FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- A recent Eagle Scout project at Remington Pond is benefitting fish and anglers at Fort Drum.

Boy Scout Nicholas Loos, 16, enlisted the help of his fellow Boy Scouts and their parents July 7 to place 10 artificial fish structures on the north end of Remington Pond. This pond is the largest body of water in Fort Drum's cantonment area.

The fish structures, made from scraps of vinyl siding, were "planted" into concrete and then submerged in the pond. The project was coordinated with Fort Drum's Fish and Wildlife Management Program.

"Fallen trees along the banks of the pond provide the majority of structure for fish to use in the pond, with very little structure in the middle of the pond," said Raymond Rainbolt, Fort Drum Fish and Wildlife Program manager.

He noted that structure in the water is important, because it provides a refuge for small fish to avoid predators. Since small fish are able to survive, there is more food for the larger fish and overall more fish in the pond.

The Boy Scouts of America has a series of merit ranks that lead up to the rank of Eagle Scout. In order to receive the rank of Eagle, a Scout must plan and execute a community service project that benefits not one organization, but the community in general.

"I enjoy the outdoors and wanted to do a project in the outdoors and for the community," explained Loos, who is a member of Boy Scout Troop 26. "Doing something at Remington Pond was a good fit."

Loos developed a plan that had to be reviewed and permitted through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

He received scrap vinyl siding from Fort Drum Mountain Community Homes that was otherwise destined to be thrown away. He also received financial assistance and equipment from local businesses and Fort Drum's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

An earlier fish enhancement project at Remington Pond, using Christmas trees and wooden pallets, was attempted in 2003 with mixed results. Boy Scouts placed the structures on the ice in the winter and allowed them to sink once the ice melted.

"The Christmas trees worked, but the wooden pallets were too buoyant and didn't stay submerged," Rainbolt said. "I was concerned about the same issue this time, but Nick did his research."

Loos made a plan to repurpose the vinyl scraps in concrete bases, which was heavy enough and relatively permanent.

"The idea of using what would have been garbage for a benefit to wildlife was a nice idea," Rainbolt added.

To complete his final project, Loos enlisted the help of his fellow Scouts, to include Dylan Clark, Ryan Tyler, Joe Slabchuck, Dakota Sampsel, Zachary Sprott-Scribner and Jackson Bernabe.

To build the fish structures, Scouts used sections of floating dock as barges to transport each structure to a specific location in the pond. Each structure, weighing between 30 and 50 pounds, was lowered over the edge and released to ensure it landed upright. As always, safety was a first.

Fishing is allowed in Remington Pond, although anglers are reminded that it is a catch-and-release fishery. A New York state fishing license is required to fish in any waters in the state.

However, a Fort Drum recreational access pass is not required to fish at Remington Pond. For more information and photos about the project, visit Fort Drum's Fish and Wildlife Management website at www.FortDrum.iSportsman.net.

Loos, son of Shelly and Lt. Col. Michael Loos, has been with Boy Scouts since 2008. He has been working on this final project for the past six months. Now that his project is complete, he can proceed onto the other steps required to obtain the Eagle Scout rank.

Loos plans to attend college and obtain a degree in engineering or environmental engineering. He thanks all those who have helped him complete his project, and he said he is glad the project was a success.

Page last updated Thu July 19th, 2012 at 08:59