Slide 1. Title Slide

Ecological Standing Committee Meeting

November 19, 2009

Slide 2.

Agenda

-   Review Action Items for July 21, 2009 ESC meeting

-   Habitat Improvement Project Progress

·         Motor Island

·         Common Tern Nesting

·         Frog Island Wetland Creation

·         Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration

·         Invasive Species Control

·         Osprey Nesting

·         Fish Attraction

·         Name-a-HIP Challenge

-   HIP Cost Updates

-   Meeting Wrap Up / Action Items

Slide 3.

July 21, 2009 Action Items

-   NYPA will post the July 21, 2009 ESC meeting presentation on the NYPA Relicensing Website

-   NYPA will post the Little Beaver Island Preliminary Design Drawings

-   NYPA will distribute the Invasive Species Action Plan for ESC review

Slide 4.

Motor Island (2009)

-   Collected data on key design constraints

·         Wetland delineation

·         Subsurface soil conditions in areas of excavation

·         Cultural Resources survey

-   Continued Preliminary (50%) Design of softer shoreline embayments to provide habitat and prevent erosion

Image

Slide 5.

Motor Island (2009)

Wetland delineation survey – August

Preliminary Results:

-   A = Mostly forested wetland with shoreline emergent wetland

-   B & C = Shoreline scrub-shrub wetland Wetlands B and C are not functionally connected or significant

-   Wetland A will be avoided in the proposed design

Image

Slide 6.

Motor Island (2009)

Geotechnical/environmental soil borings – Sept. 30 & Oct. 1

-   Six locations 10 to 11.5 below ground surface

·         Gravelly sand underlain by finer grained sand and silt; some clay in one location

-   Lab results – levels below DEC’s unrestricted use soil criteria

Image

Slide 7.

Motor Island (2009)

Cultural Resources Survey – October

-   Test pits around perimeter of island in potential areas of excavation for shoreline protection structures

-   Preliminary results so far

·         No archaeological findings of significance

Slide 8.

Update designs based on key constraints

Integrate data from wetlands, soils, and cultural resource findings

Images

Slide 9.

Motor Island (2009)

-   Complete Preliminary (50%) Design, incorporating data on wetlands, soils, and cultural resource findings as key design constraints

-   Work with Agencies to Permit project

-   Plan for construction in late summer 2011

Slide 10.

Common Tern HIP (2009)

-   Completed Old Breakwater End Cell and Temporary Nesting Barge installations in April

-   Monitored during 2009 breeding season

-   Evaluated results, updated ESC in July 

-   Sought USACE approval for additional enhancements

-   Completed design for 3 more “end cell” type enhancements

-   Permitting underway

-   Evaluated end cell condition in fall

Images

Slide 11.

2009 Results: Barge versus End Cell

-   Similar in cost for design, engineering, permitting, monitoring

-   Barge required several trips for maintenance; end cell none

-   Approximately equal number of tern nests/square foot

-   Productivity (10 days) higher on End Cell (2.3 vs. 2.0 chicks/nest)

-   Installation cost/chick for barge eight times greater than end cell

Images

Slide 12.

Buffalo Harbor Tern Nesting Habitat and Weather 2009

-   Purpose of HIP: provide “reasonably sustainable” long term nesting habitat

-   May – July

·         Six major weather events

§  22 days with wind gusts over 30 mph

§  4 days over 40 mph

§  1 day over 50 mph

-   Nesting habitat and nests on End Cell and barge survived without damage

-   Barge mooring lines and gravel containment structure on barge suffered some damage

Slide 13.

Storms Continued in Fall 2009

-   Late September

·         2 days with gusts over 30 mph

·         1 day with gusts over 60 mph!

-   October

·         7 days with gusts over 30 mph

·         2 days with gusts over 40 mph

·         1 day with gusts over 50 mph

-   Condition of end cell gravel assessed on October 29, 2009 (barge was removed at the end of August)

Image

Slide 14.

Condition of End Cell – October 29, 2009

-   Overall condition excellent

-   Some minor shifting of gravel after storms

-   Holes will be plugged in April 2010 to prevent gravel loss

Images

Slide 15.

Number of Tern Nests Niagara Frontier, 2000-2009

Graph

Slide 16.

Common Tern Nesting (2010)

Image

Slide 17.

Common Tern Nesting (2010)

Typical Installation

-   Based on 2009 installation design

Images

Slide 18.

Common Tern Nesting HIP

Permanent habitat provided

Location

Area (sq. ft)

Installation

Old Breakwater North – southern end cell

2,100

April 2009

North Breakwater – southern end

2,300

Spring 2010

Old Breakwater North – northern end

1,300

Spring 2010

Old Breakwater South – double end cell

3,100

Spring 2010

Total area improved

8,800

 

Images

Slide 19.

