A Different Kind of Catch and Release at Millbrook Dam

Photo supplied.
Volunteer Dave Wood confirming the identification of a sculpin rescued at the Millbrook Dam.

While we miss the traditional catch and release action that is part of the Annual Fishing Derby that is cancelled this year, early in March the millpond was the location of a different and wildly successful catch and release activity.

As progress continues on the Millbrook Dam reconstruction project, the water level in the pond has been lowered and water has been redirected to flow through the temporary diversion channel.  The entire spillway has now been removed to allow the reconstruction phase of the project to begin.  Prior to this, Otonabee Conservation staff and volunteers, with the support of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), rescued and released over 800 fish, crayfish and frogs that were caught in a pool of water at the base of the Millbrook Dam spillway. This pool was being dewatered to permit the reconstruction of the spillway as part of the Millbrook Dam Reconstruction project.

The rescue, which took place on March 7th, resulted in the capture and release of  797 fish (9 species) including 275 Brown Trout, 1 Brook Trout, 85 White Suckers, and over 400 Sculpin (Mottled and Slimy Sculpin species – commonly known to be trout food). Over 200 crayfish and a handful of frogs were also captured and released downstream into Baxter Creek.

Photo supplied.

ORCA’s Chief Administrative Officer Dan Marinigh reports that the project is proceeding very well and the excavation work will be completed at the end of March with the dam cut to its final grade.  Last week the sediment excavation work which is to be absorbed by the township was incorporated into the project contract which will facilitate that part of the project.

The next stage involves the construction of the new spillway, the installation of the mud mad, as well as the installation of blocks and rock material downstream of the spillway.

The sediment removal will be one of the final stages, scheduled for mid-August to the end of September.  The entire project is scheduled for completion in October.  We can hardly wait. KG

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