Streams and lakes in Onondaga County in Central New York area have been significantly altered and degraded as a result of urbanization and industrialization. Located in the Lake Ontario watershed, the area is eligible for funds under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for habitat improvements in the watershed. In 2010, the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA), secured funding under the GLRI for restoration measures in the Onondaga Lake watershed.
Following the successful restoration of Beartrap Creek in Salina, New York in 2010, an additional habitat restoration effort was undertaken in the South Branch of Ley Creek in DeWitt, New York. The Central New York Chapter of the IWLA, in consultation with the Onondaga Environmental Institute (OEI), identified a low head stone dam suspected as acting as an impediment to upstream migration of walleye and northern pike for spring spawning as an opportunity for improvement. Natural Systems Engineering designed a stone bottom slope (or fish ramp) consisting of field stones placed to the toe of the dam to allow fish passage during periods of higher streamflow. Partners on the project include Joe Green Excavating (Phoenix, New York) for construction, OEI for pre- and post-construction biota monitoring, and the Central New York Chapter of the IWLA who was instrumental in site selection and logistics.