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Dead fish Sankey Canal


Bill
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It could be algae but without any official tests nobody can really say for sure. Algae blooms are triggered by long periods of hot sunny weather which we haven’t really had this year or an excess of nutrients (fertiliser) possible running off farms fields directly into the water. Either way, algae blooms normally turn water into something resembling pea soup but as there’s been no mention of this, we really should look at other possible causes.

 

Canals have to get their water from somewhere and someone on www suggested that that section of the canal is fed directly with waste water from Fiddlers Ferry power station. I don’t know if this is true but think of it, if a large amount of boiled (deoxygenated) water were to be released into the canal then it would have exactly the same deoxygenating affect as an algae bloom but without the tell tail green colour.

 

I’m sure there are going to be a whole raft of rules and regulations aimed at preventing pollution but I’m wondering if the rules extend to oxygen levels? The water returned to the canal is probably a lot cleaner that it originally was but if it’s oxygen levels have been completely depleted then the water may just as well be toxic as far as the fish are concerned.

 

Bill :)

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Artie, I’ve seen the salmon right up in the brook that runs through Woolston Park but I doubt they’ll go into an old canal system.

 

This all relates to a story that’s been running for a few weeks about hundreds of fish apparently dying in a stretch of the Sankey canal. Incidentally this is the same stretch of canal is featured in today’s main news re spending 1.5 million pounds on tidy up. I think the tidy up means the area and not the cost of cleaning up the dead fish.

 

Bill :)

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Incidentally this is the same stretch of canal is featured in today’s main news re spending 1.5 million pounds on tidy up. Bill :)

 

They are actually looking to spend a whopping £20 million on the Canal restoration scheme Bill, most will hopefully come from the Heritage Lottery Fund but Warrington and Halton BC would both have to contribute about £1.5 million each.

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Whether or not we should be spending so much money on something in the backside of nowhere that hardly anyone would ever want to go and see is a very debatable but the issue here is the dead fish and could Fiddlers Ferry be the cause?

 

I don’t know what a water bailiff is but it sounds like a job from the environment agency. I think that it’s all too easy to write off such occurrences as being natural events caused by algae but nobody’s reported any algae and the weather’s not been right this year for mass algae blooms.

 

Maybe someone with more knowledge can answer my question.

 

Bill :)

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Anyway, back to the poor little fish :(

 

Yes, Fiddlers Ferry Power Station does pump water into the canal Bill.

 

They apparently draw it from the Mersey near the Power Station and it's used for their cooling system before being the spent cooling water is pumped into the Sankey Canal (at the yacht marina I think) and there is a bund beside the old station swing bridge keeping the river water from backing up the canal, with possible contamination issues.

 

Infact in 2009 the marina ran dry and the boats were all on the canal bed after FF stopped pumping water into the canal because of a water quality issue and the water that was there drained away through the leaking lock gates. (I think they have been repaired now though)

 

A sparse supply of water apparently also comes from the Callands Brook below Bewsey Lock, but not enough to provide enough water to maintain levels for the marinas at Fidlers Ferry and Widnes.

 

Like you I wouldn't imagine the fish have died from Algae bloom as like you say the weather has not been hot enough for long periods and also you'd be able to see it. No dead fish at all on the Bridgwater last week either and we did the whole stretch from Stockton Heath to (nearly) Altrincham. No dead fish at Ackers Pit either.

 

Last time the fish died near Fiddlers it was just after a spell of heavy rain and same for this time so it does make you wonder if something is washing into the water from 'somewhere' around there or perhaps something is being dumped in there :unsure:

 

Another possibility could be that there has been an excessive growth of vegetation/weeds in/on the canal. The banks of the MSC have gone into jungle mode with the odd combination of hot sun, dry weather and all the rain we've had ibetween and I've never seen them so overgrown and full.

 

If that has happened round there too then the increased greenery could be sucking more oxygen out of the water. Also if it's silted up there would be less water so would that mean less oxygen for the little fishes?

 

I'm just guessing but I'm sure the Environment Agency will be looking into it as they are the experts, maybe WB Council willl be too as they own that part I think.

