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Water: Fish & Shellfish

FY 1998 Accomplishments

under the
RECREATIONAL FISHERY RESOURCES
CONSERVATION PLAN (E.O. 12962)

Date:   March 31, 1999

Highlights of 1998 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 1998 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 1998. Significant progress was achieved on the Soque River in Northern Georgia, where 1,500 feet of streambank was restored through channel reconstruction and the addition of natural vegetation. Hailed as the "Return of a River," the $80,000 project has brought both scenic beauty and fish back to the Soque. Rainbow and brown trout have begun to return to the restored stream segment. Additionally, this project has served as a demonstration to other farmers, leading to further restoration of the stream habitat and trout fisheries along the river.

In Iowa, EPA Region VII has used non-point source pollution grants (CWA, Section 319) to fund a multitude of trout stream restoration and protection initiatives. Bioengineering of streambanks and holistic watershed management, inclusive of the entire landscape, has led to naturally reproducing brown trout in Elk Creek and other streams. The protection of valuable recreational fisheries resources in many of Iowa's largest lakes and reservoirs has also been accomplished through the use of EPA funds and technical support.

In California, EPA Region IX is employing the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) process under its Clean Water Act authorities for the protection of cold water salmon fisheries. Under the program, sediment loadings are targeted for management to protect and restore channel form and structure and substrate size distribution, and to reduce sediment delivery from sources such as roads, logging, and ranches. The projects provide the State of California with the basis for developing implementation plans and basin plan amendments necessary to protect and restore the salmonid populations favored by recreational fishermen.

EPA's Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds (OWOW) has improved its education and outreach to the angling community by launching a website dedicated to increasing environmental awareness amongst anglers, and providing them the opportunity to get involved in community based protection efforts. OWOW has also helped to fund local projects through a grant to the Fish America Foundation. Carried out by students and local stakeholders, the eleven projects serve to increase awareness of aquatic resource issues, while restoring recreational fisheries resources throughout the United States.

To increase public awareness of contaminated fish issues, the Office of Science and Technology has issued brochures printed in three languages outlining the risks associated with contaminated fish consumption. This public alert affects both recreational and subsistence fishermen throughout our nation. More detailed information on consumption advisories was also provided to health care professionals, as another means to reach the targeted audiences. The Office of Science and Technology has developed an interactive website containing all fish consumption advisories nationwide, which is expected to go on-line in May of 1999.

Perhaps the broadest effort underway at EPA, and many other federal agencies, that supports recreational fisheries is the Clean Water Action Plan (CWAP). This interagency plan is a comprehensive initiative focusing resources on improvements to water resources. Significant for EPA are efforts to re-energize the watershed approach and direct resources to priority watersheds based on local needs. Watershed Restoration Actions Strategies are expected to play a key role in restoring degraded watersheds thereby benefitting recreational fisheries across the country. Watershed Assistance Grants administered by River Network, through a cooperative agreement with EPA, promote the watershed approach by educating locally-led groups on the techniques, processes, and skills necessary to successfully implement positive changes. EPA also played a key role in the development of Unified Watershed Assessments, resulting in the first nationwide state-led prioritization of watersheds in need of restoration activities due to a wide variety of impairments. These, and many other key action contained in the plan, will directly and indirectly benefit recreational fisheries across the nation.

Another significant item completed in 1998 was an update to the Index of Watershed Indicators (IWI). EPA's most comprehensive publically available website on the state of the nations waters, IWI and the affiliated "Surf Your Watershed" sites serve to promote aquatic resources education and civic engagement among U.S. citizens.

Looking toward the future, the further development of TMDLs (the CWA 303d process by which all loadings into a waterbody are characterized and managed through the setting of targets) in 1998 will also play an important continuing role in the nation's efforts to achieve "fishable, swimable" waters by providing a comprehensive methodology for determining and managing all pollutant loadings to a waterbody. TMDLs are expected to take a prominent role in watershed management efforts, and will likely constitute a large portion of the CWAP's Watershed Restoration Action Strategies.


