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Augustana biology professor says wildlife in campus slough will survive drainage project

Augustana slough drainage project in early December
Augustana slough drainage project in early December

But, Kevin Geedey hopes it might deal with an invasive species — goldfish.

In November, a crew drained the slough to install a new drain line to make maintenance easier.

Augustana's Professor Geedey says turtles, invertebrates, and crayfish will adapt.

"Sometimes if you have low precipitatioon years, a few in a row, these ponds kind of dry down and refill, they dry down and refill", Geedey said. "So it's not a completely alien kind of thing happening. It's the kind of thing that happens to small forested ponds from time to time. So many of the species that live in them are reasonably adapted to recover from that kind of environmental issue."

Another professor used the college's electro-shock unit to survey the fish in slough.

"I had hoped that she would find at least some, a few native fish, hanging on, and she found only gold fish," Geedey said. "Including lots of baby goldfish, indicating that they are succesfully reproducing in the slough. It's not just people throwing them in, but the population has taken off and is growing independently."

He doesn't think the goldfish will die just because of this project. But it will probably help create new habitats for native wildlife.

The drain line project began in November and should continue through mid spring.

By the way, the Augustana slough path will re-open soon.