Students help prepare trout to go into Augusta Canal

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, June 5, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Thousands of rainbow trout are getting ready to make the jump from a little tank at Warren Road Elementary to the Augusta Canal.

Students from Davidson Fine Arts and Warren Road Elementary are fostering this school of fish to make sure they're ready when they do.

"I make sure a lot of them are alive. I make sure the filters are clean," rising 4th grader Xander Stearley said.

The students might look young, but they're not amateurs.

"Rainbow trout fish have to have a lot of oxygen or else they won't survive," Stearley explained.

They've been testing the water in the canal to make sure the fish will survive.

"We've been doing dissolved oxygen checks on the canal. We've been sampling water, checking the ammonia, temperature, pH throughout the year, and we've gotten enough data to show that trout can live in the canal," Davidson Fine Arts graduate Stanton Bemis said.

Augusta Canal Authority Executive Director Dayton Sherrouse says if it works, it'll be a win-win.

"I think it'll be another draw for Augusta to have folks, not only our local fishermen to come here, but we'll have some from outside the area," Sherrouse said.

That means the fish would be reeling in some visitors and some revenue.

In less than a week, the trout will be dropped in the canal, where the test of survival through the brutal heat of summer will begin.

"We'll be kinda on pins and needles throughout the summer. It's like being an expectant father or mother on the birth of a child. Hopefully, come wintertime, we'll have fish," Sherrouse said.

It's a project expanding the kinds of fish in the canal and knowledge in these kids' brains.

"It's fun, it's interesting, and you learn a lot about it, even when you're not in school," Stearley said.

"I enjoy biology. It's actually what I plan on majoring in. I feel like it gives me a little bit of a head start," Bemis said.

They'll be putting the fish in the canal in cages so they can monitor them throughout the summer. The drop happens next week, and then it's up to Mother Nature.

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