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 benefitted recreational fish species. Data for this report was collected from EPA regional offices and from program managers at headquarters. Expenditure estimates are approximate, and represent the low end of total expenditures on improving fisheries resources, as only projects explicitly noting recreational fish (or shellfish) in their goals and objectives are included. As requested, projects and programs have been classified into one of the three categories; 1. 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 1997 in FY98. The highlights:
    • Forty-seven states and several tribes issued fish consumption advisories in 1997 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 increased approximately 80% over the past five years.

    • Eighteen 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. Ten of these states have issued statewide advisories for coastal areas.

    • 6.5% of the nation's total lake acres and 8.2% 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 are under fish consumption advisories. Approximately 58% of our nations coast line is under advisory, including 61% of the Atlantic coastal waters, 100% of the Gulf Coastal waters, and smaller areas of the Pacific coastal waters, including San Francisco Bay, Puget Sound and Los Angeles Harbor.
  • 200 + acres of habitat restored as fish spawning and nesting areas
    • In New Hampshire, EPA provided $50,000 to improve a seasonal fish ladder on the Exeter River, which allows anadromous fish in Great Bay to reach the upper portions of the river. This project opened 200 acres of nesting habitat on the most important coastal river in N.H. for anadromous fish, primarily shad and river herring.

    • In Connecticut, two EPA sponsored projects will remove dams allowing the passage of Atlantic salmon and other anadromous species during low flow periods. Both projects are utilizing 319 funding and being managed by the CT DEP, Fisheries Department.

    • In Iowa, three fish ladders were built and improvements were made to many others as part of comprehensive watershed management activities aimed at restoring the ecological integrity of rivers.
  • Over 2 miles of streambank / riparian area restored
    • Region IV assisted in the restoration of a section of the Soque River in northern Georgia. Approximately 1,500 feet of stream were restored to a normal configuration by channel reconstruction and the addition of natural vegetation. Hailed as the "Return of a River" in the local press, the project has brought both scenic beauty and fish back to the Soque. Rainbow and brown trout have begun to return to this segment of stream. An additional benefit of this has been to serve as a demonstration project for other cattle farmers in the Soque River valley, leading to further restoration of the trout fishery and stream habitat, independent of EPA assistance. The project cost about $80,000, most of which came from EPA.

    • The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and EPA Region VII continue to fund and manage several projects with fiscal year 1998 (FY98) section 319 funds which have direct impact and emphasis on recreational fisheries. The Trout Stream Protection/Restoration Water Quality Project ($50,000 grant in FY98 for a total of $232,900 since FY94), includes support for protection and restoration activities on cold water streams like trout hides, corridor habitat plantings and lakeshore erosion control practices. Three additional water quality projects in this area were funded in FY98 to improve fishing by slowing sediment and nutrient loads from fragile erodible land in put-and-take trout streams located in the northeast Iowa.
    • In Alaska, the Russian River Restoration project received a $20,000 319 grant to promote environmental stewardship and education among local Kenai youth, while providing low-impact habitat restoration and stabilization projects on the Russian River. Through the month of June 1998, approximately 1,300 feet of riverbank was stabilized.
  • Over 2,000 acres of shellfish beds reopened to harvesting in New Jersey.

B. Additional Measurable Agency Outputs:

  • Amount of habitat for which conditions have been measured:
    • 693,905 miles of rivers and steams surveyed in 1996

    • 16.8 million acres of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs (excluding Great Lakes) surveyed in 1996

    • 38,839 square miles of estuaries surveyed in 1996

    • 5,186 miles of ocean shoreline (excluding Alaska) in 1996

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: 1996 Report to Congress. They indicate the amount of surface water whose conditions the states surveyed in 1996.

  • EPA's 1998 Funding level to support the goal of "Clean and Safe Water" was approximately $3 billion
  • State Revolving Fund: EPA completed a nation-wide training program in 1998 to expand the use of the State Revolving Fund grants for important polluted runoff and habitat projects. Currently, 27 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. As of June 1998, these states had funded over 4,000 projects worth nearly $900 million.

