Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership


Lake Norman photograph

Mahoning Creek Lake:

is located on Mahoning Creek 77 miles upstream from the Ohio River at Pittsburgh. The lake was authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938. The dam was completed in 1941. The dam’s primary management function is flood control, and is managed secondarily for water quality and recreation. Water quality issues arose in the 1970's due to acid mine drainage degradation. Although water quality issues have greatly improved, aquatic vegetation is nearly nonexistent. The goal of the aquatic habitat restoration project at Mahoning Creek is to establish aquatic vegetation to increase fish and invertebrate habitat and enhance overall aquatic health. Project funds will be used to build plant nurseries.

Lake Norman photograph

Lake Norman:

is the largest reservoir within the boundaries of North Carolina, having a surface area of 32,500 ac and a shoreline extending for 520 mi. Formed by Duke Power Company (now Duke Energy) in 1963 by impounding the Catawba River, Lake Norman is the site of three electric power generating facilities. The reservoir is located near the city of Charlotte, and is North Carolina's largest city with a population of more than 750,000. Due to its size and proximity to Charlotte and other metropolitan areas, Lake Norman receives heavy recreational use. A 1999 study by Duke Power Company estimated almost 500,000 recreational visits during that year. Lake Norman features 96 islands that cover almost 300 acres and have about 30 miles of shoreline. Duke Energy Company owns most of the islands. All of the islands contribute to the diversity of aquatic habitat in the form of fallen trees, rock outcroppings and the presence of littoral areas in otherwise open waters. In addition, many islands provide valuable wildlife habitat including a major rookery for colonial waterbirds. One of the largest rookeries on Lake Norman is on the 2-acre island that is the site of this project. The major component of the first phase of the project is a breakwater structure that includes at a minimum a 200 linear feet of rock sill made up of boulders, riprap, and large woody debris and native vegetation. The rock sill will be located approximately 10ft from the shoreline to minimize boating hazards. The breakwater structure would add complex, physical habitat that would provide refuge, spawning, and nursery habitat for fishes in what is otherwise a relatively uniform physical environment. The structure would also provide a shoreline fishing opportunity that boat anglers could target. Furthermore, the structure would reduce wave action and prevent further shoreline erosion of an island. Volunteers will harvest and plant water willow Justicia americana along the eastern side of the island to help further break wave action and improve aquatic habitat. Buttonbush and other aquatic vegetation will be planted behind the rock sill. In addition, the 50 feet of eroding shoreline will be reshaped using a track hoe to a 2:1 slope and stabilized with a brush mattress, containerized trees and shrub and coir fiber matting. Stabilizing the banks will help further stabilize the island and reduce turbidity in the water.

Wanship reservoir photograph

Wanship (Rockport) Reservoir:

is a 1,080-acre impoundment located in Peoa, Utah approximately 45 miles northeast of Salt Lake City. Rockport Reservoir is the eleventh most popular reservoir among boaters and anglers in Utah; accommodating 119,676 boater trips and 124,979 angler trips annually. Operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, this impoundment serves primarily as freshwater storage for irrigators in the Weber River Basin and, secondarily, as a source of hydroelectric power for a downstream power plant. The Rockport Reservoir Fishery provides anglers with opportunities for yellow perch, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, and brown trout. Lack of structure and spawning habitat in the littoral zone are limiting fish recruitment. Rocky Mountain Anglers (RMA) partnered with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to install a combination of shoreline log structures and porcupine cribs at varying depths in an effort to improve sport fish habitat; providing cover during drawdown periods and mimicking natural processes of a typical lakeshore when trees and brush fall in the water. In particular, large woody debris provides excellent habitat and is an important food source for invertebrates; providing forage for fish. The suite of enhancement structures approved by the Bureau for installation were based on structure installations undertaken by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and habitat structure installations undertaken successfully at Utah Community Fisheries.

