Ecological Standing Committee Meeting (9/17/2008)

Slide 1.

            Ecological Standing Committee Meeting

·        September 17, 2008

·        Image

Slide 2.

Agenda

·        Opening Remarks

·        Review Action Items from May 28, 2008 Meeting

·        Review Progress on HIPs

·        Meeting Wrap Up / Review Action Items

Slide 3.

Action Items

1.      NYPA will consult with City of North Tonawanda about Gratwick Park fish habitat/attraction structures.

2.      NYPA will check on water level data for shallow fish habitat/attraction structure design.

3.      NYPA will reach out to the boating community about shallow fish habitat/attraction structures.

4.      NREC will look into interest for a program for college students to observe construction of fish attraction structures.

5.      NYPA will look at permit schedule for fish habitat attraction and coordinate with local communities.

6.      NYPA will do internal Greenway Consistency Review for HIPs.

7.      NREC will consult with ornithological groups about common tern and osprey HIPs.

8.      NYPA will consult Grand Island about osprey pole at East River Marsh.

9.      ESC will consider information kiosk for osprey nesting poles.

Slide 4.

Action Items – May 28, 2008 cont.

10.  ESC will consider information kiosk for osprey nesting poles

11.  NREC will work with Greenway Commission to conduct informational meetings about the Gorge.

12.  NYPA will meet with municipalities that will be hosting HIPs. Can use Erie and Niagara Environmental Commissions.

13.  At next meeting, NREC will report on its grant application for the Great Lakes Initiative.

14.  Timing and process for future HIPs and potential leverage opportunities be on next meeting’s agenda.

15.  At next meeting, NYPA and NYSDEC will report on status of $1M allocation to the NYSDEC and $200,000 for Cayuga Creek Restoration.

16.  NYPA will circulate STL protocols about how to spend funds and how projects are selected for funding.

17.  Next meeting will be in September.

Slide 5.

2008 Third Quarter Progress on HIP Implementation

·        Fish Attraction Structures

·        Wetland Plant Characterization Study

·        Invasive Species

·        Motor Island Shoreline Protection

·        Osprey Nesting Platforms

·        Common Tern Nesting Habitat Enhancement

Slide 6.

Fish Attraction Structures 2008 3rd Quarter Activities

·        Finalized Design of Prototype Structures.

·        Issued request for Proposals for Construction and Hired Contractor.

·        Submitted Pre-Construction Notification to USACOE (Review in progress).

·        Solicited Coast Guard Approval and Conditions (Received).

·        Evaluated Habitat at Each Location.

·        Award Construction Contract (In progress).

Slide 7.

Fish Attraction Structures

Four Locations Four Prototypes

·        Gratwick Park – Shallow Water Stone and Log Groin

·        Downstream of the South Grand Island Bridge near Cherry Farms – Boulder Field

·        Upstream of the South Grand Island Bridge – Rock Wing

·        Motor Island – Rock Slope

·        Image

Slide 8.

Shallow Water Structure at Gratwick Park

·        Figure – Sheet 1: NYPA HIP Shallow Water Fish Attraction Structures Prototype 1

Slide 9.

Shallow Water Structure at Gratwick Park

·        190’ from shore

·        11’ depth – provides 6’ of clearance

·        Flow 1-1.5 ft/s

·        Gravel with some cobble and small rocks

·        Spare SAV (5-10%) wild celery

·        Image

Slide 10.

Shallow Water Structure at Gratwick Park

·        Figure – Sheet 2A: NYPA HIP Deep Water Fish Attraction Structures Prototype 1

Slide 11.

Boulder Field Downstream of South Grand Island Bridge

·        426’ from shore

·        22’ depth – 16’ of clearance

·        Flow 2-2.5 ft/s

·        Gravel and cobble

·        Sparse SAV but at the edges of a dense bed of wild celery

·        Image

Slide 12.

Rock Wing – Upstream of South Grand Island Bridge

·        Figure – Sheet 2B: NYPA HIP Deep Water Fish Attraction Structures Prototype 2

Slide 13.

Rock Wing – Upstream of South Grand Island Bridge

·        592’ from shore

·        18’ depth – 13’ of clearance

·        Flow 2.5-3 ft/s

·        Gravel with scattered small rocks

·        30% SAV coverage by short wild celery

·        Image

Slide 14.

Rock Slope at Motor Island

·        Figure – Sheet 2C: NYPA HIP Deep Water Fish Attraction Structures Prototype 3

Slide 15.

Rock Slope at Motor Island

·        95’ from shore

·        Slopes from 13’ to 17’ depth

·        < than 1 ft/s current velocity

·        Silt and soft sediment

·        Edge of SAV bed at 13’ depth

·        Image

Slide 16

Video Clips of Habitat Evaluation

Slide 17.

Fish Attraction Structures Next Steps

·        Installation October 2008

·        Develop Monitoring Plan

o       Underwater Investigations

§         Structural Integrity

§         Qualitative use by Fish

o       Opportunity for involvement by groups such as fishing clubs and university researchers

Slide 18.

