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Guide to the Public Access on the Batten Kill in New York State

Originally Published by the Adirondack Chapter of Trout Unlimited.

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Carl Schwartz, US Fish & Wildlife Service, receives National TU Volunteer Award


Clearwater Chapter (029)

Albany, New York

One of the most impressive things about Carl is his ability to work with land owners who in many cases are not overly concerned with the health of a river. Often their main concern is the property the river flows through. With his knowledge and understanding of river systems Carl is quickly able to disarm any objections and can work toward solutions that help both the land owner and the river.

On the Batten Kill River’s Foster Farm project, sponsored by the Clearwater Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the landowner was concerned that the river was trying to breech an oxbow that would cause him to lose several acres of land. Instead of armoring the bank in typical fashion, Carl used natural stream channel design to keep pressure off the eroding location while still allowing the river access to the flood plain. At the same time large woody debris was added to increase habitat for the fish. After winning the land owners trust, additional structures were added to the reach to repair previous attempts to improve habitat. Those poorly designed structures had failed causing the river to be overly wide and shallow. The new structures narrowed the channel increasing habitat for the trout and further eliminating a source of erosion for the landowner.

Carl has worked with Trout Unlimited members Art Coleman and Dr. John Braico to design many stream improvement structures on a major tributary to the Batten Kill River, White Creek. This stream was subject to sever flooding in the recent past. To remediate the problem, the town had done some channelizing in an attempt to lessen the chance of flooding. Unfortunately, this only exasperated the situation. Carl, with help from TU volunteers and assistance from the town, designed and implemented several structures to help improve the habitat for the fish and lessen the chance of flooding.

The Clearwater Chapter of Trout Unlimited has worked with Carl for thirteen years in the Batten Kill watershed. At first, TU volunteers would write small grants to fund the completion of “demonstration” projects. These included the restoration of Wulff’s Pool, protecting the road at the Eagleville Bridge, adding sinuosity in the same reach of the river. Help was also provided to local canoe livery owner with his erosion problem by removing yet another failed stream improvement structure and replacing it with a natural stream channel designed J hook. Similar work has been done from the Village of Shushan to the Vermont State Line. Recently, Carl was able to secure Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program Funds for the Batten Kill River. As a result, in the summer of 2010 nearly a mile of river was restored utilizing natural stream channel design. Plans have been made to continue for the restoration work for several years.

Also within Clearwater TU’s oversight area, Carl designed and implemented additional structures on another White Creek. This White Creek is in the Hoosic River watershed. Again, a landowner had an erosion problem with the work provided by Carl benefitting the landowner but the trout were the real winner. Recently Carl worked on another trout stream for Clearwater TU, the Onesquethaw-Coeymans Creek. Clearwater TU had made several attempts to remediate an erosion problem on the Barber property. Carl designed a permanent solution to the problem while increasing habitat on the wild trout stream.

Other areas in the State have benefitted by Carl’s work. Dave Lemon, Fisheries Biologist from Region 7 states he often seeks advice from Carl. Dave claims that Carl seems to be an expert on nearly every subject he approaches him on. In DEC Region 7 Carl has worked on the Salmon River an important anadromous fishery. Carl has designed several projects on the productive Nine Mile Creek and Camillus Creek a feeder stream to Nine Mile Creek. Another stream in the area getting attention from Carl is Spafford Brook a feeder to Otisco Lake.

One interesting project is the Cansawacta Creek in Chenango County. In its headwaters, this creek is a wild brook trout stream, over the last years the stream had been abused by road builders and was channelized. This left the stream straight and shallow. Over the last twelve years or so the river was trying to revert to its natural sinuosity, and in turn creating concerns for the landowners. Utilizing natural stream channel design, Carl has alleviated those concerns while creating previously non existing habitat. The wild trout population is now returning to this five mile reach of the stream.

Below is a list of sixteen rivers and streams from all over upstate New York Carl has worked on in 2010. This is an unbelievable amount of restoration work. From replacing a culvert that was creating a barrier on a work brook trout stream, removing a dam on the Kayaderosweras Creek, to restoring miles of river on the world famous Batten Kill River, Carl has shown he is an outstanding resource for the entire region he serves and the survival of the cold water fisheries.

Projects worked on by Carl during 2010:

Kayaderosseras Creek, Saratoga Springs - Dam removal

Canasawacta River, Chenango - In-stream work

Cayuga Inlet, Ithaca - In-stream work

Chittenango Creek, Oneida Lake In-stream work

Green River, Hillsdale - Putting stream back in old channel

Dunning Creek, Wells - Barrier removal

Fish Creek, Lake Pleasant - Culvert work

Salmon River, Lake Ontario - In-stream work

Chub River, Lake Placid - Dam removal

Sandy Creek, Lake Ontario - Braided stream to single Channel

Batten Kill River, Eagleville - In-stream work

White Creek, Cambridge - Surveys for in-stream work

Halfway Creek, Tripoli - In-stream work

Grindstone Island, St. Lawrence - Fish habitat, wetlands with channels holding water for rearing, fish passage

Hoosic River Hoosic - Large in-stream work

Little Hoosic River, Berlin - In-stream work.


Resolution of the NYS Council of Trout Unlimited

Resolved: The New York State Council of Trout Unlimited is not opposed to increasing our domestic energy supply. The Council also recognizes the great damage uncontrolled exploitation of the Marcellus shale formation may cause to New York’s fragile watersheds, fish and other creatures that inhabit the waterways. The effects of huge water withdrawals, the injection and disposal of “fracking” products of an undisclosed nature with unknown impacts, and the destruction of valuable and irreplaceable ecosystems may result. Indeed that has been the disastrous result in other regions, particularly as a result of hydro-fracturing techniques and associated activities.

And, whereas the laws, regulations and administrative capabilities of the State of New York are antiquated, inadequate, incomplete and insufficient as they currently exist to properly protect the citizens and the environment from potential hazards caused by Marcellus shale exploitation; be it resolved that the New York State Council of Trout Unlimited, as part of America’s oldest and largest cold water conservation organization, opposes and will continue to oppose any exploitation of the Marcellus shale gas deposits until such time as the crucial issues above are resolved; i.e., thorough and complete disclosure of all impacts, the development of comprehensive laws and regulations to safeguard the environment and the presence of knowledgeable professional regulatory staff with funds to do their job.

Adopted 11/07/09 at General Meeting of NYSCTU in Altmar, NY