This past month has been a busy one. Last week we attended the Compassionate Conservation Conference in Vancouver Canada. We were unable to attend the training at the Botanical Garden in Chicago, so this was our alternate. The conference was focused on how animal welfare and conservation interact. It was an eye opening experience, we got to hear from a lot of really interesting people, including someone from the Jane Goodall Institute in Canada. When we got back to Oregon fire season had started in full force. We had to circle above Medford for an hour before we could land because of smoke from a nearby forest fire.
The week after the conference we began work at the Fish Evaluation Station. This is a sampling effort of the irrigation canal, which is conducted by the Bureau of Reclamation. This year Fish and Wildlife are conducting a couple of studies, so we came out to help with that effort. The first objective is to determine if the same fish are being recycled over and over in the sampling process. To do this we did VIE tagging, which is where you insert a colored tag just underneath the scales of the fish. We also held suckers that will be introduced into net pens in the lake. The hope is that they can be raised for a few years and then released back into the system. This will help Fish and Wildlife meet the requirements for recovery set out in the biological opinion for suckers.
We are still monitoring the ponds as a potential place to rear suckers salvaged from irrigation canals (although fish from the FES will not end up here). It had been pretty quiet at the ponds, last month we began catching Sacramento perch, but we were only capturing a few at a time. This week we caught around 100 hundred Sacramento perch, 87 of them were caught on Tuesday. Then today we caught a sucker in the ponds! We are hoping to get some bigger traps soon and get some more suckers. Our boss is really interested in the growth rate of the suckers in the ponds. There were 93 suckers put in the ponds last winter. Over the next month we will be introducing more suckers into the pond from other projects in the Klamath Basin. Hopefully we will be able to add to the population!