Missing the Mountains Already

Photo Nov 09, 4 26 52 PM

Beautiful view of Upper Klamath Lake.

Sorry for the delay. I have been traveling quiet a bit these past few weeks. I am still in shock as to how fast my internship went. During my last few days I helped BOR with the A Canal forebay salvage. BOR funneled the fish (via a seine) towards the fish screen and hoisted them up in large fish bins.

BOR seining fish in the A Canal.

BOR seining fish in the A Canal.

We sorted through thousands of fish looking for any suckers. The suckers were then processed by USGS. They took fin clips, measurements, and PIT tagged all suckers. Nearly 700 were salvaged this year, while last year had counts of 130. The suckers were relocated to a nearby spring-fed inlet of Upper Klamath Lake.



Alia, Nolan, and Josh electrofishing.

Alia, Nolan, and Josh electrofishing.

We went electrofishing for Klamath sucker genetic samples one last time with Josh and Nolan near the Klamath Marsh Refuge. On my last day, I helped Julie install the cover for the greenhouse at Gone Fishing.

The cover is on and everything is looking great.

The cover is on and everything is looking great.







This internship surpassed every expectation I had. I feel so fortunate to have worked with so many passionate and inspiring people. Josh is an amazing mentor. He has great life lessons and even better stories. I gained a multitude of skills in such a short time. The Motorboat Operations Certification Course (MOCC) was extremely helpful. I had no experience with trailer backing or boating prior to this internship. Now I feel very confident performing both. It was rewarding to work on Upper Klamath Lake for most of the summer. I really enjoyed being a part of the collaborative efforts that Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Service has with other agencies. It was inspirational to see and hear about ongoing conservation efforts throughout the basin. One of the many highlights from my internship was seeing the suckers we raised school together as we released them. I’m glad that my roommates and I had the opportunities to explore the beautiful state of Oregon. I LOVE the Pacific Northwest and will definitely be back.

50+ hours, 2,950 miles, and countless stops later, Finn (my awesome dog) and I made it to our final destination of Chicago, IL. First, I had to travel to Lake Havasu, AZ to pick up a few things of mine. Next, I stopped in Las Vegas, NV to visit family. I had a great time there.

Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area.

Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area.

We went to Red Rocks Canyon National Conservation Area. The history, geology, wildlife, and recreation (so many rock climbers) of Red Rock Canyon are fascinating. I love the fact that this area is located about 20 miles from the strip. I also went to my first Cirque du Soleil, Mystère. It was spectacular. After visiting family, I cruised over to visit friends in Colorado. It was nice to catch up with them. I have been in IL for a few days now. I was fortunate to be offered a seasonal job at UPS until I find something in my field. My experience with CLM internship and KFFWO has been amazing!

Thanks for reading,


Little Finn was sick of traveling.

Little Finn was tired of traveling.

Wait, Half a Year Has Gone By??

Photo Oct 11, 11 48 32 AM

Bungee jumping!

October has been very busy. I cannot believe my internship is almost over! I am finishing up my final report. My final report deals with the pilot rearing project at the Fish Evaluation Station (FES) monitoring. I should be done with it sometime next week. Every first Monday of the month we have an all staff meeting. This month we had an all staff meeting/ going away potluck/ clean-up day. It was a lot of fun. Everyone pitched in and got us interns a little present. I received an insect field guide. It is pretty sweet. Darrick planned another going away party at the local restaurant. It was so much fun and really nice of everyone to come out.


Greenhouse and fish ponds at Gone Fishing. Photo Credit: Julie Day USFWS


James from BOR, Alia, and I installing pond lining at Gone Fishing. Photo Credit: Julie Day USFWS

KFFWO donated their greenhouse to Ron Barnes at the Gone Fishing Facility. We dissembled it and took it over to his facility where we resembled it. We also assisted with the lining of the ponds. It was hard work but we managed to get it all done in a few hours.  KFFWO plans to utilize his aquaculture ponds for future sucker rearing efforts. This facility has unique geology that provides geothermal water for the fish ponds.


