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Dredging Work Underway To Save Central Wisconsin Fishing Spot

Excavators Look To Restore Water Quality Damaged By Ag Runoff

Glen Moberg/WPR

Dredging work to save a popular Wausau area fishing spot is underway.

More than 11,000 square yards of muck will be removed from the bottom of Blue Gill Bay Pond in an effort to restore water quality damaged by agricultural runoff.

Excavators will have to dig deep, said Peter Knotek of the Marathon County Parks Department.

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“We’re taking it down to a depth of 14-feet,” Knotek said. “One of the reasons we look at 14 feet, is at 14 feet the sunlight has trouble penetrating the water, and it reduces the amount of aquatic growth that will return.”

The same problem is plaguing much bigger bodies of water across central Wisconsin, Marathon County Administrator Brad Karger said at a ceremony marking the start of the project.

“What is happening here to this pond is happening out there to Lake Wausau,” Karger said. “It’s just happening sooner here. It’s about ag runoff coming down the Rib River. And there are practices – conservation practices – that can be done on the land to protect our surface water.”

The cost of the cleanup is estimated at $363,000. About half of the money was raised by private donations.

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