Active River Area - Buffalo Niagara RIVERKEEPER

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Niagara Habitat Conservation Strategy
Technical Advisory Committee
Meeting
December 8, 2011
Project Purpose and Goals
Purpose
Provide a scientifically driven, stakeholder influenced blueprint
for ecosystem-based planning and habitat conservation in the
Niagara River Watershed and Niagara River Greenway.
Funding
– EPA GLRI Grant (2 years)
– GESC Grant (Phase I-9 months)
Goals
– Identify key species, natural communities, ecological systems, and
biotic processes in greatest need of conservation
– Identify ecological and landscape connections
– Identify opportunities to abate critical threats and restore degraded
biodiversity features
– Focus actions where most likely to have the most impact
– Contribute to delisting the Niagara River as an AOC
– Foster regional stakeholder support for goals and actions.
Conservation Action Planning Model (TNC)
A step-wise framework
intended to guide
practitioners:
– Develop and focus
conservation actions on
clearly defined
biodiversity
features/targets
– Fully articulate threats to
specific features
– Identify actions to abate
critical threats and restore
degraded features
Why the CAP Model?






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Scientifically driven
Clearly defined, logical, organized
Applicable and useful at all scales
Adaptive and flexible
Stakeholder influenced
Focuses actions where they are likely to have the
most impact
Regionally relevant
Niagara Habitat Conservation Strategy Timeline
July through October 2011
• Kick-off TAC meeting
• Draft and finalize project scope and mission
• Develop draft biodiversity features and goals
• Stakeholder meeting in September
• TAC meeting end of September
• Finalize biodiversity features and goals
October through June 2012
• Assess viability of biodiversity features
 Draft attributes and indicators
• Identify threats and critical threats
• Conduct intensive GIS analysis to identify linkages and opportunities
• Meet or conference with TAC at least 4 times formally
• Hold several formal stakeholder meetings
• Develop conservation actions
Timeline Cont’d
July through December 2012
• Develop conservation actions
 Field Assessments/Groundtruthing
• Meet formally with TAC 3 times
• Hold several stakeholder/public meetings
• Identify indicators and methods to measure effectiveness of actions
• Organize information into strategy document
• Seek review and comment on strategy document
• Finalize strategy document
Project Milestones to Date
•
Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) approval
obtained on October 22, 2011 from USEPA
•
Vision Statement developed and finalized
– Aquatic project scope
•
Ongoing public and stakeholder outreach
•
Active River Area map drafted depicting project
planning area
Vision Statement
Building upon completed and ongoing regional habitat
conservation work, restore and conserve native
ecological communities and biological integrity by
promoting healthy, self-sustaining aquatic ecosystem
functions within the Niagara River watershed.
Active River Area
- TNC, 2008
Active River Area
What is it?
A visual and spatial representation of rivers that includes the
channels and riparian lands necessary to accommodate the
physical and ecological processes associated with river
systems.
– “Active”-Dynamic physical processes form, disturb and maintain
different aquatic and riparian habitat components over space and time
– “River Area”- Lands that contain both aquatic and riparian habitats as
well as those that contain processes that interact with a river or
channel.
– Physical processes include system-wide hydrologic connectivity,
floodplain hydrology, and sediment movement along a river corridor
– Considers physical processes and habitats in relation to three
watershed positions; upper, mid, and lower
Why Useful?
Vision Statement
Building upon completed and ongoing regional habitat
conservation work, restore and conserve native ecological
communities and biological integrity by promoting healthy,