2008 Third Quarter Progress on HIP Implementation

·        Fish Attraction Structures

·        Wetland Plant Characterization Study

·        Invasive Species

·        Motor Island Shoreline Protection

·        Osprey Nesting Platforms

·        Common Tern Nesting Habitat Enhancement

Slide 19.

Assessment and Design Recommendations

·        Images

Slide 20.

Study Components

·        Map Existing Conditions

o       SAV boundaries

o       Invasive stands

o       Marsh boundary

·        Determine Plant Habitat Elevations

·        Characterize Wetland Plants

·        Motor Island Transects Perpendicular to Shoreline

·        Image

Slide 21.

Results Used as Input for Wetland Designs

·        Beaver Island

·        Motor Island

·        Frog Island

·        Strawberry Island

·        Image

Slide 22.

Importance of Elevations

·        Image (Reference Condition)

Slide 23.

Beaver Island Wetland Plant Distribution

·        Bar Graph - Species vs. Elevations

Slide 24.

Elevation Ranges for Wetland Cover Types

·        Table

Slide 25.

Wetland Design Zones

·        Biologists developed list of native wetland plants and their targeted zone

·        HIP-specific elevations ranges established for each zone

Ψ      For example, wetland designs for Zone B- Shallow Emergent

o       Will have elevations:

§         Frog Island: 565.2-566.2 ft

§         Beaver Island: 565.2-566.1 ft

o       Can select from list of more than 15 plants suitable for this zone, including:

§         American Water Plantain

§         River Bulrush

§         Giant Burreed

§         Tussock Sedge

Slide 26.

            2008 Third Quarter Progress on HIP Implementation

·        Fish Attraction Structures

·        Wetland Plant Characterization Study

·        Invasive Species

·        Motor Island Shoreline Protection

·        Osprey Nesting Platforms

·        Common Tern Nesting Habitat Enhancement

Slide 27.

Invasive Species Control Buckhorn and Tifft

·        Image

Slide 28.

            Objective

·        “Control invasive wetland species in order to promote the growth of functionally valuable wetlands characterized by a diverse community of native wetland vegetation.”

·        Image

Slide 29.

Project Constraints and Feasibility

·        Exotic species control will require constant monitoring and follow-up treatment for a period of at least 10 years.

·        Control of exotic species at the landscape level is never over (these species will persist) so goals must be established to define what constitutes success.

·        Reducing further spread and dominance in targeted areas is a realistic goal; eradication is not.

·        Image

Slide 30.

            Progress & Schedule

·        Winter (February) 2008 Field Survey

·        Summer (July) 2008 Field Survey

·        Fall 2008 Action Plan Development

·        2009: Permitting, Finalize Action Plan, RFP

·        2010: Begin implementation

·        Image

Slide 31.

Existing Conditions

·        Cattail is the dominant cover type at both Tifft and Buckhorn

·        Phragmites stands mapped as two types: Phrag-dominated and mixed

·        Some remnant, mixed native marsh at Buckhorn: sedge meadow on East side, river bulrush/cattail on West Side

·        Tifft: mostly cattail and Phrag but some small area of burreed and buttonbush

Slide 32.

            Cover Type Mapping - Buckhorn

·        Figure

Slide 33.

Cover Type Mapping – Buckhorn

·        Figure

Slide 34.

Cover Type Mapping – Tifft Marsh

·        Figure

Slide 35.

Buckhorn Marsh Invasive Mapping

·        Bar Graph – Acres vs. Species

Slide 36.

Tifft Marsh Invasive Mapping

·        Bar Graph – Acres vs. Species

Slide 37.

Action Plan: Priority Species

·        Phragmites (primary) Image

·        Japanese Knotweed (secondary) Image

Slide 38.

Sedge Meadow and Other Mixed Native Cover Types

·        Image

Slide 39.

Action Plan Components

·        Intro/Background Sections

·        Control Methods (Tool Box)

·        Recommended Control Methods

o       Phased implementation

o       Method to prioritize specific control areas

o       Treat priority areas with herbicide

·        Monitoring

Slide 40.

            Diagram - Flow Chart Action Plan

Slide 41.

Why and How to Prioritize

·        Why Prioritize

o       Realistic/achievable long term goals (pick your battles)

o       Can’t just spray large area and be done

o       Need to save resources for follow-up spot applications and monitoring

·        How to prioritize

o       Size and density of stand

o       Proximity to sensitive habitats

o       Accessibility

o       Barriers to expansion

Slide 42.

·        Image and Table – Bh Phrag 03 & Bh Phrag 22

Slide 43.

Proposed Control Technique(s)

·        Herbicide application primary technique

·        Not realistic to remove thatch, hand-pull or conduct controlled burn

·        Biological techniques not applicable

o       Mechanical or water level control may be used depending on equipment availability and other constraints

·        Images

Slide 44.

Monitoring

·        16 permanent fixed-location plots

·        Monitor treated areas pre- and post treatment

·        Updated Phragmites stand mapping

·        Purpose:

o       Adaptive management

o       Effectiveness monitoring

Slide 45.

