Design of Northern Pike Spawning Habitat in Onondaga Lake, NY

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 8:20 AM
Izard (Statehouse Convention Center)
Margaret H. Murphy , Anchor QEA, LLC, Liverpool, NY
Ryan Davis, Ph.D , Anchor QEA, LLC
John M. Farrell , Environmental and Forest Biology, State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY
Donald Leopold, Ph.D , State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Tim Johnson , Parsons
Jeremy Neumann , Parsons
Matt Henderson , Anchor QEA, LLC
The remediation and restoration of Onondaga Lake, in Syracuse, NY will provide a diverse and improved aquatic ecosystem for the lake and adjacent wetland areas.  The majority of restoration activities for Onondaga Lake will occur within the littoral zone.  This shallow portion of the lake is important to most resident and transient fish species during one of their life stages.  Because shoreline wetlands are limited in the lake, part of the restoration design included the establishment of wetlands suitable for northern pike (Esox lucius) spawning and rearing. The southwest shoreline of Onondaga Lake is seasonally inundated and may provide a suitable area to create these wetlands.  The design was based on providing suitable water depths and temperature at the appropriate time of year for northern pike to spawn in shallow and deep emergent wetlands.  To support the design, temperature data were collected at the site and an in-lake reference area from just after ice-out in early March to mid-May to determine the time when temperatures suitable for pike spawning occur. Historical lake level data for the potential spawning period determined from the temperature data were used to develop the range of target restoration elevations and associated plantings that emphasize grasses, sedges, and narrow-leaved emergent species.  The design specified a variable sloping condition to allow for a self-designing system to address variability in lake level during the spawning period.  In addition, a wind/wave analysis was completed to evaluate the stability of the habitat substrate to be placed in the area.