Common Tern Nesting HIP (2010)

-   Finalize permits for additional breakwater enhancements

·         North Breakwater

·         Old [Short] Breakwater

·         South Breakwater

-   Release RFP for construction

-   Build enhancements in 2010, weather and ice conditions permitting

Image

Slide 20.

Frog Island – HIP (2009)

-   Developing a Preliminary Design

·         Identified and defined a number of design challenges

·         Ice, wind driven waves, combined with a seiche – lots of energy

-   Highly armored design

·         Low habitat to breakwall footprint ratio – lots of stone, up to 3 ft out of the water

Slide 21.

Frog Island Design

-   Highly armored design

-   Low habitat to breakwall footprint

-   Aesthetics

-   Potential for failure

Image

Slide 22.

SAV Enhancement (S.A.V.E.)

-   Expand habitat for adjacent SAV beds - shallow excavation (about 2 ft)

-   Create gradual slope to connect to deeper water for contiguous SAV beds (attain ave. water depth of 3.5 ft)

-   Excavate~13,000 cu/yd

Image

Slide 23.

SAV Enhancement (S.A.V.E.)

Image

Slide 24.

Frog Island – HIP (2009)

Input/direction received during July ESC meeting:

-   Compile historic information on Motor, Frog, Strawberry, Little Beaver Island/wetland complex

-   Revisit design based on low-profile “crescent” concept and higher tolerances for change/natural disturbance cycles

-   Minimize impacts to ecologically sensitive area

-   Develop “Design Compendium” summarizing history, design analysis, and design criteria

Slide 25.

Frog Island – 1822

-   Strawberry Island “complex” was 100+ acres

Image

Slide 26.

Frog Island – 1870 (average water year)

-   1823 to 1825 – excavation of Tonawanda section of Erie Canal

-   Spoils dumped at Strawberry Is Complex

-   Small islands / wetland area identified between Strawberry and Motor Island

Image

Slide 27.

Frog Island – 1902 (below average water year)

-   First evidence of unique shape on downstream end of Strawberry Island

-   Dredge spoil dumping from the east channel or was is removal ????

Image

Slide 28.

Frog Island – 1910 (below average water year)

-   Doubled to 200 acres since 1820 from dredge spoils from Erie Canal and Black Rock Lock

-   Strawberry Island had a two-story hotel, and a small canal was constructed through the island for fishing

Image

Slide 29.

Frog Island – 1917 (average water year)

-   7 years later – similar shape and size

-   First evidence that Frog Island is renamed “Motor Is”

Image

Slide 30.

Frog Island – 1923 (below average water year)

-   6 years after 1917, upper tip of Strawberry seems to be missing

Image

Slide 31.

Frog Island – 1927 (below average water year)

-   First aerial

-   Sand and gravel mining mid-1920s to 1953

Image

Slide 32.

Frog Island – 1934 (historic low water year)

-   More changes to Strawberry Is – particularly at the upper tip

Image

Slide 33.

Frog Island – 1938 (below average water year)

-   Largest point in photo history ~ 4 ac.

Image

Slide 34.

Frog Island – 1948 (average water year)

Image

Slide 35.

Frog Island – 1951 (average water year)

Images

Slide 36.

Frog Island – 1959 (below average water year)

Image

Slide 37.

Frog Island – 1966 (low water year)

Image

Slide 38.

Frog Island – 1972 (above average water year)

-   Still Visible above water?

Image

Slide 39.

Frog Island – 1977 (historic high water year)

-   Erosional processes appear to be evident

Image

Slide 40.

Frog Island – 1978 (above average water year)

Image

Slide 41.

Frog Island – 1985 (above average water year)

Image

Slide 42.

Frog Island – 1989 (above average water year)

Image

Slide 43.

Frog Island – 1995 (above average water year)

-   Motor Island now labeled Pirates Island on Navigation Charts

Image

Slide 44.

Frog Island – 2002 (below average water year)

-   Frog Island no longer exposed during low water periods – erosion?

Image

Slide 45.

Frog Island – 2005 (average water year)

Image

Slide 46.

Frog Island – Present (ca 2006-2007)

Image

Slide 47.

Frog Island History Summary

-   What did we learn?

·         Earliest history indicates some form of wetland or small islands in the proposed Frog Is area

·         Dynamic conditions over the last 190 yrs

§  Human activities – filling/mining

§  Changing water levels – natural/controlled

§  Erosion and bank armoring

-   Names of Islands varied somewhat [we need your help on this later]

-   Minimal reference information/data for design of present day Frog Island

Slide 48.

Frog Island Design Compendium

-   In preparation

·         Compiled list of documents - sent to ESC [any missing?]

