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Dam removal, connectivity, and aquatic resources in the St. Regis River Watershed, New York

October 9, 2015

The decommissioning and planned removal of the Hogansburg Dam on the St. Regis River in New York has stimulated interest in the potential effects of that barrier removal on the St. Regis watershed. There will be immediate and systemic effects of the Hogansburg Dam removal, which may include inundation of habitats below the dam or dewatering of habitats above the dam, possibly affecting local fish assemblages and (or) local native mussel assemblages; and expansion of stream network connectivity, which has the potential to open a large area of the watershed to migratory aquatic species. Information was collected about biota, water quality, sediment distribution, riverbed dimensions in the vicinity of the dam, and habitat characteristics of headwater sample sites. Complete fish assemblages were collected, but species of special concern associated with the connectivity changes included, American Eel, Atlantic Salmon, Brook Trout, Eastern Sand Darter, and Lake Sturgeon. Freshwater mussels in the vicinity of the dam also were examined and may be at risk of exposure (without a rescue plan) after dam removal. Reservoir sediment will be transported downstream and will alter aquatic habitat as it moves through the system. The dam removal will open more than 440 kilometers of stream habitat to migratory species, allowing them to more easily complete their life cycles. Fish assemblages above the dam may be altered by migrating fishes, but resident Brook Trout are not expected to be adversely affected.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Dam removal, connectivity, and aquatic resources in the St. Regis River Watershed, New York
DOI 10.3133/sir20155116
Authors James E. McKenna, Kaitlin Hanak, Katharine DeVilbiss, Anthony David, James H. Johnson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2015-5116
Index ID sir20155116
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center