Wildlife Habitat

July 3, 2017

Upper Watershed Wildlife Priority: Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems support self-sustaining populations of a variety of species whose habitats are managed in conjunction with other planning efforts.

Efforts in the upper watershed to bring together a variety of wildlife habitat stakeholders through the Upper Susquehanna Conservation Alliance provides opportunities to set and achieve co-benefits.

  • Incorporate brook trout habitat information into stream trainings for stormwater managers.
  • Identify sites for establishment and/or maintenance of early successional habitat to support species like the American woodcock, New England cottontail, and others.
  • Evaluate the current status of freshwater mussels and promote their conservation. Advise the reintroduction and restoration of American eel—a species essential to the mussel life cycle.
  • Carry out habitat and population restoration measures to support selfsustaining populations of hellbenders in the watershed.
  • Establish a database and collaborative platform to share data, identify co-benefits, and partner on project implementation.

 

Middle Watershed Wildlife Priority: The West Branch and its tributaries provide prime trout fishing opportunities in the long term.

This region was once known for its excellent trout fishery, but pressures from human activities have reduced viable trout habitat and shoreline restrictions have reduced public access to fishing areas.

  • Reestablish trout habitat connectivity by restoring damaged stretches of stream, replacing culverts, and removing dams.
  • Expand infrastructure and public access for fishing and boating including river access at bridges and fishing access easements.
  • Install and protect riparian forest buffers to improve water quality and in-stream habitats.
  • Monitor restoration efforts for long-term effectiveness and protect restored sites through conservation programs.

 

Lower Watershed Wildlife Priority: Land use decision-making considers the long-term effects of fragmented habitats on wildlife.

This region has three major dams that span the Susquehanna. The lower Susquehanna in Pennsylvania is at the same time the most developed and the most farmed area in the watershed.

  • Evaluate and prioritize habitat connectivity improvements; for example, the conservation of wildlife corridors among farmland.
  • Work with utility companies to prioritize fish passage for keystone and iconic aquatic species.
  • Celebrate the lower Susquehanna as an important migratory bird flyway and migratory fish route by increasing public access for birding and fishing. Educate residents and visitors on the regional significance of this region to wildlife by supporting nature education and research centers like the Susquehannock Wildlife Society in Maryland.