A once plentiful fish is getting a “step up” to help increase its population.
Construction on the state’s first fish ladder is expected to begin soon.

The concrete fish ladder is being constructed in Juliette in Middle Georgia. The structure guides fish over the dam through a narrow passageway using controlled water flows.

Jimmy Evans is a fisheries biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. He says right now the fish can’t get upstream to spawn.

“They aggregate below the dam and the purpose of the fish ladder is to pass the American Shad above the dam and into about 38 river miles of high quality spawning habitat above the dam.”

Dam owner Eastern Hydroelectric is paying for the ladder. Georgia’s rivers used to be filled with the American Shad. But overfishing and dams reduced its population.

Tags: Georgia Departent of Natural Resources, fish ladder, Juliette Dam, American Shad