Friday, June 22, 2012

USFWS Internship - Spring 2012 Field Work - Part 2

Zach Moore
More about my field work experiences . . . .

I also had a chance to help sample Olympic mudminnow around Olympia with Roger Tabor, USFWS biologist. This was a great way to get some new knowledge of, and experience with, a species of fish I previously knew nothing about. I went to several different wetlands to catch and sample these interesting little fish. The capture method involved swiping a frame net into murky ponds and pulling out handfuls of mudminnows. We sedated the fish so we could collect data such as length and weight, as well as stomach samples for diet analysis, and then returned them to the pond.

But my favorite field work opportunity was working on the Tsoo-Yess River on Washington's Olympic Peninsula near Makah National Fish Hatchery. I went up there with a crew for several days at a time. Our goal was to capture and collect outmigrating juvenile salmonids such as steelhead trout, coho salmon, and Chinook salmon. To do this, we installed a fish weir (river fence) that directed these small fish to the rotary screw trap. Installing a fish weir is a lot of work and it took us a couple of days to finish the entire thing, but when it was done it felt like a great accomplishment. I also assisted with the screw trap sampling where I gained experience utilizing a useful fish sampling device and improved my fish identification and data collection skills.

Sampling juvenile salmon at the screw trap on the Tsoo-Yess River
(fish weir in background)
I feel fortunate to have had this valuable opportunity with the USFWS. I was able to receive 16 college credits for my work and build and diversify my resume at thr same time. It was also a great way to get my foot in the door with the USFWS. My hard work paid off--I applied and successfully competed for a paid seasonal fisheries technician position with the USFWS Fisheries Division!

Working in the field was definitely my favorite part of my spring internship and I can’t wait to do more this summer! I am looking forward to new adventures and career-building experiences this coming summer. Stay tuned!

--Zach Moore, USFWS Intern/Fisheries Technician

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