State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009NY118B
Title: Restoring access to American eel habitat in tributaries to the Hudson River Estuary: Identifying opportunities and implications for stream communities
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 12/31/2010
Congressional District: 22
Focus Categories: Conservation, Ecology, Water Use
Principal Investigators: O'Reilly, Catherine; Schmidt, Robert
Federal Funds: $ 0
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 23,493
Abstract: Populations of American eels (Anguilla rostrata) have been declining for several reasons, including loss of habitat (Haro et al. 2000). In the Hudson River estuary, access to upstream habitat is severely restricted by numerous small dams that act as barriers to many miles of viable habitat upstream. From our previous work on the Saw Kill, we know that eel ladders can provide effective passageway over barriers and increase access to upstream habitat. In order to continue effective restoration of the American eel population, we need to identify other tributaries that would be appropriate for restoration projects, which will require assessment of barriers, existing eel populations, and incoming glass eel migrations. We propose to work with high school and college students to assess 7 tributaries to the Hudson River to prioritize sites for restoration. Since re-introduction of eels to upstream habitats may have significant effects on macroinvertebrate and fish community composition we also propose to assess changes in the fish and macroinvertebrate population in the Saw Kill to determine the potential implications of eel restoration for upstream communities.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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