Entry ID410
Friends of Reservoirs Member/Group Sponsoring the ProjectFriends for Youghiogheny River Lake
Project Leader Contact InformationDonna Graham
Phone(724) 329-0397
EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
AddressPO Box 83
Addison, Pennsylvania 15411
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Project Information
Reservoir NameYoughiogheny River Lake
Google Maps Locationgoogle.com
Please describe the project objective(s).

The Mossback Fish Habitat project objectives include the following: improve partner relationships, encourage new partnerships, provide fish with a surplus of habitat, give fish cover from predators, create a place for fish to spawn, attract fisherman to new areas on the lake, and educate the local community. Our first objective is to improve the relationship we have with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). USACE runs and operates Youghiogheny River Lake and as the Friends of Youghiogheny Lake we are looking to help them meet their missions. Environmental Stewardship is one of the lakes top priorities and with that creating more habitat for fish would be extremely beneficial to accomplish that mission. With our help we can assist them with continuing the growth of their fish habitat program. We also want to encourage new partnerships to form with this project. We have brought Yough Walleye Association on board along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the PA Fish and Boat Commission. This effort is forming new relationships between ourselves, other agencies, and groups supporting the lake. The Yough Walleye Association is helping us by providing labor and funds for new few habitat. Both the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pa Fish and Boat Commission are coming together to help us plan where the habitat will be placed within Yough Lake. Another important objective is to ultimately give the fish more habitat. The lake is vary barren underneath the surface. Every year the lake drops about 40 feet to get to winter pool level in order to prepare for the snow and ice melt along with spring rain. When the lake level is down you are able to see that the only thing covering the lake bed is fish habitat the rangers and other partners have installed. Cover is very important for fish to sustain life. There is no cover in the deeper sections of the lake which is an area we need to direct our next efforts towards. Walleye in particular are one of many species of fish that are cold water dwelling fish. While they may come closer to the surface to find food they prefer staying within the deeper sections of the lake. Habitat at greater depths will greatly improve the likelihood that the Walleye fingerlings will survive when they are stocked in the lake. Along with the lack of cover in the lake that also mean we have less of an area for fish to spawn and reproduce. Fish habitat structures have become prime locations for fish to spawn. They provide protection from predators when fish lay eggs. When the babies are born they will also have more small spaces to hide to stay protected from larger fish. Fish habitat structures will not only attract more fish, but also, attract more fisherman. Fisherman are always looking for new places to fish around the lake. In order to support our fisherman we want to give them new areas to fish and encourage new people to come fish throughout the lake. We have 10-20 fishing tournaments on the lake each year and in an effort to spread fisherman out we want to have a widespread range of fish habitat. What is fish habitat without some education involved? This can be a great way to get the local community involved. We plan to invite people out to be a part of habitat building and placement so we can explain the purpose of the habitats. We can based educational programs off of this project and spread knowledge to people on how important it is to ensure fish have habitat. Without habitat we cannot have thriving fish populations.

Please describe the project methods. Will the product be used in conjunction with existing habitat restoration efforts on the reservoir? Will the product supplement natural brush, rock, or other materials being added to the reservoir?

a. Youghiogheny River Lake currently contains about 30 Mossback Fish Habitat structures that were installed in winter of 2019. The Mossback fish habitat we plan to purchase with this grant money will be placed in groups along the deeper areas of the lake. The current fish habitat reside in the more shallow portions of the lake. The product has had nothing but positive feedback from fisherman. Fishermen with underwater cameras show the new structures are receiving an exponential amount of use. Which is why we plan to continue working with USACE to purchase this product. We will be working in conjunction with the Pa Fish and Boat Commission, Fish and Wildlife Service, Yough Walleye Association, and the Rangers at Yough Lake (USACE) to locate the best possible locations to place the fish habitat and then place them when they arrive. Every year the lake takes Christmas tree donations to provide fish habitat using pine trees attached to cinder blocks, however, over time they decompose leaving a multitude of cinder blocks laying on the bottom of the lake. We also have many other forms of fish habitat which includes large wooden posts sticking into the lake bed, tire structures to make use of old tires, and cutting dangerous trees near the water’s edge for fish habitat. We want to start placing materials in the lake that are more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and will not cause damage to boats. Yough Lake plans to purchase more Mossback fish habitat structures to go along with the fish habitat we provide to them. We have been looking into better fish habitat for deep water dwelling fish. Mossback has a great fitting option for us to purchase. USACE will price match the cost we put into it with people and purchasing additional resources from your company. For example, with this grant we intend to purchase the essential deep water bundle and the USACE plan to purchase the same bundle with lake funds to match our supportive efforts.

Will state fish and wildlife agency staff be directly involved in the project? How so (planning, site selection, participation in installation)? Is there an associated lake or habitat management plan that states the need for structural habitat enhancement?

a. The Pa Fish and Boat Commission will be assisting us with the decision of where to place the fish habitat structures along with the placement of the structures. They lease some of the land and water from USACE and we want to build a stronger bond between agencies. Working together on this project will help us to achieve a common goal of increasing environmental benefits across the lake. We are also working in conjunction with the Fish and Wildlife Service based in State College Pa to decide on the best placement for the habitat in the lake along with gaining content to present and teach the public what we are working on and why. We will work with the Rangers or Yough Lake, Yough Walleye Association, and local boy scouts to build the habitat structures. With the installation of fish habitat structures USACE plans to develop interpretive panels to place at each of the boat launches that describe fish and fish habitat across the lake.

List the species that the project is expected to benefit:

The main species we are looking to encourage growth and provide cover for are Walleye. Every year the Fish and Boat Commission stock over one hundred thousand fingerlings during the late summer months. With the larger number of fish entering the lake the fish require a larger area of cover. However, other species that could benefit from the structures include all deep water dwelling fish such as; bass, carp, perch, catfish, etc.

How do you plan to conduct outreach and advertise the project? (Examples: on-site signage, press releases, websites, message boards)

We will be outreaching for this project in multiple different ways to get the interest of the public. The first outreach method will be in the Friends of Yough Newsletter. We will also be publishing this in our local papers to get the attention of people within the area. Facebook is also a great place for outreach of this project. This will end up on the Yough Facebook page, Friends of Yough Facebook page, United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Facebook page, along with the Yough Walleye Association. The Rangers at Yough will also be creating a SharePoint article to be posted to the USACE website and create a storyboard that will make its way up the chain of command to the general in the army and possibly further. This is a platform we would like to use to get our name out there and hopefully encourage future projects and boost our number of members so we can complete larger projects in the future. We will use any form of outreach we are able to in order to spread the word on new partnerships being formed.

Upload at least one letter of support from a representative of the state fish and wildlife management agency:Mossback-Fish-Habitat-Grant-Support-Letter.rtf
Partnership and Budget
Does the project involve one or more youth groups?Yes
Please list all partners involved in the project:
Partner Name Type of Partner Cash Contribution In-Kind Contribution In-Kind Value
USACE Federal na Mossback Deep Water Fish Habitat Structure and buidling structures $1645.99
Yough Walleye Walleye Association Non-profit Organization Amount pending Mossback Fish structure $755.99
Pa Fish and Boat Commission State na Select locations for haitat $192.00
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal na Assist wit placement location and provide helpful information to our educational portion of the project $384.00