Professor Diba Khan-Bureau
Date of Speaker: 3/26/2014
Brian D. Murphy
Three Rivers Seminar - Stream Restoration Efforts in Eastern Connecticut
Brian D. Murphy was the speaker for our seventh Environmental Seminar class. His presentation revolved around stream restoration effects in Eastern Connecticut. Brian D. Murphy is apart of the Connecticut Department of Environmental protection or (DEEP), more specifically working in the Inland fisheries division, Habitat Conservation and Enhancement program. To break it down a little bit with what exactly this means, Brian D. Murphy and his team’s main priority is to restore and enhance riparian habitats and instream fisheries that have been negatively impacted or altered by man-made Alterations. Their goal is to try to bring the streams habitat back to it’s original state, hoping for more diversity to make up for the habitat loss/degradation.
Above is an example of channelization, which is a stream channel straightened. This stream channel is straightened and placed into concrete, which is a prime example of a Man Made Alteration. There is absolutely no purpose to this channel for a few reasons, other than the fact that it prevents flooding. This concrete channel makes it impossible for fish to live, and lacks a great deal of diversity, therefore there is absolutely no ecological value. Stream bank erosion is another problem that Brian D. Murphy investigates. Basically, when a stream bank erodes, soils that once originated from the stream bank travels to the stream channel causing sedimentation! Sedimentation is a big problem in streams, reasons being that sedimentation fills pool habitats that fish use to hide. Sedimentation in shallow water is even worse because it results in a huge reduction of the population of aquatic insects, which is the food source for most fish in streams. In a lot of instances, bank erosion results in the loss of plants that play an important role in the streams. Vegetation shades and keeps streams at a cool temperature, necessary for the survival of cold water fish, without vegetation, the exposure to constant sunlight is life threatening for certain fish, trouts for example.
Brian Murphy’s job is to identify poor fish habitats in streams. Habitat restoration is very important, especially in streams because the better the habitat, the higher density there is of fish. One of my favorite projects that Brian Murphy talked about was the Culvert Removal at Leadmine Brook, Ashford. The problem was that there was a perched culvert that was blocking upstream fish passages for the native brook trout. This is a problem because fish can’t jump and swim through the shallow water in the culverts. Also, fish cannot pass through the culverts if there is a high water flow velocity, it exhausts the fish. So in efforts to restore this area, a project was created. This project's goals was to restore fish passages by replacing the twin culverts that were recently blocking the fish passages, and putting in a timber bridge. Next is to restore and stabilize 60 feet of instream and streambank habitat, restore 125 feet of brook trout habitat in the channelized section downstream of the road crossing, and then monitor the trout population to see if the timber bridge was a success, 3 years post renovation and 3 years after, for a total of six years. It was no surprise that the fish population of trout almost doubled after the renovation project.
Looking at the guest schedule syllabus for the next speaker, I immediately got excited, I even brought a guest along, who also really enjoyed the presentation, and would like to attend another Seminar! Brian Murphy is an excellent speaker, and brought a lot of new things that I did not know about to my attention, and to my guests attention. I honestly had no idea there was an issue with certain streams, this was all knew to me. I’m glad I walked out of the classroom knowing how another person is making the effort to make this world a more sustainable place. Great class!
Information was based on the slide handout from class, also