A devastating tornado late last month made international headlines after it struck the suburb of Moore, Oklahoma. In the aftermath, 24 people were killed and hundreds more injured. Debris from destroyed shops, homes, and even what had once been a school littered the streets. Some reports estimate over 4,000 homes and businesses were damaged by the tornado, while others predict the amount to be much higher.
As residents tried to make sense of the tragedy, help came from across the state and the nation. A multitude of volunteers and institutions like the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, National Guard, and Department of Agriculture poured in to assist with cleanup and recovery. Among these workers were employees from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, who managed to find a use for the large amount of debris left in the town.
According to newsok.com, agency employees are collecting concrete rubble for use as fish attractors in state lakes. The debris will then be fixed with flexible plastic pipes and be submerged underwater. These spidery habitats make good vantage points for predatory fish, which use the structure to hide from unwary prey. Other fish use the structure as natural cover or a spawning point. The use of fish attractors is fairly common and often involves cinder blocks or trees. Historically the building of artificial habitats, such as reefs, has been extremely successful in saltwater environments. Naturally, wildlife departments are utilizing these structures in freshwater lakes where brush is scarce. Many anglers value fish attractors as great fishing spots.
A list of fish attractor locations in Oklahoma can be found here.
So far 500 concrete blocks have been earmarked by the agency for this purpose, while the rest of the debris are set to be processed at landfills. As the residents of Moore begin the road to recovery, another series of deadly tornadoes turned their fury on nearby Oklahoma City last week. Fox News reports that 13 people lost their lives in the five tornadoes that swept through the area, including the star of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers, Tim Samaras. Along with his son Paul and colleague Carl Young, Samaras had been documenting the new outbreak of tornadoes when his vehicle was caught by the winds and overturned. According to the Discovery Channel, Samaras and Young have tracked down over 125 tornadoes since 2003.
Image courtesy U.S. NOAA National Weather Service