Back River Bridge Oyster Restoration Project, Brunswick, Georgia
Oysters serve as natural breakwaters to protect the coast from erosion, improve water quality, and are a keystone species responsible for providing a habitat for many fishes and invertebrates throughout different stages in their life cycle. In Georgia, estuarine waters are substrate limited, not spat-limited, and keeping materials exposed for recruitment is challenging due to the state’s extreme tidal amplitude and tremendous sediment input from river systems. For this project, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Coastal Conservation Association of Georgia, will deploy 0.088 acres of low relief cultch materials mimicking natural shorelines in order to promote oyster spat recruitment. When completed, the project will increase recreational fishing opportunities, stabilize shorelines, engage citizens, and support state and regional partnerships. The Back River Bridge oyster restoration project will create Essential Fish Habitat for species such as red drum, spotted sea trout, and sheepshead.
Photo and content provided by Georgia DNR
Wynants Kill Barrier Removal in Troy, New York
Over eight decades ago, the Wynants Kill tributary was disconnected from the Hudson River by shoreline-related industrial development. Together, the City of Troy, Hudson Riverkeeper, New York State Water Resources Institute at Cornell University, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Hudson River Estuary Program worked to remove a taintor gate at the head of tide on the Wynants Kill. The barrier removal reconnected the Hudson mainstem to over 500 meters of riverine habitat for species such as river herring, American eel, resident white suckers, and yellow perch. Only five days after the project was completed, river herring were found upstream of the removed barrier, and subsequent egg surveys have shown that spawning is occurring in the tributary as well.
This project will improve water quality, sediment loads, and stream hydrology, and also reduce the risk of flooding due to barrier failure in high flow conditions. To read more about this project and the work that the New York State Water Resources Institute is carrying out, visit their website. For a video of river herring traveling through the Wynants Kill, visit this YouTube site. For more information, please contact Andrew Meyer.
Photo and content provided by Andrew Meyer, NYSDEC
Restore It and They Will Come: River Herring in the West River, Connecticut
A partnership between the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the New Haven Land Trust, and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound, the proposed project seeks to remove the Pond Lily Dam, restoring upstream habitat and providing benefits for river herring, as well as American eel. The project would address ACFHP priority habitat and protection and restoration objectives.
The Pond Lily Dam is a physical barrier limiting the recovery and sustainability of river herring on the West River in New Haven, Connecticut, which is in the Long Island Sound watershed. The proposed project would expand riverine migratory corridor habitat and spawning grounds for river herring -specifically, 2.6 miles of the West River and 76 acres of Konold’s Pond – helping to restore their numbers in Long Island Sound and the Atlantic. Removing the dam will also increase velocities in the historic impoundment and decrease water temperature, thereby increasing oxygen levels. It will restore the river to a more natural condition, improve upstream water quality, and enhance the riparian habitat.
Text and photo provided by the Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound. Photo: Pond Lily Dam.
North River Farms Tidal Marsh Restoration, North Carolina
A diverse partnership between the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the North Carolina Coastal Federation, North Carolina State University, Duke University, and a local hunting club, the proposed project seeks to create seven acres of salt marsh and 2,500 feet of tidal creek in Carteret County, North Carolina. The project would address ACFHP priority habitat and multiple protection and restoration objectives.
The proposed work is part of a larger restoration project, which involves removing farm land from cultivation and placing it under perpetual conservation easement, and restoring hydrology and habitat. Removing the area from farming will rehydrate the soils and connect the tidal creek and marsh to the original shorelines of Williston Creek and North River. Restoring the hydrology on the farm removes the main source of bacterial contamination, nutrients and sedimentation from historically rich shellfishing beds and creates vital estuarine habitat. The proposed habitat restoration would improve water quality in Williston Creek and the North River by eliminating agricultural drainage into the waters and treating a portion of the agricultural drainage from an adjoining farm.
Text and photo provided by the NC Coastal Federation. Image: North River Farms Restoration Site.
Dam Removal and Habitat Restoration on the Exeter/ Squamscott River, New Hampshire
A partnership between the Town of Exeter, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, and the University of New Hampshire, this project seeks to remove the Great Dam and restore habitat on the Exeter/Squamscott River. The proposed project addresses one of ACFHP’s North Atlantic Subregional Priority Habitats, riverine bottom, and several of its fish habitat protection and restoration objectives.
The dam removal component of the project would provide eight miles of free-flowing river, eliminate a barrier to fish, improve habitat, improve water quality, and provide for natural sediment movement through the system. The habitat restoration component of the project would involve removing vegetation and woody material, improving access to potential spawning habitat. It would also involve removing a gravel shoal that exposes both rainbow smelt and river herring eggs during low tide, which will increase viable spawning habitat by approximately 20,000 square feet and maintain a minimum flow of water over the eggs.