·         Hydrology, wind, wave, and ice analysis

·         Soil analysis

·         Design criteria: foundation, breakwater, vegetation

·         Risk analysis

·         Review of reference habitats

·         Issue for ESC review 2010 Q1

Slide 49.

Frog Island – Revised Design (2009)

-   Dynamic river environment – slightly smaller main structure to adapt over time – Adaptive Management Approach

-   Low-profile “crescent” with higher tolerances for change/natural disturbance cycles

·         Elevation 6” above average water level

·         Large boulders at head of island to break wave energy and shed ice

·         Flow through/flushing

-   Incorporate open access from EAV to deep water and SAV habitat within breakwaters

-   Maximize irregular edges and depth diversity (focus on SAV and deep emergent)

Slide 50.

Frog Island Revised Design

Image

Slide 51.

Frog Island – Revised Design

Image

Slide 52.

Frog Island – HIP

Next Steps:

-   Approve revised design - today

-   On to 50% design in 2010

-   Start Permitting in 2010

-   Plan for construction in 2013

Slide 53.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration

Images

Slide 54.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Geotechnical Investigations

Images

Slide 55.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Geotechnical Investigations

Images

Slide 56.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Archaeological Survey

Images

Slide 57.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Design for Planting

Images

Slide 58.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Spoils Disposal

Image

Slide 59.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Spoils Disposal

Image

Slide 60.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Spoils Disposal

Image

Slide 61.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Spoils Disposal

Image

Slide 62.

Little Beaver Island Wetland Restoration Schedule

-   Final Design – December 2009

-   Complete Bid Documents – February 2010

-   Award Contract – July 2010

-   Excavation and Grading Construction – Sept.-Nov. 2010

-   Planting – Apr. – Jun. 2011

Slide 63.

Invasive Species Control – Action Plan

Objective - Control invasive wetland species in targeted areas …to promote growth of functionally valuable wetlands characterized by diverse community of native wetland vegetation.

Target areas

-   Buckhorn Marsh

-   Tifft Farm Nature Preserve

Target species

-   Common reed

-   Japanese knotweed

Images

Slide 64.

Invasive Species Control

Buckhorn Marsh and Tifft Marsh Phase 1 Areas  - highest priority

Images

Slide 65.

Invasives – Tasks Completed (2009)

1.       Consulted with OPRHP, DEC, City of Buffalo Museum of Science 

Comments received (and incorporated into Action Plans):

-   Provide additional info and final check for RTE species prior to control

-   Change large common reed stand near toll booths at Buckhorn Marsh from low to high priority treatment site

-   Mandate mechanical treatment as precursor to herbicide application

-   Conduct mechanical treatment outside of bird nesting period (i.e., end July)

2.       Completed Action Plans & distributed for comment

3.       Obtained approval from City of Buffalo for herbicide application at Tifft Marsh

Slide 66.

Invasive Species Control Activities (2010)

-   Winter 2009-2010

·         Finalize Action Plans

·         Secure permits from DEC and OPRHP

·         Finalize scope of services for implementation of Action Plans

-   Spring 2010

·         Issue RFP for Phase I – treat highest priority sites

·         Select qualified contractor

-   June - July 2010

·         RTE surveys (birds/plants) of parcels to be treated

·         Mechanical clearing of treatment areas

-   September 2010

·         Herbicide application

·         Inspect herbicide application areas

Slide 67.

Invasive Species Control (2011)

-   Monitor treatment areas for:

·         Efficacy/control

·         Soil stability

·         Native plant succession

-   Repeat or spot treat 2010 treatment areas

·         Repeat RTE survey

·         Repeat mechanical clearing, as necessary

·         Repeat herbicide application

-   Plan for Phase II

Slide 68.

Osprey Nesting Platform (2009)

-   Completed installation at East River Marsh in June

-   Began monitoring of 4 Platforms (2 NYPA and 2 DEC)

-   Site Selection Report – 4 additional platform locations recommended (Tifft, Adams Slip, Little Beaver Island HIP, 102nd St Landfill)

-   Preliminary Site Investigation at 2 of 4 locations

Image

Slide 69.

Osprey Platform – 2009 Monitoring Results

-   Observe use and maintenance needs over 5-yr period

·         Includes use at 2 existing DEC platforms in Buckhorn Marsh

-   Monthly surveys during May-Sept. season

·         2009 - May 28, June 17, July 16, Aug. 17, Sept. 15

Location

Condition/Status

Nesting Activity

West Buckhorn Marsh

Installed 2007, excellent condition

Osprey nested on platform

Mid Buckhorn Marsh

Not assessed, pre-HIP

None observed

East Buckhorn Marsh

Not assessed, pre-HIP

None observed

East River Marsh

Installed 2009, sticks included, excellent condition.

Osprey observed on platform in summer after installation

 

Slide 70.

