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Fish kill: Snapshots of beginning

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A sizeable flock of sandhill cranes wheeled overhead as I pulled off the 9th Street bridge in Lockport around noon today. That was about the only natural and true thing that happened at the beginning of the fish kill, sanctioned by local, state, federal and international groups, on a nearly six-mile stretch of Sanitary and Ship Canal.

carpkill12-02-09sign

I just loved this sign. There are two of them by the Des Plaines River on my walk back to the press tent for the briefing about the fish kill being planned so the electric fish barrier near Romeoville could have work done on it.

The barrier was built badly and late to prevent the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes.

Maybe you had to have knocked around the story for years to truly appreciate those signs about the flooding on the Des Plaines.

Wednesday's operation felt like a military campaign, all the way down to the 47 CPOs involved, which if my calculations are correct is about 2 out of every 5 CPOs we have in the whole of Illinois.

This is just snapshots. The actual application of rotenone, a fish toxitant, is set to begin in a few minutes, then the dead carcasses of fish picked up through the weekend.

I will have more complete thoughts later.

There was a whole lot of stuff, something newsworthy, some flat out BS, at the news conference, but one fact of note came out. Commercial fishermen around the O'Brien Lock did not find any Asian carp today, according to the IDNR's lead on this, John Rogner.

carpkill12-02-09135thview

I got there early and joined several faithful readers on the 135th Street bridge as witnesses to some of the early work corraling other fish. From the biologists I spoke with, not many were found.

carpkill12-02-09launch

It was almost surreal to see all the vessels in the water or on trailers, knowing what they about to do.

There is much more to come on this.

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5 Comments

I'm at least glad to hear that they haven't actually caught any carp by the Obrien locks. I certainly hope you get a full report on just what species the dead fish are?

Just because they arent there now, doesnt mean they wont be back again. Most of the asain carp that we see on the Illinois riv this time of year are in pretty shallow water 8 ft or less. It seems when the water warms they move deeper. I dont know the depth of the canal but I am guessing fairly deep to allow barge traffic. I am very skeptical of this operation. It feels like a polital last minute knee jerk reaction. Where was all of this concern when the Ill riv was taken over by the carp years ago. This all could have been avoided if the DNR had been proactive.

Dale, I hope you will be covering this from start to finish and get some pictures of the dead fish collected to see the size and variability of the population in that section. I’m sure it would be no problem for you to use your connections and get on a boat and document what this fish kill did to this section of the canal.

If Bighead and Silver Carp want into Lake Michigan, all the rotenone in the world won't stop them. They're probably there already.

My guess is that the Great Lakes won't suit these particular exotics. They seem to be a river-oriented fish, like the native Paddlefish they compete with for plankton.

Bowman, as usual, seems to be the only person in the media who gets it right.

I miss the experts we used to have, who wrote about problems facing us fishermen and hunters. They researched then tried to do something about them. Practically all the outdoor writers we have today can only report on what happened yesterday and not very accurately.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 2, 2009 5:17 PM.

Midwest Fishing Report: First ice? was the previous entry in this blog.

Fish Kill: Day 2 is the next entry in this blog.

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