Limestone Creek Restoration in Fayetteville, NY

In September 2012, Iroquois TU started working with The Village of Fayetteville, NY through Parks Commission Chair Martin Brunet, to restore a section of Limestone Creek that was damaged when the old dam in the Village failed. These pages document that ongoing effort.

The dam had failed in 2009. NYSDOT had removed a lot of silt and gravel at the time under an emergency permit that left a wide, flat, sunny, slow channel  in the part of the stream just downstream from the former dam site.  As part of a plan to enhance Canal Landing Park, it was our Chapter’s desire (and the Village’s) to restore that part of the stream to the extent possible, given other concerns and constraints.

These pictures of the Dam were provided by Marty Brunet:

The intact dam prior to 2009

The Breach

The breach from above the dam

Dam Removal

Immediately after the dam was removed

B & L Site Plan[1] On this plan, you can see the site of the former dam (#9-10) and the proposed bridge to replace it.  The section just downstream from that site (“up” as you look at the plan)needed to be rehabilitated to create a suitable habitat for trout.  Fayetteville Mayor Olsen was  hoping to have the pedestrian bridge in place by the end of 2012. One of our concerns was to convince the village Mayor to take the opportunity to create a pool using the large Limestone blocks of the old dam. At the time they were strewn randomly (see the attached pictures). It would also assist in directing some flow down the old feeder canal, which  had no flow since the dam came down. There are several other key locations where flow might be able to be improved by creating weirs with smaller rocks from the stream bed, but any moving of the large stones near the dam would need to be done now while the village was doing other work in the creek. Additional shading would be desirable at certain locations, the Elm Street hole being one of them. Access may be able to be improved there also. FYI: The gabion retaining wall at this location was removed and replaced with large Limestone by JK Tobin.  The village had recently cleaned out the large gravel bar that existed below the old dam, and they placed large stone on the east bank to protect the power line poles. It would take some major flow to recreate any habitat in that location.

Above are a number of pictures from before work commenced in 2012.

Downstream from the old dam is the area that was cleared of gravel for flood control purposes  It’s the area that needed remediation/improvement. The right bank also received bank stabilization, which is obvious. That was needed to protect the road/trail and some power poles

We got input from a lot of our members including Ralph Manna, Les Monostory, Chuck Smith, David Seifritz, and Bob Alexander.  One of our aims was also to place a memorial along the creek in honor of Bob Risely, our former Treasurer and friend who passed suddenly in 2012.  Additional work and expertise was provided by Kyle Buelow and Stephen Fisher of O’Brien & Gere.

In addition to habitat, there were other concerns, including future flooding, excessive scouring of the stream bed, power line pole protection, ADA access, and restoration of the feeder.  The feeder dam is registered as a historical site as part of the Erie Canal system and had to be protected.

Existing Village permits allowed for (1) the stream bank work, and (2) removal of the excess gravel., and for the additional rearrangement of the existing limestone blocks at the  former dam area. We worked with the Village to rearrange the gravel (rather than remove it) so that natural stream flows  (Rosgen channeling) and meanders would begin to reform, rather than have a wide flat plane under the water surface.

Our Chapter’s Recommendations drafted mostly by Ralph Manna (with a lot of input from others) were as follows:


VillageofFayetteville, Town ofManlius

UPSTREAM REACH  (upstream of the old canal control dam within the park)

Remove gabions and culvert primarily from the bank and above to protect the important pool below.  Install the new culvert and limestone block bank protection primarily from above and preserving the pool below.

Install rock deflectors along outside bends of the stream.  Rocks should be suitably large and taken from old dam remnants or other sources outside the stream.

Place rocks/boulders within the stream at various locations for habitat.

Place appropriate plantings at appropriate locations without vegetation and/or needing additional stream shading.

Restore all disturbed areas with appropriate seeding and mulching.

DOWNSTREAM REACH  (below the old canal control dam within the park)

Create fishing access from Town Hall parking lot down to stream.

Clear limestone blocks and dam debris from the center of the stream and along the centerline of the proposed new stream pilot channel.

Construct pilot channel  (with vee-shaped cross section) from old dam site to the downstream end of the gravel removal section using a meander pattern approximating that of before gravel removal (curving first to the right bank, then to the center and then rejoining the undisturbed downstream channel).

Any gravel removed from the new pilot channel should be graded outward to the stream bank edges on either side of the channel, but not removed from the stream itself.

Place limestone dam remnants along outside of channel bends (for stream stabilization) and randomly within the new channel (for habitat improvement).

Scatter large flat capstones and blocks from the old dam at various locations along stream channel for use fishing access.

Plant appropriate vegetation along the top of the right (east) bank above the bank stabilization in order to provide limited shading to the stream channel.

Remove the control boards on the feeder canal control structure in order to provide floodwater access to the feeder canal and potentially relieve flood pressure on the main channel downstream of the old dam.

Restore all disturbed areas with appropriate seeding and mulching.

 GENERAL NOTE –  The Iroquois Chapter of Trout Unlimited wishes theVillageofFayettevillewell in its accomplishment of this project and the implementation of our recommendations.  We believe that the park improvements will provide many benefits to the community.  TU would thus like to offer our continuing assistance in answering questions and providing clarifications on any of our recommendations.  We can also offer  on-site  assistance with plantings, hand placement of small habitat improvement  blocks, future stream clean-up efforts, and other activities that would prove to be of benefit to the Village and to the stream in this area. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this project.

March 2013

The large stones for the bendway weir were placed, and the control boards from the old feeder dam had been removed. The large stones  protect the wood timber foundation of the former dam, and divert the water back towards the center of the stream, thus to begin to narrow the stream channel through this portion. Remaining on-site large rocks and rocks obtained from an external source were used.  Village DPW personnel worked to produce the channel geometry we were looking for while minimizing sediment movement. A new deposition area was created along the east bank and in the approximate former location of the gravel bar that was removed – without influencing flow from the two stormwater culverts on the west side.

In April, with the help of many volunteers from the Village, ESF Trout Bums, our Chapter and others, we conducted a massive clean-up along the banks of the creek from Rte 5 downstream to the end of Feeder Street.  We removed 42 cubic yards of debris and garbage, plus two rusted auto chassis’ that the village was able to haul away. (See the Stream Projects page)

The bridge was set on new concrete pads, in May, and was dedicated in July 2013 Approximate dimensions of the bridge are 6’W x 110’L.

May 2013

We have much more work to do. The next phase of the project will be to continue to improve the Rosgen channel in the stream just below the bridge. This drawing Cross Sectional Data show the work we hope to do next in this area.


Other improvements, including the memorial for Bob Risely, plantings for shade, and an ADA accessible platform need to be worked through, but we are hoping to get details worked into the Village Parks Master Plan, and to continue our mutually beneficial and cooperative efforts with the Village of Fayetteville, Village Mayor Mark Olsen, and Marty Brunet.  We would also like to thank Dave Lemon of the DEC Region 7 Office for his help and guidance.

(All pictures here were supplied by TU members and/or Marty Brunet Village of Fayetteville Parks Commissioner, and used with permission)

For Reference and enjoyment, some historic photos of the dam and the area are on this page





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