Lake Livingston photograph

Lake Livingston:

has a surface area of approximately 83,000 acres, and its maximum depth is 77 feet. The reservoir was formed when the Trinity River was impounded by the construction of the Livingston Dam in 1969. The lake is seven miles west of Livingston and is 50 miles north of Houston, an area hosting 6.2 million residents. Historically, Lake Livingston was host to many bass tournaments. However, due to siltation, turbidity, shoreline degradation and lack of structure, there has been a decline in bass abundance. Non-native plant species, water hyacinth, giant salvinia and hydrilla have negatively impacted habitat quality. The lake management plan calls for collaboration with the "Lake Livingston area chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program. "to develop native plant nurseries and to provide plants for habitat restoration efforts". Project funds were used to develop native aquatic plant nurseries at nine local high schools to facilitate production of American water willow. Nursery tanks were stocked with American Water Willow potted seedlings and maintained by the students. Students assisted in the transfer of and planting the water willow.

Possum Kingdom Lake photograph

Possum Kingdom Reservoir:

Built in 1941, the reservoir is an extremely popular recreation reservoir and historically an exceptional Striped Bass and black bass fishery. Since 2001, PK has periodically suffered from golden alga fish kills which have severely diminished these traditionally high-use fisheries and harming the local economy. Fish habitat in PK is lacking with the majority of habitat consisting of rocky substrate and boat docks. Although some woody debris exists, it is degraded and only minimal aquatic vegetation occurs in the lake. Ultimately, golden alga fish kills, the lack of structure, lack of woody debris, and lack of aquatic vegetation hampers fisheries quality, angling quality, and ultimately usage and quality of life. A portion of this project will include making cedar brush piles to restore some of these traditional stands. To further restore these stands 100 Moss Back artificial fish attractors will be attached horizontally to these barren trunks with cable. These attractors will effectively restore structural habitat by mimicking the tree branches that have broken off over time. Other portions of PK offer vast ledges and flats that have likely never offered any structure for fisheries habitat. In these areas we will deploy 65 Georgia DNR style fish attractors and 16 Moss Back structures. These structures will further be enhanced by the deployment of cedar brush piles around them. Possum Kingdom is an extremely high recreational-use reservoir. Pleasure boating, skiing, jet-skiing, and tubing, etc. cause extreme wave action throughout much of the year. Such wave action coupled with a lack of littoral aquatic vegetation has led to increased siltation and degraded littoral areas. These degraded areas offer only minimal fisheries habitat. To combat these impairments we propose adding 100 cedar brush piles to the littoral zones and planting 200 founder colonies (approximately 1,000 individual starter plants. The combination of these methods will decrease wave action thus lowering siltation, provide cover for fish, and greatly enhance fisheries habitat.

Olpe City Lake photograph

Olpe City Lake:

is situated on the eastern edge of the Flint Hills region of Kansas. The lake is located one mile west and one mile south of the city of Olpe. Construction of the 90 acre lake was completed in June of 1964. The 1,280 acres of native tall grass prairie drainage basin would seem to contribute to good water clarity; however, gradual shoreline gradient, little wind protection, and colloidal clay bottom sediments all contribute to a modest mean water transparency of 12 inches. In 2013, 26,630 cubic yards of bottom sediment near shore was pushed up into nine piers and one island to enhance shoreline angling access, deepen shoreline fish habitat, and improve water quality at a cost of $53,500. The side slopes of these piers and island are 3:1. We would like to add 1,915 tons of limestone rip-rap to ten feet of shoreline (five feet above the water line and five below) along the entire 3,050 linear feet of the piers and island. Limestone rip-rap would reduce shoreline erosion, improve water quality, and provide fish habitat.

