The 2018 Shoreline Fish Survey of Lake Geneva report done for Geneva Lake Environmental Agency was issued August 29, 2018.
The summary of the report states that the numbers of individuals and species were lower than in previous shoreline fish surveys in 1978 and 2004 and that the reduction in the number of species reflects a reduction in the diversity and health of the shoreline fish fauna. The summary does conclude that shoreline fish fauna of Lake Geneva is still of reasonably good quality compared to other lakes in southern Wisconsin, and remains worthy of protection and rehabilitation efforts. This report is not a positive picture of the lake’s future.
Imagine your doctor telling you that you are not as sick as the others in the hospital so you are worthy of some effort to heal. The data and discussion in the report give a clearer picture. The deterioration of the lake is apparent when the numerical data were compared to those previous surveys of the lake. Of the 29 fish species found in 1978, only 17 were found in 2004 and 13 in 2018. Which is to say that 55% of the fish species found in the lake 40 years ago were not found today. The total number of fish found was also down significantly, and although it agrees with the other data, there are extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to the decline in total fish numbers, despite having an improved method that caught two new species believed to be in the lake before, but were not caught in the previous surveys. Geneva Lake’s water may be clear, but as the calm before the storm, the lake’s future is on a downward path and not just apparent in this survey, but in almost all the other parameters that are being measured and monitored on the lake from algae to the increased salt content to decreasing zooplankton. The path our lake is on is not a good one.
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