November 22, 2004

American Shad

What we need here is an enterprising soul with a knife.

The inflatable dam is the largest of its kind in the country and is used to create a man-made lake for boating during the summer at the exact time the shad return to the upper reaches of the Susquehanna. The dam stretches about a half mile across the Susquehanna River. It is raised in late April and deflated in October.

"The goal being to provide a recreational lake over the summer," says Ferrara.
A friend of boaters, the dam - built in 1970 - is the enemy of migratory fish. The dam's permit requires fish passage if the Fish and Boat Commission requests it.

"It was one of the early mandates of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to restore the American shad," Dr. Mangan says of the requirement.

But that mandate was never acted on until 1999, when the shad began to reappear beneath the dam.

With an inflatable dam, the idea of building a $4.2 million fish-passage system seems unnecessary. Why not deflate a section or two of the dam for fish passage or delay its inflation?

Ferrara says it is a reflection of the public response to a 1999 public meeting jointly held by Shikellamy State Park and the Fish and Boat Commission. At the meeting, Ferrara says the public overwhelmingly "made it clear that while they support migratory fish restoration, they do not want their boating opportunities reduced to accommodate fish passage in May and June."

Good thing fishermen don't have ready access to a myriad of sharp objects.

Postscript: Went looking for a pic of the dam. This was the best I could find.

Posted by Bigwig at November 22, 2004 10:05 PM | TrackBack
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What's so bad about a canoe or kayak? Nothing more fun than floating down w/the current and fishing. Or floating w/the wife and kids in tubes. I think a few of us and some heavers w/8 ounces and the biggest Gamakatsu shark hooks we could find might make a difference. Anyone ready for some casting practice in PA?

Posted by: Mason at November 23, 2004 10:39 AM
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