SRP drains north canal for cleaning

- You're used to seeing Salt River Project workers on power lines, but instead, a crew went fishing in a north Phoenix canal.

It's part of their job, as they get ready to drain the northside canal to clean it up, but before they can drain and clean they have to move all the fish.

With the water removed all that remains is mud, debris, and junk. The canal will stay dried up for a month as crews filter out all the gunk. The fish who called the canal home are now being relocated as SRP workers with nets round them up.

SRP workers are on a fishing expedition, literally. They'll spend weeks rounding up the fish in the canal between 43rd and 75th Avenues. And they're rounding up some pretty big catches.

"The catfish we pulled out a short time ago was at least 32 inches long, we're going to call it a 32-pound catfish," said Jeff Adams with SRP.



He estimates there are about 200,000 fish in the entire 131-mile canal system.

"Our fish are our most vital asset, these are our employees," said Adams.

Most of the fish are white amur fish and they work for SRP in that they eat up a lot of the vegetation that grows in the canal.

"The fish take care of what man cannot do in a short period, they're our most vital asset," said Adams.

Every year crews round up all the fish in the section of the canal that is scheduled for cleaning and they move the fish upstream to keep them save. This is no vacation for these amateur fisherman.

"The mud is extremely deep in these areas, and it is really tiring, it feels like when you're working in there like you ran a marathon," said Adams.

Unfortunately, fish are not the only things crews find when they're cleaning up the canals. Crews found a Corvette in the canal years ago, and they've found knives, purses, and drug paraphernalia.

The fish were loaded into a huge tank and will be relocated upstream to 35th Avenue. You can fish in the canals if you have the proper permit, but if you catch one of the protected fish you're required to put it back into the canal.

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