In our final update of 2013, we wanted to round up a few of our favorite highlights of the year, many of which we have shared with you through our weekly updates in the Fish Report and our Field Notes blog. None of our projects would be possible without the support of the great partners and communities with whom we work, so we also want to take this opportunity to thank you, and hope you enjoy reflecting on our shared successes!
2013 was certainly a year for going big. The giant PIT tag antenna that we constructed and installed last fall performed successfully through the end of this year, reflecting a true feat of fiberglass fabrication. Our FABLAB crew also shone by building a pair of massive fyke traps that allowed us to conduct a pilot study of striped bass abundance on the San Joaquin River, laying the groundwork for future studies. In the north state area, we made our first snorkel survey of Big Chico Creek, which marked the creek’s first fish assessment in more than a decade. We also purchased our first ARIS sonar camera to survey fish behavior around hydropower structures. Some of our work took us a bit off the beaten path: our survey of off-channel habitat use on the Stanislaus River found us wading through dense vegetation, and we also braved the Sierra snows to survey the south fork of the San Joaquin River.
Our international work in the Mekong River Basin also witnessed many exciting developments. We built and launched a website for the Mekong Fish Network, and also kicked off a pilot study for the MFN standard sampling program. This allowed us to work closely with several local fishers in Lao PDR, who we trained to record data on their fishing catches. In collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature, we tested the use of satellite tag technology on endangered Mekong Giant Catfish. We also joined the International Union for Conservation of Nature to establish fish conservation zones for the endangered Jullien’s Golden Carp, work that we will continue next year. A number of new staff members joined our team, and we made our first ever visit to Myanmar at the invitation of Fauna and Flora International to discuss potential collaborations for fish research and conservation. Here’s hoping that the new year will open many more doors!
We also continued our involvement with our local communities in 2013. This year saw our participation in two Salmon Festivals, four river and creek cleanups, and a visit to Sierra View Elementary School to speak at their Agricultural Day event. We also worked with River Partners to plant native species at two restoration events, joined their habitat tour, and even slogged through their Mud Blast fundraiser run! Interacting with our communities is one of the most rewarding aspects of our work, and we want to thank all of you for a great year. To continue our year-end reflections, be sure to check out our 2013 “stats,” including number of fish passages recorded, number of countries visited, and number of jars of jelly produced! We wish you all a Happy New Year as we look forward to more shared successes in 2014!