Don Graham Brook Trout Habitat Improvement Project

Spearheaded by the Canandaigua Lake Chapter of TU, TU volunteers have completed the latest phase of a multi-phase plan to re-vegetate an important reach of the Cohocton River. The project site is located between Cohocton and Avoca near the Finger Lakes of New York.

Al Kraus, the conservation chair of the Canandaigua Lake TU Chapter and project lead on the Don Graham Project, explains, "On the 5th and 6th of October we planted about 440 trees; part going to the Don Graham Project and part to the Cohocton River Shade Enhancement Project.  Combining what we completed in May, with what we completed in October, during 2013 we planted trees along almost two miles of the Cohocton River." The Cohocton Valley Chapter of TU is also an important partner in the project.

Working with Region 8 New York State Department of Environmental Protection, TU chose the project area because it has one of the highest densities of native brook trout in the Cohocton River watershed.  Although conditions are favorable for brook trout in this area, the southern side of the river does not have any vegetation to shade and help keep water temperature favorable during the heat of the summer. The lack of trees on the southern side of the river also leads to excessive erosion and sedimentation during high water periods.

In addition to the native trees planted on the site, boulder clusters were installed by the Steuben County Soil and Water Conservation District to improve and diversify in-stream habitat for the native trout. Krause explains that, “The boulders seem to make an immediate improvement in this stretch of the river.  The clusters immediately created a lot of eddies - holding, hiding and shaded spots within the river.  It was not long after we placed the boulders that we started to see fish rising around them.”

The Millennium Stream Improvement Fund financed this project. Interested in learning more about the Millennium Stream Improvement Project? Check out http://www.tu.org/tu-projects/catskill-stream-improvement. (Photo Al Krause)

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