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Nov 05

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Helping Fish Survive an Urban Gauntlet

How are man-made islands helping young fish traveling through the Milwaukee Estuary? Listen up:

Sometimes fish need a break, too. This is a story of how human development has actually helped fish find places to rest and eat as they move through the aquatic urban jungle.

Word on the street is, young fish are lining up along the edges of this grassy joint. (via Mike Marek)

Word on the street is, young fish are lining up along the edges of this grassy joint. (via Mike Marek)

One sixth its former size, the Milwaukee Estuary is a patchwork system, broken up by shipping channels, shoreline development, roads, and bridges.

Ecologist Mike Marek of Marek Landscaping says to get from their spawning beds to Lake Michigan, juvenile fish have to swim through shipping channels.

“There’s no food or shelter,” he explains. “Also there’s heavy predation in there, so adult fish are there.”

And there’s practically no way for small fish to escape.

So Marek and his team have installed four man-made islands designed to mimic a natural system, so that fish can rest, hide, and eat before finishing their journey.

He says not only fish, but also birds, frogs, and butterflies, are using these oases.

Get schooled:

The fine print:

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/development/helping-fish-survive-an-urban-gauntlet/