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sorry Bill your last post wasn't there when I was typing so my 'Anyway, back to the poor little fish' was not aimed at your comments :oops:

 

'water bailiffs' are the blokes who walk the canals and rivers etc checking that fishermen have rod licences and the appropriate Angler's licence too. They actually confiscate your tackle if you don't have them :wink: They might do other things too like report dead fish and other waterway problems.

 

... anyway, back to the poor little fish :D

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Yeah they do (well some do) in the daytime but at night they also take oxygen from the water and release carbon dioxide into it.

 

Any non living plants/plant material takes oxygen out of the water as it decomposes too .

 

If you have a pond and dried brown leaves fall in it they don't cause too much of a problem but if you threw the same amount of green leaves or green grass cuttings in they would deplete your ponds water oxygen level at a much faster rate.

 

So green is not always good :wink:

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I forgot to add that the EA have to be careful removing river/canal weeds though as not only are they needed for wildlife but depending on where they are growing their removal can stir up the silt and that also causes the waters desolved oxygen levels to fall too.

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Thousands of fish died in the River Weaver near Winsford a week ago :shock:Environment Agency said: "We think the microscopic algae in the water have had ideal conditions to breed, and that has stripped all the oxygen out of the water and left the fish dead."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19373509

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Thousands of fish died in the River Weaver near Winsford a week ago :shock:Environment Agency said: "We think the microscopic algae in the water have had ideal conditions to breed, and that has stripped all the oxygen out of the water and left the fish dead."

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-19373509

 

Angling clubs use barley straw bales or barley based liquid in algae infected waters to control the problem. Algea is neither a plant nor an animal. The scum found on ponds are algae, they are the green hairy growth on things found on underwater objects. Algae releases oxygen into the water as it manufactures its food, it forms the broad base on which the food pyramids in ponds and lakes are built. In manufacturing food, algae release oxygen, increasing the amount dissolved in the water, however, when algae becomes over abundant known as an algae bloom the decaying algae depletes oxygen levels. So during the summer, when conditions for growing algae are ripe, oxygen levels may decrease, causing "summerkill" for aquatic plants and fish.

 

Sorry! for being a smart 'bum' but other than the first sentence the remaining dialogue is from the internet.

Regards Algae, Oooops! I mean Algy. :wink::D :grin:

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Last sentence :lol::lol:

 

How do the straw bales work Algy do they soak the algae up, release oxygen or release something else which Algae doesn't like ? Just wondered....

 

 

 

Eutrophication

 

Farmers across the world spread millions of tonnes of fertilizer on their land each year.

 

This provides plants with the essential elements they need to grow well, such as nitrogen from ammonium nitrate fertilizer. These fertilizers must be soluble in water so that plants can draw up the nutrients through their roots. However, because it is soluble, the fertilizer can be washed from the soil in heavy rain. We say that it is leached out of the soil. And that's when our pollution problems start.

 

The nitrate fertilizers drain from groundwater into rivers and streams. Once in a river, the fertilizer promotes rapid growth of algae (a tiny plant) on the surface of the water. This stops light reaching other water plants, and also reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. Fish rely on this dissolved oxygen: without it, they die.

 

Of course, plants produce oxygen when they photosynthesize. So why do the levels of dissolved oxygen decrease as the mass of plants increases? The algae thrive at first, but when they die, micro-organisms have a feast feeding on and decomposing the dead algae. The micro-organisms multiply rapidly with so much food available, and their activity uses up the oxygen in the water – unfortunately for the fish.

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Last sentence :lol::lol:

 

How do the straw bales work Algy do they soak the algae up, release oxygen or release something else which Algae doesn't like ? Just wondered....

 

Control of Pond Algae Using Barley Straw

 

If you are a pond owner, you are well aware of the problems that algae can cause. There are some very effective chemicals that can be used to control algae, but they are very expensive and require a permit from the State, not to mention the adverse affects chemicals can cause if used incorrectly. There is a biological alternative, Barley Straw. The following paragraphs will inform you about the use of this simple material to control problem algae in your pond.

 

BARLEY STRAW is inexpensive and healthier for your fish and plants than chemicals. Barley straw has been used for centuries in Europe to maintain fish and garden pond water quality. It has been proven environmentally safe.

