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City of Niagara Falls uses award money for Hyde Park fish stocking

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Thu, Jul 20th 2017 02:20 pm
Mayor Paul A Dyster was joined by officials from the city's Department of Public Works on Thursday as 2,500 channel catfish were released into Hyde Park Lake. The lake, located in the second-largest municipal park in New York after New York City's Central Park, is an impoundment of Gill Creek, which is a tributary of the upper Niagara River.
"Each year, the DEC stocks the lake with brown trout from the state hatchery, and that's a good thing, but that's mostly a 'put-and-take' fishery, where almost all the fish are caught and removed by anglers in the same year they are stocked," Dyster said. "What we're doing here is starting to work on creating a more sustainable sportfish population and a more balanced ecology."
The fish were purchased using funds from a $5,000 award the city received in June from the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative for sustainability initiatives in small cities. The city received the award, funded by the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Wege Foundation, for its efforts at environmental restoration of the Hyde Park Lake.
The Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper has been the city's partner in efforts to control storm run-off, increase native vegetation, naturalize shorelines and improve bird and fish breeding habitat.
The catfish are juveniles roughly 6-to-8-inches long, purchased from Hickling's Fish Farm in Edmeston. Channel catfish growth rates vary depending on water temperature and availability of food, among other factors. They favor still waters, and are very tolerant of murky conditions like those that exist at Hyde Park Lake much of the time. They are known to favor flooded shorelines as feeding areas, and have a wide-ranging diet that includes a variety of food sources abundant in the lake, from small panfish to crayfish to aquatic insects.
"We're hoping fishermen will release the catfish for the first year or so and give them a chance to grow," Dyster said. "In the process, the fish will benefit the fishery by clearing out overabundant prey fish."

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