The geothermal water allows for a warm water supply year round. Minerals in the water cause parasitic Lernaea (Anchor worm) to die off. Suckers salvaged from the A Canal, next week, will be transported to Gone Fishing and held over winter.

Photo Oct 20, 2 49 40 PM

Alia thinking about fish.

We went out with Sue last week to gain insight on her position. She works for the partners of USFWS. It was really neat to see all the incredible work she has done. She focuses on river and stream restoration and works with a variety of people. Sue is someone I look up to. She has a lot of passion about the environment. We went to check out a couple of her current projects. We also planted sedges along the toe of a stream that was disconnected during installation of a fish screen. This week we had the chance to go out with Sue and Nolan to broadcast seed and plant more sedges. It was really awesome to see our previous plantings were growing and the stream was now connected.

Photo Oct 27, 2 12 13 PM

Photos of a closed mouth can be useful for sucker identification.

Photo Oct 27, 2 12 23 PM

Adult Klamath largescale sucker (Catostomus snyderi) caught in Gerber Reservoir.

Josh has been collecting genetic samples from Klamath suckers to get an understanding of the genetic diversity present in sucker populations. We searched for pools at Gerber Reservoir to electrofish. We successfully turned over 20 juvenile suckers and collected genetic samples via fin clippings. This past week we went into the reservoir to set trammel nets. This was my first time working with these types of nets.

We set two trammels out of a canoe for one hour. Working fish was really cool. We caught a few crappie and a ton of catfish. In total, we had about 17 adult suckers that we were able to get genetic samples from. Some were fairly large. They were all in good condition. Most of the suckers were Klamath largescale (Catostomus snyderi) and a couple were shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris).


Photo Oct 11, 2 27 41 PM

Right before I jumped 300 feet into a gully.

I took a couple personal days off and my cousin from North Dakota came to visit. We had a blast exploring Oregon. We went up to Bend, OR and went bungee jumping! It was awesome!!! We went to the coast and saw whales in Depoe Bay. We stopped in Lincoln City for the night. My birthday was last weekend and we went up to the coast. It was amazing! We saw sea lions in Florence. Alia and I found an awesome campsite in Yachats, OR called Tillicum. It was right next to the ocean. It was a great way to spend my birthday. Photo Oct 30, 12 27 47 PM

My last day is November 11th. This has been such an amazing experience.

Until next time… the last time,


Hello Fall.


Alia and I at the ponds in Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge.

Efforts at the Fish Evaluation Station (FES) came to an end early September. There was a large decline in the amount of suckers observed in week 4. This is due to a peak in entrainment that may have occurred earlier than expected based on historical data. I spent the next two weeks monitoring fish ponds at the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and setting trap nets in Tule Lake. At the ponds we were measuring water quality, conducting predator surveys, and setting minnow and crab traps out in the channel. It was fun to take the jon boat out on the big pond, but we did not catch much. We caught a few Sacramento Perch (Archoplites interruptus) and Fathead Minnows (Pimephales promelas). These fish were measured, weighed, and visual implant elastomer (VIE) tagged. There were a lot of signs (scat and tracks) that coyotes occupy the area surrounding the ponds. We also saw Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis)! They are such beautiful birds.

Photo Sep 03, 10 42 07 AM

Adult Sucker Caught at Tule Lake!

WE CAUGHT A SUCKER IN TULE LAKE! This is the first adult sucker I have seen here so far. It is also the first sucker we caught in the trap nets at Tule Lake. Josh believes it could be a Klamath largescale sucker (Catostomus snyderi), but it is hard to know for sure. The Klamath largescale sucker is closely related to two other species of suckers, especially the shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris). Hybridization can occur, so it is possible that the sucker we caught could be a hybrid. We took measurements and checked it for a PIT tag. No tag was found, but sometimes PIT tags that were not inserted correctly can fall out over time, usually resulting in a scar. No scar was found on this sucker. Next week, we set more traps. We did not have any luck catching other suckers. The mud boat was acting up again, so Josh decided to stop efforts of trapping on Tule Lake.