 

TYPE OF STRAW TO USE: Barley straw is more effective and works for longer periods than wheat or other straws. The variety of barley straw does not seem to have any effect on the performance. Hay should never be used as it increases algae growth and it decomposes very rapidly which may cause a deoxygenating of the water. Barley straw will not kill existing algae, it is not a pesticide. Rather it creates a unique pond environment which discourages any unwanted growth while not harming any plant or animal habitants.

 

NATURAL vs. HERBICIDES: The growth rate of algae makes it very difficult to control. There are many forms of algae and most are susceptible to herbicide use. The problem with using herbicides is that it also will kill your other plants and once the chemical is gone from the water, the re-growth of algae will reappear and subsequently become worse years later. Natural solutions are safer and more cost effective.

 

HOW DOES BARLEY STRAW WORK? As the straw decomposes in the water, byproducts are released creating a unique environment. The temperature of the water is an important factor. If the water temp is 40 degrees it may take up to 2 weeks for the straw to become active. When the water temperature is above 40 degrees the straw becomes active faster. In about a week the straw should begin to release it's chemical, given sufficient sunlight and oxygen.

 

Well oxygenated conditions are essential to ensure the straw will decompose and produce it's chemical. If the straw is in a compacted state with restricted water movement through the straw, the effectiveness is extremely reduced.

 

WILL BARLEY STRAW HARM FISH OR PLANTS? Barley straw does not harm fish or plant life. Actually in most cases it increases the invertebrate population providing a food source for fish. In fish farms and hatcheries where straw has been used, there are reports of improved gill function and better overall fish health.

 

HOW AND WHERE TO APPLY THE STRAW?

 

In ponds, the straw should be wrapped loosely in some type of netting that will allow water to flow through. To be most effective, place the bundle of straw on the up wind side to let wind currents help carry the straw by products across the pond. As the straw decomposes it will sink.

 

Some sort of float should be attached to keep it partially out of the water. The straw needs a continuous exposure to both water and oxygen. Keeping the straw oxygenated will help the barley decompose thus releasing the byproducts.

 

WHEN SHOULD BARLEY STRAW BE ADDED?

 

Barley straw should be added very early in the spring. It is best to apply when the water temp is low. Time should be given (about 30 days) for the straw to become active. Once activated, the straw will create the unique environment for up to 6 months. A replacement bundle should be added before the first bundle is completely decomposed. Two applications should be enough for one year. Ponds that have a high content of suspended mud it may be necessary to add more straw than in clear waters as the byproducts can be slowly inactivated by the mud.

 

HOW MUCH TO USE? If used proactively before the pond is over run with algae, a common recommendation would be 20lbs of straw for every 1/4 acre of pond surface area. Thus an average bale of straw weighing 40lbs should treat a 1/4 acre pond for a year. In ponds with a history of heavy algae growth, two to three times that amount may be required at first.

 

CAN IT BE OVER DONE? The straw is not known to be directly hazardous, but anything that decays in water in large quantities will reduce dissolved oxygen levels. This in not likely a problem unless the barley is massively overdosed (more than ten times normal) and the pond is already oxygen limited by over stocking fish, or the decomposition of other organic materials such as leaves.

 

Dosage:- Approx. 225lbs of straw per acre of water.

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Regarding the power station, when I worked there (back in the 90s admittedly) water was pumped in to the canal as a favour in order to maintain the correct level, and only when necessary, which probably isn't just lately given the rainfall we've had.

As for the cooling water being deoxygenated, after being circulated through the towers it was anything but, there was an on site fish farm and escaped carp got into the towers and loved it...they were whoppers.

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Crikey what have you said FBJ... :shock: Hope my dads not reading as he will be grabbing his rod and lunceon meat and heading straight for the inside of the cooling towers tomorrow :lol:

 

Re the water from there though... I read somewhere that the water pumped into the canal can sometimes be warmer so if the canal water itself is already warmer due to the weather it can cause stress to the fish. Don't know if that's true and if fish don't like warmer water as my goldfish has never been particularly bothered by heat.

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