, geology, cultural history, and to experience remote wilderness and the Wild and Scenic Amargosa River Corridor. Many of these visitors are from Europe or southern California, and have no idea there are fish living in the desert—much less have seen any. As the word spreads more people are deliberately travelling to Shoshone to sightsee for pupfish. Purposeful and casual pupfish visitors alike are inspired by the story of a manifestly successful rescue of a species from near-extinction.
Project Timeline: Project was completed in spring 2014
Economic Calculator results:
Total Sales: USD 58,008.43
Value Added: USD 34,883.98
Income: USD 26,436.54
Partners: Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Shoshone Development Corporation, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Pinole Creek, California
Purpose of the project:
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.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
This project is a part of a local, community-based effort – part of the Pinole Creek Watershed Vision Plan, a plan prepared by the Urban Creeks Council of California. Community Vision Statement for Pinole Creek Watershed:
The Pinole Creek Watershed unifies a diverse community that is actively involved in its stewardship. Pinole Creek is a central feature of the landscape, and hosts a healthy riparian habitat, including a native steelhead trout population. Its clean waters are safe for children to play in, a creek-side trail links parks, schools, and neighborhoods and local shopping centers and cafes overlook the creek. The upper watershed is rural in character, with rangeland, equestrian, agricultural, and open space uses that are man-aged for long-term health of natural resources. Property owners, residents, schools, and agencies work cooperatively to protect and enhance the watershed for future generations.
Community members have long been interested in the health of Pinole Creek. This interest evolved into an organized effort when several local residents founded the Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed in 2001. The group is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the Pinole Creek watershed and improving the health of San Pablo Bay. Membership has grown to approximately seventy. The primary activities of the Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed include outreach and education programs such as creek cleanups, water quality monitoring, seed collection hikes, watershed tours and participation in Earth Day and other community festivals. In addition, the group works to promote watershed stewardship among local youth, for example, through partnerships with the Pinole Valley High School Environmental Studies Academy. Ongoing projects in development include a new plant propagation center and water quality monitoring program.
Friends of Pinole Creek will recruit volunteers for volunteer monitoring of the project site to ensure stability and report on fish sightings. CCRCD has performed extensive outreach efforts. This has been reflected in receiving letters of support from local elected officials including Congressman Mike Thompson, Assembly Member Nancy Skinner, Supervisor John Gioia, and Supervisor Federal Glover. In addition elected officials, public agencies and non-profit organizations supporting this project include US Fish and Wildlife Service, CA Department of Fish and Game, Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Caltrans, Contra Costa Fish and Wildlife Committee, City of Pinole, EBMUD, and Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed.
Project Timeline: The project will be completed in 2015.
Economic Calculator results:
Total sales: $1,437,287
Value added: $874,980
- Contra Costa Resource Conservation District (CCRCD)
- Friends of Pinole Creek Watershed
- California Department of Fish and Wildlife
- California Coastal Conservancy
- California Water Boards
- Natural Resources Conservation Service
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
- Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District
- Contra Costa Fish and Wildlife Committee
- City of Pinole
- East Bay Municipal Utility District
- California Fish Passage Forum
Mill Creek, West Virginia
Purpose of the project:
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.
The WV Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) Stream Restoration Program (SRP) is mitigating the negative impacts of these 2012 Super Storms on Mill Creek, WV, one of the state’s four intact brook trout populations, by implementing a strategic Large Woody Material “chop and drop” program within Kumbrabow State Forest, which encompasses approximately 6 miles of the stream. To complete this project, the WVDNR SRP is partnering with West Virginia University, Natural Resource Analysis Center, West Virginia State Parks, and West Virginia State Forestry to utilize the principles of natural stream restoration to place, and in some instances modify and anchor, currently hanging trees in the stream as Large Woody Material for fish habitat.
The Mill Creek Restoration Project enhances six miles of instream habitat for wild Brook Trout and improves fishing access to one of WV’s best fishery. The Project’s conservation outcomes are also generating $3.3 million in socioeconomic benefits and providing $456,000 in economic impacts to local communities.
Link to full project description - http://bit.ly/1IrG661
March – May, 2014: Project Planning
June – August, 2014: Project Implementation
Steve Brown, Program Manager, Stream Restoration Program (Project Officer)
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Section
FWS-NFHP Funding: $ 71,429
Partner Match: $100,000
West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, West Virginia State Parks, West Virginia State Forestry, and West Virginia University.
Sun Creek, Oregon
Purpose of the project:
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.
To reestablish redband trout and migratory populations of bull trout to Sun Creek through improved connectivity, habitat quality and stream and riparian function.
1. Increase Sun Creek bull trout population size and range.
2. Reestablish bull trout to Wood River and tributaries.
3. Reestablish redband trout to Sun Creek.
4. Provide quality year-round connection between Sun Creek and Wood River.
5. Establish year-round flow in Sun Creek.
6. Establish functioning riparian area.
7. Establish geomorphically functional stream.
8. Eliminate entrainment risk.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
Bull trout were once widespread in the Upper Klamath Basin but are now limited to seven small populations in isolated headwater streams. Factors limiting bull trout recovery include competition and hybridization with non-native brook trout (S. fontinalis), habitat fragmentation, which reduces genetic exchange, and extensive habitat degradation associated with agricultural land use such as flow reduction, limited instream cover, bank destabilization, and lack of floodplain connectivity. Sun Creek is one of only two streams that contain extant populations of bull trout within the Upper Klamath Lake Core Area, designated in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recovery plan. The other population in the Core Area occurs in Threemile Creek on the west side of the Wood River Valley.
In 1989, biologists found that the Sun Creek bull trout population was restricted to 1.2 miles of habitat with an estimated abundance of 150 individuals. Over the last 20 years, CLNP has led efforts to remove nonnative brook trout and install exclusion barriers on CLNP and ODF property. The results paint a true success story, as bull trout abundance and distribution have increased approximately tenfold since 1989 (Buktenica et al. 2013). Current abundance estimates range from 2500-3000 individuals. Twenty-two bull trout were collected in 2012 downstream of the national park barriers, and that number increased to 128 in 2013. CLNP has fish traps at the barriers and continues to pass native fish upstream. Reconnecting Sun Creek to the Wood River will allow the expanding bull trout population to access the Wood River and its other tributaries. Consequently, bull trout will be able to express multiple life history strategies, recolonize other streams, and increase population resilience to large disturbance events in the Upper Klamath Lake Core Area.
Native redband rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) have been extirpated from Sun Creek, primarily due to poor connectivity between Sun Creek and the Wood River, overall habitat degradation, and interactions with non-native salmonids. Similar to other Cascade tributaries in the Upper Klamath Basin, redband trout in Sun Creek were likely widespread and abundant and moved throughout tributary, mainstem river, and lake habitats before extensive habitat alterations limited access to tributary systems. Reconnecting Sun Creek to the Wood River will allow redband trout to recolonize Sun Creek and access high quality spawning and rearing habitat.
Sun Creek has been selected as a “Waters to Watch” project for a variety of reasons:
1) It benefits two important native trout species, and paints a success story that illustrates a long history of agencies and organizations partnering to improve and restore habitat.
2) We also feel that this project provides NFHP a nice tie-in to press and potential publicity surrounding the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.
3) Lastly, there is a compelling story to be told about the recent successful collaborative work on the conservation of Interior redband trout. In 2012, WNTI was the primary facilitator behind the development of a range-wide assessment for interior redband trout, involving the convening of 13 workshops to complete a comprehensive status review in
partnership with the state fish and wildlife agencies of California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and 11 Tribal nations, as well as representatives from private companies. When the assessment was complete, the final results involved the expertise of upwards of 95 biologists and ArcGIS technical experts, and 15 data entry personnel. In July 2014, six states, four federal agencies, five Tribal governments, and Trout Unlimited signed the Interior Redband Trout Conservation Agreement to facilitate greater partnerships and prioritization goals for the species (http://www.fws.gov/pacific/fisheries/sphabcon/species/Interior%20Redband…). In December 2014, a Redband Trout Species Conservation Team formed to refine conservation actions more specific to the geographic management units established in the 2012 range-wide assessment.
In fall 2014, a communications team consisting of representatives from state and federal agencies, WNTI and Trout Unlimited, developed the social media campaign #TroutTuesday to share interior redband trout natural history facts, conservation challenges, and the Conservation Agreement with the public. The campaign launched in November 2014 and will be continued throughout 2015. Each Tuesday, one of the partnering organizations posts on Twitter, Facebook, or their blog something about redband trout that is then “shared” among all the other partnering organizations. The #TroutTuesday campaign posts have gone viral on several occasions, and now have individual members of the public and other organizations also posting to the hashtag.
Project Timeline: Project design and leasing began in winter 2014. Channel construction, and placement of the fish screen are scheduled for Fall 2015, with fencing, instream leasing and riparian planting to occur in Fall 2015/Spring 2016. WNTI funds paid for the channel construction, and will be spent down by early Fall 2015.
Economic Calculator results:
Total Sales: $1,305,116.18
Value added: $782,527.44
Please note: These economic calculator amounts were based on the TOTAL project cost of $715,053. WNTI contributed just $30K of that amount.
- Crater Lake National Park
- Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust
- National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
- Natural Resources Conservation Service, Klamath Falls Service Center
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Oregon Department of Forestry
- Oregon Department of Water Resources
- Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
- The Klamath Tribes
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- U.S. Forest Service, Fremont-Winema National Forest
- Western Native Trout Initiative
- two private landowners
The lead organization is the Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust (KBRT);
Lower He’eia Stream, Hawaii
Purpose of the project:
The project goal is to remove invasive species to improve water quality and fish habitat in He’eia Stream Estuary.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
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.
Project Timeline: Summer 2015 – Fall 2016
Economic Calculator results:
Total Sales: $665,188.34
Value Added: $346,408.21
Major Partner: Hui o Koʻolaupoko (implementing partner - www.huihawaii.org)
Contributing partners: Hawaiʻi Department of Health – Clean Water Brach Non-point Source Pollution Control Program; Hawaiʻi Fish Habitat Partnership; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Kamaʻaina Kids; Paepae o Heʻeia; Hawai’i Pacific University; Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority and the Hawai’i Community Foundation.
Ulele Springs (Hillsborough River), Florida
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.
Ulele Spring is located in downtown Tampa and it is the only natural spring within the urban portion of the City. It is a jewel that was not functioning as it should for nearly a century, in that the edge of the spring was concreted in decades ago, and the spring run was filled in and replaced with a pipe. Now, freshwater flows of 672,000 gallons per day flow from the spring to the Hillsborough River. This spring water flow enhances vegetation and creates prime habitat for a variety of fish, crustaceans and mammals. To date over 18 species of fish and crustaceans have been documented within the newly restored spring run; in addition, manatees now frequently visit this spring along with their offspring.
The primary project objective was to remove the existing pipe and re-create a meandering stream system along with the associated wetland community down to the Hillsborough River. The Hillsborough River flows into Tampa Bay, an EPA priority watershed. In addition, the spring boil area was expanded to its former size by the removal of the concrete wall coupled with excavation of the banks to expand the wetland community, this newly restored wetland area was planted with native wetland vegetation. In spite of these anthropogenic activities, the spring boil area is very healthy with crystal clear waters that support native vegetation including ell grass which is unique to the Hillsborough River (while it is a native species, scientists are unaware of any other ell grass populations within the lower river system). These activities now allow fish to seek refuge in the spring run, provide wetland (estuarine habitat, specifically oligohaline environs) within the urban core of the city, and provide a unique area for the citizens to enjoy, as well as providing educational opportunities. In addition, this portion of the Hillsborough River has been completely hardened with seawalls, so this small, but important restoration project also included a living shoreline feature which provides the only location with native wetland vegetation. In addition, the continuous source of freshwater (75 degrees year round) provides critical refuge for fish, and even manatees, as they already have been documented within the new spring run.
The restored Ulele Springs is providing native wetland vegetation and provide oligohaline
habitat for fish and mammals. To date, numerous native fish and wildlife has been observed within the basin, which is staring to mimic the anticipated species richness and diversity of a natural spring run entering an estuarine ecotone.
