Final Month of CLM Internship

Another great month done, and sadly, the end of this amazing internship. I started the month sampling Five Mile Creek. This creek is in a burnt area that has a plain stream with little habitat. We electrofished this creek to see the abundance of fish and the species. We caught a large Redband trout that was the largest I’ve ever got while electrofishing. We also got lots of sculpins, which are really cool-looking fish that look like small lincod. The following week, we helped the aquatics crew at Crater Lake National Park. We went to this beautiful meadow with lots of wildflowers. We set up block nets and ran multiple passes to remove fish from this stream that historically had no fish. We did more electrofishing the following week at Crater Lake and Demming Creek.

For the next two weeks, we helped the Partners Biologist from the office, which was one area of the office I wanted to learn more about. The Partners biologists meet with local landowners to create and fund projects on their land to improve fish and wildlife habitat. We watched the ground be moved to make two small wetlands and layed pipe in-between to move the water. At the other project, we did stream restoration on Five Mile. First, we moved a large tree into the stream using a grip hoist, and then we built a bank buster by adding multiple logs to the creek at an angle that caused the stream to make a more prominent bend. We also created a rino jam and a beaver analog dam.

In August, I also helped the Tule Lake Refuge band ducks. This was the most fun thing I did all summer. At night, I kneeled in the front of an airboat while we floated around the marsh, shining a light on the ducks as we zipped by I reached out and caught ducks in my net and then placed them in a cage. After filling our five cages, we headed to the shore, where we placed the bands, on then headed back out for more duck. We finished up as the sun came up.

For the last two days of the internship, I went camping at Miller Lake. Each year, a group of biologists from multiple agencies gather to sample Miller Lake Lamprey, which was once considered extinct. Some biologists have been retired for several years, and others are still working and learning from the experiences of lamprey biologists who have been studying them for many years. Sitting around the campfire was like listening to a live version of a podcast on Lamprey.

Miller Lake Lamprey

Another fun Month!!

Another month down and one more to go; it is a bit bittersweet as this internship has been so amazing. We started the month off by electrofishing on Leonard Creek to monitor what is in there after the fire that came thru the area 2 years ago.

Leonard creek

Then to finish the first week, we monitored Demming Creek again using block nets to section up part of the creek to capture all the fish in the stream and then measure each fish.

Washington’s Lilly next Deming Creek

For the next three days, we conducted mussel surveys. This fun activity involved floating down the Sprague River on kayas and looking at the bottom of the river with an aqua scope. We were looking for the western ridged mussel (Gonidia angulata), the western pearl shell mussel (Margaritifera falcata), and floaters (Anodonta oregonensis).

The view from the cones

On Thursday of that week, I got to go on the boat on Upper Klamath Lake with the telemetry crew. We relocated a station that day, taking it down, loading it in the boat then setting it up along the shore.

Trying to find a good spot for the station

The following week for the first two days, we were tasked with an interesting job of cutting 800 yards of netting into 100-yard pieces. The first three nets went quickly; then, we found the knot that was tricky to get past. We electrofished the rest of the week in Callahan Creek, removing invasive brook trout. For the last week, we surveyed for mussels on the Sprague River again. This month has been exciting, just like the first two months, and I am excited to see what we will do for my last month.

USFWS Klamath Falls internship

I started my CLM internship in April and have seen and done many exciting things. For my first week, I helped out with the telemetry crew. We took the boat out on Upper Klamath Lake, checked on some telemetry stations, and set up a few new stations. It was interesting to see how the stations were set up. On Friday of the first week, I helped the hatchery crew spawn the large adult Lost River Suckers. This was pretty cool to see after USGS netted the gathered the suckers; we grabbed four male suckers and got some milt from them, then we grabbed some females and got the eggs. We mixed the milt and eggs and then mixed them with a feather before we stored them on dry ice till they go to the hatchery.

Me holding an adult Lost River Sucker
Eggs being excreted from female
In the small bowls are the eggs of one female being mixed with four different males. In the large bowl is another female’s eggs being mixed with a feather after the male milt was added.

The next week I went to the hatchery, helped check the eggs, and cleaned some tanks. Then went out to do some electrofishing. The creek was turbid and fast-moving as a result, we only got to remove a few brook trout.

We went to the Klamath Marsh at night the next week to conduct Western Yellow Rail surveys. Even though it was cold, this was a lot of fun; we went out in the marsh with waders and used a Bluetooth speaker to call them in; once they flew near, we netted them. We placed a band on them, plucked some feathers for DNA analysis, measured wing length, and weighed them.
The next week I did a mixture of electrofishing and the hatchery. Then I was at the hatchery for three weeks. The hatchery has its good times, like when we collected larvae from the Williams River and visited the net pond in Upper Klamath Lake, but there are times that at a little mundane when weed eating, cleaning tanks, or counting hundreds of tiny larva fish.
We got to help the refuge team band some geese. This was a pretty unique event as it started with airboats rounding up the geese and us on kayaks pushing the geese into the pens. I have rounded up cattle in the past, and rounding up geese was not much different. Once we got them in the pens, it was time to catch them to place the bands. After catching one, you tuck their head under their wing and hand them to the next person like a football. It was a good time with only a few scratches and two bites.
So far, this experience has been great. I have met a lot of great people and gained lots of experience.