Reducing Erosion Could Benefit

A New York Trout Stream

Stabilizing eroding stream banks and improving fish passage in New York’s Clear Creek could improve the trout stream by reducing the amount of sediment washing into the waterway. The project is part of a growing effort to help New York reclaim its heritage as a state teeming with healthy trout streams.

Description

Brook trout historically lived in rivers and streams across New York, but their distribution and abundance were severely reduced by competition from other species, the loss of fish habitat, and the fragmentation of rivers.  In Clear Creek, excess stream channel erosion and sediment inputs, in-stream barriers, elevated water temperatures and competition from non-native fish species restricted brook trout to a few tributaries in the watershed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other organizations used a combination of approaches to restore 1,200 linear feet of in-stream habitat and re-establish fish passage over a sheet-pile grade control structure, which reconnected six miles of trout habitat in Clear Creek.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Stream bank erosion
  • Excessive sediment build up
  • Lack of in-stream habitat
  • Lack of trout habitat

Results and Accomplishments

The project begins to restore prime habitat in a section of stream where trout were once abundant by restoring natural stream function.The New York Department of Environmental Conservation maintains 5.5 miles of easement along Clear Creek, along the project site, to support recreational fishing. An additional 1,200 linear feet of habitat will be restored immediately downstream of the completed project during summer 2012.

CLEAR CREEK HABITAT RESTORATION

Clear creek in New York after restoration is lined with rocky habitat for fish.

Reducing stream bank erosion and installing rocky habitat has made the lower reaches of Clear Creek suitable for brook trout and rainbow trout. Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.