Skip Navigation

Halfway Creek Fish Habitat Restoration

Fort Ann, New York,
Washington County

This cross-vane provides the “deep pool and riffle” habitat needed for good fish habitat. Notice the shallow flat water above the cross-vane
This cross-vane provides the deep pool and riffle habitat needed for good fish habitat. Notice the shallow flat water above the cross-vane. Full screen view

The fish in Halfway Creek at the Peter Foreman farm now have a better place they can call home. Deeper water, places to hide and increased oxygen now make the stream a happy place to be, if you’re a fish.

“In stream structures” provide stream channel stabilization, stream health and streambank erosion protection. Recently, cross-vanes and J-hooks were installed on Halfway Creek with the partnership of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and contractor Michael Ward of Ward Logging. “Mike did an outstanding job installing the cross-vanes and J-hooks” according to Carl Schwartz of the USFWS. In all, 11 structures were installed at strategic locations in the three-quarter mile stretch. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took the lead on the project design. Contractor Michael Ward and his staff provided a textbook installation of the structures. “Mike clearly understands what the structures are supposed to do,” said Martha Naley a field technician for the USFWS. “He took great pride in placing every rock to have the structures work to perfection.”

The project objectives were to restore fish habitat in the over-widened and over-heated stream section (4,100 feet) by installing the structures that will narrow and deepen the stream. The restoration ultimately provides more habitat complexity, fish passage, spawning, cover and foraging habitat. In addition, the structures eliminate erosion on raw banks and reduce sediment deposition in the channel. The cross-vanes serve as grade control for the stream bottom and direct the main channel to the center of the stream away from the banks. The cross-vanes also raise the water level to gradually re-connect the stream with its former floodplain. Where cross-vanes were installed in 2012, sedimentation at over-widened areas of the stream is already occurring, as designed, to narrow the stream and stabilize the banks. The J-hooks help the stream to make turns without eroding the outside bends of the streambanks, in addition to the benefits the cross-vanes provide.

The first phase was in the summer of 2012. Work in 2013 was delayed due to weather. In phase one, four J-hooks and two cross-vanes were installed. The project was completed in June 2014 with five additional cross-vanes completed. Even before the last rock-vane was completed, there was visible changes to the stream. The slow moving flat water was now interrupted with deep pools and riffles.

The project was funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program with funding provided through the 2011 America’s Great Outdoors Initiative. The America’s Great Outdoors was a Presidential Initiative, which targeted the Lake Champlain watershed and a short list of other watersheds nationwide.