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LOWELL - The UMass Lowell SPLASH program has taken on a major challenge-to begin finding out whether the fish in Lowell's canals are safe to catch and eat.
State agencies are interested in the results, since the experts don't have the information they need to advise citizens on the safety of fishing from different sections of the canals.
Tuesday morning, August 12, is the final session of the summer initiative, involving about 25 students from the Rogers School and the YWCA summer program, ages 10 to 16. Fish experts and scientists will direct the youngsters on techniques of 'harvesting' fish-by old-fashioned angling or by electroshock. The students will identify and measure the fish, and prepare them for analysis, a testing service contributed by the state lab in Lawrence.
"Students have been learning about water quality testing and the scientific background of the project," says Cheryl West, project SPLASH director. "We're looking forward to the harvest on Tuesday, and excited about long-term prospects to partner with state agencies in more intense study on the health of fish and analysis of sediment in the canals."
Tuesday, August 12 schedule:
9:30 Canal at Wannalancit Mill, 600 Suffolk St.
10:30 Canal at Lowell High School / Lucy Larcom Park