Friday, June 29, 2012

A gorgeous day at the office!

Usually, a day at the office for me entails sitting at my computer, typing away on planning documents and reports.  I occasionally see a bird or two flutter past my window, and I am lucky enough to get real sunlight every day (well, in the summer, that is).  But yesterday, I was able to visit the office that other fish biologists get to call their own every day - and it was gorgeous!

The Clackamas River, Oregon (M. Koski, USFWS)
The Fish and Wildlife Service, and other agencies like the Oregon Department of Fish and Game and the US Forest Service, have a great many people who spend the majority of their working hours outside for their various research and conservation projects.  Yesterday I tagged along with some of them to watch bull trout being released into the Clackamas as part of a multi-year project to reintroduce this threatened species back into habitat they historically occupied.  These are very special fish that were collected from Lake Billy Chinook, implanted with radio-tags, trucked over to the upper basin of the Clackamas River, and will hopefully reproduce and re-establish a self-sustaining bull trout population.  Last summer was the first time the Clackamas had seen bull trout since 1963, and since many of the problems that caused their disappearance from the river are now mitigated, the Clackamas is a suitable home for bull trout once again.

Doesn't this Clackamas tributary look like excellent bull trout spawning and rearing habitat?  Why, yes it does!  The water here is COLD, CLEAR, COMPLEX (i.e., lots of woody debris and cover), and CONNECTED.  Those are the 4 C's that bull trout need! (M. Koski, USFWS)

Planning for this project started in about 2004, and I've been involved in the planning efforts for almost three years now.  My work has focused primarily on helping to define and shape the monitoring and evaluation program, and provide technical assistance when needed.  When bull trout finally went into the river last year, there were a lot of really happy people that were able to start seeing their hard work pay off!  And yesterday, although I didn't do the difficult tasks of chasing down the fish and trucking them over, I was able to actually put one of those bull trout in the river myself.  Woo hoo!

Patrick Barry (ODFW) and Brad Goehring (USFS) pick out a nice subadult bull trout for me from the transport truck (C. Allen, USFWS).
Good luck, bull trout!  I hope that you like your new home! (C. Allen, USFWS)
You might notice that there are a couple of people filming off to the side.  They are from Freshwaters Illustrated, and have worked with the Service on a number of other projects, currently producing a short film about Pacific lamprey conservation.  So who knows...perhaps we'll get to see some more really cool bull trout reintroduction footage in the future!

If you want to learn more about the Clackamas bull trout reintroduction project, please visit the project's website here.  You can read more about why this project was initiated, how it will benefit the recovery of bull trout, and how we are safeguarding the other listed fish in the Clackamas with our monitoring program.  There's even a short video of bull trout spawning from our very first year of the reintroduction!

1 comment:

  1. Marci, Thanks for your nice and pictorial post on fishing. The pictures of foshing and the natural surroundings are awesome.It reminds me of my childhood memories specially the fishing, Carp fishing in my village. My village is situated in between the small hills and the canals.The village people usually go for fishing, Carp fishing in their leisure period.However, I also like fishing and mainly Carp fishing as it is comfortable and feasible for me.At last thanks again for this nice pictorial post on fishing.