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 150 new TMDLs were established in 1998, many using recreational fish species as an ecological endpoint for monitoring. The number of TMDLs approved thus far exceeds 1,000, with another approximately 2,000 under development across the nation. Examples of TMDLs established in 1998 that will directly benefit recreational fisheries are outlined below:

  • EPA Region IX established three sediment TMDL's for California North Coast Rivers. Two of them are designed to address pollutant impacts to historically important fishing areas: 1. Redwood Creek, CA; A TMDL for sediment was established for Redwood Creek which is designed to assist in restoration of coho salmon, chinook salmon, and steelhead habitat. Redwood Creek hosts one of the last remaining significant wild coho salmon stocks in California. 2. South Fork Trinity River, CA; A TMDL for sediment was established for S.F. Trinity River which is designed to assist in restoration of chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead habitat. S.F. Trinity River historically provided highly significant salmonid habitat which has been severely impaired due to excessive sediment loading, channel modification, and temperature elevation.
  • Marinas and Boating: EPA supported the reprinting of "Protecting Fish Habitat: A guide for fishermen and boaters" as part of Clean Boating Week, July 11-19, 1998.
  • Coastal Polluted Runoff: EPA is involved in many projects supporting the reduction of polluted runoff in coastal states. These efforts are addressing regional Pfiesteria problems, which can directly impact prized recreational species such as striped bass. EPA is responsible for providing financial and technical assistance for the implementation of state non-point source management programs under the Clean Water Act. In 1998 revised plans from the states were under review by the Agency.
  • Highlights from EPA Regional Offices:
    • In EPA Region II, Public Service Electric and Gas's Estuary Enhancement Program addresses concerns about possible impacts from operation of the station's cooling system on fish populations of the Delaware Estuary. EPA Region II has supported the program, which in 1998 restored approximately 1200 acres of diked salt hay farms to daily flooding cycles in New Jersey, and 3,723 and 4,338 acres of Phragmites dominated tidal wetlands were restored to Spartina dominated wetlands in New Jersey and Delaware respectively. In addition, 2 fish ladders were constructed on tributaries to the Delaware River in 1998. In total, 12,439 acres of tidal wetlands have been restored and 6 fish ladders constructed since the inception of the program.

    • Region III has provided support to carry out the Small Watershed Program in Delaware. This program has been working through local government sponsors to help participants solve natural resource problems on a watershed basis, including fish and wildlife habitat enhancement.

    • The Pennsylvania Lake Protection and Restoration Program, currently supported primarily by EPA's Nonpoint Source Program, has allowed 12 lakes in Pennsylvania to receive intensive assessments to evaluate water quality conditions, sources and magnitude of impairment, water quality violations, and impacts on recreational uses and aquatic life. Five additional projects have included riparian corridor protection of tributaries, lake shoreline protection, and biomanipulation to benefit the fisheries. Under this program $2,097,744 in federal funds have been utilized for lake studies and restoration in Pennsylvania.

    • The Big Spring basin project, Iowa, a long term effort receiving $40,000 grant in FY98, focuses on a watershed that not only serves as a put-and-take trout fishery but also is the water supply to the state fish hatchery. The studies continue to evaluate the long term relationships effecting surface water, ground water and water quality, the trout and the Iowa nonpoint management plan.

    • Mark Twain Lake, an 18,600 acre lake in northeast Missouri, is noted for quality fishing. Publications of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have highlighted the improved fishing and recreational activities in the lake as well as the cooperation of entities to improve the watershed to maintain the fishing excellence. There have been numerous 319 grants made, totaling over $437,000 under the "Mark Twain Water Quality Initiative". The current focus is to look at animal waste and its impact to fisheries.

    • A stream channel and riparian habitat restoration project was funded with $233,750 of FY98 319 funds for the South Table Creek at Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, NE. The grant was matched with $150,000 of non federal funds. This project will restore a channelized section of the creek to a natural meander patter with a flood plain. Habitat restoration will benefit the fish and wildlife. The project will be a conservation demonstration site that has high visitation by local, state, national and international groups.

