Surveying the Mainstem Flint River for Freshwater Mussels
Nicole Rankin and Chester Figiel, Jr. partnered with GA Department of Natural Resources (Jason Wisniewski, Deb Weiler, Brad Strickland, and Houston Chandler) to conduct freshwater mussel surveys on the mainstem Flint River. They surveyed 24 study sites in the lower Flint River from Bainbridge to Newton, GA by SCUBA diving and snorkeling during May 23 - 27 and June 6 - 9, 2011. Study sites were selected to incorporate different river habitats e.g., riffles, runs, glides, pools, and edgewater. Occupancy models will be performed to estimate detection, abundance, and distribution of freshwater mussels, specifically the federally threatened and endangered species. The group is planning another sampling week for September 2011.
Due to record flooding on the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers during June 2011, only one male and one female pallid sturgeon were collected for recovery spawning efforts. Sperm from the male was shipped to Warm Springs FTC for cryopreservation and included in the repository. In order to meet spawning protocol guidelines, which call for spawning a female with at least three males, cryopreserved sperm were used from four males to produce additional family lots. Sperm for these crosses were cryopreserved in 2002, 2004, and 2010. Each male cross was successful, with fertilization rates ranging from 5% – 66%.
Nicole Rankin, Ashley Aultman (Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site), and Stephanie Hunczak (FDR State Park) offered three-day Junior Ranger Camps on June 14 – 16 and June 21 – 23, 2011. Twelve children (five children in the first session, seven in the second session) participated in the camp sessions held in Warm Springs and Pine Mountain, GA. The children learned about Franklin D. Roosevelt and his hobbies at the Roosevelt’s Little White House, aquatic biology at the Warm Springs Regional Fisheries Center, and outdoor recreation at the FDR State Park. Junior Rangers learned about fish anatomy, aquatic food webs, and stream and pond habitats while at the Warm Springs RFC. This year, junior rangers also learned how to tie fishing knots, cast spinning rod/reel combos, and fish for blue gill! Other camp activities included a geology walk scavenger hunt, stream aquatic life sampling, nature hikes, nature crafts, and sailboat racing. Junior rangers received patches and certificates during a ceremony held at the FDR State Park on the last day.
|Junior Ranger Camp Week Two Group learns to fish. Credit: USFWS Image.||Junior Ranger Camp Week One Group learns to fish. Credit: USFWS Image.||Learning how to tie fishing knots.
Credit: USFWS Image.