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Windmill helps trout breathe easier at EE Wilson Pond

Windmill
Members of the Mid-Valley chapter of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders with a windmill they helped install at EE Wilson Pond near Corvallis to restore dissolved oxygen levels necessary to support rainbow trout. ODFW had cut back on its trout stocking program at the pond as the result of low oxygen levels but will now resume trout releases.
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Friday, April 24, 2015

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A windmill erected at EE Wilson Pond by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Mid-Valley chapter of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders is helping trout breathe a little easier at the popular fishing hole near Corvallis.

The windmill, erected on April 22, oxygenates the water by driving a compressor that in turn pushes air into a submerged airline that bubbles into the pond, increasing oxygen levels needed for fish to survive.

Biologists discovered that dissolved oxygen content had fallen to levels too low to support fish after the pond was stocked with trout earlier this year and some of those fish died.

In the months preceding the die-off, ODFW had drained the pond to make improvements and remove excessive aquatic vegetation in an attempt to provide a better fishing experience for anglers.

However, after the improvements were made and on the heels of unseasonably warm, dry weather, the pond was slow to refill and water temperature rose, causing an algae bloom.

“When the algae died its decomposition used up a lot of the oxygen in the pond, leaving less oxygen available for fish,” said Elise Kelley, ODFW district fish biologist. “When we tested the dissolved oxygen levels in the pond after the fish died only the top six feet of the pond had sufficient oxygen to support trout.”

The NW Steelheaders worked with Karen Hans, ODFW Salmon Trout Enhancement Program biologist, to install a windmill that currently wasn’t being used. The Steelheaders provided the know-how and skilled labor to design the windmill platform, build concrete pads, erect the windmill and make the aeration system functional. ODFW staff from EE Wilson Wildlife Area also assisted in the project, providing manpower and equipment.

“We’re glad that we were able to get this aeration system in place,” said Kelley. “EE Wilson Pond and its anglers are an important part of the spring fishing season, and we’re pleased to be fully stocking the pond again. The NW Steelheaders’ help was invaluable in getting the system functioning as quickly as possible.”

The pond was stocked Friday, April 24 with 1,750 rainbow trout and will receive an additional 2,300 trout over the next two weeks.

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Contact:

Elise Kelley (541) 757-5249 | Rick Swart (971) 673-6038

 
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