Non-Native Fish Targeted At Fossil Creek


An old friend, Rory Aikens, of the Arizona Game and Fish Department and a former editor of the Pinetop-Lakeside News, called to say the more than yearlong effort to remove non-native fish from the Fossil Creek area would resume Feb. 6 through Feb. 20.

Aikens said a team of biologists would be removing the fish from Stehr Lake, a pond located north of Pine near Fossil Creek.

Biologists will be treat the pond with the chemical rotenone to remove the non-native fish.

Rotenone is not harmful to humans or other mammals, but as a precaution recreationists should not disturb any containers located near the pond or drink water from the pond during the treatment period.

The lake will be appropriately signed during the treatment to advise the public of the presence of the chemical.

The removal of non-native fish began more than a year ago, just prior to the decommissioning of the Irving-Childs power plants.

Since the plants were shut down, Fossil Creek has been closed to fishing by Arizona Game and Fish Commission orders.

According to AGF Fisheries Branch Chief Larry Riley, the closure is needed to allow fish populations to reproduce and restore themselves. At the conclusion of the ban, game officials predict Fossil Springs could become one of the most productive fishing spots in the nation.

The game department is not the only one with an interest in Fossil Springs.

The Coconino National Forest is putting together a management plan in anticipation that the area will soon attract more recreational interest among hikers and campers.

Northern Arizona University scientists will be watching to learn whether the restoration of the creek will promote travertine and how it will affect the stream's ecology.

In 1996, when APS temporarily returned full flows of water to perform maintenance on the plants, NAU researchers noticed that within one month, almost 12 inches of travertine were deposited in some stream locations.

Natural dams, formed by travertine, make excellent fish habitat and keep exotic fish from swimming upstream to eat native fish.

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