The Effects Of The Lake Catherine Steam Electric Plant Effluent On The Distribution Of Fishes In The Receiving Embayment

In 1967 the Arkansas Power and Light Company and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission cooperated in a joint project to determine any changes in the stratification, flow pattern, and basic water quality in the lower end of Lake Catherine and in the Ouachita River below Remmel Dam as affected by the increased cooling water output and water temperature resulting from the construction of a new power unit proposed for the Lake Catherine Steam Electric Station, Hot Spring County, Arkansas. A follow-up study of the project was conducted in the summer of 1970 to obtain post-installation data to be compared to that information recorded previously in 1967. In connection with this project, nine gill netting samples were made during the period February 25, 1970 to January 16, 1971 to determine the effects of the plant effluent on the distribution of fishes within the receiving embayment. Using five nets of varying mesh sizes, set overnight in predetermined locations, a total of eight hundred and forty-seven (847) fish were collected weighing eight hundred and twenty-six and seven tenths (826.7) pounds. A seasonal migration of fishes was evident as a greater poundage of fishes was collected in winter samples than in summer. Individual species were graphed to show dominant fishes during winter and egress of particular species in summer. A direct correlation could not be made between fishes present in the bay and water temperatures. The maximum water temperature was 90°F. The average temperature in the effluent receiving bay in the summer of 1970 was 84°F which is very near the optimum growth temperature for most of the native warmwater species of fish in Lake Catherine. An obvious relationship was noted between the availability of food and dissolved oxygen concentrations to the abundance of fishes within the receiving embayment.

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