A “living shoreline” feature along the existing seawall was completed as well as the restoration of the former spring run (May 30th, 2014). On May 31st the third a final volunteer planting event was coordinated by Ecosphere; over 65 volunteers installed all of the estuarine plants within the newly restored basin and “living shoreline” feature. The very next day manatees were sighted within the basin, in spite of the fact that the four-foot Floating Turbidity Barriers (FTB) were still in place at the spring run entrance; the manatees were observed swimming over the FTB to access the spring. Although continuous monitoring of the basin was not possible; five different manatees were photographed within the basin since it was opened; all had to swim over the FTB. In addition, numerous native fish and wildlife have been observed within the basin. The first fish seine yielded over 18 species of fish or crustaceans; all of these species had to swim under or around the FTB, which was removed (10/27/2014); this natural opening now allows more species richness and diversity to occur within the estuarine basin.
While longer-term outcomes are still being measured, the initial data indicates that this restored spring run is allowing fish and mammals direct access to the spring flows and should provide critical oligohaline conditions which are extremely important to juvenile fish, as well as a providing a warm water winter refuge for endangered Florida manatees. In June 2014, a female manatee and her calf were seen in the basin. The original target was to have a minimum of 15 species of fish within the boil and the spring run; this goal has already been exceeded. The monitoring activities have demonstrated that this restored spring run is providing the ecological benefits anticipated; in fact, it is exceeding the species diversity and more and more manatees have been documented utilizing the spring run. On February 17th a pod of manatees, consisted of an adult, a sub-adult and three calves, were observed feeding within the basin. The adult was identified as TB078, an old female whose first documented sighting dates back to 1983. She’s a Tampa Bay regular and has been seen with at least 12 calves over the years. She’s also know to usually have a whole raft of calves surrounding her (all of which cannot possibly be hers); a real life manatee matriarch.
This project provided a very unique opportunity for education and public outreach during the construction phase and will continue to do so in the future, in the fact that it is situated in the urban core of the City of Tampa with three schools (Blake High School, Steward Middle School and Oak Grove Elementary school) directly across the river. Ecosphere Restoration Institute coordinated with the staff from the middle and high schools and they are very interested in utilizing the restored spring for environmental educational purposes and assisted with the installation of the native plants. In addition, there are tremendous, long-term outreach opportunities. Ulele Spring’s is centrally located as a focal piece of the City of Tampa’s new Water Work’s Park along the Riverwalk, which includes a water park, restaurant, festival lawn, performance pavilion, picnic and viewing areas, and more. These are providing the general public access to enjoy the view of the newly restored spring run and basins and to learn through educational signage (see photos below) about the importance of natural springs and native wetland vegetation to provide habitat for fisheries and mammals. Ulele Springs is a unique 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. In fact, the adjacent restaurant is now the hottest ticket in town. The surrounding area is what city officials hope will be Tampa’s next big urban reclamation project.
As an extension of this project, on May 28th, 2014, SARP, the Southeast Watershed Forum, and Ecosphere Restoration Institute, facilitated a workshop titled, “Exploring Best Practices for the Lower Hillsborough River.” The workshop was hosted by the City of Tampa Planning & Development Department and provided an opportunity for local stakeholders to collaborate and share ideas about ways to continue to preserve and protect the lower Hillsborough River. It included an overview of planned activities for slated development on the river, as well as expert presentations on low impact development (LID) techniques and a hands-on small group mapping exercise to identify potential target areas where LID/best practices could protect water quality and habitat. The river is also the focus of the city’s new and expanding river walk, providing recreational and economic opportunities for people living, working and visiting the area and can showcase how low impact development enhances local quality of life. The restoration of Ulele Springs was a main focus of the discussion and workshop participants were asked to keep protections and management of this resource and other areas of potential “prime habitat” in mind when exploring best management practices and considering key partners, potential funding sources, and possible next steps moving forward.
The SARP/NOAA CRP funded project was initiated in 2010 and completed in the summer of 2014. Post project monitoring was begun in September and will continue for three years. The parameters that are tracked include water quality (temp, DO, salinity, conductivity, flow rates), manatee observations (photo-documentation, enumeration, behavior patterns), and boat traffic (type, size, speed, direction, hull configuration); all of this data is summarized on a monthly basis. This data will be used to assess the ecological benefits of the spring as well as to formulate a no-wake zone to further protect visiting manatees.
SARP, NOAA, Ecosphere Restoration Institute, City of Tampa, Southwest Florida Water Management District, Ecosphere Restoration Institute, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Tampa Bay Estuary Program, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County, and numerous volunteers
Alexander Creek, Alaska
Purpose of the project:
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.
While northern pike (Esox lucius) are native north and west of the Alaska Range in r Alaska, they are an introduced species to the Susitna River Basin (thought to have been introduced illegally in the late 1950s), where they are voracious predators of juvenile salmon and other native resident fish and wildlife. Impacts of invasive northern pike predation on native fish populations are known to be devastating where their habitats overlap. Northern pike prefer cool, slow moving shallow waters that are highly vegetated, enabling them to hide and ambush prey. The potential threat of northern pike is greatest for juvenile Chinook and Coho salmon due to a preference for similar habitats. To date, pike have expanded throughout the entirety of the Alexander drainage resulting in declining native fish populations that contribute to eroding subsistence, commercial and particularly sport fishing opportunities. Northern pike have direct impacts on salmon populations, and indirect economic impacts on ecosystem health by decreasing biodiversity, diverting energy from terrestrial predators like bears and eagles, and reducing transfer of marine-derived nutrients to terrestrial ecosystems through decaying salmon carcasses.
Compounding the situation, in August of 2014, the aquatic invasive plant, Elodea, was discovered for the first time in Mat-Su waters by Alaska Department of Fish and Game crews suppressing and monitoring northern pike in Alexander Lake. The relatively small, patchy 10 acre infestation in Alexander Lake is thought to have established from a transported fragment via floatplane from Sand Lake; the only Anchorage infestation that allows floatplane traffic. Of the 19 total waterbodies with Elodea discovered in the entire state of Alaska, Alexander is one of the few recent discoveries in a remote location.
When introduced to a new waterway, Elodea grows rapidly, overtaking native plants, filling the water column, and changing the habitat conditions to which native fish are adapted. Thick mats form at or just below the water surface and can foul boat propellers and floatplane rudders, causing a hazard. In addition to impeding fishing, navigation, boat launching, and paddling, it can also reduce waterfront property values. In Alaska’s environments ranging from Fairbanks to Cordova, it tolerates cold winters and photosynthesizes under ice. Should Elodea become established in Alexander Creek and spread throughout the lake, it would provide excellent habitat quality for predatory northern pike, further exacerbating the existing impacts of pike predation on juvenile salmon and other fish.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
Partners have been working to restore Alexander Creek drainage Chinook salmon numbers in what previously was very productive habitat and one of the most vibrant Chinook sport fisheries in Southcentral Alaska. This abundant fishery attracted international, national and in-state anglers supported with lodges, daily flight service and charter boats, providing a boost to the local economy.
With the recent discovery of Elodea, there is concern over the compounded effects of pike and Elodea on salmon that, if left to expand, will not only reduce gains made in reducing pike populations by partners, but increase the challenges already faced by Chinook salmon populations returning in lower numbers to the Susitna drainage. This is particularly significant during a time of general statewide Chinook declines, where 8 of the 14 statewide stocks of concern are located in the Mat-Su Valley. Eight of these stocks – one of them being Alexander Creek, are Chinook stocks from the Susitna drainage, and one is a sockeye stock.
The greatest threats to salmon and salmon habitat in the Mat-Su are typically due to impacts from human development. Invasive aquatic species like Elodea and pike pose a threat to remote areas as well. With concurrent Chinook salmon declines across the state, the Alexander Creek drainage and the excellent salmon habitat it provides is increasingly important.
Mat-Su salmon habitat partners continue to plan and implement ongoing efforts to suppress pike and survey high risk waterbodies, educate the public about these two invasive species, and eradicate Elodea in Alexander Creek drainage.
Economic Calculator results:
Jobs Added: 2.9263
Total Sales: USD 301,206.30 Value
Added: USD 181,119.21
Income: USD 140,810.35
Partners - Pike:
Given pike are too widespread, and the challenge too great in the Mat-Su to fully eradicate them, there will be ongoing suppression in target areas to maintain critical salmon habitat. Given Elodea has just been discovered, we still have time to eradicate and continue prevention techniques of education, detection and eradication to ensure it does not take a permanent foothold in the Mat-Su.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) – ADF&G has completed the fourth year of a long-term and large scale annual gillnetting project to control northern pike on Alexander Creek. The intent is to replenish depleted anadromous and resident fish populations and restoring sport fishing opportunities to this once very popular and productive system. Funding extends from 2011 – 2016. As part of this project, ADF&G also conducted a radio telemetry study to investigate movement patterns between Alexander Lake and the mainstem of the creek, is looking at diet, and testing effective control and detection methods such as eDNA. Directed by the Management Plan for Invasive Northern Pike and prioritized through a strategic planning process, the northern pike suppression project in Alexander Creek is the largest of its kind ever attempted in Alaska, and preliminary findings from the first four years of this project are encouraging.
Project goals are to create an annual, large scale pike removal protocol on side channel sloughs to remove 80% of pike, track spatial and temporal movement trends of pike to and from Alexander Lake, and measure success through monitoring adult salmon returns, resident fish production and juvenile production and movement.
As of spring 2015, results have been very successful. With each year of pike suppression, Chinook fry are found further up the creek. 2014 was the first year both juvenile and adult Chinook salmon were observed all the way up to the lake outlet. Chinook salmon returns the last two years have also been highest observed in a decade.
Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA) – Continuing long term pike suppression efforts in 2015 on adjacent watersheds on the Susitna River that additionally includes examination of seasonal movement patterns, population estimates, and field testing of electronic fish barriers.
Tyonek Tribal Conservation District (TTCD) surveying for Reed Canary Grass in the Alexander Creek drainage summer 2015.
Partner Highlights – Elodea
Although the Mat-Su is the fastest growing region in Alaska, putting increased pressure on the spread of Elodea, much of the Mat-Su is remote and in many cases most readily accessed only by boat or float plane. Alaska’s biggest population center - Anchorage is adjacent and regularly utilizes Mat-Su’s rich resources to fish, hunt and recreate. Many Alaskan’s fly private aircraft, and there are three lakes currently infested with Elodea that see significant floatplane and motorboat use, vectors that could easily lead to further spread of Elodea. Even a tiny fragment that hitchhikes on boats, trailers, float plane rudders or other gear can establish a new infestation in another waterbody. The Alexander Lake Elodea was very likely spread by floatplane from one of the Anchorage infested lakes. For this reason Elodea outreach, detection, and eradication efforts are broader and more regional in scale and by necessity extend outside the Alexander Creek and Mat-Su Basins.
In 2015 & 2016 partners will be working on an eradication plan for Alexander Lake and a rapid response protocol for future infestations, and in 2016, the plan will be implemented (due to NEPA process, takes significant time and effort to process). Partners will be sampling high priority areas in the Mat-Su, educating priority audiences like pilots, residents of infested lakes, fishermen and guides and will be providing training to help build awareness and create a growing body of residents, recreationalists and practitioners who all can recognize Elodea and know what to do if they do see it. The Mat-Su Salmon Partnership is working with DNR to develop and help support further future training opportunities as well as an Elodea statewide management plan.
Alaska Department of Natural Resources (ADNR) (NFHP FY15 funding) – lead agency and currently working with partners on an eradication plan. Anchorage infestations are scheduled to be treated in the spring of 2015. Meanwhile, ADNR is progressing with writing
appropriate environmental assessments and exploring permits for action. Because the only known infestation in the Mat-Su is localized, and would require only a partial lake eradication effort, ADNR along with other collaborating partners, are hopeful that Mat-Su Elodea eradication is possible!
Tyonek Tribal Conservation District (TTCD) – August 2014 TTCD completed district wide invasive plant survey covering Alexander Creek, Beluga, and Skwentna as well as rivers and roads not previously surveyed.
Palmer Soil and Water Conservation District (PSWC) – Summers 2012 and 2013, surveyed 29 Mat-Su lakes and streams and completed assessment of high priority waterbodies (i.e. locality to roads, structures, and float plane bases).
Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA) (NFHP funded) – surveyed 11 Susitna River watershed lakes and provided outreach in residential/high traffic boat areas for Elodea in 2014. Returning in 2015 to resample.
Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation District (WSWCD) – Summer 2012 surveyed 24 waterbodies, including areas with overpasses and boat launches.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) - Providing outreach, funding, and technical support for Elodea early detection and rapid response efforts in Mat-Su, Kenai, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.
ADF&G – Several field staff crew and project managers have taken Aquatic Invasive Species training that includes information on how to identify, survey for, and recognize habitat for elodea. Alexander pike suppression field staff are collaborating with ADNR for sample taking and logistics for Elodea eradication project.
