Artificial Fish Habitats

Jason and his helpers created 16 artificial fish habitats to help promote a healthy ecosystem in Axehead Lake.

Most lakes in Cook County, Illinois, are “borrow pits” that supplied material for the construction of the Illinois highway system. When these pits were no longer needed, they were converted into bodies of water and stocked with fish for recreation.

One of the goals of Jason’s project was to make one such man-made lake into a healthy ecosystem that is able to sustain generations of aquatic life. Axehead Lake was the recipient of 16 elaborate structures constructed from 5-gallon buckets filled with concrete and adorned with protruding PVC pipes and tubing. The structures are meant to mimic underwater aquatic vegetation. At the bottom of the lake, plants and algae begin growing on the structure and, after some time, what was once exposed plastic tubing and PVC pipe will soon be covered in green, masquerading as a strange, angular underwater shrub.

Artificial fish habitats are sustainable and, once sunk, will remain in the lakes forever. They are made from non-toxic materials that will not decompose or require maintenance. Their most important function is to break up the vastness of the man-made lake bottom to create surface area, space and shelter for aquatic species.

This habitat is crucial to biodiversity because it increases the carrying capacity of the water body, allowing a greater number and variety of animals to occupy the same space at the same time. Many fish in the lakes rely on artificial habitat to reproduce. Some also rely on these areas for food.

— Jason, Troop 160, Des Plaines, Illinois


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