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FishHEDs

FishHEDs: Fish Habitat Enhancement Devices

The fish habitat enhancement devices (fishHEDs) have been removed from the bulkhead at Rhinecliff Landing, New York to conclude the second year of our study.

The goal of the project is to improve fish and invertebrate habitat while maintaining shoreline stabilization and human use functions at the site. Project team members set out to design and build a device that would be easy to install, removable during ice season and would increase habitat value of vertical sheet pile bulkheads by increasing structural complexity. Vertical sheet pile bulkhead has been identified as one of the least productive fish habitats in the Hudson River. Ensuring the continued accessibility and functionality of bulkheads for recreational and commercial vessels was also a major design goal. Thomas J. Feeney Shipyards Inc. of Kingston, NY fabricated four fishHEDs and fitted them onto the bulkhead at Rhinecliff Landing in the town of Rhinebeck, NY once design was complete and permissions granted.

The first year, sampling efforts took place prior to and after installation of the FishHEDs in order to determine the effect the units have on habitat value. The entire site was sampled in May, before the units were installed on the southern half of the bulkhead. Researchers returned after the FishHEDs were installed (twice during summer and once in the fall) to resample the site. Water quality readings and measurements of tides were recorded with each sample. In early November 2015 the units were removed from the bulkhead to avoid winter damage to units or bulkhead due to ice formation. While removing units for the winter, project managers sampled invertebrate communities residing on the FishHEDs.

The units were re-installed at Rhinecliff Landing in the spring of 2016. The site was visited to sample fish on 4 occasions following deployment. Upon removal of the devices in October of 2016, 3 fish were found within the device itself. This find was encouraging to project managers because it was the first time fish were found inside the habitats which is normally hard to observe. New sampling methods including the use of underwater cameras or sonar are now being explored. In addition, there are design elements that may be added to increase the effectiveness of the devices.

 

Fall 2016

 

Spring 2015

FishHED Install 029

FishHEDs pre-installation

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FishHEDs mounted on bulkhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For questions or more information contact Dan Miller (Daniel.miller@dec.ny.gov)

Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System

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