Shortnose Sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) from net pens. PIT tagged and released.

On September 14th, we went to our net pens in Pelican Bay to check on the suckers from the FES. Unfortunately, none of the suckers in the floating cages survived. On October 2nd, the floating cage located in the Link Dam Canal was removed. 1 out of the 3 stocked fish was alive. This sucker was released. This past Thursday we went to release the suckers we caught as larvae from the net pens. It was exciting! We removed 21 suckers. They all looked healthy. We PIT tagged them and released them in nearby vegetation. It was rewarding to see them school together and swim away.

Photo Sep 29, 12 42 30 PM

Nolan and Alia electrofishing at Threemile Creek.

Nolan, a fish biologist here at the Klamath Falls USFWS, had us help survey Threemile Creek for fish. This area is known to have endangered Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus). Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust is planning to restore the stream this week. Wood will be added into the stream to level it out and create better fish habitat. We set up block nets so no fish can enter the area they plan to add the wood into. We walked downstream electrofishing areas that looked habitable. We did not turn over any fish.

Alia and I are finishing up labeling and entering data for the old specimens of suckers. They will be X-rayed to determine vertebral counts for each species. These suckers are various sizes and have been sampled from numerous habitats. We are also finishing up our final projects. Mine focuses on the pilot sucker rearing project we established at the FES. I recently wrote a USFWS Field Note about the pilot project.

I can’t believe I only have a month left!

Till next time,


Save the Suckers!

Photo Jul 28, 8 30 42 PM

Trail to the beach in Canada

Last we spoke I was on my way to the Compassionate Conservation Conference in Canada. This conference was very inspirational. It was amazing to see people so involved and interested in animal welfare in conservation. The University of British Columbia was huge and surrounded by beautiful forests. All in all, Canada was awesome.

Photo Aug 04, 10 52 12 PM

A canal flume.

Photo Aug 25, 7 11 07 PM

Sucker holding tanks.

Photo Aug 04, 10 36 55 PM

VIE tagging fish!

Photo Aug 18, 12 30 18 PM

Suckers in hoop net pens.

Photo Aug 18, 11 56 08 AM

Lost River Suckers

This past month I have been mostly working with BOR at the A canal fish evaluation station (FES). We are taking measurements on all of the suckers that come through the flume. Each shift (Mon-Thurs) we get to hold 50% of suckers that are caught, up to 25 in total per night. We hold them in tanks with closely monitored water quality. We then transport them into Upper Klamath Lake at the end of the week, so they can be reared in pens that are in natural waters. I have been taking weights, measurements, and visual implant elastomer (VIE) tagging chubs and sculpin by-catch. VIE tagging is done to see how long tag retention is and if there is any recirculation of fish through the canal. There are also control tanks of tagged and untagged chubs and sculpin so we can get a better idea of exactly how long the tags are retained. If the tags are successful they may be used for future studies.

The shifts at FES are at night, which takes a little getting used to. I work Mon-Thurs 4pm-2:30 am. I get Fridays off which is really nice. Last week I had a normal schedule and was with Nicki at the LKNWR ponds. We set minnow traps to see what fish are in the pond. We caught and VIE tagged Sacramento Perch. We were hoping to see if there were any suckers from previous studies still in the large pond. Alia and Nicki caught one the week before! Unfortunately, we didn’t have the same luck that week. We did receive the suckers for the ponds and set their hoop net pens up. These are Lost River Suckers (Deltistes luxatus) that have been reared specifically for a scientific study. They will be observed and studied in 30 and 60-day periods.


Photo Aug 21, 1 15 35 PM

Juvenile sucker transported to pens.

Last Friday I helped Julie transport the suckers from FES to Upper Klamath Lake where we have our net pens from June. We set up floating pens to put the FES held suckers in. We had 100% survival for the week but two fish did not make it through the transportation process. I am back at FES this week. The amount of suckers caught and held this week has really declined.