Lake Bloomington photograph

Lake Bloomington:

is located in central Illinois about 160 miles northeast of St. Louis and approximately 125 miles southwest of Chicago. The primary problems in Lake Bloomington are that the levels of phosphorus and nitrates/nitrites are too high, sedimentation of the lake is occurring, and quality fish habitat is lacking in parts of the lake. The shoreline stabilization and habitat enhancement project will decrease shoreline erosion, turbidity, siltation, and nutrient release. The project will stabilize approximately 950 feet of severely eroding shoreline. Due to the steep, high banks, and extreme fluctuations in water levels, biotechnical means of shoreline stabilization were excluded from consideration. Stone Toe Protection (STP) which when applied along the eroding sections to an elevation of 721.5 will provide the stability needed to protect the base of the bank and prevent any additional recession of the bank line. The project will also increase structural habitat to enhance the fisheries in the project area by adding 4 to 5 sets of lunker structures that will be 20 to 40 feet long and will be made from 2 to 3 feet diameter concrete culverts. Success of the project will be gauged by monitoring water quality, sedimentation, and the fisheries.


Sam Raybum photograph

Sam Rayburn Reservoir:

is an impoundment of the Angelina River in Angelina, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Sabine, San Augustine, and Tyler counties in southeast Texas. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the reservoir in 1966 for flood control, generation of hydroelectric power, and for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and recreational uses. At conservation pool, Sam Rayburn Reservoir is 45,091 surface ha and supports a high-use recreational fishery (i.e., annual fishing effort has exceeded 800,000 hours) that is economically important to the region ($47.1 million annual value. The objectives of this project are to investigate the optimal use of PVC structures as follows: 1) determine the effect of three levels of structural habitat patch size on fish utilization, community composition, and size structure; 2) determine the effect of two levels of structural habitat patch edge:area ratio on fish utilization, community composition, and size structure; and 3) utilize information to improve future reservoir habitat enhancement efforts. This project will serve to develop BMP's for use of artificial structure as reservoir habitat enhancement. Approximately 400 PVC structures will be deployed in six East Texas reservoirs (Sam Rayburn, 140 [including 96 used for research]; Toledo Bend, 75; Lake Fork, 75; Lake Conroe, 75; Lake Nacogdoches, 20; Lake Naconiche, 15) at 5 - 8 m water depths. To ensure project success, fishes occupying each experimental patch will be sampled with SCUBA, an underwater camera, and side-scan sonar.

Mozingo Lake photograph

Mozingo Lake:

impounded in 1992, is a 1,006-acre water supply reservoir for the City of Maryville, Missouri. Like most aging reservoirs, degraded fisheries habitat and extensive shoreline erosion have decreased the recreational and economic value of the lake. Over the last 10 years, examination of aerial photography shows significant shoreline degradation, as well as depositional rings of shallow water that extend into the lake as far as 200 feet. Without preemptive action, the extensive bank erosion will likely result in the deterioration of existing boat ramps, bank fishing access, and parking lots. Also, the aging of suitable fish habitat will soon limit the lake's potential to serve as a productive and diverse fishery. The project proposal includes armoring 1,400 feet of shoreline with 2,786 tons of rip-rap on the lake's most highly eroded banks. The stabilization of the shoreline will improve water quality, stop erosion, and provide places for fish to spawn, feed, and rest. Rock installation will be done entirely from shoreline access points around the lake. This project also involves the installation of hard, woody cover in the form of approximately 30 large hardwood brush piles consisting of 5-10 trees per brush pile.

W. Kerr Scott Lake photograph

Willard Bay Reservoir:

