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IL American Fisheries Society- ISA Grant Article

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Quoted below is from the electronic version of the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Newsletter for May 2010.

Steve Pescitelli wrote a great article thanking the ISA for the conservation grant to repair the Big Rock Creek fish passage.



Fish bypass channel repaired on Big Rock Creek with Funds from Illinois Smallmouth Alliance

Steve Pescitelli, IL DNR


A fish bypass channel was constructed on Big Rock Creek in 2005 with funding from the USFWS. The grant also included construction of a full dam ramp for fish passage on the Plano Dam 1,5 miles down-stream. IL DNR evaluation of the bypass channel structure, located 4.9 miles upstream of the Fox River, demonstrated use by a total of 17 species. Unfortunately, during a large flood event in September of 2008, the entire channel was filled in with bedload, primarily sand. In 2009, we received a grant from Illinois Smallmouth Bass Alliance to re-excavate and the channel re-line it with rip-rap. The work was completed on March 31, 2010 and took 5 hours, using about 16 tons of rock, for a total cost of $2000. The channel is once again operating, just as the fish are beginning their spring migrations. In fact, shorthead redhorse and quillback were observed in lower Big Rock about one week later. Shortheads were observed on nests further upstream on March 14. As with many stream projects, maintenance is required to maintain function and repair flood damage. While one can always use bigger rock to stabilize structures against high flows, it is more difficult to control bedload movement. Hopefully, we won't have any more 100 year floods for a while. However, this repair was relatively cheap and easy; and well worth it to maintain a high quality re-source like Big Rock Creek. Thanks to the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance and USFWS for supporting these projects.

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Steve Pescitelli is a pretty respected biologist. If you assume his observations about fish movement are correct, then this is why the ISA should and is doing grants of this nature.

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