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Faith: Tom, we're standing on a dry
riffle here that the fish can't pass
through at the moment but we have a pool
downstream and a little inner flow. What
kind of habitat do these offer even when
we don't have fish passage?
Tom: Right, this is a truly ephemeral
stream system where it periodically goes
dry and right now it's wet enough to
keep the pools inundated and those pools
were a definite actual objective as part
of the study – to recreate them to
provide areas for refuge for the fish
because they sustain fish through the
times that are drier, until the spring
floods or a high rainfall event comes.
And so, that was a very important part
of the overall design here.
I know we are standing in the channel,
it's pretty dry, but these areas – this
is a tributary to the Root River – are
very critical. We've found many
different species, including Darters,
coming up in through here and
Sticklebacks as well, so the pioneer
species can get up here, spawn and do
their thing. These areas are also going
to be critical for the water quality of
the Root River which does have a lot of
problems. So this does help treat water
for total suspended solids and water
quality aspects and is pretty critical
for the biology as well. Again, we were
able to reconnect this to the flood
plain so again it's designed to overbank
and alleviate erosion on the channels.
That was an important aspect of this as
So you can see it was a tremendous
amount of material that was excavated as
part of this and recreation of a new
flood plain. That was a tremendous cost,
but the project team decided together
that this was the right thing to do and
it allowed for enhancement and expansion
of riparian buffers and through for
filtration, especially in an urban
highway situation, with all the runoff
associated with that. Again, it was as
part of the team with DOT and DNR and
myself, as part of that, this was a team
effort in coming up with the best
solution for this confined urban
corridor and stream system.
Faith: So, we have the intermittent
pools that are very rich in diversity
and diversify the habitat too in both
what's going on in the stream and then
continuing up in the wetland areas.
Tom: Yeah, yeah. I've come in here – of
course this time of year is fall and is
during a very dry period – but earlier
in spring, it's not that uncommon to
come here and see these isolated pools
and all kinds of amphibians and fish
that are in there, surviving and waiting
for the next flow event. And wildlife is
just quite diverse in and around these
pools. So, we are very happy that the
design and through the construction,
that it all came and worked out so well.
[End of Audio]
Title: Habitat considerations in restored ephemeral channels, County G I-94 Interchange, Wisconsin
Faith Fitzpatrick (U.S. Geological Survey) and Tom Slawski (Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission) discuss intermittent riffle-pool channels in a dense urban highway environment. Even though the streams do not have flow year-round, pools maintain diverse aquatic life and floodplain connections between storm events.
Location: Milwaukee, WI, USA
Date Taken: 11/17/2010
Video Producer: Douglas A. Harned , National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA), USGS, North Carolina Water Science Center, Raleigh, NC
Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.
Additional Video Credits:
Faith Fitzpatrick: Scriptwriter, Narrator, Scientist Consultant
Gerard McMahon: Producer
Douglas Harned: Producer, Video, Editor
Alan Cressler: Video
Luke Myers: Video
Tom Slawski (Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission)
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