NEBRASKAland July 2018

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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Page 41 of 59

42 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2018 W hat did the fish say when it swam into a wall? Dam. All jokes aside, there are more than 2,800 dams in Nebraska, ranging from stock dams that capture water for cattle in remote pastures to the massive Kingsley Dam that forms Lake McConaughy for irrigation and hydropower. In between are hydroelectric and flood control dams big and small and low-head diversions for irrigation. No matter the size or shape, the dams all have one thing in common: they prevent fish from swimming upstream. As a result, there are fewer native fish swimming in thousands of miles of streams and rivers than there were historically. Thanks to a Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Aquatic Habitat Program project, however, fish now have a way around Spalding Dam on the Cedar River. Completed in 2016, a fishway, sometimes referred to as a fish ladder, allows fish upstream passage during the spring and summer months. That is good news for anglers, who can now catch catfish in the 30 -acre lake and 26 miles of river above the dam that previously were nearly void of the game fish. O Spalding Dam dates to 1889, when work began to build a dam of logs, brush and dirt to power Spalding Mill, a flourmill. The mill was sold in 1901, and soon after the owners began generating power at the site for Story and photos by Eric Fowler Fish Ladders Spalding Dam fishway opens Cedar River to catfish and other species. The Cedar River flows through gates opened to flush sediment through Spalding Dam in December 2016. A fish bypass, visible at center, was completed that year allowing fish to pass during the spring and summer months when many species swim upstream to spawn and feed.

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