Mainstem project

From left, DNR’s Sandy Clark-Kolaks and IDEM’s Tim Fields and Ross Carlson sample fish species on the White River in Noblesville as part of the White River Mainstem Project. The project is the first time samples will be taken at 62 sites along the entire 356 miles of the river.

NOBLESVILLE — A canoe carrying their equipment in tow, Department of Natural Resource’s Sandy Clark-Kolaks and Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Tim Fields and Ross Carlson waded into the White River at the Forest Park canoe launch.

The trio were electrofishing, sampling the fish population by sending a current through the water to temporarily stun the fish so they can be collected and studied before being returned to the water.

The effort was part of the White River Mainstem Project, a joint effort between the DNR, IDEM and the Muncie Sanitary District’s Bureau of Water Quality to test the water quality and sample the fish and macroinvertebrate populations along the entire length of the river from its headwaters in Randolph county to its confluence with the Wabash River.

This is the first time multiple agencies will work together to sample the full length of a river in Indiana.

“There’s lots of information we’re going to get from this,” Clark-Kolaks said.

“We’re going get how fish communities change moving downstream, which will be really interesting to look at. We’ll also be able to look at pairing water quality with fish communities and macroinvertebrates to look at the whole community health. We’re also going to be looking for Asian carp to see how far up in the water shed they are,” she said.

Fish will be sampled at 62 sites, macroinvertebrates at 12 locations and all locations will get three sets of water quality samples in the spring, summer and fall.

Follow Don Knight on Twitter @donwknight, or call 765-622-1212 ext. 204567.

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