PUBLIC INPUT ENCOURAGED
Due to concern that a fishway would allow invasive species such as Asian Carp to spread upstream of the Prairie du Sac Hydro in the Wisconsin River and its tributaries, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) decided to prepare a study to evaluate the environmental consequences of fish passage alternatives. Public input is important and will help the USFWS identify and address impacts that may result from the project. The USFWS is hosting an Open House and opening a public comment period to allow interested parties a voice in identifying alternatives and concerns regarding a fishway at the Prairie du Sac Hydro. Written comments to the USFWS are the most effective way to make your views known.
• The Open House will be at the Ruth Culver Community Library at 540 Water Street in Prairie du Sac on July 15, 2013 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, with a brief presentation starting at 6:00 PM. USFWS staff will be available to provide information, listen to concerns and discuss alternatives.
• The public comment period will be open from July 1 through August 1, 2013.
You may submit written comments by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ATTN: Prairie du Sac Fishway, 2661 Scott Tower Drive, New Franken, Wisconsin, 54229; electronic mail: [email protected]; or fax: (920) 866-1710 (Attention: Prairie du Sac Fishway). Written comments can also be hand delivered during the public Open House on July 15, 2013. For more information, visit: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/greenbay/PDSfishway.html
Concerns about Asian Carp and invasive species: Alliant Energy is currently required to install a fishway at the Prairie du Sac Hydro by July 1, 2015. The decision to require the fishway was made years before the discovery of Asian Carp below the Hydro. The fishway’s original goal was to provide fish passage for a variety of native fish species. But, recent concerns about Asian Carp have led Alliant Energy and the USFWS to review these plans.
Asian Carp are causing major problems in the Mississippi River and its tributaries, like the Wisconsin River, where they have been causing serious damage to native fish populations because they out-compete other fish for habitat and food. They are also thought to lower water quality, which can kill off sensitive organisms like native freshwater mussels.
The Prairie du Sac Hydro currently functions as an absolute barrier preventing Asian Carp from the lower Wisconsin River from migrating into Lake Wisconsin. Asian Carp have been captured below the Hydro in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Installation of a fishway could create a new way for Asian Carp to get into the upper Wisconsin River.
Fishway could put river at risk: While Alliant Energy supports efforts to maintain populations of native fish species above our Hydro, we believe that there are significant risks presented by weakening the absolute barrier that the Hydro represents. These risks may outweigh the benefits. Given the growing problem with invasive species, we are concerned that a fishway could allow Asian Carp or other invasive species into Lake Wisconsin and the upper Wisconsin River. This could harm the environment, the native fish populations, and possibly the recreation industry in the area.
Further study pursued after hearing concerns, the USFWS agreed to conduct a study to examine potential alternative approaches to maintaining native fish species above the Hydro while protecting them from invasive species. We believe that there are viable alternative approaches. Alliant Energy is supportive of studying the issue more in-depth and considering safer alternatives.