Another month gone by in Klamath Falls:
To begin with, those of us working within the Sucker Assisted Rearing Program, based here at the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife, have been busy collecting sucker larvae for rearing at our Gone Fishing Facility. This entails working a 2am-shift in which plankton nets are used to catch larval suckers as they drift downstream in the wee-hours of the morn. These larvae are small (about the length of a grain of long grain rice, more or less) and mostly transparent. Each plankton net is rigged with a flow meter so that we can get an idea of larval density as they float down the river into the shallow waters of the Upper Klamath Lake. Once the fish are caught, they are then transported to the rearing facility where they will be monitored, fed, and given treatments for disease and parasites. With some TLC, they will grow up big enough to be released into earthen grow-out ponds sometime around July.
In addition to this major component of the internship, there are some other activities that we have been involved in. Working on the rearing facility includes some construction, plumbing, and miscellaneous work. A typical day usually consists of caring for the larvae throughout the day and working on these tasks. Other sucker-related activities have been in the form of surveying for areas to collect eggs from the suckers, working to repair a pit tag array (used to detect movement of tagged suckers downstream), and going out with technicians from Oregon State University to track the radio-tagged suckers that we released last month. All of this has kept us busy.
However, we interns do not spend all of our time only working with the suckers. We have also been out surveying for Oregon spotted frog egg masses in the marshes around the lakes perimeter. This is a fun task that involves trudging through the marsh in waders while keeping your eyes peeled for the egg masses, which can sometimes be difficult to spot.
The past couple of months have passed by at what feels like a very rapid pace. There has been a lot to learn and there have been plenty of opportunities to get our hands dirty and do some real conservation work in the field.
Looking forward to the next few months.
USFWS-KFFWO (Klamath Falls, OR)