Lake Livingston, Texas
Purpose of the project:
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.
In a recent lake management report, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff has recommended a native vegetation restoration effort to improve shoreline habitat. Texas Black
Bass Unlimited has partnered with the Piney Wood Lakes Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists, the Trinity River Authority, Texas Parks and Wildlife and numerous local partners, including nine independent school districts to develop an ambitious 10-year plan to cultivate and plant 6-10 thousand water willow plants annually. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership provided a $20,000 grant in 2014 to purchase materials for and construct the nurseries to cultivate the plants. Growing cells (Figure 1) have been or will be constructed at nine local high schools and students will be cultivating plants as part of the schools’ FFA and/or science programs (Figure 2). Students will also participate with volunteers and professionals to transport and plant water willow at TPWD pre-approved sites. Not only will these students receive classroom instruction on the value of quality aquatic habitat but they will participate in activities that will give them “ownership” in aquatic habitat restoration efforts and hopefully cultivate a life-long environmental awareness which would propel them to become stewards of
The $20,000 grant from RFHP has been supported with an additional $19,000 of locally-raised funds to start the project. Using the NFHP Economic Impact Calculator, the $39,000 in
construction materials expenditures resulted in $69,000 in local expenditures and created one new job. However, the estimated cash and in-kind expenditures over the 10-year scope of the
project approach $250,000. The overall goal of the project is to reestablish Lake Livingston as a destination for anglers and other outdoor recreationists. As such, the project has support from a
host of community leaders.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
A dedicated core group of volunteer leaders are in place to ensure that the project continues to move forward garnering additional local support along the way. Monitoring of the restoration sites (all to be geo-referenced) will be conducted at the end of each growing season by TPWD to determine plant survival and spread. Replanting of existing sites and expansion to new sites will be done as per TPWD recommendations. A variety of community events, including the Polk County Family Fall Festival, Lake Livingston Mini-Camp, Come Clean Lake Livingston, and Ag-in-the Classroom exist that allow for outreach opportunities. Displays and educational brochures highlighting this native aquatic plant restoration project along with information on the value of healthy reservoir systems that meet
the needs of not only the aquatic community but of other recreational sports, tourism, flood control, water supply and power generation will be developed and distributed. This project
provides an opportunity to raise public awareness of the conservation issues and challenges facing our reservoirs and associated watersheds.
Kilchis Estuary, Oregon
Purpose of the project:
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.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
Restored tidal marshes provide critical habitat for salmon and other species. Fish and wildlife provide direct community benefits through salmon fishing which is favored recreational use of Tillamook Bay and through wildlife viewing. Restored tidal marshes increase resiliency, which may help with flood mitigation.
The restored habitats will be accessible to the public and will create several miles of fishable habitat in the future. The Kilchis connects to the Tillamook County Water Trail.
Construction is slated to begin in summer 2015 for the Kilchis Estuary Preserve with re-vegetation occurring over the course of several subsequent years. Additional conservation efforts are planned for an adjacent estuary parcel beginning in 2016.
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, The Nature Conservancy, Oregon Department of State Lands, USFWS Fish Passage Program, NFWF Governor’s Fund for the Environment, Portland General Electric Salmon Fund. Numerous other partners have been involved in restoration projects and activities throughout the Kilchis watershed.
Kasilof and Anchor River Watersheds, Alaska
Purpose of the project:
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.
Completion of this project will improve the channel structure and function of stream communities and their surrounding terrestrial communities and help to maintain a healthy productive ecosystem for the benefit of injured and recovery species and services, as well as other fish and wildlife. The project occurs in watersheds that contain prior EVOSTC-funded habitat acquisitions. Investment in this project will benefit these acquisitions, provide additional habitat benefits to enhance EVOSTC habitat values not otherwise being considered and leverage state and federal resources. The project dovetails with existing ADOT planned for this area and ADOT has been generous with their staff time in planning and analysis of potential work that would benefit EVOSTC habitat values in the area.
The project addresses one of the five categories of allowable restoration activities identified in the EVOS Restoration Plan (1994).
The EVOSTC and agency stafff approved $7.5 million towardsthe total estimated $26 million project costs. The EVOS funds will be managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, in collaboration with US FWS, NOAA, ADOT, Kenai Watershed Forum and other organizations. This level of funding is anticipated to attract the additional funding needed to complete the project and will allow EVOSTC and agency staff to continue to invest time into developing and completing project objectives Crooked Creek is a major tributary to the Kasilof River and supports the majority of the salmonid production in this watershed. Crooked Creek is a 46 mile-long non-glacial stream that flows northwest from about 1,500’ elevation in the northern Caribou Hills to RM 6.5 of the Kasilof River. The upper 29 miles are within Congressionally-designated Wilderness of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. The lower 31.6 miles are designated as a state-listed anadromous
stream with steelhead, Dolly Varden, pink salmon, Pacific lamprey, and spawning Coho, king, and sockeye salmon.
The Crooked Creek watershed is 35,141 acres and much of the lower 16.5 miles that is outside the federal conservation unit is surrounded by riparian wetlands. The stream flows through Johnson Lake State Recreation Site, popular for camping by both residents and tourists, and the mouth is protected within Crooked Creek State Recreation Area, a recreational area that supports many passive uses and has high visitation during the angling season. The culvert at this site are undersized and perched, preventing the movement of almost all juvenile salmonids and impacting stream channel processes.
2015 - 2020
Alaska Department of Fish & Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, Kenai Watershed Forum, Trout Unlimited, Kenai Peninsula Fish
Twelvemile Creek, Alaska
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. Twelvemile was one of the watersheds most heavily impacted by past logging and road building on the Tongass National Forest. About 50% of the 19.6 square mile watershed was logged beginning in the early 1960s, including 90% of the riparian forest along streams that salmon, trout and char use for spawning and rearing. The watershed has 59 miles of road, and an average road density of 3.1 miles per square mile. Such high road densities tend to negatively impact aquatic habitat through increased rates of sedimentation from erosion, road failures, blocked fish passage, and reduced hydrologic connectivity. Additional impacts included introduction of invasive plants, and impaired fish and wildlife habitat.
Old growth trees along the banks of salmon streams, such as Twelvemile Creek, are critical to the function and stability of the channel. When these large trees die or fall over into the creek, they provide important wood structure that slow down and spread out water during high flows. This wood is critical to stream function and productive salmon habitat. It interacts with the stream channel and stabilizes spawning gravels, provides shelter for migrating adult salmon, resident adult, and juvenile fish. Old growth trees were harvested to the banks in the Twelvemile Creek watershed. In addition, the majority of existing large wood in the stream prior to logging had decayed and flushed out of the creek. With very few big trees left along the banks to replace the lost wood, the Forest Service and partners prioritized Twelvemile Creek watershed as an area that would benefit from restoration treatments that have previously been used to successfully improve habitat in watersheds including Harris River, Staney Creek, Sal Creek, and Snipe Creek.
In late July 2013, the US Forest Service and partners successfully completed stream restoration efforts in the Twelvemile Creek watershed on Prince of Wales Island. Additional fish passage culvert replacement work and restoration monitoring is planned to occur over the next few summers. This will complete a major watershed restoration effort that started with planning and design work in 2009, included wildlife habitat and streamside vegetation improvements, fish passage at road-stream crossing improvements, road condition improvements and storage with culvert removals, and major in-stream channel work in 2012 and 2013. As part of the National Forest Foundation’s (NFF) Treasured Landscapes, Unforgettable Experiences conservation campaign, this project exemplifies how myriad partners and communities can work together to achieve significant restoration results. Primary partners included the US Forest Service, the NFF, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Student Conservation Association, and the Sitka Conservation Society. The project was funded by grants from these partners, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Tongass Keystone Initiative, Fish America Foundation, and the local communities through Title II funds for ecological restoration. Species benefiting from these efforts include: coho, pink and chum salmon, steelhead trout, resident and anadromous cutthroat trout and Dolly Varden, Sitka black-tailed deer, wolf and black bear, among others.
In 2010, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack described his Vision for the Forest Service policy stating “restoring watershed and forest health would be the primary management objective of the Forest Service.” Due to the degraded state of the stream, the US Forest Service and partners moved to address the impaired conditions. As Greg Killinger, the Fish, Watershed, and Soils Program Manager on the Tongass National Forest, explains, “The Twelvemile restoration project is like a band-aid for the next forty to fifty years or more, holding the ecosystem together and keeping it productive until the young trees along Twelvemile Creek grow large enough to start regulating the system again.”
To maintain and improve stream function and habitat diversity, more than 600 trees, some with root wads still attached, were harvested from nearby areas (away from the recovering streamside forests) and flown by helicopter to staging sites along the stream. The use of a helicopter to transport the trees greatly minimized impacts to the recovering riparian forests. Most of the trees were “young growth” in order to preserve the remaining intact old growth in the watershed. From the staging areas, operators from Southeast Road Builders, Inc. (2012 work) and S&S General Contractors, Inc. (2013 work) used tracked excavators to place the wood and build logjam structures in the stream.
Craig District Ranger, Matthew Anderson, visited the scene during implementation and was impressed by the collaborative effort on the ground with The Nature Conservancy representative Norman Cohen, Forest Service hydrologist and fisheries biologist putting their minds together with the local contractors operating equipment and constructing logjams. “It was apparent during the 2013 hot, dry weather, when stream flows were critically low, that migrating salmon were utilizing pools developed with large wood additions during the 2012 restoration efforts,” said Anderson. “They were taking refuge there, and appeared to be crowding into these pools to survive the dry spell until flows increased and they could continue to migrate and spawn.”
The Tongass National Forest is truly a salmon stronghold, home to one of the most productive and sustainable salmon fisheries in the world. The Tongass is one of 155 national forests in the US, but it produces 70% of all salmon that spawn and rear on national forest lands. “When we invest in systems like Twelvemile that are at risk but still very productive, we make an investment that pays off: healthy salmon runs are economically, ecologically, and culturally important to Southeast Alaska,” said Cohen.
The work accomplished upgraded the rating of Twelvemile Creek watershed from a ‘Functional at Risk’ to a ‘Properly Functioning’ classification. The work benefits commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen as it provides insurance that the function of these salmon spawning grounds and rearing areas will persist. Improved wildlife habitat and available forage will benefit sport and subsistence hunters. Completion of these projects also contributed to local communities and economies since multiple contracts were required over several years to complete the work. Now that restoration work is complete, the Forest Service and the NFF are implementing extensive monitoring with local partners for the next several years. This monitoring will help to inform future habitat restoration projects.
Human Interest/Community Benefit: Watershed restoration provides benefits to local communities, including increased local employment, greater involvement in resource management by local organizations, and ultimately an increase in the quantity and stability of valued resources that are important to commercial (fishing), recreational, and subsistence lifestyles.
Randy Hagenstein, Alaska state director of The Nature Conservancy stressed, “Salmon are a way of life in Alaska, and restoring streams helps ensure our traditions continue for future generations.” Tying the project to the Economic Transition for Southeast Alaska, Hagenstein continued, “Restoration projects like this show how the transition toward sustainability now underway on the Tongass National Forest is good for fish and wildlife and provides jobs in rural communities.”
The Tongass National Forest collaborated with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in 2012 and 2013 to conduct fisheries monitoring work (coho smolt trapping) on Twelvemile Creek. This activity will continue at least through 2015 and now involves a formal partnership with the Sitka Conservation Society (SCS). The primary operating funds were provided by NFF and the TNF. A key goal of the cooperative arrangement with SCS in 2014 and 2015 is to ‘significantly engage local youth in watershed monitoring activities.’ The specific objectives for the youth engagement goal are to 1) build local workforce capacity to engage in the growing habitat restoration economy, and 2) to provide on-the-ground restoration monitoring opportunities for local middle and high school students. Two to four local students will alternately work with SCS and TNF technicians and biologists to acquire hands-on fisheries experience and receive school credit.
