WESTFIELD - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District, in coordination with the Village of Westfield and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), held a ground breaking ceremony at the Chautauqua Creek fish passage project site.
The purpose of the Great Lakes Fishery and Ecosystem Restoration (GLFER) project is to provide fish access to approximately 10 miles of high quality spawning areas in the upper portion of Chautauqua Creek and restore fishery populations using dam removal measures.
"DEC is pleased to partner with the Corps of Engineers, the Village of Westfield, and the GLFER program to restore fish passage back to Chautauqua Creek," said DEC Regional Fisheries Manager Mike Clancy. "This collaborative project will restore connectivity and improve local fish populations by enabling fish to access high quality spawning habitat in the upper reaches of the stream."
Pictured is the Chautauqua Creek Team.
This is Buffalo District's first GLFER project to be constructed and will restore fish habitat in this valuable natural resource. Buffalo District Commander Lt. Col. Stephen H. Bales said, "The Corps of Engineers is responsible for constructing waterway projects that benefit and serve the local communities, region, and the Nation. One fifth of the world's fresh water is right here in the Great Lakes and its tributaries. Restoring the ecosystem in this creek will provide benefits to this community as well as the Lake Erie environment."
The purpose of the GLFER program is to provide non-Federal partners with planning, engineering, and construction support in the development of fishery and ecosystem restoration projects.
"We feel honored that Westfield is the first Buffalo District GLFER project. When completed, this project will significantly extend the migration and spawning area of steelhead trout and other important species," said Westfield Mayor Dave Carr.
Construction will and continue through August 2012. "The Village of Westfield is excited that this important project is under way," said Carr.
The project will include creating a notch in the lower dam to support fish passage and constructing a rock ramp at the upper dam. The Corps of Engineers also designed a sea lamprey barrier as part of the project. Although, it is expected that the barrier will not have to be used, the Corps included measures to prevent upstream migration of the invasive lamprey. The Chautauqua Creek fish passage project also contributes to the goals outlined by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in a Great Lakes basin-wide management plan.
"I would like to thank everyone involved for the excellent inter-department cooperation and look forward to the many positive impacts this project will have on our community and our region," Carr concluded.
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