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GLIN==> Giving Fish a New Passage to Old Habitat, Spawning Grounds

--------------- cc:Mail Forwarded ---------------
From:     NEWS@fws.gov AT FWS
Date:     03/06/2000 08:09 AM
To:       fws-news@www.fws.gov AT FWS
Subject:  Giving Fish a New Passage to Old Habitat, Spawning Grounds

March 3, 2000                                Ken Burton


To avoid ghosts, Sarah Winchester is said to have followed her
medium's advice and kept
carpenters working on her San Jose, California, home 24 hours a
day for 38 years.  She left
behind one of the most confounding mansions in America, a house
on 161 acres that remains a
museum of mazes, blocked doorways and stairways to nowhere.

Dozens of species of fish in the United States have faced a
situation that for decades has been
every bit as daunting.  No mediums were involved   instead,
fish became victims of the
industrial revolution as dam after dam fragmented habitat and
cut them off from their essential
habitats and spawning grounds.  In fact, they faced baffling
blockages not unlike those at the
Winchester House.  Unlike the slightly adled Sarah Winchester, however,
fish faced life or death.

Now, more than 100 years after the advent of the industrial
revolution and the hundreds of
mostly small dams that were thrown up on almost every river in
the United States to help
generate power for American factories, those old obstacles are being

"Restoring fish passageways is one of the most effective things
we can do to increase fish
populations, and we've made some impressive progress," said
Cathleen Short, Chief of the
Fisheries Division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"We've really only just begun," said Short.  "Whether we take
out old dams altogether or help
notch dams or build passages around them, we're helping a
species of fish make its own

Approximately 75,000 dams that are 6 feet, or higher, and some
2.5 million smaller obstructions
now block or impede fish passage in the nation's waterways and
is a principal reason for
dramatic declines of  migratory fish.  Larvae, juvenile and
adult fish are often unable to reach
spawning or rearing grounds.

"There may be few programs that have enjoyed such a wide
cross-section of support," said
Hannibal Bolton, Chief of the Fisheries Division's Fish and
Wildlife Management Assistance
branch.  "We helped to build a new fish passageway on the James
River in Richmond that
involved more than two dozen federal, state and local agencies
and civic organizations.  When
you have that many people in agreement from that kind of
cross-section, you know you're on to

In 2000, the Service has $900,000 to pump into fish passage
projects in seven watersheds in 12
states, removing four dams and other impediments and restoring
access to more than 1,000 miles
of habitat for fish and other aquatic species.

More than 17 commercially and recreationally important species
such as salmonids,  American
shad, river herring and sturgeon as well as four species
already on the Endangered Species list
will benefit, and the projects also hold the promise of helping to avoid
listing other species.

Last year, the program completed restoration projects in 14
states, including those designed to
help the watershed work of more than 50 partners.   Some 23,000
acres of riparian, streambank
and wetland habitats were restored and 1,000 miles of river
were improved or reopened to
spawning and rearing habitat.  At least 50 species of fish and
wildlife benefitted, including 10
listed fish and freshwater mussels.

Next year, the program target is to restore 32,000 acres of
wetland and riparian habitat and
another 1,000 miles of stream habitat; 13 listed species and 17
recreational species of fish will
benefit from that work.

Passageway efforts are directed by the Service's Fishery
Resources Offices nationwide, where
agency biologists work with local residents to identify fish
barriers, design solutions and
complete improvements in cooperation with a wide array of
partners, assess fish populations and
monitor results and implement riparian and in-stream habitat restoration

"This program gives us an unparalleled opportunity to improve
fish populations in a very direct,
beneficial way," said Bolton.  "Some states already have joined
in this effort with their own
aggressive programs.  We look forward to working with dozens of
new partners across the
country in the months and years ahead."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal
agency responsible for conserving,
protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their
habitats for the continuing benefit of
the American people.  The Service manages the 93-million-acre
National Wildlife Refuge
System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges,
thousands of  small wetlands, and
other special management areas.  It also operates 66 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife
management assistance offices and 78 ecological services field
stations.  The agency enforces
Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act,
manages migratory bird
populations, restores nationally significant fisheries,
conserves and restores wildlife habitat such
as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their
conservation efforts. It also oversees the
Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of
dollars in excise taxes on fishing
and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

                              -FWS-                  Planned
Passageway Programs

Middle Satstop Road Culvert  Replacement,  Mason/Greys Harbor
County, WA - Culvert replacement
     will open 2.5 miles of spawning habitat for coho salmon
and sea-run cutthroat.  Successful
     spawning and rearing will aid in the recovery of these species.
Little Susitna River Culvert Replacement, Anchorage, AK - This
project will replace unpassable
     culverts, opening the river to coho salmon spawning and
rearing areas.  Increased spawning and
     rearing area will enhance the fish population of this important coho
salmon river.
Gulf of Mexico Enhancement of Marine Organisms, Anahuac
National Wildlife Refuge, TX - Three
     water control structures on the Refuge will be retrofitted
to allow movement of fish and other
     marine animals into a 2000 acre brackish marsh from the Gulf of
San Juan River Weir Passage, NM - A weir spans the entire San
Juan River partially blocking access by
     resident fish including the endangered Colorado pikeminnow
and the razorback sucker.  Fifty
     miles of river for spawning, rearing habitat will be
opened.  Partners include: State of New
     Mexico, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Public Service of New Mexico.
Rio Grande, San Acacia Diversion Fish Passage, NM - The San
Acacia Diversion dam de-waters the
     Rio Grande, stranding large numbers of the endangered Rio
Grande silvery minnow and other
     species.  The project will fund final design to allow the
silvery minnow to reach perennial habitat
     upstream of the dam.
Gulf of Mexico, National Wildlife Refuges Bayou Flow
Improvement, TX -  Channelization, leveeing
     and other water control structures have stopped the use of
these wetland by fish and other marine
     animals.  Water control structures on 4 Refuges will be
retrofitted to allow access to about
     10,000 acres of marsh.
Missouri River Tributary Passage Project, MO, IA, KS, and NE -
The Missouri River's severely
     altered habitat has negatively impacted many of its fish
species.  Tributaries provide important
     refuge areas.  Some of these tributaries are blocked by
low head dams or weirs. Fish passage
     structures will be built to benefit pallid sturgeon, paddlefish,
sicklefin, and sturgeon chubs.
Cape Fear Locks and Dams, NC - The Army Corps of Engineers will
conduct a cost benefit study to
     determine if these structures are worth maintaining or
should be removed.  When removed, 132
     miles of Cape Fear River and 2,000 miles of tributaries
will be opened to anadromous and other
     native fish.
Swepsonville Dam, NC - Breeching or removal of the dam will
open 11 miles of Haw River habitat, plus
     247 miles of tributaries for the endangered Cape Fear shiner and other
Culvert modification on Rogue Harbor Branch, Patuxent River, MD
-  In partnership with Maryland
     DNR and the Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge four
culverts will be modified. America eel,
     blue back herring and alewives will benefit by having
access to additional spawning and rearing
Fish Passage on Vinton Dam, Podunk River, CT -  Blueback
herring and alewives are important part of
     the fresh and salt water food chain.  A fish ladder will
be built on the Vinton Dam providing
     these fish an additional 20 acres of important spawning and nursery
Yellowstone & Tongue River, MT - The federally listed pallid
sturgeon will benefit from irrigation

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