    • The NE Department of Parks and Recreation, the Lower Platte- South Natural Resource District and EPA Region VII partnered via a $120,000 FY98 319 grant to restore the Olive Creek Lake, a 162 acre lake near Lincoln, NE. Restoration of the reservoir and improvements to the 5,000 acre watershed will cost over $2 Million but is expected to improve the water quality which will make the recreational fisheries viable again. Habitat restoration will continue through 1999.

    • In Region VIII, the goal in the Lower Nevada Creek project is to improve fisheries habitat in Douglas Creek, Cottonwood Creek, the lower reach of Nevada Creek and Bull trout habitat in the Blackfoot River. The objective is to work with landowners and coordinate activities with the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks to improve Brown and Cutthroat trout populations. Their task will be to work with landowners to install fish passage structures and fish screens on irrigation diversions that are fish passage barriers and that allow fish access to ditches and canals. The product will be fish friendly in-stream irrigation diversion structures at a cost of $100,000. The total 319 funds requested is $20,000.
    • In Region X, on the Dungeness River in Olympic Peninsula, WA, the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe was funded through an EPA grant, to study the seasonal use patterns of aquatic habitats within the 150 square mile Dungeness River basin. They focused specifically on the beleaguered native chinook salmon stocks, and documented where and when juvenile fish were found. The results have added substantially to our understanding of the importance of off-channel and marginal stream side habitats to survival of chinook salmon.

    • The Tulalip Tribes of Washington also received a grant from EPA to further study the relationship in-channel sediment and its effects on egg to emergence survival of chinook salmon in the Stillaguamish River.

    • An EPA grant was provided to Washington Trout, an independent, non-profit fish conservation group to conduct an evaluation of the concept of "regional indices of channel geometry" to help determine the degree of alteration of stream channel stability as affected by land uses. This technique is fundamental to Rosgen's stream channel classification system and his approach to channel recovery, but has not been calibrated to Western Washington stream channels that are influenced by different hydrologic and geomorphic factors. The in stream fish habitat is dependent on how the channel features respond to inputs of sediment, wood and the flow through of water.

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
    • 800 persons trained at EPA Watershed Academy course

    • Approximately 3,000 Academy users received official training materials

    • Statewide facilitation services to improve watershed management at the state level provided to approximately 350 persons in 10 states

    • Over 10,000 visits to the Watershed Academy website

The Watershed Academy now offers ten courses, including two co-developed interagency courses and a grant-funded course that promote watershed science, communications techniques, and organizational management. Other tools include the "information transfer series" of 13 publications available free to users and covering topics from "Stream Corridor Restoration" to an "Inventory of Watershed Training Courses." The Academy also offers states facilitation services to move them closer to organizational structures and management approaches targeted at watersheds. Internet based distance learning modules (14) have been updated and improved in two major redesigns in 1998.

  • Aquatic Resources Websites
    • Over 11,000,000 visits to the OWOW website in FY98

    • 50 visits to the new Angler's website in March 1999

    • Approximately 10,000 visits to the Office of Science and Technology's Fish Consumption Advisories Database

B. Additional Measurable Agency Outputs:

Thousands of individuals educated on aquatic resources protection through distribution of EPA publications.

C. Significant Non-measurable Accomplishments:

  • Numerous events, conferences, and training sessions were supported in 1998 that promoted aquatic resource conservation. EPA's Watershed Academy, which educates individuals about watershed management concepts and techniques held 14 training events.

  • In FY98 EPA reached out to Trout Unlimited (TU) to ensure that all TU chapters were included in the premier aquatic resources education Internet tool, Surf Your Watershed (Surf) (http://www.epa.gov/surf/). EPA's Surf allows users to "click" on a state map to zoom into the watershed where they live or fish and obtain information on environmental quality indicators, environmental protection efforts, and environmental uses and impacts.

  • Region VII hosted R-EMAP Workshops in May and October, 1998. Participants from four states, and other federal agencies discussed the biological metrics and indices developed for measuring fish community health and physical habitat health.

  • Region VII awarded 22 grants in 1998 under Section 6 of the National Environmental Education Act of 1990. Three projects had direct linkages to protecting recreational fisheries.

