On February 22, 2017, Fourpole Creek Watershed Association implemented the project with 2nd and 4th graders at Southside Elementary School in Huntington, WV. Twenty-five disease free and WVDNR approved channel catfish will be shared and reared by Southside Elementary School and Meadow Elementary School within the Fourpole Creek watershed. The children weighed the fish today and will care for the catfish for two months, then weigh them again before they release them directly into Fourpole Creek. Caring for the fish entails feeding and observing them daily as well as weekly water tests and maintenance to the tank. The project was funded by the Stream Partners Program and sponsored by PetSmart of Ashland, Kentucky. Water testing kits, thermometers, water de-chlorinator, and nets were provided by the Watershed Improvement Branch and Watershed Assessment Branch of WVDEP to each school.
On Wednesday, February 22nd at 9:00am, Fourpole Creek Watershed Association will implement their ‘Classroom Catfish Project’ funded by the Stream Partners Program. Fourpole plans to provide two schools, first Southside Elementary and then Meadows Elementary, with 60 gallon aquariums, filters, and food to raise native channel catfish. Both schools are located within the Fourpole Creek watershed and have expressed great enthusiasm for the project. The students will assess the fish when received, raise the fish for approximately two months, assess the fish again, and then release those fish into Fourpole Creek as approved by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR). This project will provide valuable lessons in ecology, aquaculture, watershed principles, and environmental stewardship. The Ashland Kentucky PetSmart partnered with the association on the development and setup of the aquaculture equipment for the project. WV DNR Fisheries Biologist and WV Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Watershed Coordinator plan to come into the schools to provide additional lessons for the students. The Stream Partners Program is a cooperative effort of the West Virginia Conservation Agency, West Virginia’s DEP, Division of Forestry, and the Division of Natural Resources. The program is housed within the WVDEP’s Division of Water and Waste Management.