Goodbye July

Crater Lake

                   Crater Lake

This past month has been a busy one. We have been focusing on setting trap nets in Upper Klamath and Tule Lake to see if we can recapture any tagged sucker fish. A couple of weeks ago Alia and I went to Tule Lake to set four trap nets. Tule Lake is located in the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern California. It is a great spot for birding.

Tule Lake

Tule Lake

The water is very shallow, so we had to use the mud boat. Setting the traps was a little difficult since the mud boat does not have reverse. We were about to head back and that is when the engine would not start. After a dozen unsuccessful attempts to start the engine, we decided to row to shore and try again every twenty minutes. After an hour of rowing, we were getting fairly close to the boat ramp. Then the wind picked up and blew us back to where we started. :S We had to just go with the flow (literally) and have the wind blow us to shore. It was quite the experience. We attempted to take the mud boat out the next day, but the engine was not starting.  We retrieved our nets with the Almar instead.

Photo Jul 17, 11 13 22 AM

Net Pens

Setting the trap nets in Upper Klamath is a much smoother process. We have been setting nets there for the past two weeks. Perch is the most abundant fish we catch. We also caught Tui Chubs, Bluehead Chubs, Sculpins, Bullhead Catfish, Rainbow Trout, Fathead Minnows, AND… a few Sucker larvae! It was so exciting to catch some suckers. We transported them to our net pens. We have also been monitoring the water quality in the pens. The dissolved oxygen levels are very high due to the AFA. The AFA also makes the water very green. Minnow traps were set to remove other species of fish from our nets. We removed over 700 minnow and chub larvae!

Juvenile Sucker

Juvenile Sucker

Saving the Fish

Saving the Fish






Gerber Reservoir had to shut off the dam, so we helped the Bureau of Reclamation salvage fish. They set trap nets and electrofished to save as many fish as possible. Five juvenile Suckers were caught after the shut off. We collected fin clips for genetic data, inserted PIT tags and released them on the other side of the dam. We also caught Perch, Catfish and a couple Sculpins from the pools.

Photo Jul 18, 4 53 06 PM

Crater Lake

Photo Jul 03, 4 09 14 PM

Camping along the coast

Photo Jul 05, 1 39 21 PM

Along the Coast




My Fourth of July was amazing!!! We drove to the coast and camped in Cape Blanco. The weather was perfect! The upper 60s was a nice get away from the upper 90s. My dog, Finn, loved the beaches. We drove past Redwoods on our way home. They are incredible! Last weekend we went to Crater Lake. It was breathtaking. I could not believe how incredibly clear the water was. I highly suggest going to see it in person. This week we are heading off to Canada for the Compassionate Conservation Conference. I am excited to learn more about various conservation efforts.

Till next time,


One. More. Month.

July went by very quickly. I am working for Janelle Gonzales, the Powder River Basin Restoration Initiative coordinator, as a field technician.  She had me visit 22 fires to inventory cheatgrass. Most of the fires are dominated by cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and have a bulldozer line around the fire perimeter filled with the stuff. Apparently, the responsible party does not seed the bulldozer line. I’ve brought this to the attention of Janelle and other professionals. The hope is to spray Plateau herbicide on dense pockets of cheatgrass.

Bulldozer line around historic fire perimeter. Filled with cheatgrass.

Bulldozer line around historic fire perimeter.
Filled with cheatgrass.

I tend to work out in the field by myself. My fellow interns are busy with their own individual projects. The dynamic is much different then last year, but just as productive. I don’t mind working alone, it’ll be a good resume builder, but I have come across abandoned structures that inspire my mind to wander towards horror movies that involve killers in the middle of nowhere. As I’m out and about, the occasional rabbit or bird will hang nearby to stir as I approach, I jump out of my skin every time as if I’m meeting my doom!  I have to admit it is a good wake up call.


Abandoned structure out in the range. Happened upon during solo field work.

Solo field work was draining me and just in the nick of time Wildlife Biologist, and NRS Supervisor, Bill Ostheimer asked me if I’d enjoy a day working with kids. “YES!” I met with the Sheridan Science School in collaboration with the Audubon of the Rockies for a day nature exploring at BLM’s Welch Recreation Area. We began the day at a decomposing tree with mushrooms growing, holes burrowed by insects, and a spiderweb nested in a dugout section. The kids were ecstatic!!! Their enthusiasm reminded me why I started in this field in the first place-NATURE IS EXCITING! Then, the kids wrapped around a large cottonwood tree hand to hand with arms spread wide.  It took 8 kids! I was impressed with the sheer size of the cottonwood and so were they.  We proceeded with other nature observations, identifying plants (Dryland Creeping Alfalfa, Medicago falcata), watching a bird nest (Osprey, Pandion haliaetus) and finding insects. After snack, we crossed the river to measure the children’s ‘wing span’ and categorize which bird they were. Those categories were grouped and told to create a nest. The one group built a fine looking nest. With sturdy limbs that created a wide enough space for all 6 participants to fit inside! Bedded with dried grass and sweaters. This group protected themselves from predators, had style and comfort. Seeing the camaraderie between these little girls and boys tie into having fun with nature reminded me that the outdoor classroom is where it should be. I will be looking at a masters program in Nature-based Early Childhood Education.


Science School Kids (ages 7-9) construct human size nest. Well constructed and earned award for BEST DESIGN!

Speaking of higher education opportunities, I said ‘adios’ to a dear friend and fellow CLMer whom is headed for graduate school to earn her PhD in Xalapa, Mexico. She’ll be focusing on the effects climate change has on butterfly metamorphosis stages.  There has not been much research in this field and she will be breaking new ground! Good luck out there Ms. Nayeli!


Goodbye Ms. Nayeli! Sara and I go out with Nayeli for one last night on the town-in Buffalo, Wyoming.

July only got busier.  I attended the Red Ants Pants music festival in White Sulphur Springs, Montana! What a fun experience and a great venue, the Sagebrush Steppe overlooking the Little Belt mountain range. There was a range of notable singer/songwriters from Ryan Bingham to The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Local vendors selling food and art. The weather held up, aside from one hail storm and a down pour, and provided bright blue skies!


Red Ants Pants Music Festival venue in White Sulphur Springs, Montana


Red Ants Pants Music Festival stage, Ryan Bingham headlining, with eager crowd

August has already been busy. I headed down to Laramie, Wyoming which houses the University of Wyoming, so it is a fun college town with many food options, art galleries, yoga studio’s, etc. I met with former CLM intern from the Lewistown, Montana field office, Erica Duda, we camped overnight at the Vedauwoo campground and explored the Medicine Bow Wilderness.


Erica Duda (stage left) and me at Overlook Lake in the Medicine Bow Wilderness outside of Laramie, Wyoming. A well-established and popular trail for tourists!

August will be my last month with the CLM internship. My last month living in the town of Buffalo, Wyoming. And my last month living in the West, as far as I know. I’d like to say I’ll be back out here for more adventures! The geology, recreational opportunities, and wildlife is so unique out here that saying goodbye just for now is all I can manage.