Barrier Assessment of Lake Erie Tributaries of Pennsylvania
A comprehensive fish barrier assessment is critical to the prevention of the spread of aquatic invasive species throughout the Lake Erie watershed. Decisions to remove barriers may expand the habitat of recreational and native fishes, however they may also expand the range of aquatic invasive species. The objective of this project was to conduct a detailed assessment of existing fish passage barriers (natural and man-made) and the potential of these barriers to be compromised (flooding, storm events, sturdiness) allowing invasive species to spread further into the Lake Erie watershed. Previous work in this area includes barrier assessments conducted on Crooked Creek and an unnamed tributary in the Lake Erie watershed in western Erie County. Additional potential fish passage barriers were assessed upstream and downstream of overpasses with culverts that were preventing fish passage. This assessment provided the necessary information on the priority of identified barriers being removed or amended to allow native fish passage further upstream, in addition to providing information on the potential for aquatic invasive species to also spread upstream. The results of this project will assist managers in the decision making process to remove/not remove fish passage barriers, and the need to maintain high priority barriers, which are currently preventing the spread of invasive species.