Fish Shelters Project: June 2012 UPDATE

Jim Gilleylen inspecting a fish shelter before its deployment 6-5-12

A primary goal of the Fish Shelters Project is to improve the fishing in five lakes in the Elk River Chain of Lakes; Elk, Torch, Clam, Bellaire, and Intermediate Lakes. We also believe installing fish shelter may improve the fish habitat, which is expected to increase the population of fish-food organisms and provide sanctuary for small fish. The plan is to install a set of three structures at the drop off in front of properties where the water depth is about 15 to 20 feet deep and where the property owners have provided written permission. The types of structures were based on discussions with a DNR fish biologist.

The photo shows one of the project volunteers, Jim Gilleylen, inspecting each of the three fish shelter structures that were approved by the DNR. This photo was taken on June 5, 2012 on a barge on Clam Lake a couple hours before these shelters were deployed. The location that received these shelters was the first of about 20 locations on these five lakes to receive a similar set of three shelters in 2012. Ultimately the goal is to install a set of three fish shelters at each of 80 locations on these five lakes over the next five years. An article about this fish shelters project is available in TLA’s April Newsletter, which can be accessed from TLA’s Website..

DEQ permit applications to install these fish shelters, one application for each of the five lakes, were submitted to DEQ on March 8th and the permits were received on June 1, 2012. A team of about 20 volunteers were involved in obtaining the written permission sheets from property owners, preparing & submitting the permit applications, procuring materials (cement, boards, nails, fields stones, large coffee-bean sacks to contain the field stones, and tree stumps), and constructing the initial bunch of fish shelters.

Now that this Fish Shelters Project is gearing up to construct and deploy more fish shelters, more volunteers and more cash donations are needed. People interested in volunteering can call one of the following contacts: Intermediate Lake, Steve Young (231-544-9880); Lake Bellaire, Bob Bagley (231-377-7125); Clam Lake, Fred Sittel (231-377-7818); Dean Branson (231-544-2700) Torch Lake and Elk Lake, Adam Jankowski (231-264-6198). People interested in supporting this project with a tax deductible cash donation can mail a check to the Watershed Center-Fish Shelters Project, 13272 South West-Bay Shore Drive, Traverse City, MI 49684Traverse City, MI 49684.

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