National Forest Foundation: SCA Interns Monitoring Twelvemile Creek, Tongass National Forest - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZyfDcaUhx8
(Spring of 2012, the NFF supported ﬁsh monitoring efforts in the Twelvemile Creek Watershed. Two SCA interns worked with Forest Service specialists to gather data to better understand restoration efforts at this Treasured Landscape)
2009 through 2011 - Project planning, design, and NEPA begins
2012 – Phase I In-stream restoration and large woody debris placement /restoration monitoring begins/ 40 acres riparian thinning completed
2013 - Phase I In-stream restoration and large woody debris placement/restoration monitoring continues/7.8 miles road storage and 1.6 miles road decommissioning completed
2014 – Fish passage culvert replacement contract awarded /Restoration monitoring continues
2015 – Fish passage culvert replacement work completed/Restoration monitoring continues
USFS Tongass National Forest, The Nature Conservancy, National Forest Foundation, the Student Conservation Association, and the Sitka Conservation Society. The project was funded by grants from these partners, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Tongass Keystone Initiative, Fish America Foundation, and the local communities through Title II funds for ecological restoration.
Tolomato River, Florida
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).
The near shore of the Guana Peninsula along the Tolomato River in northeast Florida has provided welcoming habitat for the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, over the centuries as documented through findings of large oyster shell middens from pre-Columbia occupation of the area, and from historical record up through the late 20th century. In recent years the frequency and density of oyster reefs in the area have dwindled significantly. As in many coastal and estuarine areas, the impacts of over-harvesting, the expansion of human occupancy near the waterways, water pollution, increasing wave action as a result of river traffic and channel dredging along the Intracoastal Waterway, climate change and sea level rise have reduced the habitat compatibility for these important shellfish and associated species.
The Guana Peninsula and the adjacent Tolomato River are within the boundaries of the Guana Tolomato and Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (GTMNERR) and the Guana River Marsh Aquatic Preserve. The GTMNERR currently includes more than 73,000 acres of estuarine, marsh, upland and open sea environments which are owned or managed by several public and private entities. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas, manages approximately 12,000 acres in the northern component of the reserve, which includes the GTMNERR Environmental Education Center and staff offices, an extensive area of coastal scrub, beach habitats and the middle and southern portions of the Guana Peninsula.
The disappearance of oyster reef along the southern portion of the Guana Peninsula has created a domino effect of environmental destruction, with the elimination of the reefs contributing to the breakdown of the Spartina alterniflora salt marsh, and the disappearance of spartina allowing shoreline erosion to eat away at the upland habitat as well.
The GTMNERR project sites selected include declining saltmarsh, which is located inland from the reef placement site, and was included in the Spartina planting in this project for marsh restoration.
The responsible management of the reserve’s diverse habitats, plants and animals is a primary role of the GTMNERR, including restoration and conservation of habitat to support the reserve’s resident plants and animals which include more than 1,300 species. Of these species, eight plants and 48 animal species have been listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern. Included in the fragile species found in the GTMNERR estuaries, which could benefit from the restoration of oyster reef nursery habitat, are Shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum - endangered), Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus – candidate for listing), and the Opossum pipefish (Micropphis brachyurus – species of concern) among others.
Specifically, the goals of the SARP/NOAA CRP funded project were to:
1) Restore shellfish habitat to sustain and improve ecological benefits and ecosystem services;
2) Improve habitat hydrology and riparian areas of estuarine and inshore habitats to benefit threatened and endangered marine species or species of concern associated with the watershed;
3) Establish an oyster recycling program for the GTMNERR region;
4) Provide educational and community service opportunity for St. Johns Technical High School Students.
The SARP project successfully resulted in the construction of .071 acres of oyster reef, 1.8 acres of restored salt marsh, and 1.16 acres of enhanced benthic habitat. The project also fostered the development of a successful oyster recycling program and St. John’s County that has reclaimed a total of 106,463.57 lbs from participating restaurants and an impressive additional 19,550.80 lbs from other local donations, a grand total of 126,014.37 lbs of oyster shell. Through the work and dedication of many, this reclaimed shell is saved from our county landfill, was used to build and restore shoreline within the Reserve, and is now the source for more research and providing material for upcoming restoration efforts.
The ACFHP project successfully restored more than 1,000 linear feet of eroding shoreline with the construction of a living shoreline (using oyster shell reefs and coir fiber logs with ribbed mussels). These were constructed separately so as to be able to examine their relative effectiveness on erosion reduction, sediment capture and enhancement of success of Spartina plantings, marsh accretion, fish and invertebrate habitat usage by researchers and volunteers.
There have been numerous positive project benefits and outcomes. The Tolomato River (Intracoastal Waterway) on the Guana Peninsula in northeast Florida was once home to oyster reefs, important habitat for a number of resident and transient finfish species and emergent vegetation such as Spartina alterniflora that provided valuable feeding habitat to juvenile fishes and improved water quality. Over time, however, the area has been impacted by over harvesting, expanded human occupancy near the waterway, increased water pollution and wave action from river boat traffic and channel dredging, climate change, and sea level rise. The resulting disappearance of oyster reef and Spartina salt marsh has reduced habitat for important fish and associated species. The completed SARP and the ACFHP project that is underway will reduce shoreline erosion and restore and preserve damaged salt marsh. In the case of the SARP/NOAA CRP funded project, monitoring is showing that there has been a positive trend in both the abundance of animals and species richness at the project site over time.
The level of community involvement through the participation of volunteers on the project has been outstanding. For the SARP/NOAA CRP project, this has included the participation of 489 volunteers (3,238 hours) doing the on-the-ground restoration, outreach and education in the classroom with St. John’s Technical High School students (estimated at 930 hours) and restaurant staff (3,097 hours).
The SARP/NOAA CRP funded project was initiated in February 2012 and completed January 2014. Project monitoring and the oyster shell recycling program are ongoing. The ACFHP/USFWS funded project began in September 2013 and the living shoreline is mid-construction.
SARP/NOAA CRP Project - Friends of the GTM Reserve, GTMNERR, St. Johns County School District/St. Johns County Technical High School, SARP, NOAA
ACFHP/NFHP/USFWS Project - Friends of the GTM Reserve, GTMNERR, University of North Florida, ACFHP, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Nash Stream, New Hampshire
Purpose of the project:
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.
Restoration of Nash Stream began in 2005 as a joint effort of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department (NHFGD), New Hampshire Division of Forest and Lands (NHDFL), and Trout Unlimited (TU). The objective of this conservation effort is to restore habitat for native fish species in the watershed using well-established geomorphic restoration principles. More than 90% of the watershed is owned by the NHDFL and much of Nash Stream is easily accessible to the public. All of the work conducted to date and planned for the future directly implements one or more of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV) habitat objectives. The work also helps to implement the New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan, NHFGD Inland Fisheries Operational Plans, and TU’s Strategic Plan. Ongoing research at Nash Stream, funded by the U.S. Fish and Wild Service (USFWS) Science Excellence Initiative Program and Management Assistance Grant, is providing valuable data to inform the overall restoration project and similar work elsewhere.
Currently, efforts are underway to restore approximately 5.5 miles of instream habitat on the mainstem of Nash Stream between its confluence with Emerson and
Long Mountain Brooks. The restoration activities include boulder placements, pool construction, large wood additions, floodplain reconnection, and riparian revegetation. All work is being conducted using proven restoration techniques that simulate natural stream morphology and processes. Ultimately, the Nash Stream Restoration Project will restore over nine miles of mainstem habitat and access to more than six miles of tributary habitat for wild Brook Trout. The resulting socioeconomic benefit resulting from these conservation outcomes is estimated to be $8.2 million.
2011: Restoration activities initiated.
2012: Restoration activities completed.
2013: Post-project monitoring, including fish, habitat and geomorphic surveys, to evaluate the results of the various project elements.
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
FWS-NFHP Funding: $ 71,429
Partner Match: $336,280
New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Trout Unlimited, US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Muddy River, Nevada
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. Moapa dace is a unique genus of endangered fish with the highest recovery priority possible (recovery priority 1c). Other native species that benefit from this recovery include the Virgin River chub (Gila seminuda), which is an endangered species in the Virgin River (of which the Muddy River is a tributary), and three mollusks (Pyrgulopsis avernalis, P. carinifera, Tryonia clathrata) that were petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act and found to warrant further consideration for listing. The Muddy River also supports endangered southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) and many other wildlife species.
Beyond the recovery goals detailed above, this project also builds trust among its many partners which helps facilitate other recovery efforts in southern Nevada and the southwest generally. As importantly, this project demonstrates the power of cooperation in achieving effective conservation progress at local and watershed scales.
The Muddy River is a major river in southern Nevada centered about 30 miles NE of Las Vegas (population of about 2 million). Many places of human interest exist along and near the Muddy River, including Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge and Warm Springs Natural Area at its headwaters, the towns of Moapa, Logandale, and Overton downstream, and many scenic destinations such as Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Valley of Fire State Park, and several established and proposed wilderness areas.
Although partners in the Muddy River ecosystem recovery project bring different values, motivations, and perspectives to the effort, their focus on the common goal of recovering the Muddy River helps to create consensus and support. Even a local newspaper (the Moapa Valley Progress) has consistently reported in a balanced fashion that helps create community interest and a sense of benefit, particularly as recovery progress has recently accelerated.
Two projects at the Muddy River have been funded at least in part by the Desert Fish Habitat Partnership: Apcar Culvert Replacement and Muddy River Stream Bank Habitat Rehabilitation. The Apcar project was completed in 2013 and now connects vital breeding areas (upstream) with holding areas (downstream) for Moapa dace. The Stream Bank Habitat Rehabilitation project was developed by the Moapa Band of Paiutes (a sovereign tribe) and is a 2014 DFHP project.
Currently, a large portion of the lower reaches of the Muddy River and the associated riparian area are degraded due to historical river dredging, overgrazing and streambed trampling by cattle. In addition, invasion of Salt Cedar (Tamarisk) and Phragmites has replaced native cottonwood and willow vegetation. Implementing a stream bank stabilization project and habitat improvement plan along the Muddy River will result in improved fisheries habitat for the Virgin River chub and Moapa speckled dace. The Muddy River Stream Bank Habitat Rehabilitation project will entail removal of invasive species (Tamarisk and Phragmites) and stream bank restoration utilizing natural stream bank stabilization techniques (bioengineering techniques). This project is scheduled to be completed in May 2015. Outreach for this project will begin in March 2015. The Moapa Band of Paiutes will begin site tours and prepare brochures and training material for Tribal members and the public on the importance of the Muddy River and its critical fisheries habitat.
The Muddy River recovery effort received major national funding (>$800K) in early 2014 for chemical eradication of exotic fish plus some habitat restoration. This work should foster substantial recovery over the next 3 years (the implementation period) and beyond. Hence, the Muddy River will definitely be a “Water to Watch” this coming year and for the next several years to follow.
The partnership detailed below involves national, state, and local jurisdictions, plus many other entities that cooperate to recover the Muddy River ecosystem. While local attitudes about conservation are often mixed, successes in recent years at reversing the decline of Moapa dace plus other accomplishments have helped strengthen this partnership. Partners include several programs in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Ecological Services, Fisheries), Desert Fish Habitat Partnership, Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Moapa Valley Water District, Nevada Energy, Moapa Band of Paiutes, Clark County, The Nature Conservancy, Coyote Springs Investments LLC (a development firm), U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, university academics, and private landowners.
Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge (MVNWR) and Warm Springs Natural Area (WSNA) have volunteer programs focused on helping the public appreciate and understand the natural spring-fed ecosystems that merge to form the Muddy River ecosystem. Nevada Department of Wildlife also has a volunteer program that has involved Muddy River work on an intermittent basis. Several Eagle Scout projects were focused at WSNA. And the formal volunteer group Friends of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge offers public outreach events at MVNWR each year.
Milltown Island Estuary, Washington
Partnership: Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership
Project (Water to Watch): Milltown Island Estuary Restoration Project – Skagit River (Puget Sound), 48.3131N latitude, -122.3514W longitude
Purpose of the project:
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. The processes restored as a result of the restoration include:
• Natural formation of tidal channels in estuaries.
• Unrestricted movements of saltwater through tidal channels in estuaries.
• Accumulation and retention of organic material from plants and aquatic animals.
• Unrestricted movement and migration of fish and wildlife.
Conditions improved as a result of the restoration:
• Restored tidal freshwater wetlands, which are highly productive habitats that support biodiversity and provide connectivity between the land and sea.
• Restored large river delta that provides valuable nursery habitat for threatened species of juvenile salmon, such as Chinook, increasing their survival and supporting population recovery in Puget Sound.
• Improved quality of water flowing through the estuary.
