Water: Fish & Shellfish
FY 1999 Accomplishments
RECREATIONAL FISHERY RESOURCES CONSERVATION PLAN (E.O. 12962)
|Date:||March 31, 2000|
Highlights of 1999 Accomplishments
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in conjunction with our state, local, and non-profit partners, supported recreational fisheries and their aquatic habitats in 1999 through a broad array of projects, programs, and initiatives. Virtually all of EPA's water-related activities support aquatic habitat protection and restoration, and the recreational fisheries that depend on this habitat. EPA is tasked with the protection and management of watersheds, wetlands, oceans, and groundwater through its statutory authority under the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and many other laws and regulations. EPA is also actively engaged in outreach and education, and the promotion of voluntary, stakeholder driven processes to manage water resources. The vast majority of EPA's efforts to improve aquatic resources are done in cooperation with our state, tribal and local government; industry; and citizen partners. EPA extends sincere appreciation to our partners for all their collaborative efforts to support aquatic habitat protection and restoration, including fisheries resources.
There were a number of very successful EPA funded projects that directly supported recreational fisheries in 1999. Significant progress was achieved on the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, Long Island Sound, and Delaware Bay as over 600 hundred miles of river was opened to fish migration. The removal of longstanding dams and the installation of fishways and fish ladders provided access to historically important spawning areas for salmon, trout, and the baitfish they depend on such as alewives and herring.
EPA's Superfund Office has also contributed directly to the restoration of recreational fisheries as evidenced by the recovery of brown, brook, and rainbow trout on the Eagle River in Colorado. Reducing the amount of zinc entering the waterway from an underground mine has allowed the water quality to improve to a level that now supports a "first rate fishery", as expressed by "The American Angler." Though certainly not perfect, the Eagle Mine cleanup has restored the river to a productive fishery. EPA is also supporting the Eagle River Watershed Group to further several watershed planning efforts to improve biological monitoring and ensure the Eagle River remains healthy.
EPA's Office of Water, including all EPA Regions, led a multitude of efforts described within that support the protection and restoration of recreational fisheries, including continuing the development of the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process by issuing a regulation currently in final review and by managing the review process for over 500 new TMDL plans submitted by the states. Watershed Restoration Action Strategies, comprehensive plans to manage priority watersheds, have now been developed by states and tribes for over 300 areas. Implementation of the plans will be aided by an additional $100 million provided to the Agency to support nonpoint source pollution control in priority areas. EPA also continued its direct support of fisheries related local projects through a grant to the Fish America Foundation. .
Specific Agency Accomplishments
The Agency has not adopted reporting mechanisms that separate improvements to water quality and habitat for specific resources, such as a particular fish species. Thus, many efforts that reduce pollution, increase awareness, and restore degraded habitats are not included in this accomplishments report. EPA applies its statutory authority and promotes voluntary action broadly, with the ultimate goal of protecting our environment using an ecosystem approach. This fact makes it difficult to report activities that have only recreational fisheries benefits. However, all of the activities mentioned herein are thought to have directly or indirectly contributed to improved ecological health and benefited recreational fish species. Data for this report was collected from EPA regional offices and from program managers at headquarters. As requested, projects and programs have been classified into one of the three categories; 1. Core measurable agency objectives, 2. Additional measurable agency objectives, 3. Significant non-measurable objectives.
Strategy 1: Conserve, enhance and restore recreational fisheries habitats and fish stocks, emphasizing self-sustaining populations where feasible.
A. Core Measurable Agency Outputs: EPA has funded and provided technical assistance to hundreds of projects that conserve, enhance and restore aquatic resources, including recreational fisheries. The following statistics and projects are representative of our efforts, but reveal only a small portion of the impact, as most projects do not provide exact measures such as acres of habitat restored, or miles of river opened to anadromous species.
- Fish Consumption Advisories: EPA published Fish Consumption Advisories using data from 1998 in FY99. The highlights:47 states and several tribes issued fish consumption advisories in 1998 due to harmful levels of chemical contaminants in fish and wildlife.
- The total number of advisories issued by the states and tribes in the U.S. has nearly doubled since 1993. 205 new advisories were issues in 1998 resulting in a total of 2,506 for the nation (a 9% increase over 1997).
- Nearly 99% of advisories can be attributed, at least partially, to five major contaminants Mercury, PCBs, chlordane, dioxins, and DDT. There are a total of 46 chemical contaminants for which advisories have been issued. Advisories for Mercury, PCBs, and DDT rose in 1998, while those issued for chlordane and dioxins declined.
