Crippled by an aging research vessel, work on studying the fisheries of Lake Erie's Central Basin remains on hold.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife's research boat "The Grandon" has been side-lined since the end of July. That means one month has passed since agency biologists last have done test-netting surveys and other on-water work in the lake's Central Basin.
Instead, these biologists have filled their time with laboratory and paper work, though the scientists are chomping at the bit to get back on the water.
What needs to be done, however, is replacing the boat's existing, well-worn diesel engine with a rebuilt one. This will cost the Wildlife Division about $17,000, says Kevin Kayle, the station's manager.
Kayle said there really is no reason to complain since the boat and its hard-used engine are both 22 years old. Repairs and replacements are to be expected for a vessel of this age, Kayle says.
Even so, the staff is looking forward to conducting tests and seeing how successful the lake's walleye and yellow perch hatch was this year, Kayle says as well.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn