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Outdoors notebook: Minnows predominate on two rivers, suckers on one

| Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

So what kind of fish live in Pittsburgh's three rivers, and on what are they likely feeding?

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission biologists, led by three rivers chief Bob Ventorini, surveyed the tailwaters below lock 3 on the Allegheny River at Harmarville, lock 4 on the Monongahela at Charleroi and the Montgomery Lock below Beaver on the Ohio River to get those answers.

The work showed that below lock 3 and lock 4, minnows are the main forage base. They make up 38 and 48 percent of the total fishery in each river, respectively, followed by suckers at 21 and 12 percent.

Black bass — largemouth, smallmouth and spotted — are the systems' primary predator, accounting for 16 percent of the fishery on the Allegheny and 8 percent on the Monongahela. Walleyes and sauger account for a combined 9 percent of the total on the Allegheny, 5 percent on the Monongahela.

Below the Montgomery lock, suckers are the main prey, making up 39 percent of the total fish biomass. Walleyes and sauger are the chief predators there, making up 16 percent of the total. Bass are 9 percent of the fishery.

Envirothon

Local teams of high schoolers finished in the top 10 in the 30th annual Pennsylvania envirothon at Juniata College.

Envirothon teams compete in five field-oriented wildlife and conservation tests; they have to give presentations on environmental issues, too.

Students from 61 Pennsylvania counties participated. A York County Homeschool team won, scoring 550.67 points out of 600. A team from Carmichaels High School in Greene County finished fifth with 494.67 points, and a team from United Junior/Senior High School in Indiana County finished seventh with 470.67 points.

Accidents down

The Coast Guard counted 4,515 recreational boating accidents that involved 651 deaths, 3,000 injuries and approximately $38 million dollars of damage in 2012. The number of accidents and deaths were both down compared to 2011.

Land conserved

Two properties along Tubmill Creek in Fairfield Township in Westmoreland County will be protected permanently through conservation easements obtained by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. The parcels take in about 293 near Route 259.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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