Saturday, June 9, 2007

Cooler Water Below Dams Will Improve Fishing

If all goes as planned, the water flowing out of several Michigan hydroelectric dams will be cooler and better suited for fish habitat, according to plans released Wedneday by Consumers Energy.

Consumers studied how much cold water pooled up at the bottom of Hodenpyl Pond, the theory being that the cool water, although lacking in oxygen, could be used to alleviate some of the warming experienced on the Manistee River during the height of summer. Releasing it in the river could help mitigate the warming effect the ams have on the rivers.

The DNR and steelhead and trout anglers are hoping the upwelling cools the Hodenpyl outflow enough that the Tippy [Dam] outflow will also be affected.

Past University of Michigan studies have shown that although the stretch below Tippy produces many young steelhead, many of them die before getting a chance to go to Lake Michigan. Scientists have theorized warm water is a factor in that mortality.

Marty Holtgran, a fisheries biologist with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, was hopeful the temperature improvements would help stave off fish diseases and return some natural order to the lower Manistee watershed.

"Certainly an improvement in water temperature - something that mimics natural conditions - would be a benefit to the fish community, including trout, salmon and sturgeon," Holtgren said. "It's a step in the right direction."

This is part of an extensive article in the June 9, 2007 edition of the Ludington Daily News- see FAIR USE notice.
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