Human Interest/Community Benefit:
This project was identified in the locally (from groups within the watershed) developed and federally approved Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan. Local groups within the watershed designed and constructed the project with oversight from the Federal Services. There is a great deal of local interest in this and many other projects on the Skagit because of the desire to restore estuaries and wetlands and improve habitat for native fish. Current fish assemblage includes 14 native species: Chinook salmon, coho salmon, chum salmon, pink salmon, cutthroat trout, steelhead trout, mountain whitefish, three spined stickleback, peamouth chub, prickly sculpin, pacific staghorn sculpin, starry flounder, large scale sucker, and surf smelt. Potential fish assemblage may include several additional native fish species (pacific lamprey, shiner perch) and non-native fish species (largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish).
Biologists desire to complete a third year of post-restoration monitoring for fish assemblage and complete the last phase of restoration, which is approximately 375’ of dike removal using explosives scheduled for 2014.
Staff collaborate with NOAA fisheries for ecology research and monitoring. Restoration feasibility and design is vetted through multi-discipline technical groups within the watershed through Puget Sound’s Chinook Recovery process. These local groups are known as TAGs (Technical Advisory Groups). Once approved locally, and submitted for funding through the State’s Salmon Recovery Funding Board (SRFB), the SRFB technical review panel evaluates each project. Milltown Island Restoration has been through this process for each phase.
Montana Creek, Alaska
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).
Located two hours north of Anchorage near Talkeetna, Alaska in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Montana Creek supports a highly popular salmon and trout fishery that draws people from not only Mat-Su, but also Anchorage and out-of-state visitors. It is one of the more productive clear-water tributaries to the Susitna River. The Susitna River drainage supports significant recreational fisheries even for Alaska standards of native runs of Chinook and coho salmon, as well as resident populations of rainbow trout and arctic grayling.
Montana Creek has both public and private access. Sport fishing for salmon is limited to the lower reaches from ¼ mile upstream of the Parks Highway to the confluence with the Susitna River, while the upper river is managed as a trophy rainbow trout fishery. Montana Creek State Recreation Site provides its visitors camping, hiking and fishing access and opportunities. In addition to designated campsites, this site also provides picnic areas and basic amenities such as drinking water, toilets and parking areas for RVs and other motor vehicles.
Project highlights to date (and anticipated) include:
Fish Passage Improvements/Assessments:
Fish passage in the watershed has been assessed and since Montana Creek is crossed solely by bridges, the program focused on opening the largest tributary to it, Buddy Creek. Two barriers exist on Buddy Creek, one fixed in 2013 and one currently in design phase. In 2013 two 5-foot diameter culverts causing a fish passage barrier and constricting 16-foot wide Buddy Creek (Montana Creek’s biggest tributary) to 10-feet at Katahdin Street were replaced with a nearly 20-foot wide embedded fish-friendly culvert that lets juvenile and adult salmon move freely under the road and access an additional four miles of spawning and rearing habitat upstream (see photo section below). Partners included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mat-Su Borough, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The one remaining fish passage barrier is undersized and badly damaged where it flows under a single lane gravel road, but partners have received funding to install a fish-friendly culvert in 2015, which is currently in design phase.
In 2013, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, with technical support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funding from the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund, marked juvenile salmon with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags and observed their movements in the vicinity of the remaining Buddy Creek barrier. This data—to be collected before and after the last barrier is replaced with a fish- and flood-friendly crossing, will test the effectiveness of similar projects in improving habitat connectivity for juvenile salmon. This study will continue in 2014 and be completed after culvert replacement in 2015.
Streamflow and Water Reservations:
Montana Creek is a long-term U.S. Geological Survey National Streamflow Information Program site and the Mat-Su Salmon Partnership has help fund gage operations over the past 5 years in support of its water reservation application (status of application pending).
Conserving and restoring riparian habitat is a priority of the Partnership and Montana Creek is one of the Partnership’s focal areas due to the heavy angling and all-terrain/off-road vehicle use it receives. Other issues include landowner development into the floodplain and erosion following a 100-year flood in 2012. Concern has been raised over the loss of habitat within the lower river due to intense recreational use and the potential for residential development to further the loss of riparian habitat and to degrade water quality. Due to these concerns, the Alaska Clean Water Action Plan (ACWA) prioritized Montana Creek for the assessment of current water quality and habitat conditions. Partners to date include the Mat-Su Borough, Great Land Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Aquatic Restoration and Research Institute (ARRI) Institute, and others.
ARRI evaluated the degree of bank and riparian area modification due to recreation and development and characterized the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of the stream nearly a decade ago. In 2012, nearshore salmon habitat and riparian function were rehabilitated along 30 feet of Montana Creek’s bank with bioengineering, and additional sections in need of restoration were identified. Also in 2012, flooding resulted in large areas of bank erosion that are still being worked on to repair. As a priority salmon stream of the Partnership, Great Land Trust is also prioritizing important riparian land parcels for future conservation actions.
Mat-Su Stream Temperature Monitoring Network:
Cook Inlet Keeper extended their work on the Kenai Peninsula into Mat-Su, documenting cold and warm stream temperatures and streams that may be more vulnerable to decreased quality of fish habitat in the face of climate change. This project consisted of monitoring temperature (air and water) during the open water period on an existing network of 21 non-glacial streams in the Mat-Su basin, including Montana Creek for a period of five years (2008-2012). Numerous exceedances of the State’s water temperature criteria for protection of fish were documented. Synthesis Report
US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G)
Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund
US Geological Survey
Great Land Trust
Aquatic Restoration and Research Institute(ARRI)
Cook Inlet Keeper
Lake Bloomington, Illinois
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.
The primary impairments in Lake Bloomington are high levels of phosphorus and nitrates/nitrites, sedimentation, and lack of quality fish habitat. Under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, the State of Illinois declared that Lake Bloomington did not meet state water quality standards because of excessive nitrates and phosphorous and placed it on Illinois’ list of impaired waters in 2006. The Lake Bloomington Watershed Plan (http://web.extension.illinois.edu/lmw/downloads/22860.pdf) discusses the issues facing Lake Bloomington and its watershed and also proposes solutions to address the issues. An estimated 106,800 tons of erosion occurs on an annual basis from the six major types of soil erosion within the Lake Bloomington watershed. Approximately 29,900 tons of suspended and bedload sediment is actually “delivered” to the lake on a yearly basis. After the 1958 increase in dam elevation, Lake Bloomington held 7352 acre/feet of water. Since then 33% of the volume of the lake has been lost due to sedimentation. Overall, 2436 acre/feet of sediment has entered the lake, with the average of 0.4% loss annually. As part of the watershed management plan, Best Management Practices have been implemented to address streambank and lakeshore erosion, destratification, agricultural practices to limit runoff, wetland development, limiting urban runoff, and septic inspection and replacement.
The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership is partnering with the Friends of EverBloom (a Friends of Reservoirs Chapter), Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the City of Bloomington, McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District, McLean County Parks and Recreation and local vendors to rehabilitate a severely eroded shoreline on Lake Bloomington. Lake Bloomington has 55,580 feet of shoreline. Three shoreline erosion surveys have been completed in the past 20 years. Shoreline erosion is reported to be 3756 tons annually, with nearly 60% or 2247 tons coming from the most erodible banks. By concentration on the most highly erodible sites, nearly 60% of the sediment can be stopped by treating only 12% of the shoreline at an estimated cost of $340,000. If taken over the expected 50 year life of the shoreline protection the cost per ton of soil is only $3.03, while other less severely eroding sites have per ton cost 2 to 18 times higher. Due to the steep, high banks, and extreme fluctuations in water levels, biotechnical means of shoreline stabilization were excluded from consideration.
The recommended alternative, based upon cost and impact upon near shore woodland cover is Stone Toe Protection (STP) which when applied along the eroding sections will provide the stability needed to protect the base of the bank and prevent any additional recession of the bank line. The STP will be placed at a distance from the eroding bank to allow for a 2:l slope and vegetated by balancing the cuts and fills so that no material need be transported to or from the site. The use of STP places the maximum volume of stone at the base of the slope where erosion is most severe. This provides additional safety and effectiveness to the use of STP as there is sufficient stone to launch into any area that may erode on the lake side of the STP and still maintain protection of the shoreline.
The project site is approximately 950 feet of shoreline located in a city park and adjacent to a boat ramp. Artificial structure in the form of tile culverts will be incorporated into the rip rap to provide cover for catfish, walleye, and largemouth bass. IL DNR has conducted fisheries surveys at this site for the past 15 years and has found the site to be devoid of both numbers and diversity of fish. Bank stabilization and additional fish structure will increase fish community diversity at this site and provide easy access for anglers.
IL DNR staff will continue to monitor the fish community following the completion of the project. The City of Bloomington regularly collects water samples to determine dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH, and phycocyanin profiles. Total and volatile suspended solids, total phosphorus, chlorophyll and phytoplankton samples are also collected. The City is contracting with Illinois State University to perform a bathymetric/sedimentation survey to compare the results from the survey completed in 1999. The ultimate goal of the rehabilitation efforts is to remove Lake Bloomington from Illinois’ list of impaired waters.
Local outreach efforts will include signage at the project site, regular meetings of The Friends of Everbloom to keep members and the public informed of this and other projects on Lake Bloomington. The Friends of Everbloom will also use their web page (http://friendsofeverbloom.weebly.com/) to publicize the project. The local newspaper, The Pantagraph, has an outdoor writer who currently is the Friends of Everbloom president and regularly writes about projects on the lake. In addition, The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership will use its media contacts and outlets to inform the public of this and other important reservoir fisheries habitat enhancement efforts around the country.
Friends of EverBloom (a Friends of Reservoirs Chapter), Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the City of Bloomington, McLean County Soil and Water Conservation District, McLean County Parks and Recreation
Eel River Delta, California
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. The improved drainage efforts are increasing the productivity of rich pastures in the Eel Delta while also restoring important habitat for a variety of state and federally listed species.
Project Timeline: Led by the Humboldt Resource Conservation Project, Implementation of Phase One of the Salt River Ecosystem Restoration Project was completed in the fall of 2013. This includes the restoration of more than 300-acres of tidal marsh and 2.5 miles of historic tidal slough. Phase Two, restoration of 4.5 miles of tidal slough commences in Spring of 2014. Nearby, The Wildlands Conservancy, California Trout, the Coastal Conservancy, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife are developing enhancement plans for the 1,100-acre Eel River Estuary Preserve, a project that would include modified tidegates, restored tidal marsh, and stream restoration into the estuary. Along the north side of the Delta, a variety of partners, including Ducks Unlimited, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife have partnered to develop enhancement plans for the Ocean Ranch Unit of the Eel River Wildlife Area.
Humboldt County Resource Conservation District, State Coastal Conservancy, Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Wildlands Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Coastal Commission, Regional Water Quality Control Board, State Water Resources Control Board, more than 40 private landowners, City of Ferndale, and many more.
Boardman River, Michigan
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.
However, a series of four decommissioned hydroelectric dams limit fishery movement, and therefore fishery potential, throughout the Boardman River system. To address this concern, the Conservation Resource Alliance has led a wide ranging team of partners to restore the Boardman to a more natural, free flowing state by removing the upper 3 dams in the system. (The lower dam will be maintained to prevent expansion of spawning and rearing habitat for invasive sea lamprey.) The removal of the three dams will restore free fishery movement throughout approximately 180 miles of mainstream and tributaries. Ancillary but no less important benefits of the project include the restoration of natural large woody debris transport, mitigation of temperature regimes lethal to salmonids, restoration of natural stream flow function and channel form upon drawing down of the impoundments.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the rebirth of the Boardman is also a community development project with many long-term benefits.
• Enhance and restore habitat for native and naturalized fish species and organisms preferring cold water.
• Restore over 3.4 miles and reconnect 160 miles of high-quality river habitat.
• Restore 150 acres of wetland and upland habitat.
• Improvements to the local economy through increased recreation, tourism and property values.
• Promote business growth and new opportunities from increased interest in water-related activities, including fishing, kayaking and canoeing.
• Support the long-term goals of the Grand Vision guiding principle of “protecting and preserving the water resources, forests, natural areas and the scenic beauty of the region.”
• Engage all interests, cultivating a sense of ownership in the project and outcome, and ensure that the process is sensitive to community needs and concerns.
• Secure unparalleled cooperation among federal, tribal, state and local government agencies and nonprofit entities.
• Document and archive the process in detail as it unfolds, and initiate the development of a model that will be transferable for use by other communities faced with similar issues.
• Continue to involve a diverse group of individuals and organizations throughout the process, and into the future, to ensure the long-term health of the Boardman River.
