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Kearsley Creek trout planted

The Kearsley Creek in the Village of Ortonville. Photo by Patrick McAbee. (click for larger version)
April 27, 2011 - Michigan Department of Natural Resources fish biologist Joe Leonardi reported that about 6,000 Brown Trout were planted in the Kearsley Creek last week in sections of Atlas Township. The 6-inch fry were released at Kent, Oakwood and Kipp road bridges. The fish should reach the 8-inch legal size by August, he said.

The releases are prior to the April 30 statewide trout and salmon season opener. However, Leonardi said the Kearsley Creek offers a few challenges for anglers heading out this Saturday.

"The main issue for those fishing the Kearsley Creek is that too often they roam onto private property without land owner permission," he said. "The Kearsley Creek is the only designated trout waterway in the Flint River Watershed—thus we continue to stock the stream."

A study of Kearsley Creek in 2010 using electric shock was conducted in July by DNR biologists. According to the study, a total of 70 brown trout were counted in 2,100 feet of the river. The fish ranged in size from about eight inches to 15 inches, said Leonardi.

"The fish looked good health-wise—I would have liked to have the number (of fish) higher, but there has been sufficient numbers to continue the stocking. The water quality was good, but the water system is marginal," he said. "The concern with the Kearsley Creek is shallow water, too warm of water temperature and a serious lack of good habitat."

Local environmentalist David Green, who teaches integrated science at Brandon Middle School and has studied area waterways, is concerned about the DNR report on the Kearsley Creek.

"The excessive sedimentation is caused by runoff from erosion of the land along the local streams," he said. "The salt or sand from nearby roads is entering the water. My guess is the phosphates from fertilizers and faulty septic tanks from Lake Louise upstream is also playing a role in the deterioration of Kearsley Creek."

Green said that other factors including the loss of ash trees, which provide shade, and the recent clearing of land in front of Brandon High School could have also prompted a loss of necessary environmental conditions.

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