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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Between Crap and a Hard Place

Anglers, in recent years, have come to renown Big Eau Pleine Reservoir, located near Wausau WI, for its big catches. Walleye, pike and crappie bred like rabbits and grew like mushrooms in the thing. Well, not anymore, according to this article in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A combination of low water levels and high agro-runoff (read...a lot of crap in the water) caused oxygen levels to drop so low even carp couldn't survive (and given some of the carp I've known, that's saying something). Some estimates are putting the fish kill at almost 80%.
Why so high? Because, a reservoir is not a's a dammed river. So, when the crap hits the lake, the fish hit the dam. They are trapped in a shallow impoundment...sitting ducks. Or worse, because ducks could fly away. The fish are stuck...stuck in a huge man-made aquarium with the oxygen turned off. Citizens in the area have joined forces to try and make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen again. Good luck to them. Too late, unfortunately, for all the fish, the anglers and all the area businesses that cater to the line-throwers. Now, we've been told for years that strong environmental management regulations are bad for small businesses. Well, I guess now we know that poor ones aren't so hot either.

1 comment:

  1. The Wisconsin River is one of the more dammed rivers- are there 28? Some of the hydro dams are surprisingly large. So there is a whole altered ecosystem there to take into account. I wonder though- wouldn't this particular dam create higher water levels? Without it, would the area be dry at some times of the year? How would that affect the resident fish?