Saturday, 06 September 2008 13:56

Caples Lake Fish Rescue Review

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Stimulated by the need to draw down Caples Lake for some dam (note the spelling) repairs, the El Dorado Irrigation District, the California Department of Fish and Game, and numerous other public agencies are working together to trap and transport as many fish as possible to Silver Lake just a few miles away.

Our Chapter and the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance (CSPA) were asked to work together to encourage 100 volunteers to assist with the effort. I'm pleased to say that, as you are receiving this newsletter, 97 volunteers are performing a great variety of tasks to relocate as many fish as possible in a 72-hour period.** Due to the emergency nature of the dam repairs, much of the preparation for this was compressed into a very short time. From what I have witnessed as an "insider" on this project, I am extremely impressed with the effort that is being made to save the fish and support the volunteers. I'm sure we will have some interesting tales to tell in the next newsletter. We appreciate all who are helping with this effort, and know that more of you would have volunteered if you had had more than 4 days turnaround time to sign up (or had e-mail so you could have been notified of this opportunity).

** The above paragraph was written in advance of the project so it could be delivered to the printer and then snail-mailed to members for whom we do not have email addresses. The project was completed yesterday; Chris Shutes (CSPA) and I are looking forward to meeting with DFG this coming week for a "debriefing" on how well the processes worked and the results of the effort. I will submit a report in next month's newsletter.

(Source: El Dorado Irrigation District news releases)

The emergency repairs to the 85-year old slide gates of Caples Lake dam, which necessitated the fish rescue efforts in August & September have been completed, bringing four months of intensive effort to a successful conclusion. On-the-ground actions included drawing down the lake level to create a safe working environment for the repair crews and installation of temporary "bladder" dams upstream of the main dam to store as much water as possible. While the repairs were made, EID pumped water from behind the temporary dams to provide flows for fisheries downstream.

The on-site fish rescues conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game utilized more than 90 volunteers to help capture and relocate 27,000 fish and fingerlings; the fish were released into nearby Silver and Red Lakes. The District and DFG have established a fish restocking plan to begin next spring.

[We wish to extend our appreciation to both EID and DFG for their efforts in protecting and restoring the fisheries, and for requesting our Chapter's participation in this important effort.]

 

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