West Buckhorn Marsh, East River Marsh Osprey

Images

Slide 71.

Osprey Nesting Platform HIP: Four Additional Platform Sites Needed

Site Selection Report recommended locations:

-   Tifft Nature Preserve

-   Adams Slip

-   Little Beaver Island HIP

-   102nd Street Landfill

Image

Slide 72.

Tifft Nature Preserve

-   Owned by City of Buffalo; managed by Buffalo Museum of Science

-   New platform on taller pole

-   Firm, dry soils on surface

-   Easy access roads

-   Popular nature preserve

-   Some vegetation trimming, all non-native

Images

Slide 73.

Adam Slip, NYPA boat landing

-   Owned by NYPA

-   Posted and patrolled

-   On Robert Moses Parkway

-   Recreational trail

-   Easily accessible

-   Firm soil

-   Excellent viewing

-   Excellent foraging nearby

Images

Slide 74.

Little Beaver Island HIP

-   Owned by NYSOPRHP

-   Extensive wetland restoration

-   Easily accessible

-   Good viewing opportunities

-   Excellent foraging nearby

Images

Slide 75.

102nd Street Landfill

-   Fenced, remediated, capped landfill

-   Low disturbance

-   Wide open habitat

-   Complements restoration efforts

-   Easily accessible

-   Good viewing opportunities

-   Tripod design to avoid subsurface excavation

Images

Slide 76.

Osprey Platform – Next Locations

First two locations in progress

-   Tifft Nature Preserve

·         Conducted site investigations and completed designs

·         Submitted drawings to City of Buffalo for approval

·         RFP issued

·         Anticipated to begin installation before the end of year

-   Adams Slip

·         Conducted site investigations and completed designs

·         Included with Tifft in bid process             

·         Anticipated installation in Summer 2010

Slide 77.

Tifft Nature Preserve – Osprey Platform

Image

Slide 78.

Tifft Osprey Pole Design

Image

Slide 79.

Adams Slip Osprey Pole Design

-   Good Soils

-   Simple Design

Image

Slide 80.

Osprey Nesting Platform HIP (2010)

-   Install pole at Adams Slip – summer

-   Install pole at Little Beaver Island HIP prior to wetland restoration – summer

-   Continue monitoring installed platforms

-   Additional inquiries for last platform – 102nd Street Landfill

Slide 81.

Fish Attraction Structures – Monitoring (2009)

-   4 Structures installed October 2008

-   Observe condition and use in years 1, 4, 7, and 10 (2009, 2012, 2015, & 2018)

Images

Slide 82.

Fish Attraction Structures
September 23-24, 2009 Inspection Dives

Site

Type

Structure Condition

Fish Present

Gratwick Park

<movie clip>

Stone and Log Groin

Log Moved (ice?), some downstream sediment accumulating downstream but low embeddedness, debris/trash abundant

SMB (11-20 adult, 11-20 juvenile), goby (11-20)

Downstream SGI Bridge

<movie clip>

Boulder Field

No boulder movement, no embeddedness, some sediment at downstream boulders, scouring in front boulder

SMB (21-50 adult, 11-20 juvenile), goby (1-10 adult)

Upstream SGI Bridge

<movie clip>

Rock Wing ‘Saddleback’

Sedimentation at low ridge and upstream pile, wood debris/trash, some wild celery around edges

SMB (51-100 adult & juvenile), goby (11-20)

Motor Island

<movie clip>

Rock Slope

Structure undisturbed, flow slow but uniform, depth 10’-13’

SMB (4 adult, 5 YOY/yearling), goby (51-100 juvenile)

 

Slide 83.

Fish Attraction Structures

-   Stable after first year, good colonization by SAV

-   Traps sediment

-   Provides large-object cover

-   All four structures utilized by both juvenile and adult fish

-   Anglers observed near Gratwick structure

Slide 84.

Name-a-HIP Challenge

-   Motor Island originally called Frog Island

-   Wetland HIP upstream of Motor Island needs a better name…

Slide 85.

HIPS Capital Cost Expenditure Report

 

Estimated Capital Cost

Spent To Date (8/29/2009)

Beaver Island Wetland Restoration

$2,700,000

$233,393

Strawberry Island Wetland Restoration

$2,300,000

$82,063

Area Upstream of Motor Island

$4,200,000

$446,617

Motor Island Shoreline Protection

$1,900,000

$272,026

Invasive Species-Buckhorn and Tifft Marsh

$350,000

$128,958

Osprey Platforms

$70,000

$136,949

Common Tern Nesting

$560,000

$386,373

Fish Attraction Structures

$310,000

$194,735

Total HIPs:

$12,390,000

$1,881,144

 

Slide 86.

Action Items/Meeting Wrap-Up