  • EPA Region VII partnered in FY98 with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on a project called the Table Rock Lake Initiative. Table Rock Lake, a 51,300 acre Corps of Engineers impoundment in southwest MO and northwest AR, has historically been one of the clearest and cleanest lakes in the state with wonderful fishing.
  • In FY98, EPA released an updated version of the aquatic resources educational tool known as the Index of Watershed Indicators (IWI). The data, now available to all citizens on the Internet, highlight which watersheds have good water quality, moderate water quality, more serious problems, and insufficient data to fully characterize watershed health. Providing the public with information on pollution in their local watersheds is an extremely important step in improving our nation's aquatic resources.

  • EPA has provided Pollution Prevention funds, and most recently funds from the Regional Administrator Grant Program, to support a Seafood Consumption Information Project managed by Save San Francisco Bay Association. A Public Health Education Video, "Fish Tales" has been developed, and over 100 have been distributed. Voiceovers in Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese are planned to reach a broader audience.

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 a 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 provided $20,000 to the Fish America Foundation to promote aquatic resource protection, increase environmental education and restore recreational fisheries. The EPA funds were matched with $64,000 from private sources including grants from Chevron Corp. and the American Sportfishing Association. Highlights of the eleven projects funded are outlined below:
    • In Tampa Bay, FL, Tampa BayWatch purchased and planted approximately 30,000 salt marsh grasses. The event mobilized 230 volunteers, including 200 local youths. In all, 20 acres of intertidal and freshwater habitat was restored directly benefitting recreational fisheries by expanding nursery area in the estuary.

    • The Au Sable River Large Woody Debris Project provided structure in the form of 89 large trees to a stretch of the river that had been devoid of ideal fish habitat. The benefits of adding structure include an increase in physical stream channel diversity, increased retention of organic matter, and a reduction in streambank erosion. The project was unique in that it used a construction helicopter to place the trees.

    • In Burlington, Iowa, a local landowner benefitted from the reshaping of streambanks and the planting of riparian vegetation designed to reduce overwinter gully erosion. The Flint River restoration project will serve to improve both fishery habitat and water quality in the river.

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 water resources across a broad range of resources including watersheds, wetlands, shellfish beds and beaches. 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 Actions 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. 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.
  • Watershed Training Inventory: EPA's Watershed Academy produced an "Inventory of Watershed Training Courses". This listing of all available watershed-related courses both within and outside of government agencies provides citizens, watershed practitioners, and government employees a valuable resource to evaluate the types of training available on aquatic resource conservation.
  • Five Star Wetlands Grants: EPA created the "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.
  • Clean Lakes Program: The Clean Lakes program projects directly aids fisheries. Region VII had two Clean Lakes projects active during FY98. They were for lake assessments of Little Wall and Lake Aquabi in Iowa.
  • 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 in, 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:
    • Hillsdale Lake Kansas, receives special Region VII attention as a community based environmental protection (CBEP) project to help the fisheries improve through watershed improvements, as well as also receiving almost $120,000 in Section 319 funding in FY 98 for nonpoint source control.

    • The Kansas Water Office was awarded a Region VII Wetland Protection Development Grant for $446,291 in FY98 to provide a geomorphic assessment and classification of Kansas riparian systems. They expect to gather fluvial geomorphology and ancillary data necessary for future river corridor and riparian wetland restoration projects. This in turn will provide basic data for evaluating fishery potential in the state.

    • EPA Region VII is working to finish a collaborative Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (R-EMAP) project which 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 as well as physical habitat, water quality, 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. The focus of the final report on the Health of Fisheries will be on estimating biological integrity of the fish community, status of measures of physical habitat health and degree of chemical contamination in water, sediment and fish tissue of Region VII streams.

    • Region VII EPA has partnered with the Corps of Engineers and 13 other cooperators to study the entire 2,300 miles of the main stem of the Missouri River. The focus of this 4 year study is the benthic fish guild, a group of 26 species of bottom associated fish, including the bigmouth buffalo, several catfish species, sauger, walleye, common carp, and freshwater drum.

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