self-sustaining aquatic ecosystem functions within the Niagara
River watershed.
The Active River Area (ARA) visually identifies the physical space
within which to focus conservation efforts to achieve our
project’s vision in the Niagara River watershed.
Methodology of the ARA
Uses Geographic Information System (GIS) modeling paired with
scientific framework
Delineates:
Five Components
-
Material Contribution Area
Meander Belt
Floodplains
Terraces
Riparian Wetlands
Uses (2) major GIS datasets as inputs:
- USGS/USEPA National Stream Hydrography Dataset
(1:100,000 scale) for stream lines and orders
- 30m Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for elevation and slope
Material Contribution Areas:
Headwater areas and certain upland areas
directly adjacent to stream channels; key
building blocks of downstream hydrology,
channel structure and habitat conditions.
Upper Watershed
• Uplands where intermittent streams form and come together to create the
first and second order perennial streams
• Significant areas that contribute inorganic and organic materials to river
system downstream and form the basis of the food web
Mid Watershed
• Uplands and steep slopes along small tributary streams emerging from
confined valleys and along steep valley walls where no floodplains, terraces, or
wetlands exist
Lower Watershed
• Most materials coming from upstream sources and from areas within other
ARA components
• Areas along bluffs or steep banks along small tributaries may be locally
important
Meander Belt:
Area within which the channel will migrate
over time; most “active” part of the ARA
Upper Watershed
• Can be narrow in small, straight and steep headwater channels or slightly wider in
headwater wetland dominated systems
•
Step-pool channels common; confined valleys and coarse bed particles limit
lateral movement of meander belt
Mid-Watershed
• Wider and more dynamic than upper watershed; degree of valley confinement
determines width in part
•
Dominant processes are downstream transfer of water, sediment, and energy
Lower Watershed
•
•
Often wide and sinuous; fine sediment
Dominant processes are sediment and flood storage
Floodplains:
Expansive and low sloped areas, often with multiple channels and deep deposits of
sediment and other materials
Terraces:
Former floodplains when river was flowing at higher levels
Upper Watershed
• High floodplains and terraces minimal; small expanse of floodplain critical to
maintain downstream channel and habitat stability
Mid-Watershed
• Presence is a function of valley confinement
• Critical habitats for aquatic, floodplain, and terrestrial species/communities;
inundation determines flood water, sediment, and organic material storage
regimes, as well as uptake
Lower Watershed
• Broad and flat with low to medium energy
• Floodplain inundation and storage of fine sediments transported from upstream
are key processes
Riparian Wetlands
Low gradient areas with inundated
or hydric soils that support
wetland plant species
Upper Watershed
• Important role in direct and indirect retention and downstream delivery of
organics and nutrients
• Extent of wetlands defined by valley confinement versus broad, flat headwater
areas
Mid-Watershed
• Direct link between channel and floodplain, stabilizing banks and providing large
woody debris and coarse particulate organic matter
• Important water storage areas; help to reduce stream power downstream
Lower Watershed
• Wide, often extending across valley floor and within floodplain
• Integrally linked to river hydrology by ground and surface water, having a strong
influence on disturbance regime of channel and floodplain
Active River Area GIS Toolkit
Created by The Nature Conservancy, June 2010
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–
–
Active River Area (ARA) Three-Stream Class Toolbox
Scale: 1:100000 (vector) and 30 meter (raster)
Software: ArcGIS 9.3 with Spatial Analyst extension
Digital Elevation Model
1.
–
–
–
Source: USGS
Scale: 30m
Each cell (pixel) contains an elevation value
Hydrography
2.
–
–
–
–
Source: USGS National Hydrography Dataset lines and polygons
Scale: 1:100000
Stream Order:

