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DNR to restore urban fishing pond in Appleton

By Northeast Region November 29, 2017

Contact(s): Adam Nickel, DNR fisheries biologist, 920-424-3059; Kabel Helmbrecht, Appleton Parks, 920-832-3926; Ed Culhane, DNR communications, 715-781-1683

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: This news release has been modified to reflect the fact that the pond treatment may happen earlier than the original date of Wednesday, December 6. ]

The Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the City of Appleton, will use a chemical treatment as part of a process to restore water quality and enhance fishing opportunities at the Appleton Memorial Park Pond.

The treatment is scheduled to occur on or before Wednesday, Dec. 6. It does not pose a risk to humans, animals or birds. The chemical, Rotenone, is a naturally occurring substance derived from the roots of tropical plants in the bean family.

The 4.7-acre pond, located in Appleton Memorial Park on the city's northeast side, is classified as an urban fishing pond, meaning that it has special rules for youth and disabled anglers (see the Wisconsin Fishing Regulations pamphlet for details). The DNR stocks the pond with rainbow trout each spring to provide a fishing opportunity for youth and for disabled anglers. Bass and panfish provide fishing opportunities for all anglers during the summer and winter.

Several years ago, carp were noticed in the pond. How they got there is unknown. The bottom-feeding carp dislodged aquatic plants, roiled sediments and caused turbidity, which decreased vegetation, degraded habitat and caused populations of desirable fish species to decline.

Used in a highly-diluted solution by an experienced DNR team, a precise application of Rotenone will kill all the carp, and any other remaining fish, in the pond. The city will pump water out of the pond prior to the treatment to reduce the amount of water to be treated and to lower the level so that no treated water escapes the basin.

The chemical degrades rapidly, leaving no toxicity behind. The dead fish are not harmful to birds or mammals that might eat them. Mostly, the dead fish will sink and decompose, adding valuable nutrients to the pond's ecosystem.

The absence of carp should flip water conditions from turbid to clear, allowing for the growth of aquatic vegetation and creating better overall habitat for desirable fish species. Following treatment, the pond will be stocked with bass and panfish. With better habitat, bass and panfish will be able to sustain themselves after a few stocking events, creating a year-round fishery.

The DNR will return each spring to stock the pond with rainbow trout, primarily to provide youth and disabled anglers with good fishing in the spring. With the right habitat conditions, and self-sustaining bass and panfish, the pond should again produce year-round fishing opportunities.

Last Revised: Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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