• Create an on-the-ground laboratory for local schools. Support a variety of scientific research initiatives to assess the impacts of dam removal.
Preliminary Decisions (2005-2009)
The City of Traverse City and the Grand Traverse County (owners of the dams) gathered community feedback, and hired consultants to conduct an engineering and feasibility study to assess the environmental, economical and social impacts of retaining, modifying and removing the Boardman River dams. The dam owners decided to remove the Sabin, Boardman and Brown Bridge dams and modify the Union Street dam.
An implementation team coordinated the planning stage, working hard to identify and pursue required permits and fundraising opportunities. In 2010, the Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership provided $100,000 of GLRI funding to support regulatory review meeting, collection of sediment samples and analysis. The regulatory review meeting entailed working with the appropriate State regulatory agency to flesh out project requirements related to sample size, locations, and parameters. Sediment sample collection and analysis determined the extent to which contaminated sediments exist in the impoundments with a focus on certain metals and toxic compounds identified as potential contaminants of concern during a preliminary study - a critical first step in the dam removal process.
Dam Removal/Channel Restoration (2011-2012)
Design, engineering, and restoration plans for Brown Bridge dam removal were finalized. Upon securing all necessary permits, and securing adequate funding, the dam was removed in fall of 2012, followed by extensive channel restoration. The Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership provided $160,000 in funding to support restoration of the natural river channel and habitats associated with dam removal.
CRA has worked with the Annis Water Studies Institute, MDNR Fish Division, and other partners to develop a common protocol for evaluating effects on streams from BMPs, including those installed at road/stream crossings (http://www.northernmichiganstreams.org/). Longitudinal surveys, cross-sections, fish population and aquatic insect analysis are included in this protocol and the evaluation tool.
Pre- and post-removal monitoring, begun in 2010, will be conducted annually in the near term following removal of the dam. In addition, the project team recognizes the value of longer-term monitoring, and plans to repeat monitoring over a period that encompasses a minimum of 3 large flood events (bank-full or larger), which represents the events and time needed to re-establish the channel processes. Monitoring will include fish passage evaluation (MDNR status and trends site), river cross sections, fish and wildlife habitat conditions, invasive species passage prevention, gradient changes, substrate composition, biological community responses, amphibian and reptile habitat monitoring, macroinvertebrate monitoring, and invasive plant monitoring. Evaluation of in-stream and corridor habitat BMPs involve assessment of fish and wildlife use, including stream shocking before and after implementation at certain locations, periodic inventory of large woody debris, and visual assessment of scat and tracks left by wildlife.
The dam removal project was founded on a philosophy of community collaboration. An Implementation Team (IT) comprised of the dam owners and key agency stakeholder representatives was formed in 2005 as a collaborative body to provide project oversight. The City of Traverse City, as the owner of Union Street and Brown Bridge dams, is ultimately responsible and accountable for the dam removal project. In 2009, the City passed a resolutions to allow the Implementation Team (IT) to make recommendations and decisions concerning overall planning and direction of the dam removal process.
• Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
• City of Traverse City
• Grand Traverse County
• Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment
• Michigan Hydro Relicensing Coalition
• Traverse City Light and Power
• U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Ex Officio IT Members:
• Conservation Resource Alliance
• Grand Traverse Conservation District
• Grand Traverse County Road Commission
• Rotary Camps and Services
• Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay
• Charter Township of Garfield
The Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership provided funds to the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA) in 2011 and 2012 in support of this project. Established in 1968, CRA is a private, non-profit organization that coordinates sensible stewardship of the land throughout northwest Michigan. CRA has facilitated natural resource conservation projects for over 45 years, tackling high-priority problems that threaten to degrade Michigan’s world-class waterways, landscapes, and rich wildlife diversity. Other partners include Michigan HydroRelicensing coalition, Great Lakes Fishery Trust, private foundations, Rotary Camps and Services, Trout Unlimited and local watershed organizations.
Bear Creek, Colorado
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.
This project will Improve the aquatic habitat and resiliency of Bear Creek; reduce sediment delivery and restore the in-stream and riparian habitat of Bear Creek. The overall objectives are; protect the genetically pure greenback cutthroat population found in Bear Creek and provide a stable and sustainable habitat for this endangered species.
Proposed project Activities include:
1) Restore .75 mile of in-stream habitat using proven design methods.
2) Restore pool habitat by creating or enhancing a minimum of 80 pools in this reach using native rock and large woody material.
3) Stabilize a minimum of 1200 feet of stream bank and re-vegetate with native material.
4) Restored channel to assist in the movement of future sediment loads through the system.
5) Stabilize an erosive ephemeral draw that has deposited an alluvial fan into Bear Creek. Using techniques implemented in the Trail Creek Watershed Restoration Project in the same soil type, we will use native material to stabilize the channel and reduce the inputs into Bear Creek.
6) Identify priority sites on High Drive and design sediment controlling measures. These measures may include altering the road geometrics, such as reversing the cross slope; improving water conveyance elements that route flow to cross culverts or to rundowns; increasing the number of cross drains; reducing the road prism width; designing sediment traps at culvert entrances or exits; stabilizing cut and/or fill slopes and more.
7) Implement sediment controlling measures on the highest priority sites. Following completion of the road assessment ,we will be able to identify the location and number of these highest priority treatment sites.
The proposed activities will ensure the genetically pure greenback cutthroat population found in Bear Creek has a stable and sustainable habitat.
Project Partners include the Western Native Trout Initiative, The Colorado Division of Wildlife, the Cheyenne Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Forest Service.
Upper Tippecanoe River, Indiana
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.
Tippecanoe Watershed Foundation
Indiana Department of Environmental Management
IN Department of Natural Resources (Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) program)
IN Department of Natural Resources (Division of Fish and Wildlife)
Multiple Lakeshore Owners
Millenium Reserve Initiative, Illinois
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.
Project Partners: (Federal)
National Park Service
Office of Congressman Mike Quigley
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Department of Agriculture ??? Natural Resources Conservation Service
U.S. Department of Interior
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Illinois International Port District
Office of Governor Pat Quinn
Office of Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon
Chicago Park District
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development
Chicago Department of Transportation
Chicago Public Building Commission
City of Blue Island
Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
Cook County Department of Environmental Control
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Active Transportation Alliance
Alliance for the Great Lakes
Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative
Black Metropolis Convention and Tourism Council
Black Metropolis National Heritage Area Commission
Blacks in Green
Bronzeville Historical Society
Calumet Area Industrial Council
Calumet Ecological Park Association
Calumet is My Backyard
Canal Corridor Association
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Chicago Audubon Society
Chicago Community Trust
Chicago Legal Clinic
Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives
Conservation Design Forum
Environmental Law and Policy Center
Friends of the Chicago River
Friends of the Forest Preserves
Friends of the Parks
Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation
Holcim US Inc.
Lake Calumet Vision Committee
Metropolitan Planning Council
Migratory Bird Alliance
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
National Parks Conservation Association
Natural Resources Defense Council
OAI Chicago Southland
Pullman Civic Organization
Sierra Club - Chicago Chapter
South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association
Southeast Chicago Historical Society
Southeast Environmental Task Force
The Dobbins Group, Inc.
The Nature Conservancy
The Trust for the Public Land
The Wetlands Initiative
Trails for Illinois
Weaver Boos Consulting
Association for the Wolf Lake Initiative
Dunes Learning Center
Hammond Parks Foundation, Inc
Legal Environmental Aid Foundation of Indiana, Inc.
Northwest Indiana Paddling Association
Save the Dunes Conservation Fund
Taltree Arboretum and Gardens
Shirley Heinze Land Trust
United Urban Network, Inc.
Wild Ones Chapter 38
Wildlife Habitat Council
Leech Lake, Minnesota
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.
Leech Lake Area Watershed Foundation,
Chippewa National Forest,
Leech Lake Reservation-Division of Resource Management,
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources,
Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership
Grape Creek, California
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.
California State Coastal Conservancy
Center for Ecosystem Management and Restoration
Dean Witter Foundation
G. Mazzera Company
Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District
Martorana Family Winery
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Natural Resource Conservation Service
Occidental Arts and Ecology Center???s WATER Institute
Quivira Vineyards and Winery
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund
S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
Sonoma County Water Agency
Sotoyome Resource Conservation District
U.C. Cooperative Extension/California Sea Grant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Wildlife Conservation Society
Wine Creek Ranch
And many other landowners adjacent to Grape and Wine creeks
Chipola River, Florida
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.
The importance to the Resource:
Sedimentation is widely reported as a contributing factor in the decline of freshwater mussel and fish populations. Sediment runoff continues to threaten the quality and availability of essential habitat for 6 species of threatened and endangered freshwater mussels, Gulf striped bass, and shoal bass in the Chipola River.
Stream sedimentation reduces the quality and availability of aquatic habitats, impairs water quality, increases flooding, impairs navigation and recreation, and alters alluvial and fluvial geomorphology.
The objective is to collaborate with partners to implement action items to benefit aquatic resources in the Chipola River. Action items include reducing streambank erosion, providing alternative watering sites for livestock and providing fencing to keep them out, and replacing a perched culvert with a more appropriately designed stream crossing.
Restoration design plans will be developed for each site to implement streambank restoration, fencing for livestock and replacement of a perched culvert. Natural stream design will be applied as appropriate.
US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Florida’s Wildlife Legacy Initiative (FWLI)
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC)
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
West Florida Resource Conservation and Development Council
Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP)
Native Black Bass Initiative (NBBI)
FLOW: A Chipola River Story - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YBMhkiTiTc
Cape Fear River, North Carolina
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.
Cape Fear River Watch (CPRW)
US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Bear River Estuary, Washington
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.
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.
Sustainable Fisheries Foundation.
Washington Coast Sustainable Salmon Partnership.
Big Lake, Alaska
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.
Big Lake is listed as an Impaired Waterbody by DEC for hydrocarbon-water quality exceedances, and ongoing testing and outreach programs are addressing point and non-point source pollution vectors.
Many of these projects on Big Lake have occurred already, and some of the projects completed were funded with previous NFHAP funds. Some of these projects are ongoing, like juvenile salmon migrations, water quality and stream flow monitoring, and public outreach & education. Shoreline and streambank restoration projects occur during the Alaska field season, which is from May to October.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – funding, juvenile fish abundance study 2011-2013, Spawning Distribution, Cold Water Inputs data, restoration assistance, and habitat utilization projects for both sockeye and coho adult salmon and for coho juveniles.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Sport Fish - measured flow at four locations in the drainage in order to understand and protect the flows that support salmon. The weir at Fish Creek has been active past several decades, monitoring and managing adult sockeye and coho runs in the drainage. Sustainable escapement goals are in place for both species. ADF&G Sportfish supported Meadow Creek Restoration 2012, and Big Lake Sailing Club shoreline restoration 2012 & 2013
Department of Fish and Game, Commercial Fish Division - estimates the number of salmon smolt leaving the drainage each spring
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation – funding for Boat Launch outreach, conduct water testing for hydrocarbons 2006-2013, responsible for Listing/Unlisting as Impaired Waterbody, Clean Water Working Group funding & facilitation
The Nature Conservancy – coordinates Mat-Su NFHP area
Cook Inletkeeper – Clean Boating and Marinas outreach, funding from DEC grants, Clean Boating and Alaska Clean Harbors outreach 2011, 2012, and 2013
Mat-Su Conservation Services – community & local business outreach, boat launch outreach, Girl Scouts participation, public education, restoration participation
Aquatic Restoration and Research Institute – various studies since 2004, most NFHP funding + DEC, AKSSF: Stream Temperature Monitoring, Relative Abundance of Juvenile Salmon in Meadow Creek, Stormwater Quality looking at fish, invertebrates and water chemistry, Bioenergetic Modeling, (using fish to look at differences in habitat quality on Meadow Creek) 2013, Water Sampling in Big Lake - Working with DEC impaired waters to test effects of education campaign, 2013
Matanuska-Susitna Borough – planning, shoreline vegetated setback outreach, lake water quality testing volunteers/program, public park at Fish Creek outlet,
Big Lake Elementary – classroom activities for clean water with Girl Scout project 2012
Midnight Sun Elementary – restoration at Fish Creek outlet & Borough Park 2009
Alaska State Parks, Mat-Su – maintain public launches, campgrounds, clean boating outreach, plan clean bilge dump facilities
Big Lake Sailing Club – shoreline restoration project, summer environmental camp, 2012-2013
Girl Scouts of America, Mat-Su Council – clean boating and clean water, stormwater 2012 outreach, Gold Star Award to high school student assistance for Big lake 2012 project with Mat-Su Conservation Services and Big lake Elementary
Sportsman’s Warehouse store – booth space during sales for Big Lake Clean Boating displays with several partners
Wasilla Soil and Water Conservation District – Meadow Creek restoration 2012
Environmental Protection Agency – funding MSB stormwater management plan and green infrastructure demos for shoreline landowners
Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund – funding for Shoreline Landowner Restoration and 5-year Stream Flow study data 2008-2013 aimed at securing in-stream flow reservations for fish
Cook Inlet Aquaculture - Hatchery fish released until 2008
Big Lake Chamber of Commerce – Clean Water Group, community newsletter updates
Big Lake Clean Water Action Group – DEC funded, meeting fall-winter-spring since 2010
Burkeshore Marina – clean-burning fuel disposal facility (DEC grant 2011), fuel clean-up stations, staff spill response training, clean water booth at yearly Big Lake Family Fishing Derby is a well-attended outreach event!
