BY TRACY HILL, COLUMBIA FWCO
Project Leader Tracy Hill and Assistant Project Leader Wyatt Doyle traveled to Paducah, Kentucky in late January to demonstrate the paupier butterfly net to members of the Mississippi Interstate Cooperative Resource Agreement (MICRA) Paddlefish-Sturgeon Committee. The paupier nets are being developed by the Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) in cooperation with Innovate Net Systems to capture Asian carp. The purpose of the net is to provide state agencies and commercial fishers with a more efficient system for capturing large numbers of Asian carp. The large rigid frame nets originally designed to capture shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, have been modified to aid in the capture of Asian carp as a method to reduce population numbers. A by-product of this surface skimming net has been the capture of juvenile paddlefish. Columbia FWCO was contacted by the chairperson for the Paddlefish-Sturgeon Committee to determine if a net demonstration would be possible during the committee’s annual winter meeting. Although field conditions were not ideal (high water and extremely windy) the net demonstration did result in the capture of both Asian carp and paddlefish. Learn More
BY JULIE TIMMER, PENDILLS CREEK NFH
The Friends of Pendills Creek Hatchery (FPCH) sponsored a Snowmobile Open House at Pendills Creek NFH in early February. The day turned out perfect; a little cold, but partly sunny with minimal snow flurries. FPCH had a great turn out; the many visitors arrived via snowmobiles and vehicles. The guests were greeted by the hatchery staff and were provided a tour of the Pendills’ Creek NFH facility, including a debut of the recently hatched sac fry. After the tour, those in attendance were invited to grab a bite, courtesy of FPCH. A wide spread of homemade soups, prepared by members of FPCH, and finger sandwiches, cheese, crackers, and homemade desserts were available. It was a pleasure to see everyone who came out to the Open House. The FPCH members and hatchery staff saw many familiar faces, of all ages from the local community, and a fair share of new ones. We were pleased to see a few people that visited were from out-of-state; one family was from California. The Friends Group and hatchery staff were thanked many times by the excited visitors. They expressed appreciation for the opportunity to visit the hatchery, at a family-friendly event giving them an excuse to head outdoors, despite the frigid weather. The hatchery staff and Friends group, enjoyed visiting with everyone who attended the event. The Friends of Pendills Creek Hatchery added a few new members to their organization and the community was able to learn more about the important role the hatchery serves in Great Lakes lake trout restoration program. Learn More
BY ANN RUNSROM, LA CROSSE FWCO
The Upper Mississippi River Mussel Coordination Team held their annual meeting at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin on February 20th and 21st. The team consists of biologists from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, the University of Minnesota, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), USGS, the National Park Service, a power company, and a private consulting firm. Staff members from US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) La Crosse Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Twin Cities Field Office, Genoa National Fish Hatchery, and Rock Island Field Office all participate on the Mussel Coordination Team. Topics of discussion at the meeting included zebra mussel monitoring, research on zebra mussel control strategies, survey and propagation results for federally endangered winged mapleleaf and Higgins eye pearlymussel, habitat monitoring, restoration and survey activity planning for the upcoming field season, and standard guidelines for mussel sampling. The spread of the exotic zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, which smothers native mussels, has caused drastic decline in native mussel populations. Zebra mussels were carried into the Upper Mississippi River via commercial and recreational navigation made possible by the current lock and dam system. Under authority of the Endangered Species Act, the USFWS issued a final Biological Opinion that navigation activities and operation of the Corps nine foot channel would jeopardize the continued existence of the Higgins eye pearlymussel. As a result of the biological opinion, the Corps has provided funding for much of the mussel restoration efforts. Additionally, partner agencies on the Mussel Coordination Team contribute extensive staff time and resources to complete mussel conservation activities in the basin. As a member of this dedicated group, I know that in spite of our current fiscal challenges, the individual members on this team and their interest in the welfare of our Nation’s mussel resources, ensures that critical conservation actions will continue. Learn More
BY ERIC STADIG, ALPENA FWCO-WATERFORD SUBSTATION
Fish biologists Justin Chiotti, Margaret Hutton and Eric Stadig from the Alpena Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) - Waterford Substation of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) attended the 40th Annual Meeting of the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society February 19th-21st. The emphasis of the meeting was “Case Studies in Fisheries Research and Management.” The three-day meeting brought together fishery biologists, technicians, university students, professors and retired members from across the region. Topics presented ranged from new approaches to data modeling, landscape genetics, and aquatic invasive species to unique presentations on such topics as feeding ecology of pelagic larval burbot.
The Alpena FWCO was well represented with multiple presentations during this conference. Fish biologists Margaret Hutton and Eric Stadig each presented a poster on one of their current projects on the St. Clair-Detroit River System (SCDRS). Margaret’s poster highlighted the development of a monitoring program for juvenile lake sturgeon in the SCDRS and what has been learned so far. Eric’s poster featured analysis of non-target species from USFWS Sea Lamprey Program fyke nets to assess fish assemblages in the SCDRS. This work included the discovery of cisco (Coregonus artedii) in the lower Detroit River over the last two years. Both posters were well received by the conference participants and the biologists answered many questions regarding their respective project as well as potential for future research and collaboration. Justin Chiotti gave an oral presentation on lake sturgeon work involving examination of their population demographics within the system over the last several years. His work emphasized the use of modeling programs to look at the potential health of the sturgeon population within the SCDRS.
The diversity of presentations and opportunities to meet with colleagues highlight the benefits of professional meeting attendance. Whether for first-time attendees or a retired fishery biologist, the 2013 Meeting of the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society was extremely beneficial for those who were there. It was a chance for individuals encounter other professionals within their respective field, network and learn valuable information about the aquatic programs and projects being performed around the state.