October 18, 2012

Milford’s “Gathering Pond” will switch to winter hours on Nov. 1

PRATT— The Milford Hatchery Supply Lake, known locally as the Gathering Pond, below Milford Reservoir Dam reopened last March, and was open from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Beginning Nov. 1, the supply lake will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, except for holidays and during inclement weather.

When zebra mussels were discovered in Milford Reservoir in 2009, the supply lake was closed to public access to protect the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Milford Fish Hatchery. If zebra mussels infested the supply lake, they could easily clog hatchery waterlines and filters, and cause serious damage to hatchery facilities. KDWPT officials began planning hatchery enhancements that would prevent zebra mussels from entering if the supply lake was ever infested

Since the lake is a popular fishing spot, KDWPT worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop preventative procedures, so the lake could be reopened. The procedures included staffed entry gates, limited access and prohibiting boats and live bait other than worms. Beginning last March, KDWPT staffed the entrance gates and allowed public access from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., seven days a week. Gate staff informed anglers about the new restrictions and provided information on how to prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species.

The measures have been effective, and zebra mussels have not been transferred to the supply lake. Hatchery staff will complete Phase 1 of water intake modifications this winter. Phase 2 of the hatchery project, including installation of filtration equipment that will exclude all life stages of zebra and quagga mussels, will be completed next year.

Staff will be present at the entrance gates during winter hours except for holidays and during inclement weather. The winter hours will be in effect through Feb. 28, 2013.