Preserving fish in the Eau Pleine Reservoir - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Preserving fish in the Eau Pleine Reservoir

By Bonnie Shelton

***Update 

The Director of Environmental Affairs for Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company tells Newsline 9 they will run BEPCO's plans through a computer model to see how it will affect flow and electricity generation for the bodies of water they manage.

Early reports should be available by mid April. The community will be able to view that proposal and comment on it before a second is drafted in May.

MOSINEE (WAOW)--A fish kill devastated the Big Eau Pleine Reservoir nearly two years ago and some people say there is a way to prevent that from happening ever again.

The Big Eau Pleine Reservoir. Locals say it's source of pride, beauty and tranquility for Marathon County, but under it's frozen surface lies a very vulnerable habitat.

"It is really a beautiful resource that needs to be protected and that's what were trying to do," said President of the Big Eau Pleine Citizen's Organization Mike Paul.

He said the fish kill that wiped out nearly 75 percent of fish in the reservoir in 2009 is embarrassing, especially in this day and age.

Anglers said that fish kill is still affecting the fish populations almost two years later. "There's definitely a difference. Now, you don't catch nearly the quality of fish that you used to," said life-long fisherman Sam Albrecht.

That's why he and other concerned citizens are trying to change the way the reservoir is managed.

"The solution we're proposing is to have the reservoir 60 percent full at the start of the winter, that's around December 1, when the lake ices over," said BEPCO board member Ken Dorshorst.

BEPCO members say by increasing the among of water at the beginning of winter, it will prevent low water levels that deplete oxygen and kill wildlife.

The group has taken their findings and what their calling the 60 percent solution to members of the Wisconsin Valley Improvement Company who manage the reservoir.

"It's up to them to help protect the fisheries. the fish are owned by everyone in the state of Wisconsin," said Paul.

Paul also said he's unsure how much it would cost to manage the reservoir according to the 60 percent solution. He says Wisconsin Valley needs to complete a computer simulation of the plan to better understand how it will affect electricity generation.

Until then, the group say they'll keep fighting to protect this natural resource.

We could not reach the WVIC over the weekend for comment. Newsline 9 will continue to follow-up on this story to provide more insight into the situation on the Eau Pleine.

Online Reporter: Bonnie Shelton

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