New York Power Auhority logo




New York Power Authority Constructs Habitat Projects For Walleye and Lake Sturgeon

Karen White
315-764-0226, ext. 304

November 5, 2007


WADDINGTON—The New York Power Authority (NYPA) recently completed work on two Habitat Improvement Projects (HIPs) designed to enhance spawning opportunities for walleye and lake sturgeon in the St. Lawrence River. 

“This work will help restore the walleye and sturgeon population to the St. Lawrence River as part of the Power Authority’s commitment to protect the environment,” said Roger B. Kelley, NYPA president and chief executive officer.  “These habitat enhancements for native fish species, just like the renovations to local recreation areas such as Waddington Town Beach, contribute to the growing legacy of benefits for the North Country from the relicensing of NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project.” 

As part of the federal license issued in 2003, NYPA committed $9 million to create and maintain a total of 10 HIPs to benefit a variety of birds, mammals, fish and plants native to the North Country.  The walleye and lake sturgeon projects are the latest HIPs to be constructed. 

In October, NYPA awarded a $99,850 contract to Perras Excavating Inc., of Massena, to enhance an existing spawning area for walleye on Brandy Brook, a tributary of the lower St. Lawrence River in Waddington.  A layer of cobbles and rocks was placed upstream and downstream of the existing spawning area to provide additional substrate to encourage walleye reproduction. 

The St. Lawrence River Walleye Association has expressed support for the project. 

“We are very interested in the protection and addition of the walleye habitat.  With the current influx of round gobies, cormorants and many other invasive species, we believe the Brandy Brook project plays an essential part to keep the St. Lawrence River thriving,” said Michael Gagner, St. Lawrence Walleye Association president. 

NYPA awarded J.E. Sheehan Contracting Corp., of Potsdam, a $440,000 contract this past September for installation of lake sturgeon spawning beds, intended to create conditions and substrate similar to natural spawning areas.  Lake sturgeon is listed as a threatened species in New York State. 

Two lake sturgeon spawning beds have been installed at locations downstream and upstream of the Iroquois Dam, which is part of the St. Lawrence-FDR project.  The beds, which consist of large gravel, are approximately 10,000 square feet in size and one-foot thick.  They should create new spawning opportunities for lake sturgeon in a region of the St. Lawrence River where there is currently thought to be little spawning. 

Before construction, NYPA biologists examined several locations along the river to determine the best place for the spawning beds.  A spawning bed is an area of a stream, lake or river where fish deposit their eggs.  NYPA will monitor the newly constructed spawning beds in the spring to evaluate the effectiveness of the project. 

While construction of the two lake sturgeon beds is complete, the project, if successful, is subject to expansion with the Power Authority agreeing to install up to four additional beds in the St. Lawrence River. 

Work has been done on eight of the 10 HIPs, including the walleye and lake sturgeon projects.  NYPA is maintaining and monitoring the HIPs.  The remaining two HIPs are in design. 

Photo and Caption

About NYPA:

■    NYPA uses no tax money or state credit.  It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  ■    NYPA is a leader in promoting energy-efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives.  ■    It is the nation’s largest state-owned electric utility, with 18 generating facilities in various parts of the state and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines.

Return to Press Center