At the end of July we set off for a conference in beautiful Vancouver, BC. The conference was called Compassionate conservation. It was focused on bringing humane practices and ideas to the world of conservation. It had a variety of speakers from different backgrounds and from all over the world. I learned a lot about how we may bring a compassionate view of individuals in a field, which is mainly focused on the species as a whole.
Our flight was delayed on the way back to Oregon due to the forest fires, which have sprung up all over the west coast. The smoke was so bad you could not see the airport, and we had to spend an hour circling above until we could land. When we arrived back to work we were made aware that the blue-green algae, a cyanobacteria, in the lake had bloomed and started producing toxins. At certain levels it can become harmful if ingested. So work in certain areas has become limited or we have taken the necessary precautions.
Most of the last month has been spent working on two projects. Both are taking place at the canal fish evaluation station run by the Bureau of Reclamation. The first project is focused on work regarding the requirements of the sucker fish recovery plan. At this canal station, thousands of fish get entrapped and are funneled through back into the lake. Part of the bureau’s job is to trap fish and collect data on any suckers caught. This year is the first year of the project to see if the fish caught can be held onto, kept alive, and then released as part of the captive propagation section of their recovery plan. If this is successful, we’ll see if it’s a viable option to continue in the future. Fish caught were kept in tanks until the end of the week, and then were transported to net pens set up on Pelican Bay. Once the fish are large enough, they will receive a PIT tag and be released.
The second project deals with estimating the potential frequency of sucker fish recirculation through the station. Chub and sculpin were used as surrogates for the project. These two species were chosen due to their similar characteristics to suckers and their abundance. Visual implant elastomer (VIE) tags were used to mark the fish. The tag is a colored liquid that goes under the skin, lasts a few months, and can be readily seen under black light. Recaptured fish can then be used to estimate recirculation rates through the station.