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Public Works Blog

Who ya gonna call?

Posted On: July 24, 2017

Standing in Clear Creek recently with a portable charger strapped to his back, Gray Rand looked like he was searching for ghosts rather than fish.

The professional wetland scientist was slowly walking a small portion of the creek bed below Chiwawa Loop Road, seeking to spot fish in the water and in any dark hiding places that they may call home. In his search, he enlisted the help of an Electrofisher.

The Electrofisher that Rand wears like a backpack emits a mild electrical current to temporarily stun fish so they can be safely removed from a stream or river and relocated downstream.

Rand, a senior scientist with David Evans and Associates of Bellevue, moved the wand of the Electrofisher over small areas as he walked upstream. As the fish were stunned, the current swept them into a waiting net held by Jason Detamore, environmental manager for Chelan County Public Works.

After several passes in a 200-foot area, 21 fish ranging from an inch to 8 inches long were found and relocated.

The fish removal process is a state requirement for in-stream work that is being done as a part of the Chiwawa Loop Road Reconstruction Project. The project includes the placement of a concrete box culvert at Clear Creek, at about milepost 3.43.

The in-stream work area at Clear Creek was cornered off with a diversion net and sandbags. With the fish removed, the creek will be dammed just upstream and downstream of the nets. The water in the work area then will be drained prior to the installation of the new box culvert, which is set for July 24-28.

While removing the fish from the work area may be a requirement, it’s also good stewardship, Detamore said.

“This is our largest road project this summer, and we’re aware of its potential impact on fish habitat,” Detamore said. “The new box culvert will provide for better fish passage in Clear Creek, which is home to a variety of fish, including steelhead and resident trout.” 

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