Southern Oregon is as spectacular as always! I am excited, nervous, and humbled to be a 2019 CLM intern working for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Klamath Falls, Oregon. It has been a long while since I have spent any significant time away from the Seattle area and I couldn’t ask for better circumstances under which to fly the coop. We will be assisting the office with primarily fisheries projects for two, listed, endemic suckers. The list of wildlife species the field office is in charge of is impressive and includes icons like Oregon spotted frogs, grey wolves, bald eagles, spotted owls, bull trout, and fishers. We can certainly tell that there are growth opportunities (career and otherwise) available to us everywhere here.
Klamath Falls is surrounded by designated national monuments, parks, forests, recreation areas, refuges, and sanctuaries. We can see Mount Shasta and Mount McLoughlin most days from our work sites! Our first day we had the chance to see endangered Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) spawning in the Williamson River and along the rocky shoreline of Upper Klamath Lake. Cold springs feed into the lake, making the water beautifully clear at certain spots. A particular spot called “Sucker Springs” was clear enough to take great pictures of the suckers at the shoreline. It was a fantastic introduction to the endangered species work we’ll be doing here.
Jessie, Brianne, and I have varied school and work experience we bring to this internship and we are tackling each new thing together. During our first two weeks we:
- Met our stellar coworkers and got a feel for the USFWS Klamath Falls Field Office
- Learned the history and geography of the area and our primary work sites
- Assisted in processing Lost River sucker and Shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) juveniles for Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tagging
- Took the research skiff on Upper Klamath Lake to stock and then released PIT tagged endangered sucker juveniles
- Helped construct tank plumbing and shrimp brine tanks at the USFWS fish hatchery
- Started 2 am larval collections from the Modoc Rd. bridge over the Williamson River. Lost River and Shortnose sucker larvae that we collect will be raised at the FWS hatchery and eventually released. We get to see the sunrise on Mount Shasta, the foothills, and fields around Klamath Falls afterwards. Brianne caught some epic photos of a flock of pelicans taking off in the morning light
- Joined for bat surveys with the National Park Service at the Camp Tulelake site to check for the presence of White Nose Syndrome. I loved seeing the process for identifying the first bat caught, learning how bat surveys are conducted, and assisting with mist net set up and take down! Hopefully we’ll be joining again in a few weeks. Camp Tulelake is a set of historic buildings that were built originally for the Civilian Conservation Corps and later, tragically used as an internment camp for Japanese Americans during WWII. It was extremely humbling to work there
We are all excited about the opportunities available to us at this field office. It has been great getting to know everyone’s work style and the path they have taken to get to where they are now. I miss my fiancé Jordan but we both agree the natural beauty of the area and the endless list of career building opportunities available to me here lessens the sting of leaving home for the next 4 ½ months.
I have been warming up my drawing hand and have worked on illustrations every work day during these first two weeks. I’ll continue to work on this skill as the internship goes on. There is so much material to work from. I’m surrounded by migrating birds, mountain views, flowering plants, and fascinating fish.
Till next time!
USFWS Klamath Field Office