FORT SILL, Okla., May 21, 2020 -- O’Connell Pond, a 5- to 8-acre reservoir on East Range, offers fishing and boating opportunities to Soldiers and their families, while also providing a haven for fish and wildlife.Chris Deurmyer, natural resources supervisory administrator, said the pond has good depth -- up to 10 to 15 feet -- fertile shallows, and good water quality as evidenced by frogs that reside there.“Ponds like this catch a lot of water from storms and gradually release it instead of flowing in torrents to wash over the road all at once,” said Deurmyer.Although pond water hasn’t washed out Elgin Road, increased rainfall in recent years has seeped out and over time undercut the roadbed, which now must be repaired.“Engineers looked at the O’Connell Pond dam, and they considered it unsafe,” said Deurmyer.He said the engineers are looking to see if improvements can be made to the dam, and to do this, they will need to lower the pond substantially.With road construction set to begin, natural resources personnel launched a specially designed shocker boat onto the pond May 11. Designed to safely stun fish, the boat includes features that prevent operators from also getting zapped should they fall into the water.Natural resources normally uses the boat to sample fish populations and collect data on those species they manage in the post’s various bodies of water.Employing two booms tipped with electrode arrays, fisheries biologist Walter Munsterman steered the boat to maximize coverage. At the bow, Daniel Quickle, a natural resources specialist, probed with a long-handled net to whisk up largemouth bass, channel catfish, and sunfish and place them in a live well on the boat.Periodically, the duo returned to the launch area to transfer the fish onto trailers that held tanks filled with hundreds of gallons of aerated water. Jeremiah Zurenda, a wildlife biologist, then drove to other ponds.Deurmyer said O’Connell Pond’s future has yet to be determined as to how much water it will be allowed to hold. Should the answer be a smaller pond, he said if the post goes into a dry cycle, such as what occurred here about eight years ago, all the fish might be lost.“So we’re going to do our best to remove as many fish as we can and relocate them to other ponds where they will be a benefit to that pond’s diversity and the anglers who fish there,” he said.O’Connell’s fish consisted of largemouth bass, channel catfish, and sunfish. Of those bass, Quickle’s net included several that topped 4 pounds each.Zurenda drove one load of fish to Legion Pond in which about 15 each -- sunfish and bass -- were introduced to their new home. His second load of about 50 to 60 bass and sunfish ended up in Rumba Pond. It is surprisingly close to the cantonment area of post and features several submerged trees and shrub-lined banks looking like a lunker’s lair and an angler’s paradise.The fish relocation project also speaks of the long-term success of the natural resources team as Deurmyer recalled that several ponds on post dried up during a prolonged drought about 10 years ago.“Walter has prioritized stocking efforts and we’re following stocking ratios of the things we’re supposed to do. After the pond went dry, we had to line up the funding to buy fish, and then there’s stocking efforts you do in the fall and spring,” he said.Once the new fish settle in, Deurmyer said you have to give  the pond some time to reset itself to where the fish begin to grow and there’s spawning going on.“Over time you continue to see the bigger largemouth, catfish, and sunfish,” he said, “and when you see that, that’s the crème de la crème.”