2017 “Waters to Watch” Highlight Partnership Priorities Across the U.S.

December 20th, 2017

(Washington, DC) - The National Fish Habitat Partnership (www.fishhabitat.org) has unveiled its list of “Waters to Watch” for 2017, a collection of rivers, streams, estuaries, lakes and watershed systems that will benefit from strategic conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition. These voluntary, locally-driven projects represent some of the top conservation activities in progress implemented by 20 regional Fish Habitat Partnerships throughout the country. These projects are carried out under the goals and objectives of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan (2012).

The conservation projects are designed to conserve freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats essential to the many fish and wildlife species that call these areas home. These examples of conservation have been fundamental to the overall success of the National Fish Habitat Partnership since 2006. Over time, these conservation efforts are reversing persistent declines in our nation’s aquatic habitats. Having featured over 100 partnership projects since 2007, these “Waters to Watch” are proving that science-based on-the-ground conservation efforts are truly making a difference in improving fish habitat across the United States.

“We are pleased to continue our Waters to Watch Campaign for the 11th year in 2017,” said Tom Champeau, Chair of the National Fish Habitat Board. “The “Waters to Watch” campaign is one of our best ways nationally to highlight the work of our 20 partnerships annually.” People interested in learning more about the National Fish Habitat Partnership and partner projects happening across the U.S. can find out more information on how to get involved on our Partnerships Page; http://www.fishhabitat.org/the-partnerships/. If individuals are interested in contributing to the work of the Fish Habitat Partnerships, Beyond the Pond, a 501(c)3 organization, was established to help build capacity for the 20 Fish Habitat Partnerships established across the country by providing an opportunity to connect with the private sector. Beyond the Pond, has launched a website and proactive communication platform to benefit the National Fish Habitat Partnership. More information can be found at http://beyondthepondusa.com.


The 2017 “Waters to Watch” list and associated Fish Habitat Partnerships:

Benbow Dam Removal, California
Project Submission, The California Fish Passage Forum
The second largest dam removal in California will eliminate a winter velocity barrier through a narrow fish passage slot in the dam (higher winter flows focus all flow through the slot for a distance of about 60 feet parallel to the thalweg). Coho salmon, Chinook salmon, steelhead/rainbow trout, and Pacific lamprey would benefit from the project, and 100 miles of stream will be opened as a result of the project. http://bit.ly/2kjVKwi

Boundary Creek, Oregon
Project Submission, The Western Native Trout Initiative
This project will improve fish passage and riverine connectivity in the Granite Creek Watershed which is a high priority watershed located in Eastern Oregon. The project targets 3 specific sites on Boundary and Corral Creeks, which are located east of the rural town of Granite in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. These streams are critical spawning and rearing habitat for Endangered Species Act designated threatened Bull Trout. http://bit.ly/2CHB0oZ

Crane Lake, Minnesota
Project Submission, The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership
The Midwest Glacial Lakes Partnership is proposing to replace an undersized and perched culvert at the outlet from Crane Lake with one that is more appropriately-sized, creating connectivity from waterbodies downstream. Crane Lake currently has lower populations than downstream lakes of migratory fish species such as walleye, white sucker, and numerous minnow species including the weed shiner, a species of greatest conservation need, which is listed in Minnesota’s State Wildlife Action Plan. We expect that the project will increase fish community resiliency. http://bit.ly/2B429Ss

Newport Bay, California
Project Submission, The Pacific Marine and Estuarine Partnership
The overall goals of this project are to return historically present (but currently depleted) species to the area, enhance habitat quality and connectivity for fish and wildlife, improve water quality, control erosion, and help adapt to sea level rise. The Pacific Marine and Estuarine Partnership funding will help to integrate native Olympia oyster habitat restoration into a larger multi-species restoration project in Upper Newport Bay in Southern California. The project has added 240 square meters of oyster habitat and 1,280 square meters of eelgrass habitat. http://bit.ly/2yYj4V3

Roosevelt Lake, Arizona
Project Submission, The Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership
Roosevelt Lake is the upper-most reservoir of a four-reservoir chain in the Salt River watershed. Roosevelt Lake is the largest and is formed by Theodore Roosevelt Dam constructed in 1911 by the Bureau of Reclamation. Roosevelt Lake is located on the Tonto National Forest (TNF) in central Arizona almost entirely within Gila County. http://bit.ly/2kPq15o

Shelikof Creek, Alaska
Project Submission, The Southeast Alaska Fish Habitat Partnership
The Iris Meadows watershed is located on Kruzof Island near Sitka in southeast Alaska. Shelikof Creek, a tributary to Iris Creek, is the largest river on the island. The watershed supports three species of anadromous salmon – Coho, pink, and chum; as well as resident and anadromous forms of coastal cutthroat and rainbow/steelhead trout, and Dolly Varden char. http://bit.ly/2D88eiu

Tincup Creek, Idaho
Project Submission, The Desert Fish Habitat Partnership and Western Native Trout Initiative
The Tincup Creek Stream Restoration project will improve riparian conditions and habitat for a full assemblage of native fishes such as Longnose and Speckled dace, Sculpin, Redside shiners, Mountain suckers, the rare Northern Leatherside chub, and Yellowstone Cutthroat trout. In addition, at least three other aquatic or semiaquatic species of interest are present including a native pilose crayfish, western pearl shell mussel, and a unique clade of boreal toads. These are all native species with a special management emphasis. Because of the assemblage of these native species, and the degraded yet recoverable nature of the system, Trout Unlimited (TU) and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest (CTNF) have chosen to focus their efforts here. http://bit.ly/2CGXqqs

For more information on project maps and descriptions of the “Waters to Watch” list for 2017, Visit: http://bit.ly/2oOD9gp

Visit the Waters to Watch Homepage to view our archived projects: http://bit.ly/1HeYzWj

Visit http://assessment.fishhabitat.org/, to use our interactive habitat data mapper, supported by USGS.