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Dredging
Dredging of the stream bed has occurred repeatedly in Wheeling Creek and other regional streams. Dredging occurred historically, as can be seen by closely examining the 1890s photographs under Environmental History. Compare the 1890 photos with the Scene on Big Wheeling Creek, 1904. Note the shape of the stream banks, vegetation along the bank, vegetation in the stream, and the cobbles in the stream bed.

Dredging a stream involves removing large rocks and cobble. In the Wheeling Creek watershed, rocks were dredged from streams to provide fill material during early road and railroad building activities. More recently, dredging occurred in response to flooding of roadways and suburban areas along lower Wheeling Creek.

Image of fish eggs on the bottom of a rock.  This image links to a more detailed image.Large machines in small streams cause obvious disruption of the stream bed and a short-term siltation event that could be harmful to downstream communities. Perhaps, more important, the removal of large rocks and cobble takes away an important habitat for plants and animals. Dredging often leaves a stream bed with small, uniform-size rocks. Some species of fish, amphibians, and insects require areas with large rocks for cover, feeding, and even for the placement of eggs. Left: Fish eggs on the bottom of this rock. Photo: Courtesy of Kenneth E. Rastall

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