Till next time,


Awesome Bee fly. Bombyliidae

Awesome Bee fly. Bombyliidae

Goodbye July

Crater Lake

                   Crater Lake

This past month has been a busy one. We have been focusing on setting trap nets in Upper Klamath and Tule Lake to see if we can recapture any tagged sucker fish. A couple of weeks ago Alia and I went to Tule Lake to set four trap nets. Tule Lake is located in the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern California. It is a great spot for birding.

Tule Lake

Tule Lake

The water is very shallow, so we had to use the mud boat. Setting the traps was a little difficult since the mud boat does not have reverse. We were about to head back and that is when the engine would not start. After a dozen unsuccessful attempts to start the engine, we decided to row to shore and try again every twenty minutes. After an hour of rowing, we were getting fairly close to the boat ramp. Then the wind picked up and blew us back to where we started. :S We had to just go with the flow (literally) and have the wind blow us to shore. It was quite the experience. We attempted to take the mud boat out the next day, but the engine was not starting.  We retrieved our nets with the Almar instead.

Photo Jul 17, 11 13 22 AM

Net Pens

Setting the trap nets in Upper Klamath is a much smoother process. We have been setting nets there for the past two weeks. Perch is the most abundant fish we catch. We also caught Tui Chubs, Bluehead Chubs, Sculpins, Bullhead Catfish, Rainbow Trout, Fathead Minnows, AND… a few Sucker larvae! It was so exciting to catch some suckers. We transported them to our net pens. We have also been monitoring the water quality in the pens. The dissolved oxygen levels are very high due to the AFA. The AFA also makes the water very green. Minnow traps were set to remove other species of fish from our nets. We removed over 700 minnow and chub larvae!

Juvenile Sucker

Juvenile Sucker

Saving the Fish

Saving the Fish






Gerber Reservoir had to shut off the dam, so we helped the Bureau of Reclamation salvage fish. They set trap nets and electrofished to save as many fish as possible. Five juvenile Suckers were caught after the shut off. We collected fin clips for genetic data, inserted PIT tags and released them on the other side of the dam. We also caught Perch, Catfish and a couple Sculpins from the pools.

Photo Jul 18, 4 53 06 PM

Crater Lake

Photo Jul 03, 4 09 14 PM

Camping along the coast

Photo Jul 05, 1 39 21 PM

Along the Coast




My Fourth of July was amazing!!! We drove to the coast and camped in Cape Blanco. The weather was perfect! The upper 60s was a nice get away from the upper 90s. My dog, Finn, loved the beaches. We drove past Redwoods on our way home. They are incredible! Last weekend we went to Crater Lake. It was breathtaking. I could not believe how incredibly clear the water was. I highly suggest going to see it in person. This week we are heading off to Canada for the Compassionate Conservation Conference. I am excited to learn more about various conservation efforts.

Till next time,


That First Month Flew By


Photo Jun 14, 3 24 01 PM

Rose Garden in Portland

Wow. I cannot believe it has been a month already. I’ve spent a lot of time surveying for Applegate’s Milk-vetch at the airport. We did a full census in the footprint of the construction areas and surveyed randomly selected transects in others. After spending 9+ hours a day looking for the plants, I could see them when I closed my eyes. WEIRD.

Photo Jun 02, 1 37 32 PM


It was crazy cool to see F-15s fighter jets take off and land so close to us. This airport is the only place in the US that has F-15 training.

Photo Jun 03, 4 31 01 PM (1)





This milk-vetch is also found in a couple other areas of Klamath Falls. The Ewauna Flat Preserve, owned by The Nature Conservancy, has ongoing efforts of monitoring and outplanting for the milk-vetch. I went there to assist Kerry (a professor at Oregon Tech) with the monitoring of milk-vetch that had been planted within the past few years. This was my first time working with plants and I really liked it.

At the ponds, we monitored for predators and fish. We found a couple of coyote tracks and saw two pelicans. We are still waiting to have the ponds stocked. There is some weird algae growing in the smaller ponds, but it may be beneficial.

