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The case of fish escaping out of Blackmans Lake

SNOHOMISH — Fish planted in Blackmans Lake are escaping to waters they shouldn’t, and the city, at the request of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, is looking to block their passage.
The city will be constructing and installing screens in the new culverts it built last summer and fall to help prevent the fish from escaping, mainly up Swifty Creek. The process will take four months to design the screens and get Fish and Wildlife permit approvals.
The screen project will not have to go through a public process. Constructing and installing the screens is estimated to cost the city $15,000.
The lake, which was known way back when as Stillaguamish Lake, is owned and maintained by Fish and Wildlife.
Over last summer, the city replaced four culverts for its “Blackmans Lake Outlet Improvement Project.”
City engineer Yosh Monzaki said the project did not
change conditions for the fish that are stocked in the lake.
“The project has improved the habitat in the upper
section of Swifty Creek by removing the non-native and invasive plants, removing sediment, placing proper streambed material, and planting native plants,” Monzaki said. “It is my understanding that some of the stocked fish have been getting out of the lake and into Swifty Creek over the years through the four
24-inch culverts at Ferguson Park Road. This project replaced the existing four 24-inch metal pipes that had rusted over the years and were in poor condition with four 24-inch plastic pipe.”
A resident called Fish and Wildlife about the escaping fish.
The city met with Fish and Wildlife earlier this month to discuss the fish impacts after the agency concluded in a study that the city needed to construct screens for the culverts.
WDFW permitting officer Jamie Bails said the fish that live in the lake are not naturally occurring; the lake hasn’t had any naturally occurring fish in it for decades.
All the fish in the lake have been stocked by Fish and Wildlife and the Snohomish Sportsmens Club over the years.
The Sportsmens Club also contributes to fish maintenance for sport fishing.
“Recreational use of Blackmans Lake, including fishing, is important to the residents of the city,” Monzaki said. “WDFW has stocked Blackmans Lake with trout since the late 1930s. WDFW spends approximately $20,000 per year to stock the lake. WDFW asked the city to install the fish screens to prevent the
stocked trout from leaving the lake through the culverts. This will increase the number of stocked trout in the lake available for fishing. The city agreed to install the fish screens to improve fishing at the lake and because WDFW contributes their time and resources every year to stock the lake.”


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