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Green Lakes Walleye Sampling (2009)

Survey Number: 709010
Survey Dates: July 28-29, 2009

In order to determine the fate of a long standing walleye fry stocking policy in Green Lake, located in Clark Reservation State Park, Biologist Dave Lemon worked with NYS Parks Biologist Tom Hughes and SUNY ESF personnel to conduct a survey of the 10 acre pond's fish community. NYSDEC fish sampling was last conducted in 1949 and no information on the success of the walleye fry stocking was known. The long gap in sampling effort was undoubtedly a result of the challenging physical setting of the pond. Green Lake is located in a 165' deep gorge, created by a waterfall within a temporary river channel of the receding glacier. As a result getting canoe and sampling gear down (and back up) the nearly 180 steps to the pond required the assistance of a number of youth who were working in a SUNY ESF summer work program.

Results of the sampling were quite surprising with a total of six walleye captured in three, overnight gillnet sets. Sizes of the walleye ranged from 11.9 to 18.7 inches with four different age classes represented. In addition, seven large chain pickerel (16.9 - 19.6 in.) and eight large pumpkinseed sunfish (over 7.7 in.) were also captured along with numerous medium sized golden shiners and smaller pumpkinseed sunfish. As an added bonus, all the fish were taken by ESF researchers to test for the level of mercury contamination in their tissue. Recent testing of the pond's bottom sediments by ESF Professor Dr. Charles Driscoll revealed elevated mercury levels in the sediments and a nearby county incinerator has been suggested as the possible reason. Tissue analysis of the fish will provide us valuable information on the potential health risk, if any, of eating the ponds fish.

Overall there appears to be good balance of predators and prey in the pond, and the contribution of walleye from our stocking program is almost certainly part of the reason. Continuation of the walleye fry stocking program will be recommended based on the results of this survey.

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