This past Thursday, we had Mike Donofrio, the fisheries team leader from the WDNR come in the talk with us on what he is currently involved with regarding lake sturgeon. The DNR is measuring the lake sturgeon spawning fidelity to Green Bay rivers – where they spawn and whether it is the same location as where they hatched. They wanted to do some research with genetic structuring to create a genetic tree of populations and genetic similarities. Of the total lake sturgeon population in Lake Michigan, 75% of their spawning activity occurs in the bay of Green Bay, and 50% of the total occurs just in the Menominee River.
The process of tracking the species begins by anchoring a sonic transmitter and receiver into the sediment of each river. This transmitter has a cone-shaped signal whose radius reaches both banks of said river. It has a Bluetooth that accounts for each passing fish, and this is how each fish is noted. Later on, they go back through the data to make sure a single fish hasn’t passed more than once, and therefore counted more than once. They track the fish by using a VEMCO tag, inserted in the fish to track movement. Between 2011 and 2014, during the months of April & May, they capture the lake sturgeon by electroshocking and using dipnets.
So far, they’ve found that many fish, when not spawning, are transitory between river systems throughout their life, and many do not report back to their river of origin. Some actually stay within the same river throughout the year. Usually it was the males and not females who would return to spawn. Data will continue to be collected on this subject for some time yet.
Our meetings will resume this week Thursday at 3:00pm with guest speaker Mike Donofrio. Mike works for the Wisconsin DNR, and he is the Lake Sturgeon Coordinator for Lake Michigan. He manages lake sturgeon populations in Green Bay and in the Menominee, Peshtigo, Oconto, and Fox Rivers. Mike will be talking about the current Green Bay lake sturgeon projects, so it is bound to be an informative presentation.
We hope to see you all there!
NOTE: There will NOT be a meeting this Thursday, 10/30/14, OR 11/6/14.
Last week Thursday, we had Jeremy Pyatskowit from the Menominee Indian Tribe in to talk with us. He is the new environmental services director for the tribe, and he talked about their current approach to and assessment of culvert replacement and forest road crossings.
There is no way around causing some intrusion to rivers and streams if we want to build roads. However, there are ways to alter the environment so that aquatic species can pass through and thrive in the most natural state possible. Many culverts were not built with maintaining lotic ecosystems in mind. The Menominee Indian Tribe is working to correct some of these workings on their land. It takes a lot of work to replace water passage mechanisms underneath a roadway, and Jeremy is in charge of implementing all of this. He deals with permits, site visits, measuring & assessing the condition of the existing culvert, measuring & assessing the stream itself in several locations, and overseeing the installation. Many challenges arise, including dealing with offset culverts, frequent washouts, unpredicted downstream conditions, and old logging dams blocking streamflow. The size of culvert varies according to stream width, and none of their culverts are installing at a slope, since streams in this area of the country flow at a pretty low gradient.
This past Thursday, we had Tammie Paoli of the WI DNR come in to talk with us. Tammie is a fisheries biologist out of the Peshtigo office, and she is also the president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Her “office” is located within the 800,000 acres she works on. Tammie’s work focuses specifically on northern pike, yellow perch, and brown trout, although she does work with a diversity of species and ecosystems as well. Tammie highlighted the fact that being a fisheries biologist means splitting up your duties into three areas: people, habitat, and the fish. A large part of her job is working with the public in all sorts of situations.
Tammie is involved with quite a wide range of projects and responsibilities. Some include: Large river, inland lake, & trout stream surveys, helping draft management plans (ie Lake Mchigan 10-yr plan), planning and executing habitat projects with various agencies, floy-tagging brown trout, looking at fish diets post trawling surveys, leading the west shore of GB in creel data collecting, submitting rule change proposals (TACH), participating on the WI cormorant management team, and of course, a ton of outreach!
On Thursday, October 16th, we will have Tammie Paoli from the Peshtigo DNR come in to talk with us about her job as a fisheries biologist. Tammie is also the president of the Wisconsin Chapter of AFS, so she will be sharing a bit on her role & responsibilities regarding that.
Again, we are going to the Strawberry Creek Weir to process salmon that day as well. We plan to leave at 9:30am and return in time for the meeting at 3:00pm. Email email@example.com if you would like to attend. Otherwise, we hope to see you at the meeting!
On Thursday, October 16th, we will be going to the Strawberry Creek Weir up in Sturgeon Bay to help the DNR staff process Chinook salmon. Work tasks involve handling/moving fish, collecting bio data, harvesting eggs, collecting fish health sampling, etc. The duration of the work day is dependent upon how many fish are caught in the pond, but we plan to leave campus around 9:30am and return by 2:30pm in time for the meeting.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to attend!
We will not be having a meeting this week (10/09/2014). Instead, some of us are going to help Titus Seilheimer from the UW-Seagrant Institute sample a wetland in Manitowoc for some pre-restoration data. We are leaving campus around 12:30pm tomorrow – email email@example.com if you would like to come with!