NANFA-- Carillio sign update

Christopher Scharpf (
Thu, 30 Nov 2000 18:12:43 -0400

Rob Carillio sent me this the other day to forward to the NANFA list and it
promptly gt buried in my email folder. Here 'tis, better late than never...

Well, I plan on inviting the media to the dedication of the first
Riparian Zone/Native Fish sign, that will be installed in Yellow Creek Metro
Park, near a site that has some historical collecting signifigance! I have
NANFA, as well as our web site listed on the sign!

In addition, I will have a photo taken of the sign at the dedication! This
passed September 30th 2000, the sign was unveiled at the Mahoning River
Festival in Warren, Ohio. All who saw it were impressed! Also in the current
making, is a smaller sign that will mark the above historical attribute of
Yellow Creek and Native Fish collection! Below is a rough draft of the text
that will be on the second sign, along with photos, illustrations, etc.

Others have come forth to donate monies for near future signs throughout The
Mahoning River Watershed. Yellow Creek is a tributary of The Mahoning. The
place of the first sign will be, is where it empties into the mainstem.
Well, that's all for now, but thanks to NANFA and many others, what started
as an idea is now becoming reality!!!!! Thanks, Robert S. Carillio OHIO

Yellow Creek / Mahoning River: A Place Of Pioneering Fish Studies

Just as the Mahoning River has played an important role in the
development of the steel industry by serving as the water supply for steel
processes, seldom heard or aknowledged is the fact that it also played a
key role in what would later be recognized as a place where some of the
very first organized studies of fish biology in the United States would
be conducted, begining over 160 years ago !

The very area upon which you are standing is approximatly the same
area that early naturalists and Ichthyologists (Icthyology - the study of
fish),Spencer F. Baird and Jared P. Kirtland collected and identified several
species of fishes that are unique to the North American continent !
Their fish surveys were conducted between the years 1838 and 1854.
Jared Kirtland lived on a farm in Boardman Township during this time.
In August 1853, Baird and Kirtland collected and identified 41 species
of fish from the Mahoning River and Yellow Creek !! Three of these fishes
were completely unknown to science, and are currently preserved today
at The United States National Museum. Spencer Baird and Jared Kirtland's
work marked among the the first identifications and discoveries of several
native fishes in the United States.

Times Have Changed !!!

This area of Yellow Creek, and The Mahoning River Watershed in general,
has drastically changed since the days Baird and Kirtland first sampled these
waters for fish. The changes have included everything from water pollution
to losses and alterations of aquatic habitats. These changes were greatly
attributed to the urban development of Mahoning Valley. As a result, many
of the fishes that Baird and Kirtland encountered no longer exhist in this
area of Yellow Creek and the Mahoning River. Their decline or absense
stems from many of these species being intolerant to the kind of encroachment
on the stream and river that resulted in water degredation. Nevertheless,
these fishes are still a part of our natural heritage, and their decline or
absences should serve as a reminder of what can happen to water resources
when our streams and rivers are abused.

Pictured below are some of the fishes Baird and Kirtland encountered in
this areaof Yellow Creek and the Mahoning River during their time spent here,
and a
listof fish species collected by the the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
in 1994 from this area of Yellow Creek. The Ohio EPA has classified this as
being an impaired fish community because the sensitive species collected by
Baird and Kirtland in the mid-1800's no longer live in Yellow Creek. For
the native fish of Yellow Creek, times have not changed for the better. Perhaps

someday humans will find a way to restore the native fish community of Yellow
and the Mahoning River.

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