The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission have contracted with the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit to conduct a five-year study on a northeastern Oklahoma stream.
Rainbow trout will be stocked and examined during the Spavinaw Creek study researchers began to gathering base data on fish and fauna in the waters through physical surveys and sampling this winter. Trout is expected to be stocked for three years beginning this year. State Fisheries Chief Barry Bolton said a year will be set aside for analysis.
Adam Maris, the owner of Spring Valley Anglers Rod and Gun Club, is requesting the permit to supply the trout. He said his company would stock the trout during the study and would plan to have anglers fishing for the trout after they are stocked just as they would normally. Maris said trout have been stocked on the Arkansas side of the stream for at least 100 years.
Spring Creek Coalition board members have expressed concerns over the new study, saying non-native fish could damage the stream by harming native fish and impacting aquatic ecosystems. Board member Jennifer Owen said a five-year study isn't enough to determine long-term effects of stocking the trout.
"This is the introduction of a non-native predatory species that is farm-raised, which increases its potential for carrying disease that could be introduced into a pure system, just to see what kind of effects it will have. It makes no sense," she said.