Text and photo provided by the Town of Exeter. Photo: Exposed smelt eggs on shoal in Squamscott River.
Culvert Replacement on Longbranch Creek, South Carolina
Led by the City of Charleston, this project seeks to replace undersized pipes present on the Longbranch Creek, under the West Ashley Greenway, with wider box culverts, stabilize causeway shorelines immediately adjacent to the new work, and enhance or stabilize upstream shorelines, as needed. The proposed project addresses two of ACFHP’s South Atlantic Subregional Priority Habitats, marine and estuarine shellfish beds and tidal vegetation, as well as several of its fish habitat protection and restoration objectives.
This project will result in increased tidal flow to approximately half of the overall Creek area. The wider culverts will allow for improved fish passage through reduced velocity, which should also reduce the scouring action that is evident on the upstream side of the causeway. Improved tidal flow, combined with site-specific enhancements, will result in an increase in the vitality of the existing marsh area and oyster reef habitat while encouraging the establishment of new habitat. Use of box culverts at the Greenway instead of multiple pipes will also provide a limited recreational benefit for small watercraft by allowing tidally-influenced access to the Creek beyond the Greenway.
Photo and project text provided by the City of Charleston Parks Department. Photo: Longbranch Creek high velocity flow.
South Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Assessment and Tool
In June 2012, ACFHP issued an endorsement for the South Atlantic Aquatic Connectivity Assessment and Tool, led jointly by The Nature Conservancy, the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP), and the University of Georgia (UGA). The project proposes to develop a spatially explicit estimate of small (and large) barriers in the South Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative and use them to conduct an assessment of aquatic connectivity. This project will build on the The Nature Conservancy’s Northeast Aquatic Connectivity and Chesapeake Fish Passage Prioritization projects, SARP’s recent Flow Alteration work, and UGA’s barrier inventory work and will be a major advancement towards a consistent assessment of aquatic connectivity across the entire eastern seaboard. ACFHP views this project as an important precursor and first step towards achieving several objectives noted in its Conservation Strategic Plan, and will serve as a beneficial tool for future decision making. For more information on this project, please contact Erik Martin.
Image: GIS illustration of a stream with barrier / The Nature Conservancy
Alewife Outreach and Education
In May 2012, ACFHP issued an endorsement for the education and outreach components of a proposed Alewife Outreach, Research, and Education project, led by Sea Research Foundation, Inc. The overall purpose of the proposed project is to establish a partnership among Sea Research Foundation, the Tributary Mill Conservancy, Inc. and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to increase public awareness of Connecticut’s declining alewife (A. pseudoharengus) populations, the role that river herring play in freshwater ecosystems, and how individuals can support current alewife conservation programs. By conducting workshops at the Tributary Mill Conservancy and Sea Research Foundation’s Mystic Aquarium and establishing a permanent Aquarium exhibit on the work, the project will engage the public in conservation work being accomplished through this collaboration and cultivate a new generation of environmental stewards who will protect, conserve, and advocate for Long Island Sound. For more information on this project, please contact Tracy Romano.
Image: Alewife in Nemasket River, MA / Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Restoration Center, Jim Turek
Grassy Flats Estuarine Habitat Restoration Project
In May 2012, ACFHP issued an endorsement for the proposed Grassy Flats Estuarine Habitat Restoration Project. A collaborative effort among six partners, the Grassy Flats project will cap approximately 30,000 cubic yards of muck sediments at the main source of sedimentation in the Lake Worth Lagoon and enhance/restore 19.5 acres of Subregional Priority Habitats, including 18.8 acres of seagrass and 0.61 acre of mangrove wetlands. To provide structural complexity and ecological diversity, 1.5 acres of salt marsh, 0.51 acre of tidal flat habitat, and 0.93 acre of oyster/artificial reef habitat will also be provided. The project supports the restoration objectives of the ACFHP by restoring Subregional Priority Habitats and providing long-term water quality benefits to the Lake Worth Lagoon. For more information on this project, please contact Erin McDevitt or Julie Mitchell.
Image: Location of Lake Worth Lagoon Palm Beach County, Florida / Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Eelgrass Conservation Moorings Demonstration Project
In May 2010, ACFHP issued its first project endorsement. The project endorsed, entitled Eelgrass Conservation Moorings Demonstration Project is located in Tisbury, MA and involves state, Federal, local, NGO and industry partners. This demonstration project involves replacing traditional chain and block-anchor mooring systems with new mooring technology and monitoring to determine whether such technology allows eelgrass to reestablish itself in areas previously scoured by traditional moorings. For more information on this project please contact Chris Boelke.
Looking for a letter of endorsement from ACFHP?
Find application and guidance materials here.