Headwaters : 1st and 2nd Orders

Medium: 3rd and 4th Orders

Rivers: 5th Order
Converted from vector to raster for use in ARA model
GIS Data Input
Digital Elevation Model
Niagara River Watershed
GIS Data Input
Hydrography
by stream order
Niagara River Watershed
Model Results - Active River Area
Blue areas represent:
•Meander Belts
•Riparian Wetlands
•Floodplains
•Terraces
•Material
Contribution Areas
Percent of Sub-Watershed that is Active River Area
SUB-WATERSHED
ACREAGE
ACTIVE RIVER AREA
%
Buffalo Creek
93,190.9
25,216.0
27.1%
Buffalo River
105,391.6
24,846.7
23.6%
Cayuga Creek
81,385.3
25,537.9
31.4%
Eighteenmile Creek
76,843.0
22,415.9
29.2%
Ellicott Creek
76,843.9
29,689.3
38.6%
Lower Tonawanda Creek
78,802.2
44,544.3
56.5%
Middle Tonawanda Creek
79,115.9
45,083.8
57.0%
Murder Creek
46,685.8
17,745.8
38.0%
Niagara River
98,210.9
38,685.2
39.4%
Smoke Creek
39,527.3
10,026.3
25.4%
Upper Tonawanda Creek
127,308.1
36,449.4
28.6%
Total
903,305.0
320,240.6
35.5%
Niagara River
Watershed
Dark blue
represents
‘Medium Streams’
Light blue
represents
‘Headwaters’
Hydrography by Stream Order
Newstead and Corfu, NY
Darker shading
represents lower
elevations
Elevation Model
Newstead and Corfu, NY
Active River Area
Model Results are
in green
Active River Area
Newstead and Corfu, NY
Active River Area
Model Results
compared to
100-Year
Floodplains
Active River Area with 100-Year Floodplains
Newstead and Corfu, NY
Forested Land
Cover based on
NOAA LULC,
2005:
Deciduous Forest
Mixed Forest
Evergreen Forest
Forested Areas within the Active River Area
Newstead and Corfu, NY
Light Blue
represents 100Year FEMA
Floodplains
Dark Blue
represents NWI
wetlands.
Wetlands and Floodplains within the Active River Area
Newstead and Corfu, NY
Conservation Action Planning Model (TNC)
A step-wise framework
intended to guide
practitioners:
– Develop and focus
conservation actions on
clearly defined
biodiversity
features/targets
– Fully articulate threats to
specific features
– Identify actions to abate
critical threats and restore
degraded features
Biodiversity Features (conservation targets)
Definition:
Limited suite of species, ecological
communities, and ecological systems that are
chosen to represent and encompass the
biodiversity found in the project area.
Nested Features
Definition:
Species, ecological communities, or ecological
systems whose conservation needs are
subsumed in one or more biodiversity feature.
Example:
Biodiversity Feature: Native Migratory Fish
Nested Features: Lake Sturgeon, Walleye, Lake Trout
NIAGARA WATERSHED Biodiversity Features – Draft 12/8/2011
1. Upper and Middle Tributary Open Water Aquatic Habitat
Open water habitat in mid and upper tribs including 1st order streams (& ag ditches and drains) in ARA
2. Riparian/Coastal Zone
Active floodplain, emergent & woody wetlands in ARA, including springs, seeps and headwater wetland areas
3. Riparian/Coastal Woodlands
Deciduous, evergreen and mixed forest within or continuous w/ ARA
4. Riparian/Coastal Grasslands/Shrublands
Meadows, early successional farmlands, capped landfills (?) within or continuous with the ARA
Additional NIAGARA GREENWAY/AOC* Biodiversity Features
5. Riverine Open Water Aquatic Habitat: Nearshore and Benthic
Niagara River and lower tribs including Nearshore: 6-foot depth to mean high water; and Benthic: >6 feet deep.
6. Natural Beaches and Islands
Sand or gravel beaches; islands and breakwalls
7. Unique Area: Niagara Gorge
Including six miles of cliffs, talus slope, bedrock shoreline and vegetated rim between falls and n. edge of escarpment
8. Native Migratory Fish
Self-sustaining, native fish communities: e.g. objectives of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission
9. IBA targeted bird species not otherwise captured
Including wintering and migratory waterbirds
Contact Information
Kerrie Gallo, Project Director
716.852.7483 x 30
[email protected]
Margaret Wooster, Co-Director
716.852.7483 x15
[email protected]
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