- Eleven states have issued "statewide" advisories, meaning that all waters of a particular type (e.g., all lakes and/or rivers and/or coastal areas) are under advisory.
- 15.8% of the nation's total lake acres and 6.8% of the nation's total river miles are under fish consumption advisories
- 100% of the Great Lakes waters and their connecting waters and a large portion of the nation's coastal waters (59%) are under fish consumption advisories.
- Over 600 hundred miles of river opened to fish migration
- As an example of EPA's contribution to habitat restoration, EPA Region I (New England) has applied approximately $100,000 from the Exxon Valdez Settlement Fund to support four habitat restoration projects in Connecticut. Three of the projects involved restoring migratory fish passage on tributary streams to Long Island Sound, and the other restoration of approximately 150 acres of tidal wetland in New Haven, Connecticut. The three fish passage projects included installation of a fishways on the Eightmile River in Lyme, CT, on the Mill Brook in Old Lyme, and a third on Trading Cove Brook in Norwich. These projects have allowed the passage of thousands of alewives and blueback herring, and over 100 sea lamprey. Anadromous fish had been blocked from their native spawning grounds for hundreds of years due to the construction of dams. These projects all involved multiple partners such as the CT DEP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local land trusts, and the towns themselves.
- Delaware Estuary The installation of two fish ladders will open over 4 miles of the Cooper River to alewives, blueback herring and American Eels. This critical spawning and nursery habitat is an historically important area for the species affected. Additional work funded by EPA will install fish ladders at a restrictive tide gate opening another 8 miles of river.
- Chesapeake Bay The estimated miles opened to fish migration in 1999 were 521. Of those miles, 506 are accessible to anadromous species. Other Bay projects have resulted in the restoration of 74 acres of riparian habitat, 8 stream miles, and over 500 additional acres where improvements to wetland areas, stream stability, and other habitats were implemented.
B. Additional Measurable Agency Outputs:
- Amount of habitat for which conditions have been measured (1998):
- 840,402 (23%) miles of rivers and steams surveyed
- 7.4 (44%) million acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs (excluding Great Lakes) surveyed
- 26,687 (32%) square miles of estuaries surveyed
- 3,130 (5%) miles of ocean shoreline (excluding Alaska) in 1998
EPA provides financial assistance and technical guidance to the states to undertake water quality monitoring of surface waters. The statistics provided above are from EPA's National Water Quality Inventory: 1998 Report to Congress. They indicate the amount of surface water where ambient conditions were monitored and assessed by the states in 1997 and 1998.
- State Revolving Fund: EPA continues to promote the use of State Revolving Funds for important polluted runoff and habitat projects. Currently, more than half of the states are collaborating with state conservation offices, other state organizations, and local soil and water conservation districts to target SRF funds to high priority polluted runoff and habitat projects. These projects are often singled out due to the adverse impacts of pollution habitat degradation on fisheries resources. Since inception of the habitat oriented program, these states have funded thousands of projects worth over $1 billion.
C. Significant Non-measurable Accomplishments:
- The Total Maximum Daily Loading (TMDL) Process:
The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes a national goal of "fishable, swimable" waters. There are still waters in the nation that do not meet this goal, despite the fact that many pollution sources have implemented nationally required levels of pollution control technology. The CWA's Section 303(d) addresses these remaining waters by requiring states to identify these waters and develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for them, with oversight from EPA. A TMDL allocates pollution control responsibilities among pollution sources in a watershed and is the basis for taking the actions needed to restore a waterbody. An example of how to apply a TMDL might be in the control of excess sediment, which causes loss of a beneficial use of a waterbody. If standards, established to protect against the loss of a beneficial use (e.g., fish spawning), are not met and, if the process causing the problem (i.e., excess sedimentation) can be quantified, then it may be appropriate to use the TMDL process to assess the adverse impacts and potentially set controls on the problem activity. More than 500 new TMDLs were established in 1999, many using recreational fish species as an ecological endpoint for monitoring. The number of TMDLs planned over the next 15 years now exceeds 30,000. Examples of TMDLs established in 1999 that will directly benefit recreational fisheries are outlined below:
- Pe¤a Blanca Lake, Arizona, Mercury TMDL This TMDL was developed to address fish tissue contamination by mercury in a lake that is heavily used by recreational fishers. The TMDL analysis identified a key ongoing mercury loading source (an abandoned mine mill facility) and specified the loading reductions from that source needed to enable Pe¤a Blanca Lake fish to recover to safe levels. Based on the clean up levels for the mine mill site which were specified in the draft TMDL, the US Forest Service carried out a remedial action in September to remove contaminated mine tailings from the site. As a result, the TMDL has been fully implemented. Analysis shows that the recreational fishery should recover over the next few years, as currently contaminated fish are caught or die off, and as in-lake mercury is buried by clean sediments.
