Reclaiming Ohi:yo'- Restoring the Altered Landscape of the Beautiful River

Ohi:yo' Restoration and Resiliency Projects

Members of the Seneca Nation's Watershed Resources Working Group are involved in various restoration and resiliency projects for our Ohi:yo'. The Seneca Nation's Fish and Wildlife Department in particular engages in projects related to building artificial habitat, repopulating our river's Walleye population, and building trenches to help land locked fish. The restoration and resiliency projects were made possible by a U.S. Department of the Interior Hurricane Sandy Grant, which was awarded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Artificial Habitat

The seasonal lowering and emptying of the water reserves within the reservoir leave our inundated land exposed and unprotected to weather elements for part of the year. This annual exposure makes it difficult for natural vegetation to grow, which acts as a barrier to erosion but is also habitat to our fish within our river.

The Seneca Nation's Fish and Wildlife Department creates artificial habitat to provide the needed environment, shelter, and food for fry and young of year fish, such as the Walleye.

Some of the artificial habitat is made from recycled Christmas trees, which are tied in bundles of three or four and weighed down with cinder blocks. The Nation's Fish and Wildlife Department places this type of artificial habitat in areas identified for spawning and nursing fish, such as Yellow Perch, Crappie, Walleye, and White Bass.

In certain areas wooden structures are also placed to help prevent erosion. The Christmas trees are then tied to the wooden structures to help prevent sediment buildup. Recycled cement rubble that has been removed from local construction projects is also bordered around nursery areas, again to provide shelter and food for young of year fish.

Artificial habitat is also made from recycled vinyl siding that ranges in size from one and a half to three feet in height, which is done to provide a more diverse artificial environment.


Land Locked Fish and Trenches

The draining of the reservoir in fall in combination with the sediment buildup that covers spawning and nursery areas leaves many areas of landlocked water that fish get trapped in, leading to mass fish kills. Once landlocked, tens of thousands of young of year fish die because of oxygen degradation, predation, and water evaporation.
Fish species affected by land locking are Crappie, Northern Pike, Muskellunge, Channel Catfish, Walleye, Bullhead, Small Mouth Bass, Large Mouth Bass, White Bass, Yellow Perch, and Paddlefish.

The Seneca Nation of Indian's Fish and Wildlife Department works to combat erosion and the mass loss of landlocked fish by building artificial habitat and digging trenches in the bottom of the Reservoir. During the winter months maintenance to the trenches dug in years past is done.

Mapping the Restoration Projects

The Seneca Nation's Geographic Information Services (G.I.S.) Department has helped document and track the various restoration projects related to our river.

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