Thedrought from last year has been a striking difference to the unseasonably wet conditions so far this summer. Below you can see a comparison of this year and last year's Indiana drought monitor. This has created fluctuations in lake levels the past two summers. If you are interested in knowing what the lake level should be go to www.in.gov/dnr/water/5068.htm where they have records of legal or average lake levels for many of Indiana's lakes. If you are interested in monitoring lake levels look at our Volunteer Lake Monitoring Manual - 2011 where you can find more information about volunteer monitoring.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources 402 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46204-2748
Exotic catfish catch puts spotlight on illegal aquarium releases
|A Lake Michigan angler caught more than he bargained for earlier this month when he reeled in an 8-pound, exotic Amazonian catfish commonly known as a redtail catfish.
The redtail catfish was caught at Portage Lakefront Park by Mike Durfee. It is native to South America’s Amazon River system and is a popular aquarium fish in the United States. The fish would not have survived the cold water of Lake Michigan during Indiana’s winter.
Like many other aquarium species, the redtail catfish can grow large. The International Game Fish Association world record was caught in 2010 on the Amazon River and weighed over 123 pounds.
The fish Durfee caught likely was purchased when it was 2 to 4 inches long and raised in an aquarium until it outgrew the aquarium, according to Eric Fischer, aquatic invasive species coordinator in the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
“The first response of some owners may be to release unwanted fish into the closest natural water body thinking they are helping their pets out by setting them free,” Fischer said.
It is illegal in Indiana to release not only aquarium fish but also all other fish into public waters without a fish stocking permit.
Snakehead, an aggressive and invasive fish from Asia, and hydrilla, an aquarium and water garden plant that forms dense mats, are examples of species that have become established in the United States in large part due to aquarium releases.
“Some aquarium fish, exotic snails, and aquarium plants can permanently disrupt the natural environment,” Fischer said. “Exotic species impact our native wildlife by increasing competition for aquatic resources and introducing diseases.”
A person who has an unwanted aquarium pet should pursue an alternative to illegally releasing it into the wild. Many retailers will allow you to return unwanted aquarium pets or will put you in contact with another aquarium enthusiast or local aquarium society that is capable of caring for them.
If you are unable to find an alternative the most humane disposal method is to place the plant or animal in the freezer and then dispose of them in the trash.
Sightings and reports of exotic species should be reported to the DNR through the online reporting system dnr.IN.gov/dnr/6373.htm or by calling 1-866-NO EXOTIC (1-866-663-9684).
For more information on the dangers and risks of releasing aquarium pets and plants into the wild, visit habitattitude.net.
Name: Eric Fischer
Phone: (317) 234-3883
Volunteer Monitoring Data is Available Online
Since 1989, volunteer monitors have collected over 12,000 measurements from lakes all across the state of Indiana. You can now access all of that data online from the CLP website. You can search for a specific lake or view yearly summary reports. Just click on "Volunteer Data" under the "Volunteer Monitoring" section along the left margin. Or click here.
The Indiana Clean Lakes Program is now on Facebook!
The Indiana Clean Lakes Program Facebook page provides citizens and volunteers with a place to interact, share ideas and pictures with the Program. To find us, just search for the Indiana Clean Lakes Program on Facebook, or use the link below.