Jack Skrypek

"The pool 2 story is a wonderful story, and it's probably the best example as to how a fish population responds to improved water quality, but there are other areas of the state where very similar things have happened. In earlier years my work for the DNR one of the jobs I had was investigating pollution cases on a statewide basis. I spent an awful lot of time visiting the St. Louis River and the Rainy River. Both of those rivers were badly overloaded with waste from the paper mills. And as you would guess, the fish population was in pretty poor condition in both of those rivers because of the overloading of again an organic type waste-very low oxygen levels and bad bottom conditions.

"As those point sources of waste were cleaned up, the fish populations responded wonderfully. We ended up getting tremendous runs of walleye pike into the lower end of the St. Louis River from the south shore of Lake Superior with tremendous fishing opportunity for anglers. The restoration of the Rainy River from International Falls downstream to Lake of the Woods has also been quite miraculous. In particular the walleye population, the smallmouth bass, and the lake sturgeon populations have just become fabulous. So there are two really outstanding examples of how cleaning up waste has benefited the fish population. And the story is true on many other rivers in the ag (agricultural) zone as well. Back in the years that I was investigating kills of fish often times the canning industry or other types of organic waste would get into those rivers and we'd have fish kills. There are still a lot of problems on those rivers, but in general conditions have improved there as well."