DUBOIS – A representative of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission gave a presentation on the possibility of trout habitat enhancement within Sandy Lake to the DuBois City Council Thursday evening.
Jason Detar, a fisheries biologist, was present on behalf of the area Trout Unlimited chapter who expressed a desire to modify the stretch of water that goes from behind the mall to the bridge on state Route 219.
There are several factors that contribute to this run of water being hostile to trout. The most common factors in Pennsylvania are temperature, pollution, habitat and overhead cover. In the Summer months the water can heat up beyond the comfortable range for trout, which is linked to the lack of overhead cover to provide shade. The stretch of water being part of the Army Corps. of Engineers flood control program lacks habitat features, such as large stones, that trout need to get out of strong currents. The water is polluted from discharge from an closed mine giving it an orange coloration, but the pollutants aren’t any that would harm trout being mostly iron and being Ph neutral.
“These structures serve a dual purpose of fish habitat and bank erosion,” said Detar.
The structures mentioned were methods of creating fish habitat. One method shown in different versions would be a deflector that would redirect water from the edges of the flow redirecting the currents towards the center. This would slow the currents down in the process. In the presentation, it was stated that unhindered currents along the banks contributed to erosion, which deflectors would slow down, and the slower currents would deposit sediment that would aid in natural rebuilding of the banks. Deflectors could be designed not to impede the flood control measures in place.
It was brought up that the stretch of water near the fire company was showing signs of bank erosion.
“Can be just as simple as adding some boulders,” said Detar offering a simpler method for contrast.
Projects normally come in six phases. Seeking permission from the landowner, which in this case except for the section behind the mall belongs to DuBois. Second is funding, which is at no cost to the landowners. Sponsors assist in this phase and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission would assist the Trout Unlimited chapter in getting grants. Design of the project would be done by the PF&BC, again at no cost according to Detar. Permits gathering, again Detar said the PFBC would assist in this regard. Finally, construction would involve volunteer labor and machines when needed.
The hopeful benefits fall in four categories. Biological benefits would come from the addition of trout for fishing. Socially through public awareness and participation. Recreational through angling off of the said trout. Finally, economically, with Detar stating that all the similar projects in Pennsylvania generate $66 million for the state yearly.
“Personally, I think it is a great idea,” John “Herm” Suplizio, mayor of Dubois City.
As this was just a proposal of the project, it was moved and approved to place discussion of the trout habitat enhancement to next month’s agenda.