- Deep Creek, Montana - Deep Creek is a watershed recovery and spawning habitat enhancement project. The primary goals of the Deep Creek Project are to 1) promote the natural recovery of stream length, channel stability, and riparian vegetation of Deep Creek and to reduce sediment delivery from eroding banks, 2) enhance trout spawning success in Deep Creek, and 3) provide information to landowners on Deep Creek on low cost erosion control measures. As part of the broader project, a TMDL is being developed focused on reducing fine sediment loadings and increasing trout recruitment. The Broadwater Conservation District, in cooperation with area landowners and fishery interests, is sponsoring the funding for projects to restore water quality, stream stability, and trout reproduction in an important fish spawning tributary to the Missouri River.
- Water Quality Standards (WQSs):
State and tribal WQSs represent water quality goals for each waterbody and establish the regulatory basis for water quality-based controls, such as the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System point source permits, necessary to protect ecological health. In 1999, EPA issued new guidance to states and tribes for assessing the biological health of their lakes and reservoirs, and introduced new criteria for the control of nutrients and disease- causing microorganisms. An example of the guidance in use follows:
- Use attainment studies were performed on two streams in 1999 by Region VII staff in conjunction with nutrient criteria development. The studies sampled both numbers and species of fish in addition to fish flesh analyses for the Marmaton River and Little Soldier Creek on the Prairie Band of the Potawatomi Reservation in Kansas. Findings of the study are still in preparation, but analysis of numbers of fish species/numbers of individual fishes for that ecoregion will be used to aid sport fishery management. Fisheries management plans will in turn assist designation and implementation of future management practices, non-point source pollution projects, and BMPs in these watersheds.
- Research to Protect Our Oceans and Coasts: EPA manages the Ocean Survey Vessel (O.S.V.) Anderson, a sophisticated research vessel designed to study the effects of marine pollution on marine life, water quality, and coral reefs. In 1999 the Anderson made many voyages that will benefit recreational fisheries including an analysis of contaminated sediments in NY/NJ Harbor, disease assessment and overall health assessments of coral reefs in the Florida Keys National Park Sanctuary, artificial reef assessment in Delaware Bay, and the impacts of sewage outfalls at Rehobeth and Bethany, Delaware and Ocean City, Maryland.
- Highlights from EPA Regional Offices:
- EPA Region II, Division of Environmental Science and Assessment, has assisted the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in providing grant money for shellfish tissue analyses, and in collecting and analyzing water quality samples to update the classification of New Jersey's coastal waters for shellfish harvest. These classifications are performed to maintain compliance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program, and to maintain the State's excellent record of safe shellfish harvest. For the 2000 Shellfish Harvest Classification, 3,629 acres have been upgraded to approved status, 78 acres have been upgraded to seasonal status, and only 139 acres were downgraded to prohibited. This marks 20 years of net increases of improvements to shellfish harvest classifications.
- Region V Has spent millions of dollars on BMP installations, wetland restoration, riparian buffer plantings and stream bank stabilization that will directly benefit recreational fisheries. Significant projects included work on the East Branch of DuPage River in Illinois, Pigeon Creek, Bear Creek, Manistee River, and Homer Lake in Michigan, the Redwood River in Minnesota, and Little Beaver Creek in Ohio.
- The State of New Mexico received FY99 funding under EPA's nonpoint source program (319 program) to perform a number of stream channel, stream bank, and riparian restoration projects. These projects (13 in FY99, totaling $1,083,734 in Federal funds) are, among other things, intended to directly restore channel stability and water quality, as well as to directly or indirectly improve habitat diversity and fishery resources, in many of the State's waters. Most of these projects were initiated in response to findings that demonstrated the fishery uses, as defined in the State's water quality standards, were not being supported
- Bank Stabilization through Stream Restoration Project A large number of streams in Oklahoma are not meeting their assigned beneficial uses because of sedimentation. The source of the sediment in many of these waterbodies is from bank erosion. The State of Oklahoma received 319 funds from EPA to demonstrate that Rosgen methods for arresting bank erosion can be used while simultaneously improving aquatic habitat and water quality. Three project sites were selected as demonstration sites. As of 1999, implementation on Lost Creek in Moore, Oklahoma and Chilocco Creek in Kay County, Oklahoma had been completed and proved to be very successful. The fishery on Lost Creek, in particular, has been re-established as evidenced by the return of sunfish to the stream, among other species.
