We returned to Red Bluff to conduct a final fish recovery effort and found ourselves in quite a muddy situation. The cofferdam for the Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority Fish Passage Improvement Project was completed, and the isolated areas were drained of water to prepare for the next phase of construction. As described in an earlier post, Water + Steel + Electricity = ?, dewatered areas must be sampled to capture and relocate any stranded fish. Fish recoveries are quite different from the usual fish abundance sampling, requiring a bit of ingenuity and flexibility.
The FISHBIO crew used a backpack electroshocker, seine nets, and hand nets to capture Sacramento pikeminnow, prickly sculpin, and black bullhead. Then, buckets tied to ropes were used to haul the fish 30 ft. up the side of the cofferdam for release into the main stem of the Sacramento River.
After a full day of slogging around in the mud, we were ready for a hot shower and a hearty meal.
Photo source: FISHBIO