US Army Corps of Engineers
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Sutton Lake Biological Surveys

Published Oct. 28, 2019
Andrew Johnson relocates a plain pocketbook mussel that was stranded as a result of the receding waters downstream.

Like the fishery of the Elk River, the native mussel community contains a diverse group of organisms that also includes Federally Endangered species. The resource agencies were concerned about mussel mortality due to exposure from the receding waters of the shutdown. As a result, mussels were assessed (WV DNR, USFWS, and USACE) at multiple locations downstream of the dam. The multi-agency team located very few exposed mussels and found that significant mussel beds downstream were not exposed.

The variegate darter is a small, showy fish common throughout the District.

Fish surveys were completed (WV DNR, WV DEP, and USACE) using a parallel line electroshocking system that allowed most of the width of the river to be surveyed at once. The surveyed area extended approximately 200 meters past the first riffle below the dam. The Elk River is known to be the most diverse fishery in West Virginia. Approximately 25 species were collected by the team, validating the diversity and health of the river.

All agencies pitch in during the sorting, preserving, and identification process.

Fish surveys were completed (WV DNR, WV DEP, and USACE) using a parallel line electroshocking system that allowed most of the width of the river to be surveyed at once. The surveyed area extended approximately 200 meters past the first riffle below the dam. The Elk River is known to be the most diverse fishery in West Virginia. Approximately 25 species were collected by the team, validating the diversity and health of the river.

Steve Foster explaining the details of the day’s events to the local community.

Water Quality Team, EC-GW-W cooperated with the WV DNR, WV DEP, and the USFWS downstream of Sutton Lake on the Elk River to maximize opportunities related to the shutdown of the outflow for the scheduled PI. Flow was shut down at the dam in order to allow inspections of the tunnels and outlet structure by USACE personnel. Staff from the separate state and federal resource agencies worked together to conduct both fish surveys and mussel assessments downstream of the dam. The combination of the shutdown and the surveys drew a crowd and allowed a great opportunity for outreach to our stakeholders.

Josh Daugherty displays a beautiful WV brook trout collected below the Dam.

Water Quality Team, EC-GW-W cooperated with the WV DNR, WV DEP, and the USFWS downstream of Sutton Lake on the Elk River to maximize opportunities related to the shutdown of the outflow for the scheduled PI. Flow was shut down at the dam in order to allow inspections of the tunnels and outlet structure by USACE personnel. Staff from the separate state and federal resource agencies worked together to conduct both fish surveys and mussel assessments downstream of the dam. The combination of the shutdown and the surveys drew a crowd and allowed a great opportunity for outreach to our stakeholders.

Huntington District's Water Quality Team, EC-GW-W cooperated with the WV DNR, WV DEP, and the USFWS downstream of Sutton Lake on the Elk River to maximize opportunities related to the shutdown of the outflow for the scheduled PI.  Flow was shut down at the dam in order to allow inspections of the tunnels and outlet structure by USACE personnel.  Staff from the separate state and federal resource agencies worked together to conduct both fish surveys and mussel assessments downstream of the dam.  The combination of the shutdown and the surveys drew a crowd and allowed a great opportunity for outreach to our stakeholders. 

Like the fishery of the Elk River, the native mussel community contains a diverse group of organisms that also includes Federally Endangered species.  The resource agencies were concerned about mussel mortality due to exposure from the receding waters of the shutdown.  As a result, mussels were assessed (WV DNR, USFWS, and USACE) at multiple locations downstream of the dam.  The multi-agency team located very few exposed mussels and found that significant mussel beds downstream were not exposed.