- EPA Region VII, in conjunction with multiple partners, has supported the identification of 105 trout streams totaling 307 miles in length in Iowa. Of these 105 streams, 16 have been documented with consistent natural reproduction of trout at a level great enough to sustain a viable population without additional stocking of that species. Fifteen of these streams have natural reproduction of brown trout, and one stream has natural reproduction of brook trout.
- Region VII awarded a 1999 State Wetland Development Grant for $267,334 to the Missouri Department of Conservation to study the effects of sand and gravel dredging on wetland and stream habitats. They intend to document the specific effects on the aquatic ecosystem that Corps general permit Section 404 dredging activities have on fishery habitat when riparian corridors and in-stream wetlands are destroyed. Documentation will enable the state to better protect fisheries resources.
- EPA, along with many other federal and state agencies and landowners, have restored some of the 500,000 acres of habitat lost to channelization on the Missouri River. A February 9, 2000 U.S. Fish and Wildlife press release hailed "The first known reproduction of the pallid sturgeon in the Lower Missouri River in at least the last 50 years has been confirmed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, who point to the startling discovery as evidence that the fish, whose ancestors date to the days of the dinosaurs, may have a better chance at recovery than previously believed ", proving that the combined efforts of multiple stakeholders can produce dramatic results. Eventual full recovery could mean that the sturgeon would be considered for removal from the endangered species list and would again be available to sportfishing enthusiasts.
- In EPA Region X, the Hoonah Ranger District provides a good example of how forest road reconstruction and deconstruction can yield significant environmental results. In 1998, EPA gave the District $5K to verify, quantify and document fish passage problems at 32 stream crossing culverts. In 1999, the District reported 13 anadromous fish blockages and 17 resident fish blockages to EPA. The District also estimated that 3.2 km of anadromous habitat and 4.7 km of resident habitat was inaccessible due to these improperly designed or installed culverts. Using authority under Section 404(f), EPA applied informal regulatory pressure to assure voluntary compliance from the District. This combination of financial support and compliance assistance put the District in a strong position to compete for Capital Improvement Project funds. The District received approximately $300K and has replaced 19 culverts and removed 6 culverts to date. Next year, they will replace four more culverts and will replace the last culvert with a bridge. When completed in 2000, this project will result in the restoration of access to roughly 8 km of quality fish habitat.
Goal 2: Promote Facilities and Access
EPA's mission does not include provisions for the construction of facilities or access points specifically for recreational fisheries.
Goal 3: Promote public education and support for aquatic resource conservation
A. Core Measurable Agency Outputs:
The following statistics provide measurable evidence of the educational impact of EPA's activities related to aquatic resource conservation.
- Watershed Academy - EPA has become a leader in the realm of interactive science education using the internet. Currently EPA's watershed academy contains over 15 modules covering all aspects of the science and policy necessary to effectively protect and restore our watersheds. Modules range from basic stream and river ecology to advanced geomorphology to organization and management lessons learned in the development of watershed protection approaches. A formal certification program is expected to get underway in 2000, but in the meantime a "pilot program certification" has been developed and is currently being used in environmental education by leading universities, such as the University of Wisconsin and the University of Washington. Thousands of active users visit the watershed academy every month.
- In 1999 average monthly visits to the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds website exceeded 1,000,000.
- Over 1,000 visits to the EPA Angler's website occurred 1999. A separate icon on the Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds homepage was created in September 1999 for direct access to the Angler's website, which provides information on aquatic resource education and links to related EPA programs.
- Significant increases in the use of the new real time fish consumption and beach advisories internet-based tools was recognized.
B. Additional Measurable Agency Outputs:
Thousands of individuals educated on aquatic resources protection through distribution of EPA publications.
