Case Study: Frog Island Habitat Improvement

Frog Island Shoreline Protection and Wetland Habitat Improvement Project

New York Power Authority (Grand Island, NY)


Gomez and Sullivan led a team of engineers and ecologists for design, permitting and construction oversight for emergent and upland habitat in the Niagara River. The Frog Island Habitat Improvement Project restores a historically productive wetland habitat in the middle of the upper Niagara River between Motor and Strawberry Islands. This area was once a productive ecosystem for plants, fish and wildlife. However, historic records show the vibrant marsh vegetation was completely degraded by wave and ice scour and had been reduced to an approximate 4 acre unvegetated shallows with essentially no ecological value. The project goal was to return the area to a protected mid-river marsh. The restoration effort was a collaborative process with extensive stakeholder input and incorporates an adaptive management approach for ongoing success. A particular interest was creating structure that could protect the restored habitat from wave, wake and ice action, while remaining as unobtrusive as possible. The restoration provides habitat for native plants, birds, fish, herptiles, and other wildlife. Services included historical research, engineering design, preparation of bid documents, assistance in bid analysis/contractor selection, and construction oversight for the planting of thousands of native emergent herbs and wetland shrubs. This project required permitting coordination with NYSDOS, USACE, NYSDEC, International Joint Commission, and the USDOS. Construction was completed in 2015, post construction monitoring efforts are underway.