Re: sand/sediment meeting in June
I moderated the portion with the IDNR biologist and the portion with the other IDNR folks concerning the flyover and CREP?Illinois Access program was going at the same time so I missed it.
Gary Lutterbie said that most of the walleye they got in the surveys were still stocked fish That indicates not enough natural reproduction so the stocking program will continue. The sand/sediment issues could be part of the lack of success but there are prolly other issues as well according to Gary. Steve pointed out that other rivers in the state that recieve stockings also show problems with natural reproduction. The last survey had about 1/2 the fish surveyed in the 14 to 18 inch legally harvestable range. When asked about why 26 inches at the top end of the protected slot, Gary said it was so someone could harvest a trophy walleye if they were so inclined. Gary also said that the walleye in the Kankakee had a higher growth rate than any other population in the state which indicates there is enough food.
Steve Pesticelli spoke about the most recent basin wide study which are done every 5 years on the Kankakee. He compared it to the last few studies. The numbers indicated that the sucker populations were very healhty as was the smallmouth population. It also indicated the pike population was on the rise. For the most part the index numbers on the main stream and tribs were steady over the last few studies with some flucations good and bad at various monitoring stations. I told him from the perspective of most of the river vets that the smallmouth fishery was going down judging by our catch rates. After a bit of discussion Steve said the numbers didn't indicate a change in the total numbers of smallmouth. I asked if it could be that the changes the sand made in the way the river operates now could have changed the way the fish react to it and he said it was possible. It could be that the fish have adopted to the way the river operates now better than the fisherman have. I still think there are problems and we see them more readily because we are out there most every day. One thing of note was that I was told Steve had never shocked a 20 inch smallmouth in his surveys. I know they are there because I and others have caught them, so I'd say that the electo fishing isn't a complete measurement of all the fish in a population but that's the tool they have to work with.
I missed part of the Army Corps presentation but what I got was that they have some funding and the studies will be done by 2013. No definite answers on actions thereafter, it depends on funding. They are supposed to have computer models that show if you take this action here, ishould have thses effects elsewhere. I would think that should be useful in not fixing point A and creating a worse problem at point C. He also said they were inpart responsible for some of the problems confronting us today but thier new mission is to try to fix those problems. Soft soap and smoke up the wazoo or the truth? I would think that future actions will answer that question.
The USGS guy didn't get a lot of time, pretty much a review of past studies, which state that yes there is a problem.Prolly more a function of the time allowed than anything else.
Dr Bhowmik and Dr Marlin were as good as I thought they would be. Dr Bhowmik did the best and most critical studies of the sand problems in the entire river. XDr Marlin was the man behind the mud to parks program that amongst other things moved good top soil out of the Illinois river to the slag fields at the old steel mills to help turn them into parks.
From these two speakers I gathered that in Illinois the two worst sandabars are at the stale line bridge and in the middle of the"6" mile pool. That sandbar is about a mile to a mile and a half on either side of I_57 bridge. The only core drilling that wasn't sand and was good silt/soil I beleve came from over by Shannon Bayou by Aroma Park. There are many more uses for that than sand. The biggest problem with the sand is that by the time it hits Illinois it isn't suitable for construction purposes like making concrete or even glass making. There are things such as filling strip mines, landfills etc that it could be used for. There are techniques for getting the sand out of the river that could be adapted from the mud to parks program, just scaled done.
Some thoughts of mine and others are that if we can't fix In diana right away, which will take federal money and political will than we can buy some time by doing projects in Iliinois to get sand out of the river. How long, 20 , 30 40 years, can't say for sure gbut maybe with the time we buy we can finally get a solution in Indiana. Of course we will need money to get the sand out, transport it to a storage site and prolly to where it's used and securing land for storage. I would like to the the sandbars at the state line and around I-57 removed and have the wdge project put in at the state line to capture and remove new sand coming into the state. It won't solve the problem for the long term but at least it is a step we can show some action and buy some time. Lord knows it's been studied and talked about for decades, I'd like to see something happen before I die.
What can you do, support the efforts of the Roundtble go to our webite at gokankakeeriver.org. add the www. of course if you want to help or want more information. Educate your friends and relatives about the issues and get them to pressure the local, state and federal governments to take action to fix the problem. get involved if you care about the future of the river.