TU improving habitat in New Hampshire's Lakes Region

By Joel DeStasio

During the 2019 summer field season, Trout Unlimited field staff completed strategic wood addition habitat restoration work on Gunstock River and its unnamed tributary in Gilford, N.H.  

This project was initiated by the Belknap County Conservation District with the assistance of grants provided by The New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts and the New Hampshire Conservation & Heritage License Plate Program (Moose Plate)

The 2.2-mile project reach is in the headwaters of Gunstock River, a 6.4-mile river rising west of Belknap Mountain State Forest and flowing north through a steep ravine before entering Lake Winnipesaukee at Sanders Bay.

The goal of this project was to enhance aquatic habitat for eastern brook trout and other native fish species.  

Crews work to install large wood habitat in the Gunstock River in New Hampshire.

This goal was achieved by increasing the hydraulic and morphologic complexity of the stream channel with the strategic addition of large-wood structures. Constructed in-stream large-wood structures have the ability to control flow energy expenditure, sediment transport, and channel morphology, creating greater habitat diversity.  

Along this project reach of Gunstock River, a total of 101 instream large-wood structures were installed. To accomplish this project, Trout Unlimited employed a field team of six crew members, consisting of two sawyers and four field technicians. This group was divided into two individual teams.  

This project continued a three-year in-stream habitat effort taking place throughout the lake’s region of New Hampshire. To date, over five miles of in-stream habitat restoration work has been completed with additional in-stream work planned for the upcoming 2020 field season.