Saturday, December 10, 2011

2011 Lewis Center Refuge Mohave tui chub Mark Recapture Video

Check out the ...2011 Lewis Center Refuge Mohave tui chub Mark Recapture video on Youtube! This video was directed and produced by Mr. Steve Orsinelli in the AAE Digital Film Studio, and assisted by Jacob Painter.

Cattails and Bulrush Be Gone

Deppe Pond's West shore before burning

Early in the fall of 2011 the Lewis Center's Mojave River Conservation students and I started a process of removing the pond-side (emergent) vegetation around Deppe Pond, one of two ponds that comprise the Lewis Center's Mohave tui chub refuge. This has been a chore of ours since the initial clearing of the pond began back in 2007-2008 in preparation for renovating the pond for receiving Mohave tui chub in the fall of 2008.

Cut and dried and piled Cattails and Bulrush.

A Fire Explorer and...

Apple Valley Firemen using a fusies to light off the piles .

This time around we first allowed the pond's water level to drop by not replacing water lost to evaporation, transpiration and infiltration with well water in late August. Once the pond's water level dropped by 2-3 feet, we cut all the Cattail and California Bulrush (our two target species due to their invasive growth habit) while they were still green. We repeated this process once more in mid October. Next, Steve Parmenter along with some of his mark-recapture team from the Bishop office of the CDFG and some students followed with a third effort to to surgically remove any remaining individuals of our target species after the Fall 2011 Mark Recapture effort.

East shore piles up in flames.

Each time we cut and removed the target vegetation from the pond's shore we would piled it up in long rows parallel to the highwater line where it dried so that we could burn it after Southern California's notorious Santa Anna fanned wild fire season (Sept-Dec) was declared over. This year, on 12/10/2011, the Apple Valley Fire Department accompanied by a squad of Victor Valley Fire Explorers, used fusies to set fire to the dried rows of vegetation. Within an hour the pond's parimeter piles were reduced to smoke and ash. Since the shore was moist and our last rain (that fell two weeks earlier) had increased the fuel and soil moisture, the fire did not burn as much of the rooted material as we hoped it would. Next week, we will raise the pond level help decrease energy production and subsequent root regrowth.

East shore, looking North, before the burn...

After the burn.

Uncut, partially green "3 side" looking east before the burn...

After the burn.

West shore looking south before the burn...

After the burn.

In the Spring of 2012, Lewis Center's Mojave River Conservation students and I will assess if cutting, followed by flooding followed by burning followed by flooding, is a good prescription for slowing down the advance of Cattails and Bulrush into Deppe Pond's shallow shore zone. Stay tuned..

Looking South from below the dam after the burn.

Friday, November 18, 2011

And the Survey Says....

On Nov. 15-17, 2011, representatives from the USFWS (Ventura), CDFG (Region 6, Bishop), NP (Mojave National Preserve) shoulder to shoulder with AAE students and some alumni conducted the first mark-recapture population estimate since the introduction of Mohave tui chub to the Lewis Center Refuge back on October 2, 2008.

At dusk on Tuesday Nov. 15, 8 traps, baited with a piece of white bread, were placed in both Deppe Pond and Tui Slough. A total of 16 "custom made" traps were employed in this two day trapping effort.

[Top] Daniel and Jacob open a trap
[Bottom] Sam, Alex and Gabby process fish

Wednesday morning was cool, clear, windless and beautiful. At about 8:45 am with the air and water temperatures at about 50 degrees traps were pulled one at a time starting "up stream" in Deppe Pond. By about 9:20 am, only 6 small fish (all < 63 mm) were caught in Deppe Pond and all of those were in one trap. Tui Slough was next. By the third trap (all placed in the "upstream" shallow section of the slough) only a couple dozen fish had been collected from Tui Slough. The work began with the pulling of the fourth trap, placed at a transition zone where the Slough goes from 2-3 feet deep to 5-6 feet deep. More than 580 fish of the 636 fish collected Wednesday morning came from from traps 4-8.

[Top] Bryce measures a small chub
Judy Hohman (USFWS) Steve Parmenter (CDFG),
Susan Williams (NAWS, China Lake) gather and discuss data

On Thursday morning with weather, air and water conditions similar to Wednesday's, traps were first pulled at about 8:14 am. By about 10:30, 9 new fish were collected from Deppe Pond (all <64 mm in length) and 153 new fish were collected from Tui Slough along with 201 recaptures (fish that had their left pelvic fin clipped the day before).

After the math was done, 789 (636 + 153) Mohave tui chub were caught; 15 (6+9) were collected, processed and released back into Deppe Pond and 773 ((636-6) + (153-9) -1) were collected, processed and released back into Tui Slough (one casualty of the process was retained and preserved).

During both days, fin clips were collected (50 from chub collected from Tui Slough and 15 from chub collected in Deppe Pond) for DNA analysis. We expect to have the results from this analysis sometime after the September of 2012. To view a video documenting this event click here.

[Top] What a 200+mm Mohave tui chub looks like
[Bottom] Releasing collected fish back into Tui Slough after processing

11/21/2011 Daily Press News Release: Students Work to Save Endangered Fish

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ph. D student tries to save endangered fish species

Check out the following link to read about an interview that Sujan M. Henkanaththegedara had with a reporter from WDAY Channel 6, Fargo, ND. Click on this embedded link to view a video of his interview.