Scottsdale event to feature performance art and fish herding

January 11, 2013

Salt River Project has begun a years-long effort to drain, clean, and repair all 130 miles of its canal system. Saturday, SRP is inviting the public to see one of the crucial steps. 

SRP canals are full of fish -- many of them are white amur, which the company puts in its canals to control aquatic vegetation. Before crews dry out and clean a canal, they catch as many fish as they can, scoop them into a truck with a giant water tank, and drive them upstream to a section of canal that still has water.

SRP’s Brian Moorhead said the fish are valuable, but it’s important they stay in the canal. “Because it’s a non-native fish, the fish have to be sterile and all the canals have to be closed so that the fish cannot escape. If they got out into the natural river or stream, there’s potential to do some environmental damage -- and because of that, the state put these requirements on us before we could get the permits," Moorhead said.

Saturday between 8 a.m. and noon, SRP crews will be herding and catching fish, and the public is invited to watch. The event, at the Scottsdale Waterfront, will also include performance art ... but probably not by the fish.

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