Thursday, June 4, 2009

Kewaunee River fish stocking moved to Root River following manure spill

Coho, brown trout, steelheads stocked
earlier this spring in jeopardy

KEWAUNEE – The Department of Natural Resources will stock steelhead into the Root River near its weir facility on the Root River in Racine County.

On April 10th, an accidental release of manure into the headwaters of the Kewaunee River potentially threatens the water quality at a planned stocking area on the river. Accordingly, DNR Fisheries staff, who had to move 20,000 Ganaraska strain steelhead and 3,700 Chambers Creek strain steelhead out of the hatchery this week, choose the Root site instead. The young fish were already marked with a fin clip to identify the strain when they return to the weir and stocking could not be delayed any further. The fish are needed for egg collection.

Each year the Kewaunee River is stocked with Steelhead, Brown Trout, Chinook and Coho Salmon for Lake Michigan fishing. The Kewaunee is also stocked with extra trout and salmon to assure adequate spawning fish return to the Besadny Fish Facility weir where eggs are collected and sent to the DNR Hatcheries to raise trout and salmon for restocking Lake Michigan. Prior to the mid-April manure spill, the Kewaunee River had received its entire quota of coho salmon and brown trout, and a portion of the steelhead destined for the Kewaunee.

DNR fisheries staff and water quality biologists will continue monitoring the river's water quality while cleanup progresses. Until the situation on the Kewaunee River is corrected and the upstream reaches of the river return to normal dissolved oxygen levels, the DNR will not be stocking any additional trout or salmon into the river. Recent readings conducted on Wednesday showed dissolved oxygen levels to be much improved downstream from the spill.

Additional fish scheduled for stocking in the Kewaunee River this spring include approximately 80,000 Chinook salmon fingerlings.

The farm owner responsible for the manure spill has been cooperating with the DNR, and extensive on-going efforts are being made to clean up and mitigate the environmental impacts of this manure spill. These efforts include preventing the movement of the manure farther downstream by blocking the road culvert, bypassing fresh water from upstream past the contaminated water, physically pumping out the manure contaminated water that got into the river, and introducing truckloads of fresh water immediately downstream from the spill site.

No comments: