Corps partnerships enhance fish migration

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FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) mobile district has partnered with The Nature Conservancy of Georgia, Florida and Alabama state fisheries to improve the opportunities for successful fish migration in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River and the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) River Basins.

The fish passage efforts utilize the Corps navigation locks at these waterway projects during the spring spawning migration runs.

In 2005, the Nature Conservancy contacted the Corps to discuss the possibility of opening navigation lock gates at Jim Woodruff Lock and Dam (JWLD) to allow safe passage for fish migrations as part of a five–year study.

The JWLD is at the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers and below the dam is the Apalachicola River.

The largest remaining populations of Alabama shad and Gulf striped bass live within the Apalachicola River system.

“For decades the dam has impeded the access to more than 150 miles of historic river and spawning habitat for fish species who live in salt water and spawn in fresh water,” said Lisa Parker, spokeswoman for the mobile district said. “Adult fish generally migrate and spawn from March through June and then return to the sea. Downstream passage occurs through spillway gates, or coincidentally with ship lockages.”