Army Corps planning fishkill

The Wilson family enjoys a little catch-and-release fishing in the Jackson Park lagoon just north of the Darrow Bridge Saturday afternoon. -Marc Monaghan

The Wilson family enjoys a little catch-and-release fishing in the Jackson Park lagoon just north of the Darrow Bridge Saturday afternoon.

-Marc Monaghan

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Staff Writer

Say goodbye to the fish in the Jackson Park lagoon.

As part of a five-year federally-funded restoration of native habitats in Jackson Park, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plans to kill all lagoon fish and replace them with new ones. The lagoon’s dominant species are currently carp and bullheads, which tear at its bottom, promote algae growth and prevent aquatic plants from growing, USACE ecosystem planner Frank Veraldi said at the Jackson Park Advisory Council’s monthly meeting last Monday.

“We’ll put in a poison that takes out the fish and we’ll clean it all up. It should take three or four days. And then we’ll start immediately putting new fish back in there,” Veraldi said, beginning with fathead minnows and golden shriners, and then bigger fish.

The lagoon will likely be closed to fishing and the public for a year, according to Veraldi. A chain link fence will eventually be installed below the Clarence Darrow Bridge, keeping game fish in the Columbia Basin and allowing smaller fish to pass from the lagoon.

“The point of that is that [the Department of Natural Resources] will stock their game fishes in the Columbia Basin and then we’re going to restore the east and west lagoon to have fishes you would find in dunal ponds along Lake Michigan,” Veraldi said.

A contract for the USACE’s entire 139 acre restoration – paid for mostly by the federal government’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and in part by the Chicago Park District – will be awarded next month.

For more information on the USACE restoration, visit lrc.usace.army.mil.

j.bishku@hpherald.com