Lake Conroe, Texas
Size and Scope of the Lake Conroe Project:
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. During phase 2 of the project (2010-2012) 5 miles of the Lake Conroe shoreline were planted with native aquatic vegetation focusing on grass carp tolerant species to increase littoral fish and wildlife habitat, sequester excess nutrients, filter the water column, stabilize bottom sediments, control erosion, and fill empty niches to help control exotic aquatic plant species. Also during phase 2, four one-acre structural habitat areas (fishing hot spots) were created in the lower reservoir to increase fish production and angling success. Throughout the project educational efforts including magazine articles, outreach events, presentations, and a native vegetation restoration manual have continued to increase awareness of the need for controlling the spread of exotic aquatic plants and animals (including zebra mussels) and conserving the resources of Lake Conroe and the San Jacinto River Watershed. Cooperating media outlets serving the Houston Metropolitan Area where Lake Conroe is located include Houston Chronicle newspaper, Conroe Courier Newspaper, Dockline Magazine and numerous television and radio stations. Typically some aspect of the Lake Conroe Habitat Project is reported in these media outlets at least once a month. In addition, websites for SJRA, TPWD, USCOE LAERF, SCBC, BASS, TBBU and others contain project updates and information including videos and media links.
Benefits, Achievements, and Potential for Success:
The Habitat Enhancements for Fisheries and Ecosystem Improvement at Lake Conroe, Texas project is designed to provide self-sustaining and expanding habitat improvements that will continue to improve the Lake Conroe ecosystem for fish and other wildlife and human uses. The native vegetation component has and will continue to mitigate the increasing effects of urbanization (nutrient enrichment, sedimentation, etc.) in the watershed with little or no additional expenses to residents and other users. The exotic vegetation management plan associated with this project allows for the control harmful exotic aquatic vegetation at a greatly reduced cost compared to other management efforts due to the integrated approach using low levels of biological and chemical control along with sustained expansion of native vegetation to fill empty niches and provide resistance to re-invasion by exotic plants. The technology transfer from methods developed during this project will help conservation projects nationwide. The structural fisheries habitat developed during this project will allow recreation and education opportunities into the future. Direct measures of success include the number of native aquatic plants produced and transferred to the reservoir (over 3,000 to date), acres of native aquatic vegetation in the reservoir as a result of planting or reduction in competition with exotic vegetation (1,850 acres currently), and reduction in harmful exotic aquatic vegetation including hydrilla, giant salvinia, and water hyacinth (over 2,000 acres controlled to date).
The project has been a direct model for construction of native aquatic vegetation nurseries at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas, a cooperative native aquatic vegetation nursery at Baylor University, and native aquatic vegetation nurseries being constructed for use in conjunction with restoration projects at Lake Houston, Lake Raven, and Lake Livingston, Texas. The integrated pest management model and native vegetation restoration techniques developed through this project are being used at numerous reservoirs in Texas and throughout the United States. Efforts from this project have resulted in the development of a native plant restoration manual available to anyone free of charge at (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/ pwd_rp_t3200_1770.pdf). Further, the project has also been highlighted in numerous magazine articles, online videos, and television segments.
Youth Participation/education involvement:
Presentations have been given to numerous civic and conservation organizations as well as at scientific meetings. Using the example of the Lake Conroe Project TPWD is working with schools and conservation organizations to develop similar projects at Lake Houston, Lake Livingston, Lake Waco, Fort Boggy State Park Lake, and Lake Raven in Huntsville State Park. SJRA uses the habitat conservation project as a key element in the school and youth outreach program. This program includes in-class presentations, school field trips to Lake Conroe, and youth-oriented education segments on the SJRA website and in Dockline Magazine. Students from area schools also volunteer for in-lake habitat improvement including vegetation planting and structural habitat. Recently a Conroe High School Student worked with project partners to accomplish structural habitat placement as part of an Eagle Scout Project.
This project was recently awarded the Texas Environmental Excellence Award in the Civic/Community category for 2013. Primary community partners are listed below.
Although the volunteer labor associated with this project is outstanding, native vegetation restoration is labor intensive. As a group, we are constantly seeking involvement from more individuals and organizations to increase the number of native vegetation founder colonies in place in the reservoir. Entergy is our most recent corporate partner with project planning underway to expand a bird sanctuary island in Lake Conroe with a constructed wetland funded by Entergy and SJRA with assistance from all partners.
Project Timeline and Costs:
This project submission covers the period 2005 -2012; however, the project is ongoing with additional vegetation planting and structural habitat improvements planned for 2013 and beyond. Significant milestones include:
• 2006 – Construction of the Lake Conroe Native Aquatic Plant Nursery.
• 2006 – 2010 – Approximately 2,500 native plants planted in Lake Conroe.
• 2006-2008 – Control of approximately 2,000 acres of exotic aquatic vegetation.
• 2011 – Construction and deployment of approximately 4 acres of structural fish habitat.
• 2011-2012 – Planting of approximately 5 miles of shoreline with native aquatic vegetation.
• 2013 – Planned activities for 2013 and beyond include:
• Planting of an additional 5 miles of shoreline with native aquatic vegetation with involvement from all partners
• Construction and placement of PVC fish attractors as part of a multi-reservoir, best management practices structural habitat research project partially funded by a RFHP Friends of Reservoirs Grant
• Creation of a constructed wetland with enhanced shoreline structure to augment the Bird Island bird sanctuary on Lake Conroe in cooperation with Entergy, SJRA, and other partners
• Evaluation of hydrilla flies as part of an integrated pest management approach in conjunction with USCOE and other partners
• Creation of a watershed protection plan for Lake Conroe in conjunction with SJRA
• Evaluation of grass carp resistance by native aquatic plants in conjunction with Texas A&M University, SJRA, USCOE, and other partners
• Evaluation of a best practices model for native vegetation restoration in conjunction with Texas A&M University, SJRA, USCOE, and other partners
• Creation and publication of a Lake Conroe Conservation and Recreation Guide in conjunction with all partners and funded and printed by Dockline Magazine
Seven Coves Bass Club/Lake Conroe Friends of Reservoirs Chapter, BASS, Texas BASS Federation, Dockline Magazine, San Jacinto River Authority, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station and Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Black Bass Unlimited, Texas Association of Bass Clubs, Lake Conroe Association, Toyota Texas Bass Classic, U.S. Forest Service, Texas A&M University, University of North Texas, Entergy.
Native aquatic vegetation establishment nursery and field plantings – approximately $300,000.
Exotic aquatic vegetation control - approximately $600,000.
Structural fish habitat – approximately $60,000.
Outreach, education, and publications – approximately $40,000.
Approximate total cost = $1,000,000
Balmorhea Springs, Texas
<strong>Conservation Action:</strong> <br />
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.
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
Ace Basin, South Carolina
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.
According to the SCDNR’s latest oyster resource survey, conducted between 2003 and 2008 using ¼ meter digital aerial photography, there are no oysters on this shoreline and the marsh edge is as much as 35 meters from the water, with nothing but mudflats in front of it. Previous work has demonstrated that bagged oyster shells provide a stable substrate for oyster recruitment and create self-sustaining reefs which stabilize the shoreline, promote sediment accretion, and foster salt marsh expansion in various waters and creeks within the waterway.
Anchor River, Alaska
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.
This project will provide a unique opportunity to link state-of-the-art science with conservation planning and land protection strategies designed for perpetual habitat conservation to benefit salmon. This project builds upon previous work to create corridors of riparian land on the Anchor River to preserve salmon habitat.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG)
Kachemak Heritage Land Trust
Kenai Watershed Forum
The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (US FWS)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Table Rock Lake, Missouri (2012)
Purpose of the project:
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.
This high-profile recreational development has come with an environmental cost. The
large number of visitors, increases in confined animal production in the
watershed, and population growth have created water quality issues in Table
Rock Lake. According to USGS, water clarity at Table Rock Dam decreased by more
than 2.5 feet from 1974 to 1994. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) identified
municipal sewage discharges, residential wastewater treatment systems and
livestock and poultry wastes as the likely causes of nutrient loading. In
response to declining water quality issues, the Table Rock Lake Area Chamber of
Commerce formed Table Rock Lake Water Quality (TRLWQ), a 501(c)(3) non-profit
corporation, in 1998. TRLWQ is focusing its efforts on failing onsite
wastewater treatment systems and other decentralized wastewater treatment
systems in the watershed. Estimates are that 75 to 90% of existing systems over
5 years old are failing. MDC has pledged full support of TRLWQ’s water quality
TRLWQ received $2 million in federal funding and along with $667,000 in local match
funded a demonstration project to determine which advanced wastewater treatment
systems were best suited for local conditions, along with installation and on-site
testing. The project also tested the feasibility of a Responsible Management
Entity (RME) to own, operate and maintain the wastewater treatment system so
property owners had only to pay a monthly maintenance fee. TRLWQ identified
Ozarks Clean Water Company as the RME and expects active service connections to
number in the thousands.
Lack of structural habitat in Table Rock Lake was identified by MDC as a limiting
factor of fish community stability. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat
Partnership’s reservoir habitat assessment has also identified “lack of
structure” as a major impairment of reservoirs in this region. In 2007, the
Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), in cooperation with Bass Pro Shops,
the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Arkansas Game &
Fish Commission (AGFC), began working on a five-year project to maintain and
enhance the fish habitat in Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo. This project is part of the NFWF’s National
Fish Habitat Initiative (NFHI) and More Fish Campaign and is designed to be a
pilot project in a broader national program focusing on habitat restoration
within reservoirs. A total of $4.5 million was earmarked to spend on the 5-year
The project began in October 2007 and continued through December 2013 with funding
totaling four million dollars. During this timeframe, a total of 2,024 fish
habitat structures were installed in Table Rock Lake; including 1,797 brush
structures, 114 rock piles, 76 stump fields, 11 rock and stump combination
structures and 26 shallow water rock fence structures. Structure
locations are recorded by GPS and are available to the public on the MDC
website. In addition to the structural habitat portion of the project, eight
cost-share projects for erosion control and sediment reduction in the Table
Rock Lake watershed were initiated.
Habitat improvements to the upper portion of Lake Taneycomo began in November 2011 and
will include large rock structures designed to increase holding areas for trout
and other fish, as well as increase locations for anglers to fish. Project
publicity has been a success, with the cooperation of our various partners and
other media outlets and businesses.
Evaluation and monitoring of the fish habitat structures began in 2010. Four evaluation techniques are utilized,
three of which are underway: electrofishing surveys of habitat treated coves,
SCUBA observations of selected habitat structures and radio-telemetry tracking
of largemouth bass in the Kings River Arm. The fourth evaluation technique, an
angler creel survey, is set to begin in 2012.
The Table Rock Lake NFHI project builds upon a long-standing public/private
partnership in southwest Missouri to improve and restore fish habitat in Table
Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo and their watersheds through cover augmentation,
watershed management and other water quality-related projects. This
project has proven to be an excellent opportunity to proactively maintain and
enhance fish habitat in and around two of the Midwest’s most popular sport
fisheries and is providing a national example for sustaining and improving
reservoir sportfish populations through large-scale habitat improvements.
The Table Rock Lake NFHI
project builds upon a long-standing public/private partnership in southwest
Missouri to improve and restore fish habitat in Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo
and their watersheds through cover augmentation, watershed management and other
water quality-related projects. The MDC, NFWF, BPS, AGFC, USACE, the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service, Southwestern Power Administration, TRLWQ, various
non-government organizations, angler groups and private citizens all worked
cooperatively to ensure the success of this project. This project was an
excellent opportunity to proactively maintain and enhance fish habitat in and
around two of the Midwest’s most popular sport fisheries. This project has
proven to be a national example of sustaining and improving reservoir sport
fish populations through large-scale habitat improvements.
