FY2024 Projects Submitted to Secretary of Interior

We happy to announce that seven FY2024 grants from Friends of Reservoirs members were submitted as part of the package to the Secretary of Interior!

  • Expansion of North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's native aquatic plant program (NC)
  • Stop the Squeeze: utilizing hypolimnetic oxygenation to improve sport fish habitat, water quality, climate adaptation, and economic opportunity for Island Park Reservoir and the Henry's Fork of the Snake River, Idaho (ID)
  • Lake Red Rock Fish Habitat Enhancement Project (IA)
  • Establishment of aquatic vegetation at Banner Creek Reservoir (KS)
  • Rend Lake Native Habitat Improvement and Shoreline Erosion Prevention (IL)
  • F. J. Sayers Lake Shoreline Enhancement Project (PA)
  • Mark Twain Lake Fisheries Habitat Development Project (MO)
Expansion of North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s native aquatic plant program

Aquatic plants can play a major role as a food source for aquatic invertebrates as well as juvenile and adult fish habitat Aquatic plants can improve water clarity and quality and can reduce rates of shoreline erosion, sediment resuspension and help prevent spread of nuisance exotic plants. Ageing reservoirs begin to lose a significant portion of their aquatic habitat due to siltation, eroding banks, decaying of large wood debris and poor water quality. This loss can affect the quality of the fishery, which could have detrimental economic impacts. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission) has been establishing native aquatic vegetation in reservoirs for decades. In 2018, a smallscale aquatic plant nursery was constructed at our facility in Mebane, NC to address increasing demand. While this nursery has expanded our capabilities, we are currently limited to a production capacity of 3,500 plants annually, and we have limited capabilities to overwinter plants or maintain self-sustaining on-site sources of various plant species. The construction of a larger facility will increase plant production capability as well as provide a better capability to overwinter plants and create sustainable on-sites sources of material. An expanded nursery will also provide more space for aquatic plant research that will be used to increase the overall effectiveness of our in-reservoir habitat enhancement projects.

Stop the Squeeze: utilizing hypolimnetic oxygenation to improve sport fish habitat, water quality, climate adaptation, and economic opportunity for Island Park Reservoir and the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River, Idaho

Develop a hypolimnetic oxygenation design plan to oxygenate the Island Park Reservoir hypolimnion to 6 mg/L. Project goal is to permanently eliminate the drawdown-driven oxythermal habitat squeeze by designing, evaluating, and installing a hypolimnetic oxygenation system. A shovel-ready plan allows leveraging up to $3 million in USBR WaterSmart grants available through the Infrastructure and Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act.

Lake Red Rock Fish Habitat Enhancement Project

Lake Red Rock is the largest lake in Iowa with a surface area of 15,250 acres at conservation pool. The lake lacks adequate littoral structure. The project will increase structural habitat, improve angler opportunities and enhance the quality of the fishery in Lake Red Rock. The project will provide quality structural habitat for natural spawning, nursery locations for young fish, congregation areas for forage fish and feeding opportunities for predator fish. The project will place 42 Mossback Essential Shallow Water Bundles, 20 Mossback Essential Deep Water Bundles, 22 Mossback Basic Shoreline Bundles, 14 Mossback Mega Reef structures. In addition, there will be placement of 30 Cedar Trees Adjacent to the newly treated USACE shoreline riprap stabilization project.

Establishment of aquatic vegetation at Banner Creek Reservoir

Currently, Banner Creek Reservoir’s nearly eight miles of shoreline are mostly devoid of aquatic vegetation with the exception of sparse pockets of water willow and patches of American lotus in in the shallow areas of western third of the reservoir. As such, much of the lake’s shorelines are left exposed to erosion caused by wind and waves. This project involves construction of a greenhouse structure for the purpose of double cropping propagated native aquatic vegetation for transplantation in Banner Creek Reservoir. The establishment of aquatic vegetation at Banner Creek Reservoir would improve the impoundment water quality and fishery by securing shorelines and shallow areas, limiting nutrient availability to harmful algal blooms, and providing refuge and foraging grounds for popular sport fish species.

Rend Lake Native Habitat Improvement and Shoreline Erosion Prevention

Rend Lake has a surface area of 20,633 acres, a maximum depth of 35 feet, and a mean depth of 10 feet. The lake is thirteen miles long and three miles wide and has 162 miles of shoreline. It is the second largest impoundment in Illinoi This project is proposed to create biological habitat, inhibit shoreline erosion on highly eroded areas, inhibit mobilization of sediment and nutrients, and reintroduce native plants to an area invaded by common reed. The benefits expected include: increased complexity and diversity of habitat for fish and other wildlife, decreased turbidity, siltation and nutrient loading for improved water quality, increase of native plant species, and the protection of infrastructure necessary for the outdoor recreators to Rend Lake and its surrounding communities. This will promote increased density of priority game fishes and other desirable organisms for greater quality of experiences for anglers, campers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. This improvement project will also increase tourism dollars spent in the surrounding communities.

F.J. Sayers Lake Shoreline Enhancement Project

F.J. Sayers Lake located in central Pennsylvania is a popular fishing destination and at one time had the second most application for bass tournaments. The lake hosts over 500,00 visitors to the park generating over $18 million revenue to the local community. The lake was constructed in the late 60s for flood control by the US Army Corps of Engineers and has an annual winter drawdown of 20'. Drawdown and reservoir aging are extremely detrimental to the fishery. Lack of aquatic habitat is the limiting factor. The lake and region in general has been impacted by storm events, climate change, and urbanization which fluctuates lake and stream levels. Native aquatic plants are usually frozen out during winter and ice crushes all artificial and natural habitat in the 5'-20' water column. We feel that planting trees as part of the riparian buffer plantings and shoreline enhancement structures should help protect and prevent issues from climate change. The objective of this project is to stabilize shorelines at F.J. Sayers Lake by creating stone deflectors at specific locations. The plan is to create 103 stone framed deflectors at several sites. Project partners will create riparian buffer plantings and access points where practicable. The partners will continue volunteer scale efforts at the lake and plan to add an additional 1600 rock rubble reef, 300 short vertical plank structures, and 180 channel catfish boxes.

Mark Twain Lake Fisheries Habitat Development Project

Mark Twain Lake, built in 1984, is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project authorized for flood risk management in the Salt River Basin, hydroelectric power generation, water supply, fish and wildlife conservation, recreation, and incidental navigation support to the Mississippi River system. At normal pool, the reservoir provides 18,600 acres of warm water fisheries habitat. The reservoir has progressed through the natural maturation process associated with man made impoundments. The standing timber is deteriorating, and the underwater structure it creates is diminishing. This results in impacts to aquatic invertebrate populations, species recruitment, and protective habitat. The project will place 100 4'x4'x4' MTL Fish Cubes, 150 Spider Blocks, and 150 Porcupine Cribs in the basin of the reservoir based on strategic habitat requirements. 63 reservoir acres will be addressed with this project. This proposal is on a small, but impactful scale, address the loss of structural habitat, create appealing shoreline access to the management unit, and encourage increased recreational angling opportunities.

The official letter below was sent from the National Fish Habitat Partnership Board to the Secretary:

Please let us know if you have any questions about these projects or your own. More information about each project will be posted soon.