Fish lifts should boost shad population

June 06, 1993|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Staff Writer

State and private industries have signed an agreement to build three fish lifts on the Susquehanna River in southeastern Pennsylvania to enhance the recovery of American shad and other migratory fish.

Last Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pa., officials from Maryland,

Pennsylvania, environmental groups and utility companies set in motion plans to build fish lifts at hydroelectric dams at Holtwood, Safe Harbor and York Haven. Preliminary estimates of the cost of the projects range from $17 million to $30 million.

The lifts at Holtwood and Safe Harbor are expected to be completed in time for the 1997 spring run of shad. The York Haven lift should be completed by the spring of 2000.

"The fish lifts are a significant step forward in the region's continuing effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its natural resources," said Gov. William Schaefer. "This agreement shows how much can be accomplished when states and private industry work together to improve the environment."

.5l In 1991, the fish lifts at Conowingo Dam were opened, and since then shad have been trapped and transported by truck above the York Haven Dam and released. The new lifts will open more than 200 miles of the Susquehanna to direct migration.

"These dams will also open the Susquehanna River to other recreational and commercial migratory fish, such as river herring and Hickory shad, and increase their populations," said Torrey C. Brown, secretary of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources. "Restoration of the American shad and these other species will mark a major milestone in our effort to protect and DTC enhance our most treasured natural resource -- the Chesapeake Bay."

The trap and transport program will be continued until the Holtwood and Safe Harbor lifts are completed, as will tagging and tracking programs and hatchery operations.

Hiking tips

Trail hiking is among the fastest growing outdoor activities in the country, and Michael Perry, coordinator of the L. L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Program offers the following tips for hikers:

* Have a realistic sense of your stamina and choose trails accordingly. Inspecting topography maps is a good way to start, but a follow-up call to state or local parks or the American Hiking Society (703-385-3252) can provide up-to-date information on a prospective hiking area.

* Choose the right shoes. For the beginner, a simple pair of high-quality day hikers will do, but as you move into tougher terrain, a top-of-the-line, hi-tech backpacking shoe may be in order. In either case, shoes need to offer support for the foot and ankle and they must fit comfortably -- and they must be broken in before setting out.

* Make sure your feet are in shape and that they stay in shape during your hike. Clip your toenails before setting out. Take Moleskin and bandages along and apply them at the first sign of a blister or chafing. Talcum powder should be rubbed on your feet several times a day to absorb moisture and reduce chafing.

* Pack only what you will need. For short hikes, a day pack is sufficient to hold a first aid kit, high carbohydrate foods and plenty of water. At first, it will be better to take along a little bit too much than too little. Stuff a rain poncho in the pack, too.

* A couple of weeks of walking around the neighborhood in the evening will go a long way toward preparing your muscles for a day of hiking. Get your muscles in shape before setting out.

Trying out the canoe

A number of state parks and forests are offering canoe trips this summer, including Seneca Creek State Park, Savage River State Forest, Gunpowder Falls State Park, Tuckahoe State Park, Cunningham Falls State Park and Herrington Manor State Park.

Among the programs are evening lake paddles, river trips, marsh excursions and combination biking and canoe overnights.

Costs are minimal and group sizes are limited.

For more information, call the Forest and Parks Service, a regional Department of Natural Resources service center or the park offices.

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