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Washington University Students Return to the Missouri River and Learn the "Tools of the Trade
Midwest Region, July 25, 2007
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Outside Tadpole Island on the Missouri River, Adam McDaniel shows off a shovelnose sturgeon to Washington University students.
- FWS photo by Tracy Hill 
Outside Tadpole Island on the Missouri River, Adam McDaniel shows off a shovelnose sturgeon to Washington University students.

- FWS photo by Tracy Hill 

- Photo Credit: n/a
Outside Tadpole Island on the Missouri River, Wahington University students and NPR reporters look on as Colby Wrasse and his HAMP crew prepare to demonstrate stern trawling.
- FWS photo by  Rick Hansen
Outside Tadpole Island on the Missouri River, Wahington University students and NPR reporters look on as Colby Wrasse and his HAMP crew prepare to demonstrate stern trawling.

- FWS photo by  Rick Hansen

- Photo Credit: n/a
Outside Tadpole Island on the Missouri River, Mitigation crew members Joe McMullen, Adam McDaniel, and Zac Beussink demonstrate push trawling for Washington University students, and NPR reporters. 
- FWS photo by Rick Hansen
Outside Tadpole Island on the Missouri River, Mitigation crew members Joe McMullen, Adam McDaniel, and Zac Beussink demonstrate push trawling for Washington University students, and NPR reporters.

- FWS photo by Rick Hansen

- Photo Credit: n/a

On July 25th staff from Columbia FWCO, and Big Muddy NF&WR introduced environmental science students from Washington University (St. Louis, MO) to the Big Muddy and some of its residents. 

This marks the second year we have hosted biology students from Washington University.  Along for the demonstration were reporters from National Public Radio (NPR) escorted by Rick Hansen of the Missouri Ecological Services Field Office in Columbia. 

The group was shuttled through Tadpole chute, one of several engineered side channels created by the Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to return historic habitat diversity to the lower Missouri river. 

The mitigation crew at the Columbia FWCO is responsible for monitoring fish use of these chutes, and demonstrated techniques used to do so.

Project Leader Tracy Hill, and Mitigation crew members, Joe McMullen, Adam McDaniel, and Zac Beussink along with Tim Haller, Ranger from Big Muddy NF&WR escorted the students down the river describing the processes involved in building chutes, and the methods used to monitor and assess fish populations. 

Crews from other Columbia FWCO projects used other sampling techniques employed on the main stem Missouri River while students watched attentively from a sandbar. 

Mitigation personnel demonstrated how to sample shallow water habitats using a push trawl and discussed the benefits of this sampling technique. 

The HAMP (Habitat Assessment and Monitoring Program) crew, led by Colby Wrasse, demonstrated stern trawling and collected fish, including shovelnose sturgeon, for the students to observe first hand. 

The Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Program crew leader, Andy Plauck, demonstrated sampling with mini-fyke nets, explaining to the students how the nets catch fish, and the differences in the fish captured that day. 

The students observed and handled fish captured during the demonstrations to illustrate the relationship between morphology and habitat selection of different species.  Biologist described the unique characteristics some fish have adapted to live in riverine habitats. 

Focus was also placed on explaining the need for different gears to collect various sizes and species of fishes to adequately assess their habitat use of restored sites.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges that providing awareness and understanding to educate others remains crucial in our efforts to conserve, protect and enhance our nation’s aquatic resources.  Many of the students were interested in the life history of river fishes, particularly the prehistoric sturgeon, and learning more about our monitoring efforts on the Missouri River.

The students were encouraged to volunteer with us or another natural resources agency to gain first-hand exposure and experience.  Our collaborative effort with the Big Muddy NFWR, Columbia Ecological Services Field Office and Washington University demonstrates our commitment to develop the scientists of tomorrow in keeping with the Partnerships and Accountability Goal of the “Fisheries Program Vision for the Future”.


Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov



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