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Update from the Northeast Region


Trout Unlimited and its partners in New York have had a busy few years replacing or improving barriers to fish passage on streams throughout the state.


In the past few years, they have replaced 23 barriers, reconnecting nearly 23 miles of stream habitat. The team tackled 10 projects in 2023 alone. Next year? Eight projects will reconnect an additional 18 stream miles.


“We’re the Barrier Busters!” said a laughing Brown, who manages TU’s restoration work in New York and Connecticut. “I know it’s corny. But it’s accurate.”


The efforts are helping trout and other aquatic species reach previously inaccessible habitat, which can be used for feeding, spawning or to find cooler water temperatures during the heat of summer.


Long before crews start the heavy lifting of removing barriers — mostly culverts — survey crews fan out across the landscape to access road-stream crossing.


“I don’t know the exact number of culverts we have collectively assessed at this point, but it is in the many thousands,” Brown said.


Culverts are often too small to adequately pass heavier flows, which can result in road-damaging floods. With the changing climate contributing to more severe and more frequent rain events, flooding has become an even more serious problem. Water pouring from the downstream end of the pipe often carves out a pool below it, and that drop can block fish and other stream dwellers from moving upstream.


Funding comes from many sources, including grants from state and federal agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and from partnering with local municipalities to secure required local contributions. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Aquatic Connectivity Restoration Grant program is an important annual fund that supports barrier removals to help complete many of our projects.


Costs vary depending upon the scope of the projects but typically range from about $180,000 to as much as $350,000.


Securing funding, developing plans with stream and restoration engineers, and then obtaining necessary permits is time consuming, and it can take a year — and sometimes much longer — from the time a project is initiated to when crews start moving dirt.


“Even as we were managing projects this year, we were also working ahead,” Brown said. “We have already secured funding for eight projects next year that will reconnect nearly 20 more miles of stream habitat. And we have filed five additional applications for other projects.”


Click HERE to read more about New York’s Barrier Busters team.



Stranko joins TU team as Maine program manager

Brian Stranko has joined the Trout Unlimited staff as the Maine program manager.


Stranko has led water, salmonid, and land conservation programs for more than 20 years, including most recently as Water Program Director for The Nature Conservancy of California.

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Challenging summer for strategic wood additions in Vermont’s Green Mountains

Trout habitat is better on dozens of miles of streams in Vermont as a result of TU strategic wood addition projects this past summer.


Learn more about how TU staffer Erin Rodgers’ team is making streams healthier and trout fishing better in the rugged and beautiful Green Mountains.

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New York staff busy in Moose River and other watersheds

TU field staff in New York worked extensively in the South Branch of the Moose River, Otter Creek, and Black River watersheds in the summer of 2023.


Data collected this season will be prioritized to inform future culvert replacements and other habitat improvement opportunities within the Black and Moose River watersheds.

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TU/Costa’s 5 Rivers Students Help Complete Willowemoc Restoration Project

Students from Trout Unlimited’s 5 Rivers Program, hailing from six different universities across New York and Connecticut, camped, fished and planted trees in the Catskills for the Fall 2023 Northeast Rendezvous.

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Thank you for your support,


Mark Taylor

Director of Eastern Communications

Trout Unlimited


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