White River’s rebound continues after 1999 fish kill
Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:00 PM
The White River has received its cleanest bill of health since a major fish kill in 1999.
During a fall 2011 fish survey, Indiana Department of Natural Resources biologists collected 7,128 fish from 57 species at sample stations between Anderson and Indianapolis. This was the greatest number of species collected since the fish kill, and further proof that the river has recovered. In December 1999, an estimated 4.3 million fish died as a result of a fish kill that started at the outfall of the Anderson Waste Water Treatment Plant and stretched 55 miles into downtown Indianapolis. The kill was traced to an industrial discharge from the Guide Corporation in Anderson. A $6 million settlement overseen by the DNR, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was used to restore the river. A 10-person citizen’s advisory committee assisted the agencies.
“The fish community is healthy and an increase in darters and minnows is an indication of improving habitat and water quality” said Sandra Clark-Kolaks, a DNR fisheries research biologist. Game species have also recovered since 1999, providing ample angling opportunities. Black bass, rock bass, saugers, crappies, and channel catfish were collected in plentiful numbers.
A total of 154 smallmouth bass ranging from 2.6 to 19.9 inches long were collected, and the number of smallmouth bass greater than 17 inches increased since 2007. A total of 223 largemouth bass ranging from 2.3 to 17.4 inches long were collected. Of the 186 channel catfish collected 31 percent were longer than 14 inches and 19 percent were longer than 20 inches, with most being collected in the Lake Indy pool. Crappies were most prominent in backwater areas with several black crappies in the 10-to-12-inches size range. Six saugers were collected in the Landings Pit area and ranged in size from 17.5 to 21 inches. In addition to fish, the White River is home to an abundance of other wildlife. During the fish survey, biologists noted bald eagles, great blue herons, foxes, and white-tailed deer.
“Thanks to fish stockings, monitoring, habitat protection, public access improvements and public awareness, the White River is an excellent recreational opportunity for Indianapolis residents,” said Bill James, DNR chief of fisheries. James says groups like Friends of the White River and the White River Watchers have also had a major impact on the White River by organizing annual trash cleanups and improving public access.
A list of DNR-managed fishing access sites can be found at the DNR “Where
to Fish” finder at _Fishing.IN.gov/3591.htm_
A copy of the 2011 White River fish survey report will soon be posted to
For more information: Sandra Clark-Kolaks, Division of Fish & Wildlife,
southern fisheries research biologist, _sclark-kolaks@dnr.IN.gov_
(mailto:sclark-kolaks@dnr.IN.gov) , (812) 279-1215.
About Fish and Wildlife Management in Indiana
Fish and wildlife management and public access are funded by fishing and
hunting license revenue and also through the Sport Fish and Wildlife
Restoration Programs administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These
programs collect excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition, archery
equipment, fishing equipment, and motor boat fuels. The money is distributed
among state fish and wildlife agencies based on land size and the number of
licensed anglers and hunters in each state. Find out more information about
fish and wildlife management in Indiana at _www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild_
Posted 19 January 2012 - 11:44 PM
That's good news. "Fish stockings" being listed as the first reason for recovery shows we have a long way to go with public perception and policy, though.
The fact that toxic industrial waste made it's way in from a sewage treatment plant makes me wonder if they've rectified that. I think we all know we still have lots of antiquated storm drains running to sewage treatment plants around the country that open their gates when they get inundated by heavy rains.
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