A. Significant Non-measurable Accomplishments:
- In 1993, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in New Hampshire created an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum titled Adopt-A-Salmon Family that was introduced into two schools. The curriculum allowed teachers and students an adventure into the study of watershed issues as well as the excitement of rearing and releasing Atlantic Salmon. The curriculum is now being used in over 100 schools in the Northeastern states. In 1999, the Boquet River Association, in Elizabethtown, N.Y., received an EPA Environmental Education grant to expand these curricular materials to include Landlocked Atlantic Salmon, Brook Trout, land use history and geomorphology of the Adirondack and Lake Champlain region, and a greater emphasis upon habitat as the limiting factor for healthy fisheries in many of the nation's streams and rivers. The new materials are being tested in seven public middle schools.
- Regional Watershed Roundtables and the National Watershed Forum In 1999, EPA led an interagency effort to bring together local stakeholders in regional forums to discuss ways to improve watershed restoration and protection approaches. Some roundtables were competed last year, with the remainder scheduled for 2000 culminating in a National Watershed Forum in 2001.
- Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection EPA updated the very popular funding sources document that provides both governmental and private funding sources for watershed related projects. Over 10,000 copies have been printed and a web enabled version is available at: Catalog of Federal Funding Sources for Watershed Protection
- Region VII awarded 19 grants in 1999 under Section 6 of the National Environmental Education Act of 1990. Two projects had direct linkages to protecting recreational fisheries. The Scenic Rivers Stream Team Association provided training and educational material to middle school teachers in the 45 school districts in the watershed of the Current and Eleven Point Rivers, MO, two of the federally designated wild and scenic rivers in the region. In another grant, six schools in Kansas and Nebraska gathered baseline data to understand the effects of runoff to the fishery in Enders reservoir.
Goal 4: Work collaboratively with State and willing Tribal management partners, industry, anglers, and conservation groups to advance aquatic resource conservation, enhance recreational fishing opportunities, utilize cost-share programs, and assist private landowners with aquatic resource conservation.
A. Core Measurable Agency Outputs:
- Nearly all of EPA's aquatic habitat protection efforts focus on employing holistic, integrative watershed approaches that involve a multitude of stakeholder groups. The following partnerships are targeted specifically at advancing aquatic resource conservation with recreational fisheries in mind.
- Fish America Foundation Grant - EPA processed a grant application for $20,000 to the Fish America Foundation to promote aquatic resource protection, increase environmental education and restore recreational fisheries. It is expected that EPA funds will be matched (in 2000) by over $40,000 from private sources and the American Sportfishing Association. Projects will included an investigation of the benefits of in-stream flow protection and habitat restoration including riparian replantings.
- EPA Region VII continued partnership in FY99 with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on projects involving Table Rock Lake. One project with the City of Springfield, MO is designed to study storm water from that city. A 319 grant for $213,000 was made in 1999 for a two year study to cover urban storm water runoff quality to Wilson Creek and the James River. The study will collect evidence of biological impairment in these streams including alterations to the fish and aquatic invertebrate communities and excessive benthic algal growth. In addition, it will identify nutrients from urban nonpoint sources that are contributing to eutrophication of Table Rock Lake
B. Additional Measurable Agency Outputs:
Nothing to Report
C. Significant Non-measurable Accomplishments:
- Clean Water Action Plan: One of the most significant efforts underway at EPA is the implementation of the President's Clean Water Action Plan. This interagency plan is a comprehensive initiative focusing resources on improvements to ecosystems and human health across a broad range of fisheries related natural systems including watersheds, wetlands, shellfish beds and beaches. Specific items related to the protection of recreational fisheries include efforts to re-energize the watershed approach and direct resources to priority watersheds based on local needs, implementation of Watershed Restoration Action Strategies in those priority watersheds, and Watershed Assistance Grants, which promote the watershed approach by educating locally-led groups on the techniques, processes, and skills necessary to successfully implement positive changes. In 1999, over 300 Watershed Restoration Action Strategies were developed and $500,000 was provided to over 30 local groups to build organizational capacity. EPA is partnering extensively with other federal agencies, tribes, states and non-profits to increase the efficiency of activities focused on improving the nation's water resources.
- Five Star Wetlands Grants - EPA continued its highly successful "Five Star" Wetlands Program, providing $500,000 in grants dedicated to the restoration of wetland areas. These areas are crucial as nurseries for saltwater recreational fisheries, and often protective barriers to lakes and rivers harboring freshwater species of concern.
