South Charleston finds a plaice for local fish

October 9, 2013 by  

The Kanawha River, which runs along South Charleston, has earned a bad reputation. A brief aquarium exhibition at the beginning of October sought to change people’s perception of the river.

On October 7, biologists from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission caught several fish from the river to display in a temporary aquarium at Haddad Riverfront Park, in Charleston.

The scientists used an electric current to stun the fish without causing them harm. The sea-creatures were then captured in nets and placed in a tank before being transferred to the aquarium.

Although the river was so polluted during the 1950s and 1960s that it was unable to sustain life, this is no longer the case. In those years, untreated sewage was regularly dumped into the river, pushing oxygen levels down to zero during the summer months. The Clean Water Act in 1972 significantly reduced the amount of waste and sewage dumped into the river.

The fish caught on October 7 became part of the ‘Life Below the Waterline’ exhibition. The goal of the exhibit was to teach people about the environment and to let them see that the river is thriving. Along with the aquarium, the DEP could also use brochure printers to provide information about the river and its aquatic life to residents.

The Kanawha River is currently home to more than 30 species of fish. The fish caught for the exhibition included buffalo, redhorse suckers, gizzard shad, and green sunfish.