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As of January 2014, NYPA has provided over $237 million in benefits to Western New York in support of its operating License for the Niagara Power Project. These benefits include monetary payments, power allocations and recreational and environmental improvements constructed by NYPA.
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Habitat Improvement Projects (HIP)
(1) Strawberry Island Restoration: The proposed HIP will create additional complex marsh and high-energy wetland habitats for fish and wildlife, complementing recent habitat enhancements undertaken by the DEC. The improvements will create approximately seven acres of new diverse wetland habitat for fish, wildlife and water birds on the state-owned island. The improvement project includes measures to protect downstream shallow water habitats that may be affected by erosion caused by severe storms. Recreational opportunities, i.e., fishing, hunting and bird watching, will also be enhanced. Work is expected to begin in 2012. Field studies are now underway for design development.
(2) Frog Island
Restoration: Creation of approximately five acres of diverse habitat
conditions at the site of a former island in the Niagara River. The habitat
will be created in a high-energy environment consisting of coarse (boulders,
cobbles and gravel) and fine (muck, silt, clay and sand) substrate at
variable depths that will support fish and wildlife.
(3) Motor Island Shoreline Protection: The HIP will include the establishment of shoreline aquatic habitat and riparian vegetation up to the water’s edge to help stabilize shoreline erosion for the state-owned island, which is managed by the DEC for protection and enhancement of fish and wildlife. Planning and design began in 2007 and construction is now complete, with some site plantings scheduled for next year.
(4) Beaver Island Wetland Restoration: Consists of the removal of fill placed at a former riverine wetland and site grading, and invasive species-control to help restore hemi-marsh and shallow pools to the Beaver Island shoreline. Diverse native vegetation will also be developed, providing food and cover for wildlife. Planning and design began in 2007 and construction is now complete.
(5) Control of Invasive Species-Buckhorn/Tifft Marshes: The improvement project will control exotic and invasive plant species, including purple loosestrife and common reed, in Tifft Marsh in Lackawanna and Buckhorn Marsh on Grand Island. These measures will promote growth of diverse wetland vegetation and improve wetland functions. Planning and design began in 2007 and implementation is scheduled for 2009. Three treatment years have been completed and one additional treatment year has been planned.
(6) Osprey Nesting on the Niagara River: The HIP will increase the availability of suitable nesting sites in the Upper Niagara River. Osprey nesting will be improved by installing pole-mounted platforms in wetland areas at or near Beaver Island State Park, Strawberry Island, Bird Island Pier, and Tifft Farm Nature Preserve. The first installation was successfully completed in August 2007 near the Buckhorn Island Weirs. Five of six nesting poles have been installed.
(7) Common Tern Nesting: In consultation with DEC, the improvement project will create and enhance nesting sites for common tern—a threatened species in New York State—with possible locations at Buffalo Harbor breakwall and Buckhorn Marsh. The work will be facilitated by adding gravel-nesting substrate, removing vegetation, installing gull- or cormorant-exclusion devices, perimeter fencing, and the possible deployment of tern-nesting rafts or barges. Planning began in 2007 and construction is now complete.
(8) Installation of Fish Habitat/Attraction Structures: Since the bottom of the Niagara River provides limited cover for fish, the HIP will include large-object (boulder) cover in selected areas along the bottom of the upper Niagara River where fish can find shelter from water velocity, and be able to forage. Among the species that will benefit are muskellunge, northern pike, walleye, and largemouth and smallmouth bass. Planning and design began in 2007 and construction is now complete.
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