Photo Jun 24, 12 03 41 PM

Alia and I electrofishing.

Electrofishing site.

Electrofishing site.

Alia and I went to check on our net pens at Rocky Point. Everything seemed to be going okay there. There might be some type of minnows in one of the nets though. We saw a ton of dragonflies and damselflies! Josh took us electrofishing recently. We saw a couple suckers but couldn’t seem to catch them. We caught a lot of Speckled Dace and Chubs. Other than all the field work, I have been labeling sucker fish that have been in alcohol for a few years and doing some office work.

Dragonflies at Rocky Point

Odonata at Rocky Point

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl










One weekend we went to Portland and stopped at the Rose Garden. It is so beautiful.  Last weekend we went to Medford and Ashland. On our way back we saw a Great Gray Owl. I really like Oregon so far!

Till next time,


Welcome to Klamath Falls, OR!

2015-05-26 15.29.02First, I will tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Erica and I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago, IL. I went to college at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO and graduated this past December. I have a degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology with a concentration in Conservation. After graduating, I worked for the USGS FORT Science Center in a lab processing macro invertebrates for a Jams project. I was thrilled to be offered an internship through the CLM. My internship is with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Klamath Falls, OR. I had never been to Oregon before moving here. Oregon is so beautiful!!! I am working with two other interns, Nicki and Alia. We are currently assisting with three projects.

Josh, our mentor, has us rearing and monitoring Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris). Both are currently listed as endangered. A major contributing factor to their decline was crucial habitat loss and/or degradation. Due to high mortality rates of larvae and juveniles, their recovery is limited. My first week, we went out into the field at night to collect sucker larvae. We collected the larvae with a sweep net dropped off of two bridge sites. Kircher’s bridge is absolutely gorgeous.

Photo May 12, 7 49 31 PM

Bridge Site. Kircher’s Bridge.

Before we started collecting, we saw a Bald Eagle eating a fish near the water. It was awesome! We collected at these sites for two nights until we had a significant amount of larvae (estimated over 2,000). We placed them into water pens at the office. We will monitor and feed them until we transfer them into our net pen docks that are within natural waters. We will continue to study and monitor the suckers until we release them near the end of the internship. This week we built the docks at Rocky Point. Today we installed the nets. We will transfer the larvae into the net pens next week.

2015-05-27 08.52.00

Alia at the water pens!

Photo May 26, 3 42 24 PM

Floating Docks.

Julie, a Fish Biologist, has us assisting with a rearing program for the Lost River and shortnose suckers. We will monitor three different sized fishponds. These ponds are not stocked yet. Last Friday was my first time at the ponds. We monitored for predators and fish. We collected water levels and sonde data.

One of the three ponds.

One of the three ponds.

Darrick, a Senior Fish Biologists, has us assisting with Applegate’s Milk-vetch (Astragalus applegatei) surveys. The Applegate’s Milk-vetch is currently listed as endangered. We will be surveying for this milk-vetch at the Crater Lake Klamath Regional Airport. The airport has planned to expand and develop another runway. We will be in the field all next week conducting surveys.

I started my internship May 11th. My first week I went into the field two times (stated above) but most of the time I was at the MOCC (Motorboat Operation Certification Course). I learned a lot of useful information during this course. I had never driven a boat before and did not know how to tie boating knots. Now I feel 100xs more confident about boating. I will definitely use everything I learned at MOCC throughout this internship.

Completed Net Pen Docks!

Completed Net Pen Docks!

My second week consisted of various required training. I went out into the field one day to collect zooplankton for our larvae. It is so neat to see how much life is in the water! This is my third week and it has been a busy one. We built the floating docks, prepared the nets, and installed the net pens. Brock and James from BOR helped us. It is so beautiful here. It looks like we will be out in the field most of the summer. AWESOME! Everyone at the office has been so welcoming and nice. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity. I am excited to see how the rest of the summer goes.

Till next time,