- National Estuary Programs: EPA's National Estuary Program (NEP) is one of our premier partnerships with local communities. There are currently 28 estuaries in the program. EPA administers the NEP, but program decisions and activities are carried out by a team or teams of local government officials, private citizens, and representatives from other federal agencies, academic institutions, industry, and estuary user-groups. The program focuses not just on improving water quality in an estuary, but on maintaining the integrity of the whole system -- its chemical, physical, and biological properties, as well as its economic, recreational, and aesthetic values. These estuaries' stakeholders work together to identify problems, develop specific actions to address those problems, and create a formal management plan to restore and protect the estuary. All NEPs have goals set to restore and protect aquatic resources, primarily focused on the valuable recreational fisheries resources of the estuaries.
- Highlights from EPA Regional Offices:
- EPA Region VII is working to finish a collaborative Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program project that measures the statewide health of fisheries in Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. State personnel from the state environmental agencies and EPA Region VII staff collected fish tissue, fish community, physical habitat, water quality, and sediment quality data from over 220 random sites in the three chosen states, in order to quantify with statistical certainty, the status of the fishery in Region VII
- Arkansas River, Colorado - The ongoing work in Lake County, Colorado at the California Gulch National Priority List (I.e., Superfund site) site has resulted in significant improvement of the Upper Arkansas River fisheries. Since two water treatment plants went online in 1992, the fish populations have improved each year. Also, over the last few years EPA and the mining companies have begun remediating the source areas in the mining district thereby improving water quality. Previously stunted brown trout are now growing up to 14 inches in the treated river segments. Last year, Lake County and the Arkansas River Headwaters State Park acquired about 5 miles of the river front; the area is now open to public access. Both the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News have run feature stories on the great fishing in the 5-mile reach.
- Clear Creek - The fishery in Clear Creek has been impacted by historic gold mining. Approximately 23 properties within the watershed are being cleaned up using Superfund monies, with the purpose of returning the water quality to one that can support fish. In conjunction with the Superfund cleanup, EPA has awarded Regional Geographic Initiative (RGI) grant dollars to the City of Idaho Springs to improve stream habitat through Idaho Springs. In anticipation of an improved fishery, Idaho Springs has built a handicapped accessible fishing pier.
- Eagle Mine Superfund Site - The Eagle Mine was a large underground zinc mine located in a scenic canyon near Minturn, Colorado (a few miles from Vail, CO). Acid discharge from the mine, snowmelt and rainfall that penetrated the various waste piles, and polluted ground water all put a significant load of metals into the river. Before the Superfund cleanup began to take effect, dissolved zinc values as high as 4000ug/l were observed in the river below the mine. In 1999 zinc levels were recorded at 309 ug/l. An article in a 1995 edition of "The American Angler" states that the Eagle River has gone "from a Superfund site to a first-rate fishery." The same article points out that "as water quality has improved, so have fish populations . . . there were dramatic increases in brown and brook trout numbers, and many rainbows have flourished where none had previously been found . . . the bugs are back too." Though certainly not perfect, the Eagle Mine cleanup has restored the river to a productive fishery. EPA is also supporting the Eagle River Watershed Group to further several watershed planning efforts.
- South Platte Fishery - As a result of an EPA Memorandum of Understanding, six agencies are working together to encourage self-sustaining fish populations on the South Platte River. This collaborative effort includes Region VIII EPA, Colorado Department of Wildlife, Colorado Department of Health and Environment, Colorado State University, the Bureau of Reclamation and Metro Wastewater Reclamation District. These partners are investigating means of conserving and enhancing fish populations through the construction of a fish screening facility on the South Platte River.
- Deer Creek, Wyoming - In 1991 and 1996, Emulsified Asphalt, Inc. (Emulsified) and/or their contractor, Fisher Sand & Gravel, Inc., illegally discharged dredged and fill material into Deer Creek near Glenrock, Wyoming. The materials caused the loss of wetland and riparian habitat, adversely affected channel stability and floodplain functions, and destroyed or degraded trout habitat adjoining and downstream of the site. Deer Creek is classified by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as Class 3 waters for trout, a classification defined as "important trout waters supporting fisheries of regional importance within the State." After years of negotiations and efforts to get the violators to restore the area, Emulsified agreed to perform restoration work approved by EPA Region VIII. Emulsified completed the restoration work in 1999. The work resulted in the restoration of an approximate 1,200-foot section of Deer Creek and its floodplain, which included the removal of a berm, stabilization of the stream bank, and restoration of 3.1 acres of riparian floodplain, of which 1.6 was wetlands. Channel and floodplain functions have been restored, thus restoring trout habitat that had been destroyed or degraded by the illegal work.