Volunteers Sought for Valles Caldera Study

Dave Menicucci
From April 2014 newsletter

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A project is ongoing at the Valles Caldera to understand trout movements following wildfires.  Last year we extracted, tagged and relocated 72 trout on the East Fork and 85 on the Rio San Antonio.  This year we will be electroshocking both the extraction and relocation areas to determine whether the trout have remained in the relocation areas or migrated back to the extraction areas.  There are two parts to this effort, both requiring volunteers.

Part 1, Electroshocking

I am seeking a minimum of 10 volunteers on each of two days.  Among the volunteers I need one person with some scientific training to oversee the data collection and one who is sufficiently hardy to run the electroshocker, which mounts on a person’s back and weighs about 35 lbs.  Refreshments will be provided and the work will consume a whole day starting around 830am at the visitor center and returning at around 5pm.

At present, I am tentatively planning for shocking on the Rio San Antonio on May 11and on the East Fork on June 14.  But those exact dates may change depending on the availability of equipment and personnel. Francis Peter is assisting with the equipment coordination.

Part 2: Intense fishing
I am seeking six experienced people to intensely fish the areas between and around the extraction and reintroduction areas.  Here is how this will work:

  1. I will identify contiguous 1.5 kilometer (about 0.9 mile) stretches of each stream that encompass the areas where we tagged trout and where we reintroduced them.  I will provide very specific GPS locations for the start and end points of each stretch to be fished.
  2. Each volunteer will be assigned to intensely fish a stretch.  For every tagged trout that is snagged in that stretch, the fisher will measure its length and note the exact location where it was taken; then return the fish to the stream.  Each fisher will need a GPS and measuring tape to find the appropriate stretch and to identify the locations of takes.
  3. Each volunteer will fish the stretch for free and will be able to select a convenient time to fish the assigned stretch (although I would like to have all of the stretches fished within about a one-month window).

Those who have already volunteered for the intense fishing need not do so again.

This is an opportunity for volunteers to participate in a unique science experiment and experience beautiful scenery. Interested persons should contact Dave Menicucci, principal investigator, at dmenicucci1@comcast.net or 505-235-8501.

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