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Goodell Creek Habitat Restoration Monitoring (2012)

Fish sampling on Goodell Creek.
Fish sampling on Goodell Creek.

In September 2012, Region 9 fisheries staff and NYS DOT staff sampled trout populations in Goodell Creek, a tributary of Mansfield Creek, located in Cattaraugus County. This section of stream has public fishing rights easements Mansfield Creek, Goodell Creek & South Branch Cattaraugus Creek PFR map (PDF) (446 KB). The 2000 foot section sampled had extensive stream bank restoration completed in 2011 by NYS DOT as mitigation for streams that were disturbed during the recent RT 219 extension project. Trout populations had been sampled in 2009 to determine "pre-restoration" conditions. Our 2009 sampling found low numbers of young-of-year (YOY) and adult trout, which was expected as the stream had been severely affected by a 100+ year flood and subsequent channelization a month prior to the sampling. This year's sampling duplicated the sites and methodology from 2009. We found higher numbers of YOY wild brown and rainbow trout in 2012 than were present in 2009, but only slightly higher numbers of adult brown trout and similar numbers of adult rainbow trout. Biomass of adult wild brown trout increased slightly, while adult wild rainbow trout biomass remained constant.

Because of restrictions placed on NYS DOT by the US Army Corps of Engineers in the mitigation design plan, very few pools were included in the restoration work. With the lack of pools, adult trout habitat and spawning habitat to produce YOY trout is still very limited in the creek. Additionally, the stream did not experience any substantial channel-altering flows since the restoration work took place, thus adult trout habitat may still improve some in the future. Sampling may be done in the future to further evaluate this restoration effort.