Aquatic habitat project completed on the East Branch Delaware River
The East Branch Boulder Cluster Project was an Environmental Benefit Project between the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).
The NYSDEC identified several stretches of the East Branch Delaware River (EBDR) which have, in recent history, had minimal diversity of instream habitat. In the summer of 2019, three high priority sites were selected between Downs Brook and Route 30 and twelve boulder clusters were installed at each site. Two of the project sites had an additional component that involved cleaning up and disposing of various fills and trash materials at NYSDOT facilities along the banks of the EBDR.
Boulder clusters are a cost-effective treatment used to improve instream habitat. 24″-36″ footer rocks are placed below the stream bed with top rocks placed against the footer rocks with a portion buried in the stream channel, and a portion sticking above the stream bed. These clusters of rocks create turbulent zones in the stream that will provide a localized scour hole. This localized scour hole is used as a resting place for fish. The gaps in the rocks create vortices that diffuse the sunlight and create cover. The installation of boulder clusters provides deep water microhabitat and places for trout and other aquatic organisms to feed, rest, hide, spawn and escape predators.
Kudos and a big THANK YOU to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the NYS Department of Transportation, and the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation District for their great work!
The East Branch Delaware River, below the NYC Drinking Water Supply Pepacton Dam, is home to one of the finest cold water wild and native trout fisheries in the country. Through the public education and organizing efforts of the Upper Delaware River Tailwaters Coalition (UDRTC), which includes Friends of the Upper Delaware River, Trout Unlimited, municipalities in Delaware and Broome County, NY, and small business owners in the area, a new awareness and a unified strategy has emerged about the ecological, recreational, and economic benefits of protecting water quality, wildlife, and aquatic habitat,
For the river,
Jeff Skelding, Executive Director