Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Lacing Up the Crosstrainers
Midwest Region, September 1, 2008
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Patty Herman leads a bow trawl crew at Tate Island chute.
Patty Herman leads a bow trawl crew at Tate Island chute. - Photo Credit: n/a

the past few months employees at Columbia National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (NFWCO) have been broadening their level of experience in the world of Missouri River fisheries biology. Patty Herman, Colby Wrasse, and Joe McMullen assumed their roles as lead technicians at the office early in 2007, and each quickly carved out a niche for themselves. Patty has worked on the Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Program for the majority of her time at the office, studying and dealing with issues associated with this endangered species. Colby is a HAMP (Habitat Assessment and Monitoring Program) crew leader, responsible for collecting fish community information in shallow water habitat on the Missouri River. Joe has been on the Mitigation crew for most of his USFWS career, studying the fish and habitats within natural and man made side-channels on the river.

During the months of July and August lead technicians got the opportunity to see what it was like to try and fill their co-workers shoes. This opportunity has broadened these employees experiences outside of their day to day routines and richened their understanding of the Missouri River and the issues surrounding it. For example, the Mitigation project employs several different fisheries techniques not used by other projects on the river. While acting as the Mitigation crew leader, Patty and Colby were exposed to techniques such as electrofishing and hoop netting, while learning their way around the side-channels of the river which they often only see in passing. Patty and Colby were forced to trade in their powerful stern trawl boats for the average river jon boat which is used to bow trawl the side-channels. Days go by rather differently when the arms and backs of the crew are doing the trawling, as opposed to a hydraulic winch.  On the other hand, Joe gained experience stern trawling, learning how operate the boat and it’s winches, and was exposed to many areas of the river he never visited when working on the Mitigation project.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges that providing education and training opportunities to it’s employees is crucial to our efforts to conserve, protect and enhance our nation’s resources. Employees at Columbia NFWCO now have a more well rounded education, which benefits not only themselves but the entire team. With a broadened level of experience these employees are in a better position to assist on other projects when help is needed and provide meaningful insight when questions or problems arise.

Joe McMullen

Contact Info: Joseph McMullen, 573-234-2132 Ext. 119, Joseph_McMullen@fws.gov
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