Turns out there are plenty of fish in Lake Waconia, according to the DNR and the Star Tribune's bird blogger Jim Williams. And a lot fewer cormorants than there used to to be. Williams went to the trouble to look at the the data on fish in the lake, challenging the assertions of of Waconia Mayor Jim Nash and Rep. John Kline.
Star Tribune photo
There are 74 pairs of cormorants nesting on an island in the lake -- this year U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service killed 329 birds because the private owner of the island complained about the mess. Still, that wasn't enough for the mayor who says fishing and the town's economy are down because of the birds.
Really? According Williams review of the DNR's 2010 Lake Waconia fish survey:
Walleye abundance was described in the survey summary as average, weight above average. Northern pike numbers were high compared to historic averages for the lake. More largemouth bass came up in the test nets than in the past. Abundance and weight of muskies were the highest ever recorded for the lake. Crappies were small but above average in number. Bluegill abundance was at a level not seen since 2002.
Study after study have shown that cormorant feeding has little impact on fish populations, but nonetheless Kline, Rep. Colin Peterson and others in Congress want to pass a federal law allowing individuals to kill cormorants. It might make the mayor of Waconia feel better about the economy, but it won't help the fish.