September was another solid month with the BLM in Arcata. I really diversified my activities this month, working with several different resource specialists in our office. I also made all the labels and got all our pressed specimens mounted and logged into our herbarium. We had many new collections, plus a stack of plants that had been previously collected and were waiting to be mounted. With that finished, I have also embarked on a new project that will see me through the end of my time here as a CBG intern. I am working on getting our small herbarium (approx. 700 specimens) registered with the UC Jepson Herbarium Consortium. There will be more on that in the future….
I have spent a few days with one of our wildlife biologist, which has been a great learning experience for me. He works exclusively in the Headwaters Forest Reserve, and is currently working on a project trapping fur of Fishers. He is trying to collect as many DNA samples from all the fishers in the area in order to determine the size of the resident population. Fishers are a weasel –like mammal that is currently a candidate for listing, so there is a lot of interest in the species right now. The traps consist of a plastic bucket cut in half long-ways and screwed onto a tree with the opening facing down. The bait (a rotten fish head) is up in the top of the bucket and around the bottom rim is some sticky paper to catch fur as the animal goes up in there to eat the fish. A game camera is mounted nearby to photograph the animal as it goes in (to make sure it’s a fisher and not a bear).
I’ve also been working with our geologist and our fish biologist on a project they have going down in Southern Humboldt County. They are working to restore some fish habitat on a small creek that has had Coho Salmon spawning in it in recent years. This creek is a tributary to the Mattole River, which only had four Coho come up to spawn this past year. Coho are listed as threatened species and are in serious decline, especially in this region. This restoration project is very extensive and involves many engineered weirs and structures. The BLM is trying to create suitable habitat now so that the Coho will have place to spend the summer next year.