DOW removing fish from Little Rascal Pond
Today, the Colorado Division of Wildlife will finish removing fish from Little Rascal Pond.
Officials said the fishpond, located behind the Moffat County Public Safety Center on First Street, has mercury levels too high to be healthy for fish, and possibly children.
Jerry Neal, public information officer for the DOW in Denver, said biologists spent the weekend capturing and transporting the pond’s small-mouth bass and trout to Elkhead Reservoir.
“Fish tissue analyses performed on small-mouth bass have confirmed slightly elevated amounts of mercury in the fish – although still below levels determined safe by the Colorado Department of Health,” Neal said.
However, only children are allowed to fish in the pond, and they can be more sensitive to lower levels of mercury than adults, Neal added.
Therefore, officials decided the safest play would be to remove the fish and restock the pond later, he said.
The DOW probably won’t restock with the same kind of fish, though.
Predatory fish, such as small-mouth bass, are more susceptible to containing higher levels of mercury because they might eat several smaller fish with high mercury levels.
All of the fish used for sport – trout and bass – will be relocated to Elkhead where adults, who aren’t as susceptible to mercury, still can catch them.
The DOW plans to introduce a fish toxicant to the pond today to kill any remaining non-sport fish, such as suckers.
“Our goal is to remove all of the sport fish from the pond before we introduce the toxicant,” Neal said. “Anglers are some of the most passionate people out there, and we think it’s great that they value that resource.”
The pond will be restocked with rainbow trout after pH levels are balanced enough for new fish to survive.
The DOW will not reintroduce small-mouth bass to the pond in an effort to prevent mercury levels from going back up.
It could take several weeks before the pond is ready to be restocked, Neal said.
“We want the pond environment to be conducive to the long-term survival of the fish we reintroduce,” Neal said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation while we improve this fishery.”
Nicole Inglis can be reached at 875-1793, or email@example.com
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