On August 2, 2023

Leave boulders and logs in rivers to increase flood resilience and help fish

 

After the recent July floods, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VTF&W) is asking recovery efforts to prioritize river resilience and help impacted fish populations when possible.

“The first priority in flood recovery is human safety,” said Aquatic Habitat Biologist Will Eldridge, Friday, July 28. “During Tropical Storm Irene, we learned that retaining and recovering river habitat that buffers against future floods and helps impacted fish populations rebound lines up with that human safety priority.”

Rivers with features like fallen trees, large boulders, and winding channels provide better fish habitat and are more resilient to floods. These features reduce flood impacts for landowners and downstream communities by slowing flood waters. They also provide fish with shelter and places to forage that can be the difference between successful recovery and lasting impacts for fish populations.

“After Irene some recovery efforts removed trees and boulders from rivers and ended up making rivers more vulnerable to floods and slowing fish population recovery,” said Eldridge. “We are asking Vermonters to leave downed trees and boulders and in rivers and streams whenever doing so does not create a risk for people, roads, or infrastructure. These features will help fish populations recover and help our rivers weather future floods.”

Impacts to Vermont’s fish populations and river habitats from the July flood will take time to assess. But based on data from Tropical Storm Irene, the department says that trout populations in some rivers may be significantly reduced by this year’s flood.

“Trout populations can drop by around 50% after extreme events like we saw this month, and can take two or three years to recover,” said Eldridge. “How badly trout in a given river are impacted and how well they recover has a lot to do with habitat.”

Landowners, businesses, and towns planning recovery work in rivers and streams are required to follow protocols from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. For more info on flood recovery resources, visit: ANR.Vermont.gov/Flood.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Slate Valley school district to hold fourth vote on district budget

May 22, 2024
In response to the results of the last vote on May 9, and valuable community feedback during the school board meeting on May 13, the Slate Valley Unified Union School District will hold its fourth vote in an attempt to pass the budget on May 30. It will be a revote on the third FY25…

Where is the road construction this week? 

May 22, 2024
The Agency of Transportation produces this weekly report of planned construction activities that will impact traffic on state highways and interstates throughout Vermont. Hartford: Monday, May 20, through Friday, May 24, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., multiple concrete mixers will be moving in and out of the project area at either end of the…

Superstar’s iconic spring skiing:a party, a community, a family, a pilgrimage

May 22, 2024
By Victoria Gaither For spring skiers, Killington’s Superstar is like honey to bees. Skiers come from all over to bump that one strip of trail that starts in November and ends in late May or June 1, when possible. A gathering of personalities hanging out at the Roaring Brook Umbrella Bar, many occasionally popping up…

Killington Road reconstruction: what to expect this week

May 22, 2024
Drilling and blasting will continue this week at the intersection of Route 4 and Killington Road in Killington. A detour remains in place via West Hill Road. Monday, May 20, there was a brief break in the blasting, but Tuesday onward will see one blast per day between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1…