is a 9,900-acre Bureau of Reclamation impoundment located in Box Elder County, Utah 12 miles northwest of the city of Ogden and 44 miles north of Salt Lake City on the shore of Great Salt Lake. Willard Bay Reservoir impounds 215,120 acre-feet of water via a 14.5-mile rectangular dike with a structural height of 36-feet. Operated by the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, this former saline bay of Great Salt Lake serves primarily as freshwater storage for irrigators in the Weber River Basin. Willard Bay Reservoir is the third most popular reservoir among boaters and anglers in Utah; accommodating 337,072 boaters in 2011. Prior to its impoundment in 1964, the majority of the Willard Bay Reservoir basin was a salt marsh wetland. Inundation of this area left a lack of persistent cover for fish inhabiting the impoundment. Additionally, the majority of shoreline is comprised of an earthen dike, creating very little shallow water cover and generally marginal littoral zone fish habitat. The reservoir is generally shallow, and exhibits very little diversity in relief and is generally thought of as being more of a 'bowl' in morphology. Although some submergent vegetation does persist in the reservoir, the distribution of these plants is patchy and scattered. The primary objectives of this project are (1) to enhance shoreline function and (2) enhance shallow water fish habitat. Additionally, it is likely that expansion of planned enhancements (i.e., installation of rock hump structures across a broader area of Willard Bay Reservoir) will result in reduced wave activity; decreasing turbidity and increasing the abundance of submerged plants. In April of 2012, UDWR and the Bureau signed a MOU outlining permissible in-lake fish habitat enhancements to be used in Bureau reservoirs. In July of 2012, UDWR biologists secured funding from the Utah Partnership for Conservation and Development, a Utah Department of Natural Resources coordinated funding partnership between private, state, and federal entities designed to enhance wildlife habitat in Utah, for completion of phase I of a large-scale fish habitat improvement project for Willard Bay Reservoir. This funding allowed UDWR to purchase 100 tons of 9-inch to 18-inch boulders in preparation for installation during state fiscal year 2013. Funding from the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership increased the number of rock hump structures installed in Willard Bay.


Pecos Valley Lake photograph

Lower Pecos Valley, New Mexico

Golden alga-related fish kills are common in the reservoirs of the lower Pecos Valley, New Mexico. These fish kills have negatively impacted tourism thereby having negative effects on the local economy and have had a significant impact on angling opportunities in a region where lack of water limits these opportunities in the best of times. Management activities are often suspended on these reservoirs during algal blooms. This project is a pilot study to determine the effect of floating vegetation mats on reducing nutrient levels that feed golden alga blooms. The Spring River Pond and Brantley Lake have experienced several fish kills due to algae blooms and are no longer viable fisheries. The project seeks to naturally restore the Spring River Pond as a quality junior fishery during 2012. The goal is to apply control methods to Brantley and Carlsbad lakes during 2013 with demonstrated progress by 2014 to restore Brantley Lake to pre-2004 conditions. The project augments the experience base and methodologies for mitigating the effects of golden alga blooms on fisheries.

W. Kerr Scott Lake photograph

W. Kerr Scott Lake, North Carolina

and surrounding camp grounds draw more than 1 million visitors and the Environmental Education Center serves 10,000 school children annually. The shoreline is highly developed. This project provided a riparian shoreline restoration area adjacent to the Visitors Assistance Center as a demonstration site/training site for landowners who want to combat erosion on the shoreline adjacent to their properties. The slope of the bank was graded to a 2:1 ratio. The sloped bank was reinforced with erosion control materials such as semi-permanent erosion control blankets and coconut fiber logs for stream toe protection. The Visitors Assistance Center site was planted native warm season grasses, live stakes of black willow, silky willow and plant gallon sized bucket trees of alders, red maples and buttonbush. The littoral zone was planted in water willow.

Project picture Smithville Lake

Lake Ouachita

is a 40,000-acre reservoir located 10 miles west of Hot Springs making it a highly-used fishery (annual visitation >4 million). In 1999, Hydrilla was discovered in Lake Ouachita and its spread eventually eliminated many littoral foraging areas. Hydrilla blocked access to marinas, choked out swimming areas, ruined boat propellers, had detrimental effects on aesthetics, and raised concerns that its growing impact on recreation at Lake Ouachita could negatively affect the local economy. Hydrilla control efforts by the Corps of Engineers, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and Friends of Lake Ouachita have been ongoing. Pakistani fly have been introduced and native aquatic plants have been reintroduced. This project built on these efforts by propagating and reestablishing native aquatic plants to hopefully outcompete the invasive Hydrilla.

Project picture Smithville Lake

Fellsmere Water Management Area

is a 10,000-acre parcel of land purchased by the St. Johns River Water Management District as part of the restoration of the Upper St. Johns River ecosystem. Agricultural development in the early 1900's removed the natural function/habitat of the area through the creation of levees and agricultural ditches thereby creating a high level of homogeneity. The land is being converted into a reservoir; however, due to the homogenous nature of the current landscape, the reservoir basin will be sculpted to provide diversity of structure and cover habitat types available to sport fish. This newly created reservoir will allow the Florida Freshwater Fisheries Commission to create and sustain a high quality largemouth bass fishery.

