Low water levels dont just hurt us

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2007

With lake water levels at or near historic lows across central and north Alabama, the affect of the prolonged drought will impact the human users considerably more than the wildlife and aquatic species, according to Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) officials.

Although both Lake Wedowee (R.L. Harris Reservoir) and Lake Martin are 14 feet below normal summer levels, Stan Cook, Chief of the Fisheries Section for the ADCNR&8217;s Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, said the fish and other aquatic species adapt to the prevailing conditions.

For instance, Cook said bluegill and largemouth bass survive fairly well in low-water conditions. In conditions of considerable water flow, the species that thrive include spotted bass, smallmouth bass and redeye bass, whereas those conditions are not favorable for largemouth bass.

Cook said adult populations of fish won&8217;t likely be severely impacted unless the drought conditions persist.

Cook said the thing for anglers to keep in mind is this is just one of the natural cycles in fish populations.

That doesn&8217;t mean, however, that Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) isn&8217;t monitoring the conditions and considering possible management options, and if deemed necessary, take regulatory action to protect parent stock.

David Rainer is with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.