In summary, we may not eradicate Phragmites from marshes, but we can keep it in check, significantly reduce its extent, and protect important remnant marsh habitat,

·        Image

Slide 46.

            2008 Third Quarter Progress on HIP Implementation

·        Fish Attraction Structures

·        Wetland Plant Characterization Study

·        Invasive Species

·        Motor Island Shoreline Protection

·        Osprey Nesting Platforms

·        Common Tern Nesting Habitat Enhancement

Slide 47.

            Motor Island Shoreline Protection

·        Provide for shoreline protection measures incorporating bioengineering methods wherever possible and practical – preserve vertical nature of western shoreline.

·        Images

Slide 48.

            Motor Island HIP

                        Field Survey

·        August 18 and 19, 2008

·        Baseline data on assist in developing a shoreline protection/enhancement strategy

·        Supplement information gathered form 2007 SAV survey around island

·        Images

Slide 49.

            Motor Island

·        20 Transects

o       Depth

o       Current velocities (west side only)

o       ID and extent of SAV

·        Characterize habitat along base of crib wall – west side of island

·        Image

Slide 50.

            Motor Island  

·        Primary findings

o       Narrow band around island with no SAV  - possibly from ice scour/wind-driven waves and boat wakes

o       Wild Celery dominant form of SAV; Muskgrass also present

o       SAV is sparse in previously dredged areas along western shore

·        Image

·        Line Graph – Bottom Profile from West Side of Island (Percent SAV cover, Elevation, Distance from Shore)

Slide 51.

            Motor Island  

·        Primary findings (cont.)

o       Overall, there were low current velocities (<1 ft/s) and ostensive edge habitat within the SAV beds that provide good cover and feeding areas for juvenile and adult fish

·        Image

·        Line Graph – Bottom Profile from East Side of Island (Percent SAV cover, Elevation, Distance from Shore)

Slide 52.

            2008 Third Quarter Progress on HIP Implementation

·        Fish Attraction Structures

·        Wetland Plant Characterization Study

·        Invasive Species

·        Motor Island Shoreline Protection

·        Osprey Nesting Platforms

·        Common Tern Nesting Habitat Enhancement

Slide 53.

            Osprey Platform - Update

·        East River Marsh selected as location for 2008 installation

·        Potential locations wee identified in the marsh

·        NYSDEC selected location

·        Collected tree heights and geotechnical data

·        Design pole installation

·        Issued RFP for platform construction

Slide 54.

            Potential Osprey Platform Locations in East River Marsh  

·        Figure

Slide 55.

            Installation Obstacles

·        Tall pole required – 70’

·        26’ of soft soils will not stabilize a 70’ pole in high winds – particularly after many years of nest building

·        Difficult to access for equipment and long pole

Slide 56.

            Conceptual Design: Pole Foundation for Marsh Installation  

·        Figure

Slide 57.

            Four Potential Options for the East River Osprey Platform Installation

·        Different installation design for in the marsh

·        In the water behind a breakwall

·        On upland ground at the south end of the marsh

·        A different location altogether

Slide 58.

            East river Marsh Geotechnical Data Locations  

·        Figure

Slide 59.

            Conceptual Design: Low Impact Foundations

·        Figure 1 – Option 1 – Auger Piling

·        Figure 2 -  Option 2 – Helical Anchors

Slide 60.

            Potential Location at South End of Marsh

·        Figure

Slide 61.

·        Figure

Slide 62.

            2008 Third Quarter Progress on HIP Implementation

·        Fish Attraction Structures

·        Wetland Plant Characterization Study

·        Invasive Species

·        Motor Island Shoreline Protection

·        Osprey Nesting Platforms

·        Common Tern Nesting Habitat Enhancement

Slide 63.

            Terns Nest on Buffalo Harbor breakwaters, and on Niagara River water intakes & cribs

·        Images

Slide 64.

            Niagara Frontier Common Terns 2008

·        Methods

o       Bigger boxes

o       New perimeter fence design

o       New enclosure design

o       More chick shelters

o       Gravel added as in previous years, but over broader area

·        Results

o       Approximately 1725 Nests

o       Up to 13% from 2007

o       Number of nests at TWI almost doubled

o       Productivity a some sites reduced by weather and predation

o       Productivity within new fences high

Slide 65.

            Number of Tern Nests on the Niagara Frontier (1986-2008)

·        Bar Graph

Slide 66.

            Niagara Frontier Common Terns 2008

·        2008: new enclosure & perimeter fence designs, more chick shelters

·        Images

Slide 67.

            Common Tern Nesting Habitat Enhancement Next Steps

·        Complete conceptual design for habitat enhancement in Buffalo harbor

·        Images

Slide 68.

            Common Tern Nesting Habitat Enhancement Next Steps (cont.)

·        Coordinate design efforts with Army Corps and Coast Guard

·        Schedule permitting, install one prototype for 2009 nesting season – early season nesting may make this problematic

Slide 69.

            HIPs Capital Cost Expenditure Report

·        Table