Project picture Smithville Lake

Smithville Lake:

impounded in 1982, is a 7,190-acre U.S.Army Corps of Engineer flood control reservoir located just north of Kansas City, Missouri. Like most aging reservoirs, fisheries habitat has been degraded. Repeated and long term water level fluctuations have limited aquatic vegetation, and re-vegetation efforts in the past ten years have met with limited success. The project armored 2,500 feet of shoreline with 4,965 tons of rip-rap on some of the lake's most highly eroded points. The stabilization of the shoreline will increase water quality as well as provide the lake with additional shallow water habitat. Ten to 12 large rock piles, consisting of approximately 70 tons of rock/pile created structure for fish habitat in an otherwise barren lake basin. In addition, hard, woody cover was enhanced by hinge-cutting 500 selected trees along the shoreline and installing 100 hardwood brush piles consisting of 5-10 trees/brush pile..


Project picture

How to check your Boat for hitchhikers.

B.A.S.S. Nation Conservation Directors show how to inspect your boat for Aquatic Hitchhikers.

Project picture

Fellsmere FL.

Shaw Grigsby, renowned angler and host of "One More Cast", narrates this video highlighting the cooperative work between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and St. Johns Water Management District to create the framework for a fantastic fishery and wildlife viewing area at Fellsmere.

Project picture

Prompton Lake PA.

The Leggett's Creek Bassmasters (FLW) were looking for a conservation project that would improve the fish habitat and the fishing at Prompton Dam, Wayne County, Pennsylvania. In 2005 the club signed up with the PA Fish & Boat Commission to begin a series of fish habitat structure projects through the Cooperative Habitat Improvement Program. The club not only partnered with the PFBC, but also their local boyscout troop, lumber company and concrete block company. They have completed 6 years worth of projects including Porcupine Cribs, Short Vertical Plank Structures and Black Bass Nesting Structures.

Project picture

Lake Conroe:

Seven Coves Bass Club, in conjunction with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, has been working to maintain an aquatic plant nursery and reestablish native aquatic vegetation in Lake Conroe, Texas. The objective of this project is to create shoreline cover and to establish native plants capable of outcompeting invasive Hydrilla. This project was partially funded by the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and Friends of Reservoirs in 2010.

Project picture

Ft. Cobb Reservoir:

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are working to reestablish native vegetation in Ft. Cobb Reservoir. This project is part of a nearly 20-year effort to improve water quality by reducing nutrient input into Ft. Cobb. Aquatic vegetation will utilize excess nutrients thereby reducing the possibility of the occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms. This project was partially funded by the Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and Friends of Reservoirs in 2011.

Project picture

Lake Palestine:

Texas Parks and Wildlife is working to restore native aquatic vegetation in Lake Palestine. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and Friends of Reservoirs assisted with funding to maintain a plant nursery and to purchase supplies to establish founder plant colonies in Lake Palestine in 2011.

Project picture

Leaser Lake:

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is in the process of draining and completely renovating Leaser Lake. As part of this effort , smallmouth bass spawning benches were installed to help increase bass recruitment. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and Friends of Reservoirs helped fund this effort in 2011.

Project picture

Lake Havasu:

The Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Partnership has been working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to improve fishing on Lake Havasu, AZ for more than 20 years. Past efforts have included improving angler access and additions of fish attractors. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and Friends of Reservoirs provided funds in 2011 to do an economic assessment to determine the effect of these efforts on the local economy.

Project picture

Lovewell Reservoir:

Lovewell Reservoir in Kansas suffers from chronic loss of fish during water releases for irrigation. The Reservoir Fisheries Habitat Partnership and Friends of Reservoirs is working with Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and other partners to install a fish exclusion device to significantly reduce fish loss during irrigation releases and subsequently improve the overall fishing on Lovewell.