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Reservoir Habitat Enhancement Program

Preparing to install fish habitat

The DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife is working to reset the clock on our aging reservoirs with a new program to improve and increase aquatic habitat in selected bodies of water.

The program, called the Reservoir Habitat Enhancement Program, started in 2016. It will enhance habitat through the placement of structures, shoreline stabilization and dredging.

In some reservoirs, existing aquatic habitat has deteriorated. Other reservoirs may have been lacking in habitat since construction due to water quality, water level fluctuations or other issues.

Vegetation on boat

Reservoir habitat program steps

  • Map bathymetry and vegetation of reservoirs using sonar to determine amount of available habitat.
  • Rank reservoirs based on habitat availability.
  • One to two reservoirs will be selected each year as a project lake.
  • Work with agencies and partners to develop a Habitat Enhancement Plan for the project lake.
  • Use techniques to improve fish habitat through placement of artificial structures, vegetation planting, shoreline stabilization or dredging.

Project lake schedule

  • 2016: Sullivan Lake, 451 acres - Georgia cubes, porcupine cribs, porcupine crib juniors, and black bass nesting structures were placed at six locations around the lake. At total of 135 structures were built and placed (Sullivan Lake plan, Sullivan Lake map).
  • 2016-2017: Hominy Ridge - Spatterdock tubers were transplanted to the lake to reestablish emergent vegetation (Hominy Ridge plan).
  • 2017-2018: Cecil M. Harden, 2,060 acres - Rock piles, porcupine cribs, porcupine crib juniors, and Moss Back structures were placed at eight locations around the lake. More than 300 structures were built and placed (Cecil M. Harden plan, Cecil M. Harden map).
  • 2018-2019: Monroe Lake - Pallet cribs, porcupine cribs, porcupine crib juniors and Georgia cubes were placed at a target area in the lake. A total of 297 structures were built and placed in summer and fall 2018 and 2019 (Monroe Lake plan, Monroe Lake map).
  • 2019: Sylvan Lake - Habitat work has been postponed until dredging is completed. Pending funding and permitting requirements, the proposed habitat project is intended to address a shoreline erosion problem and be coupled with possible in-lake rock placement.
  • 2020: Patoka Lake - The proposed project will address lack of in-lake habitat and shoreline erosion (Patoka Lake plan).
Planting vegetation

Contact information

Sandy Clark-Kolaks, south region fisheries research biologist
Email: sclark-kolaks@dnr.IN.gov
Phone: 812-287-8300

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