The Stream Disturbance Problem And Our Fishery Resources—Its Scope And A Method Of Evaluation And Response

Examples of stream disturbance problems are cited. Soil Conservation Service Public Law 566, Army Corps of Engineers Section 208, and highway construction projects cause most stream damage. Significant stream fishery losses are also attributable to agricultural activities, railroad construction, urban and industrial development, and even to private self-interest groups and individuals. A detailed one-county West Virginia survey was made of fishery damages resulting from Agricultural Stablization and Conservation Service C-8 bank stabilization cost-sharing practices that occurred during one year. Nineteen separate projects on three quality streams altered more than 22,400 feet of stream. Replacement cost of lost fishery habitat on an acre for acre basis amounted to $81,600. Annual fish population losses of $3,517 plus expected losses from downstream sedimentation of $1,679, and annual man-day angling losses valued at $1,522 were determined. Sadly enough, only three of these projects were considered successful in accomplishing the private landowner's intended purpose. An Inter-Agency Stream Disturbance Symposium, sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, was called to bring together involved agencies to expose and discuss this serious problem. A task force was subsequently appointed to propose solutions and procedures. A much better inter-agency understanding and relationship now exists, which has already resulted in many benefits. The need for additional administrative and legislative action is apparent, in order to bring the problem under control.

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