The project began in October
2007 and continued through December 2013
|USD 5,223,201.41||Value Added:|
of Conservation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Bass Pro Shops, Arkansas
Game and Fish Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers, Table Rock Lake Water Quality, Inc. and various other
non-government organizations, angler groups and private citizens are working
cooperatively to ensure the success of this project.
Harpeth River, Tennessee (2012)
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.
In 2010, the Harpeth River Watershed Association (HRWA) secured support from
collaborative funding programs of the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership, and the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP)
for activities that improve fish habitat and remove blockages to fish
passage. This project removed the only barrier on the Harpeth River, a
lowhead dam, and eliminated a 1.7-mile-long impoundment in order to reconnect
36 miles of river and restore riffle/run aquatic habitat that is presently
submerged. The project was a collaboration between HRWA, the City of Franklin,
and the TN Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), with a total cost
of $870,000. With the removal of the lowhead dam, the entire river system is
now a free-flowing river, making the Harpeth one of only three rivers in
Tennessee to achieve this status.
in 2012, the SARP-nominated Harpeth River and the associated “Lowhead Dam
Removal and Stream Restoration Project” was recognized as a NFHP “Water to
Since that time, the project has continued to provide a variety of outstanding
ecological and community benefits.
I. Fishing/Recreational Opportunities
The project has made a
significant difference in promoting more angling and paddling opportunities to
– While this has historically been a popular fishing spot and location of the
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s (TWRA) annual trout stocking, use of the
Eastern Flank for fishing has increased.
TWRA trout stocking location map http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=863204a4d2334a80b223a61e498a97cf&extent=-93.7896,31.6695,-77.5628,38.9228
Habitat/Water Quality Improvements
The project has made a
significant and measurable difference to improving habitat and water quality.
Tennessee State Wildlife Action Plan notes a number of aquatic species of
concern in the Harpeth River, including multiple freshwater mussels and
darters. The Harpeth is one of three of
the last remaining rivers in Middle Tennessee with darter species that need
riffle/run habitat. The Harpeth and its
tributaries are known for smallmouth bass, and other sport fish as well.
The City of Franklin withdraws from the Harpeth for its drinking water
plant from the shallow impoundment behind the lowhead dam, constructed in
1963. The structure was removed as part
of modernizing its water withdrawal as a condition in its state 2007 Aquatic
Resource Alteration Permit (ARAP). This project’s design is based on Natural Channel Design methods replaced the 6.2-foot-high
lowhead dam with a low-profile, in-stream, double cross vane boulder structure
to restore the natural fish habitat in this area, and reestablished natural
river flows intended to increase dissolved oxygen levels in the river. The
new double cross vane restores the river’s water surface elevation to nearly
original levels, while maintaining the City of Franklin’s ability to withdrawal
The former lowhead dam created a 1.7-mile-long pool in the river that had inundated
natural riffle/run habitat. During the summer, oxygen levels were measured
significantly below state standards in the water behind the lowhead
dam. With only a trickle of water over the structure during the summer,
fish could not move upstream beyond the lowhead dam. In addition to the
fish passage barrier removal and enhanced connectivity, the restoration also
included stabilizing the eroding streambanks and revegetating the riparian zone
with native vegetation.
– The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency biologists also did pre and post-project
fish community studies in April 2011 and April 2015. According to the 2015 assessment,
“The physical aspects of the habitat restoration project appear to be very
successful. The new habitat was stable and connectivity for fish greatly
Link: Fish Community Assessment of the Harpeth
River Before and After a Habitat Restoration Project in Tennessee
quality – For several years, the HRWA has conducted dissolved oxygen (DO)
sampling. Prior to the lowhead dam removal DO concentrations were 2.0 mg/l in
the stagnant algal pool below the structure during the summer. Contributing
factors to these low DO levels included the lowhead dam and the City’s drinking
water withdrawal operations (prior to the ARAP water withdrawal permit) would
pump the river until the flow didn’t go over the dam during the day. The pumps
were turned off at night and the river’s flow would build up and then flow over
the structure. This was a common pumping
operation until Sept 2007.
recent DO studies conducted by the HRWA indicate increased DO and water quality
improvements. It is also possible that
the combination of the project and the ARAP water withdrawal permit that now
manages the City’s water withdrawals to maintain ecological flows has improved
the Harpeth’s summer conditions through Franklin. Benthic data collected by the
City of Franklin just upstream of the sewer plant discharge point every year
has shown an improvement in benthic macroinvertebrate scores.
There have there been
remarkable social benefits to the City of Franklin, Tennessee and the local
community as result of the project.
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. The City of
Franklin, TN is situated in Williamson County, one of the wealthiest counties
in the nation. While the exact economic benefits of the project have not been
quantified, it was very significant in changing the story on the river to the
city leadership. The City now celebrates the Harpeth River as a major
asset, along with its civil war history. Franklin’s success nationally has
been driven by the huge efforts on historic preservation and marketing.
With the removal of the lowhead dam by this project, the entire river system is
now free-flowing without barriers, making the Harpeth one of the few rivers in
Tennessee to achieve this status.
Link: Franklin’s Former Lowhead Dam Site
Is Now A River Access & Historic Battlefield Park
Since the removal of the lowhead dam and the implementation
of the restoration project, the Harpeth River has received positive state and
national recognition, including the following:
- The Department of Interior’snational recognition of the project as part of the President’s River’s
Environmental Stewardship http://www.harpethriver.org/programs///newwaterquality2/newwaterquality2/dam/the-harpeth-river-restoration-project-recognized-with-2013-governors-environmental-stewardship-award.829819
- TheHarpeth River Restoration Project Recognized with 2013 Governor’s
Weber River, Utah (2012)
Purpose of the project:
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
To facilitate the upstream movement of
fish from the lower Weber drainage upstream into the Strawberry Creek and
Gordon Creek drainages, project funds were used to design, engineer and
re-build the Strawberry Creek culvert, a step-pool complex and riffle
reconstruction in Gordon Creek to facilitate fish passage, and to build a
pool/weir fish passage at the mainstem Power Weber River diversion. This was the final phase of an existing project
intended to protect native fish and improve the water withdrawal efficiency for
the water companies. This project
advances a larger scale effort to remove additional barriers located upstream
to reconnect an additional 10 miles of mainstem river.
In 2008, Trout Unlimited and many project partners were
contacted by the water users on the Weber River at the mouth of Weber Canyon
near Ogden, UT. The water users were
faced with a challenge of maintaining their failing infrastructure on the Weber
River. By engaging the fish community,
the water users were able to leverage their resources to reconstruct their
diversion. Likewise, the fisheries
interests were able to incorporate fish passage and screening elements into the
project. Unfortunately the original
project, as designed in 2011, had serious flaws, which limited fish passage
only to moderate flows, and the screens experienced clogging. In 2012, with funding
from the two Fish Habitat Partnerships and the Utah Division of Wildlife
Resources, a design was developed to retrofit important high flow passage at
This project was funded with $79,500 in National Fish
Habitat Partnership funds, $79,500 National Fish Passage Program Funds, and
$115,000 non-federal funds for a total project cost of $274,000.
The project is a unique partnership of Federal funding
between the National Fish Passage Program and the NFHP Partnerships. Partners include: · U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Desert Fish Habitat Partnership · Western Native Trout Initiative · Trout Unlimited · Utah
Division of Wildlife Resources · Utah Department of Transportation
in August and December): WNTI and DFHP are in the process (May
25-27) of having a videographer video-tape the three project sites on the Weber
River, taking live shots of the two species, and collecting video-taped interviews
with various project collaborators. The video will be designed to be the
foundation for a Blueheads and
Bonnevilles outreach campaign that we are launching this summer to
celebrate the two species and the project work completed so far. This campaign
will help to raise public awareness and funding for additional work that still
needs to be done. AFWA/NFHP also contributed funds for the video project. The video will be completed by August 31,
White River, Vermont
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.
Rio Grande River, Texas
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.
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 silvery minnow was once one of the most abundant and widespread native fishes in the Rio Grande and Pecos Rivers. More recently, until reintroductions began in Big Bend, the fish had been confined to about seven percent of its historic range. Decline of the silvery minnow has been attributed to flow modifications, stream channelization, decreasing water quality, and interactions with non-native species. Projects that improve instream habitat, water quantity, and water quality in the Terlingua and Alamito Creek watersheds will contribute to persistence of Rio Grande silvery minnow and other imperiled fish species in the Big Bend region.
Because large portions of Rio Grande tributary watersheds, such as Terlingua and Alamito creeks, are privately owned, building partnerships between private landowners and conservation organizations is a critical component to restoring and conserving aquatic habitat in the region. Two of many aquatic habitat projects in the Big Bend region are in the Terlingua and Alamito Creek watersheds.
The Alamito Creek restoration project is one of DFHP’s 2012 priorities. Alamito Creek Preserve (The Preserve) contains a 3.5 mile section of scenic Alamito Creek that historically flowed much of the year. Perennial pools in this reach support populations of endemic fishes, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates, and a healthy riparian habitat. The Preserve and its segment of Alamito Creek are recognized by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) as meeting the criteria as an Ecologically Unique River and Stream Segment. The Preserve would like to restore natural, perennial creek flow by removing large areas of invasive mesquite which is the dominant upland vegetation in the watershed and is partially responsible for lowering the water table in an already arid habitat. Native grasses will be replanted to slow the rate of mesquite reinvasion and provide increased water quality via runoff catchment and erosion control. Feral hogs are abundant in The Preserve; their wallowing and rooting impacts water quality in perennial pools critical to the endemic aquatic species of Alamito Creek. The Trans Pecos Water and Land Trust will begin a feral hog removal program that will partner with a hunter safety program sponsored by TPWD.
In addition, another important aquatic habitat restoration project is occurring in the Terlingua Creek watershed. A large portion of a 276,000 acre ranch was deferred from grazing to restore native grasslands and riparian areas. Removal of mesquite and re-establishment of native grasses in riparian areas has increased spring recharge, improved instream and riparian habitat, and benefited endemic fish species.
Desert Fish Habitat Partnership
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Texas Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
National Park Service
US Geological Survey
US Bureau of Reclamation
US Army Corps of Engineers
US Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Agricultural Research Service
International Boundary and Water Commission
Comisión Internacional de Límites y Aguas
Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas
Departmento de Restauración Ecologia
Instituto Nacional Ecologia
Comisión Nacional del Agua
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Texas Water Development Board
Texas Department of Agriculture
Proyecto El Carmen, Maderas del Carmen
Alamito Creek Preserve
Davis Mountains Preserve
Big Bend Conservation Cooperative
Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute
El Carmen Land and Conservation Company, LLC
Chihuahuan Desert Resource Conservation & Development
The Nature Conservancy
Rio Grande Institute
World Wildlife Fund
Texas Farm Bureau
Trans Pecos Water and Land Trust
Sul Ross State University
University of Texas –Pan Am
Texas A & M University
Texas Tech University
University of New Mexico
Utah State University
Conner Creek, California
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.
The First project, at Conner Creek Road, has been completed and will be actively monitored for three years. The second project at Red Hill Road will begin July of 2012.
Northern California Resource Conservation and Development Council: Five Counties Salmonid Conservation Program
California Coastal Conservancy
California Department of Fish and Game Fisheries Restoration Grant Program
Trinity County Department of Transportation
National Association of Counties
United States Forest Service Resource Advisory Committee (RAC)
US Forest Service/National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
US Bureau of Reclamation-Trinity River Restoration Program Watershed Restoration Program LanMark Forestry
Boone River Watershed, Iowa
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.
2012 outcomes: In the spring (2012), the perimeter of restored White Fox Creek oxbow will be planted with native grasses. Fishers & Farmers has proposed this project for NFHP funding in 2012 for the restoration of additional oxbows.
Partners: Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IA DNR) Hamilton and Wright Soil and Water Conservation Districts Iowa Soybean Association Iowa State University Landowners The Nature Conservancy (TNC) US Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services (US FWS)
Bear Creek, Wisconsin
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.
Further enhancement of streambanks to restore natural stream flow over a 2-mile stretch.
Trout Unlimited (TU)
The Sauk County Land Conservation Department
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR)
USDA’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP)
US Fish and Wildlife Service (US FWS)