The Ausable River Association (AsRA) is using environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect and map fish in the New York portion of the Basin. The study will produce distribution maps for brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout in the Ausable River and Atlantic salmon in other New York rivers. The maps will help prioritize future stream habitat restoration projects and track progress of salmon restoration efforts. eDNA are DNA that are naturally shed into the environment via cell tissue loss, hair, scales, feces and reproductive cells. eDNA are useful for determining the presence or absence of species when traditional survey techniques don’t capture the organisms themselves.
The Franklin County Natural Resources District led an effort on behalf of a local landowner to remove the 125-foot-long Johnsons Mill Dam on the Bogue Branch in Bakersfield, Vermont. The dam impeded the movement of an abundant population of brook trout between the stream’s headwaters in the Cold Hollow Mountains and the Missisquoi River. The Nature Conservancy’s Vermont Dam Screening Tool assessed the dam as having “High” impact and reported that removing it would reconnect 23 stream miles (35.7 kilometers) of aquatic habitat. The dam had previously been partially breached, but stream flow velocity through the six-foot opening sometimes made fish passage difficult. Restoring the river to a free-flowing state also will help improve water quality and flood resilience.
Grant Category: Enhanced Best Management Practices
Friends of the Mad River (FMR) continues to expand its Storm Smart program for helping property owners protect roads and waterways. Launched in the Mad River Valley of Vermont in 2018, the program is expanding to the Winooski River watershed in partnership with the Winooski Natural Resource Conservation District and the Friends of the Winooski River. The program helps homeowners assess their property and implement practices that slow runoff, spread it across the landscape, and let it soak into the ground before it can cause erosion, degrade water quality, and destroy sensitive habitat.
Watch this Clean Water Commitment video to learn how Friends of the Mad River and other watershed organizations are helping to reduce runoff and pollution.
The Lake George Association (LGA) worked with a group of partners to replace an undersized culvert on Foster Brook in Huletts Landing, NY. In recent years, two catastrophic events (tropical storm Irene in 2011 and a beaver dam break) on Foster Brook caused significant erosion downstream of the culvert, which was worsened during storm events that followed. The new culvert helps to eliminate the firehose effect created by the smaller culvert that was there and allows the brook to flow more naturally. Efforts to stabilize the stream bank help to minimize erosion, which significantly reduces phosphorus loading entering Lake George. The wider bottomless culvert also improves stream habitat by making it easier for fish and other organisms to move past the road.
The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) and faculty from Castleton State University are developing lake-focused lesson plans and working with teachers to develop and provide curriculum instruction using a large-format map that measures 27′ x 35′. Museum educators are designing initial lessons using data and stories in the 2018 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators Report. Tangible, physically-active, place-based activities will connect geography and science with watershed stewardship. The goal is for students to make a connection to the watershed and view stewardship as their responsibility. LCMM is working with teachers through remote learning and will bring the map into schools and summer programs.
Watch the LCMM’s video about the Giant Map to learn more.