The Mountaineer, in partnership with Patagonia, Inc., announces a $10,000 donation to the Ausable River Association (AsRA). The funds will be put to work this summer reconnecting prime habitat for brook trout and reducing community flood risks by replacing a deteriorating culvert in the Town of Jay.
The site is on a tributary of Rocky Branch, an amazing natural stream system that descends from a designated wilderness area and supports an abundance of wildlife. Five genetically distinct native strains of brook trout have been identified in its waters. But in several locations where the stream meets rural roads, its clear waters are forced under those roads through 20-30” steel or plastic pipes. These undersized culverts degrade habitat and stream function, block connectivity for species diversity, and cause serious roadway flooding, cutting off access for residents. When the project is completed at summer’s end, flooding will be minimized and the stream will flow uninterrupted below the road with room for fish, turtles, amphibians, and small mammals to pass through.
“Protecting the clean waters of the Ausable River and its many small streams is a priority for Mountaineer employees,” said Vinny McClelland of the Mountaineer. “We’re excited to join with Patagonia to make a difference in our community by supporting fish-friendly, flood-resilient culverts like the one AsRA is building.”
Since 2014, the Ausable River Association and partners, including several town highway departments, The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have replaced or retrofitted seven culverts in New York’s Lake Champlain Basin with climate-ready, fish-friendly designs. The new structures connect over 90 miles of river habitat.
“Fish-friendly, flood resilient culverts like this one make a big difference for people and for wildlife,” said AsRA’s Executive Director, Kelley Tucker who is coordinating the survey, design, and construction of the project. “Building a critter-friendly culvert that can manage a 100-year stream flow with room to spare takes many hands. AsRA relies on partnerships with local road crews, town officials, engineers, non-profit partners, and exceptional supporters like Patagonia and the