Early to rise with a 7:30am take off time, Gabriel and I set out for the hour long drive to Lake Sidney Lanier to meet Natural Resources Ranger Craig Sowers for the final phase of fish attractors. We arrived on schedule at the Lake Lanier Management Office and called on Craig to join us. After hitching a small boat to the ranger truck, Gabriel and I followed about half hour to Bolding Mill Campground. Although surveys are not conducted in this area, we are familiar with the campground since monitoring both Gypsy Moth traps and Eastern Bluebird boxes has given us the opportunity to visit almost every recreation run by the Army Corps of Engineers on the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier. Craig leads us to the back of the campground where he and a colleague had dropped 14 beautifully assembled the day before, making our conservation day just that much easier. The 3 of us make several trips on a wide trail beneath shade trees to an abandoned pier and find our way down the banks to set cement filled fish attractors. The water is incredibly low due to minimal winter rainfall, end of season summer drought and below dam water release requirements. This makes our job easy since most of the fish attractors are set to be tied underneath the pier and just beyond it for the benefit of on-shore, or in this case, on-pier fishermen. Craig Sowers revs the engine of the small metal boat, myself aboard, ready to gently place each fish attractor in its assigned position. After a few rounds, Gabriel and I switch. The last of the fish attractors are placed at the end of the pier at Bolding Mill Campground.
The fish attractors had been donated as a mitigation tool some years ago after a set of power lines were installed and parts of the nearby forest had to be clear cut. The assemblage, setting and benefit of the fish attractors had been long anticipated by local fishermen ad well as Rangers throughout the Project. Due to other natural resources obligations at Lake Sidney Lanier, fish attractors had been pushed to the back burner until the SCAs Atlanta Survey Team stepped up to the plate. Job well done.
Written by Sophie.