Schools team up to gauge canal's potential for trout

Monday, June 3, 2013 4:21 PM
Last updated 9:10 PM
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Science projects at two Rich­mond County schools will be combined later this month to help collect more data on the Augusta Canal’s potential as a recreational trout fishery.

John S. Davidson Fine Arts Mag­net School educator Carl Hammond-Beyer and his students conducted a yearlong water quality study that concluded the canal has plenty of trout-friendly food, abundant oxygen and a favorable pH level.

Though water temperatures are cool enough to support trout most of the year, the students wanted to test survivability during the warmest months of July and Au­gust by placing trout in the canal for observation.

By coincidence, Warren Road Elementary School teacher Leesa Lyles and science students had launched their own trout project last spring by creating a small fish hatchery in a school courtyard.

Using rainbow trout eggs shipped from Washington state and a mini-hatchery with an aerator, tanks and refrigerant, the students now have a supply of tiny trout fry that will be placed in test cages built by the Davidson students to submerge into the canal for observation.

The experimental stocking was to be held this week, but was postponed to allow the tiny fish to grow a little larger, Lyles said.

“During that time, we will start increasing the water temperature so it will be closer to canal temps,” she said. The fish release is tentatively scheduled for June 11.

Water that feeds the canal is drawn from deep below the surface of Thur­­mond Lake, where water is colder. By the time it flows into the canal it becomes warmer – but not necessarily too warm.

“We’re right on the edge of survivability,” Hammond-Beyer told members of the CSRA Fly Fishers last spring. “Only in mid-July to August does it get close to being too hot.”

Even at its hottest point last year, average water temperatures were just a few degrees above those found in the Saluda River, near Co­lum­bia, which has been proven to support stocked trout and has evolved into a trophy stream because of the fish that survive from year to year.

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David Parker
David Parker 06/04/13 - 01:46 pm
Can't wait for the final

Can't wait for the final conclusions. Keep us in the loop Rob. Thanks

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