BY KEVIN MANN, GREEN BAY FWCO
The lake sturgeon stream-side rearing facility located on the Kalamazoo River, Michigan, is setup and ready to go for the 2013 rearing season. Biologist Kevin Mann from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Green Bay Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office assisted staff from the Genoa National Fish Hatchery, both in Wisconsin, as they made the final touches to the rearing facility in preparation for the upcoming year. The facility was originally transferred to its current location on the 1st of April, and ready for operation the 23rd. Water levels in the Kalamazoo River have been historically high, slowing Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologists from collecting eggs and larvae to raise in the facility. More favorable river conditions seem to be on the horizon and once fish are collected, the facility will be ready for their arrival.
BY STEPHEN LENART, ALPENA FWCO
Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) biologist Stephen Lenart spent an afternoon in late April, exploring the concept of a watershed with two third-grade classes at Wilson Elementary School, in Alpena, Michigan. The exploration began by having the students work in groups to identify all the ways that they use water in their daily lives. The exercise helped demonstrate the importance of water as a natural resource. The rainy weather helped provide a good backdrop for exploring the idea of a watershed. Although many of the students were not familiar with the term “watershed”, they demonstrated a good understanding of the water cycle and how precipitation moves through a landscape. The students then helped conduct two experiments. The first was designed to illustrate how different soils (vegetated and non-vegetated with different soil types) influence water retention and runoff and how these processes are linked to our surface and groundwater resources. The students enjoyed making predictions and looking at how different the “runoff” turned out to be. The second experiment helped demonstrate the concept of a watershed by making use of water-colored markers, a “landscape” (crumpled paper), and “rain” (spray bottle). Watching the different colors run across the paper landscape and collect in separate areas or merge together proved to be a hit with the students, so much so that quite a few students could not help but play in the simulated “rain”. The students were shown a map of the local watershed to provide perspective and, hopefully, make the content more real. The afternoon went by quickly and it was heartening to see how much these future stewards knew about the importance of protecting our water resources. This lesson was a continuation of the Alpena FWCO’s excellent, long-standing partnership with students at Wilson Elementary.
BY AARON VON ESCHE, GENOA NFH
With the coming of the spring weather (hopefully), the staff at Genoa has been hard at it to get the ponds ready for the upcoming season. The captive broodstock pond containing adult yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill, smallmouth and largemouth bass was harvested and sorted and then restocked into the spring brooding ponds to spawn. A pond was designated for each species which will be harvested at a later date following the spawn to separate the adults from the fry. The fry will then be stocked into separate rearing ponds to meet station production needs. Besides production fish for restoration and recreational fishing opportunities some of these fish will serve as host fish for Genoa’s mussel program. These fish will stay on station until they are the appropriate size for the larval mussel s to utilize. It is easy to focus on the highly sought after fish such as bass, bluegill, perch, and crappie but let’s not forget another pond of brood fish that was restocked for this upcoming year’s production. The brood fathead minnows were stocked into our biggest pond to spawn and provide forage throughout the summer for the juvenile largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as the walleye that will be coming soon.