Each year I challenge myself to create a photo book, which is printed in very limited numbers. Hey, I’m not rich. Here’s a PDF of this year’s edition, the 12th in the series. I think it is best downloaded so pages can be seen in the two-page (side-by-side) view. Make yourself a cup of hot cheer while waiting for the ebook to appear. Happy New Year!
Jared Barker separates the "target" fish from Lemhi River residents .(© 2018 Cindi Christie/Cyanpixel)
The sight of a bull trout captured in a rotary screw fish trap was cause for excitement as Jared Barker emptied the trap box. It was the largest he said he had seen. Bull trout, chinook salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout are the “target” fish in a study of juvenile fish migrating from the Lemhi River.
Moments later, Barker and partner Mike Hall, both lead technicians for Quantitative Consultants, checked to see if the fish had been previously tagged. If so, it had been caught before and would be in a database of individual fish. Or, it had swallowed a fish that had been tagged.
“It’s like catching fish in a barrel,” Hall joked.
Biologists and technicians identify, tag, weigh and measure the target fish and then release them upstream to be captured again in the large rotary trap, or downstream if already tagged. That helps estimate the number of out-migrating fish. Biologists and technicians identify, tag, weigh and measure the target fish and then release them upstream to be captured again in the large rotary trap, or downstream if already tagged. That helps estimate the number of out-migrating fish.
Native fish that live in the river year-round also are counted, measured and weighed before being set free downstream. Even sculpin, the bottom of the food chain, are important. Once let go, the bull trout stayed near the trap — perhaps in hopes of an easy meal or two.
Quantitative Consultants is under contract from the Bonneville Power Administration to monitor the population of migrating Chinook salmon and steelhead trout to “offset” the number of these fish that die in BPA’s hydropower systems. The project also is in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
While most are passing through, those that are repeat visitors can become familiar faces (or fins) and have been given nicknames. Each tagged fish with Passive Integrated Transponder tag that passes over an antenna throughout the watershed is monitored. fish logged can be tracked at Columbia Basin PIT Tag Information System (PTAGIS), a public database.
They study the “relationship between stream habitat and anadromous salmonid populations in the Columbia River basin,” according to their 2017 annual report to landowners along the Lemhi River and tributaries who have granted access through their private property.
This greenhorn tagged along as cattle were moved from the Doubletree Ranch in Salmon, Idaho, to BLM grazing land in May 2018. The ranch in Lemhi County has been in the Clark and French families for several generations. Riders on horseback and ATV, some accompanied by their working dogs, herded the cows and calves across Highway 28 and up into the mountains. Cattle and watering troughs on the BLM grazing land will be checked daily. Consider this a work in progress. After all, roundup season is ahead.
Each year I challenge myself to create a photo book, which is printed in very limited numbers. Here’s a PDF of this year’s edition, the 11th in the series. Make yourself a cup of hot chocolate while waiting for the ebook to appear. Happy New Year!
It’s migration season for many four-footed and winged critters. Birds are looking for new homes in warmer climates, just passing through Salmon, Idaho, for a meal. Several bird guides say this is a black-capped chickadee. Other animals follow the food. Neighbors have been setting out feed for the deer that stick around their yards. They are likely to be permanent residents, especially the fawns that were born there earlier this year. They know they have a good thing here.
Yeah, yeah, winter is coming. A week of summer is remaining and the first snow has fallen here in Lemhi County, Idaho. Within a week’s time we’ve gone from shorts and T-shirts to jackets and boots, and A/C to heater. Windshield scrapers will be replacing the fidget spinners that have been marked down several times in search of an impulse buy at the checkout counter of the hardware store. Let’s slow things down a bit. The leaves have yet to turn color. Winter, please be patient.
“Paint Your Wagon” is one of our favorite movies. I can hardly wait until the gold prospectors, all hunkered down in the storm, start singing with beautiful harmonies:
The rain is Tess,
The fire’s Joe
And they call the wind Maria
What do we call the smoke? It’s left out of the brilliant song by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe. We can’t call it Karl, which is reserved for San Francisco’s famous fog. Hurricanes and tropical storms get their own names. More than half of the country is affected by thick smoke from western fires that are burning hundreds of thousands of acres. And we’re the lucky ones. We’re didn’t have to evacuate our homes as the flames raced through the forested mountains of Montana, Idaho, Oregon, British Columbia and the rest of the West. We just have to deal with smoky air and fine ash covering everything, as if the forests are redistributing themselves.
If you have any influence, please send Tess. Lots and lots of Tess.
What’s not to love except for the occasional scary thunderstorm? There is green grass, fun critters to watch and flying discs to catch. You need more than one as she is reluctant to give up her prized possession. Drop by and toss a few.