Twenty-nine tree bundles, removed in March from the location where the batch concrete plant is being built for construction work at Montgomery Locks and Dam were lashed together with steel cables and were placed into a slough 32 miles downriver from Pittsburgh on August 8. Boat crews carefully tied concrete anchors to each bundle, securing it into place. Each bundle weighs between 500 and 2,800 pounds.
The Corps coordinated the locations and spacing of the new fish habitats with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The trees were cut in March to avoid disturbing the nesting of endangered northern long-eared bats, but they were not placed until August so that they did not affect the fish spawning season, which ends in July.
The project was so successful that the district plans similar placements to replace fish habitat being lost on the lower Monongahela River as part of the Lower Mon Construction Project. The Lower Mon project involves replacing the fixed-crest dam at Locks and Dam 2 at Braddock with a gated dam, removing Locks and Dam 3 at Elizabeth and constructing a new, larger lock at Locks and Dam 4 at Charleroi.
Corps spokesman Rother said “We plan to install fish reefs in the Monongahela River to mitigate habitat loss resulting from the removal of Lock and Dam 3 in Elizabeth, Pa., which is part of our Lower Mon project. “Like the effort at Montgomery Locks and Dam, the fish reefs are planned to be installed beforehand to mitigate potential impacts to the local environment.”The district also plans to install 73 fish reefs constructed from concrete rubble in the lower Monongahela River.