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RED BLUFF FWO: High Tech Salmon Reconnaissance In California's CentralValley
California-Nevada Offices , February 27, 2009
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Camera records a mountain lion crossing the weir. (photo: CDFG)
Camera records a mountain lion crossing the weir. (photo: CDFG) - Photo Credit: n/a
Fall-run chinook salmon crosses the weir at Battle Creek. (photo: Doug Killam, CDFG)
Fall-run chinook salmon crosses the weir at Battle Creek. (photo: Doug Killam, CDFG) - Photo Credit: n/a
The camera hangs above the weir at the Battle Creek video monitoring station. (photo: USFWS)
The camera hangs above the weir at the Battle Creek video monitoring station. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Marc Provencher, Red Bluff FWO
Salmon of California’s Central Valley take notice, the eye in the sky is watching.

Every fall, staff from the Red Bluff Fish and Wildlife Office operate a weir and video system on Battle Creek; a major tributary of the Sacramento River.  The project is a collaborative effort involving both the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game with the shared goals of estimating fall-run Chinook salmon population size and providing real-time run size and run timing data for the Service's Coleman National Fish Hatchery.  The weir remains in place throughout the fall until late November when the run has been exhausted and higher flows warrant its removal.

Salmon are not the only wildlife that has been caught on video by the weir cameras.  Beavers, otters, deer, bobcats, and mountain lions have all been observed on this small stretch of stream.  Staff reviewing the videos are often entertained by a crane, aptly nicknamed "Ichabod" for his poor wading skills, while he attempts to fish for a meal in the creek.

The video monitoring station is a useful tool,  providing fisheries managers with up to the minute data.  The system incorporates the same cutting edge video capture technology used by casino security departments in Las Vegas.  The design includes an overhead video camera, 3 underwater video cameras, motion recognition software, suspended lighting, and digital recording.  The system is also green, operated entirely by solar power.

 


Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov



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