The Redheaded Blackbelt –
Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations considers Pikeminnow to be the most significant obstacle to salmon recovery in the Eel River. Reducing mature Pikeminnow population by 10-20% may decrease the salmonid kill rate by half. Yet in the 40 years since Pikeminnow entered the Eel River watershed, no one has found a reliable method to remove them.
To address the Pikeminnow conundrum, CalTrout’s Eel River Forum held a day long seminar on Pikeminnow science March 27th at Fortuna’s River Lodge Conference Center. Nine Pikeminnow experts presented the information they know, and the studies they are developing to learn more, to a packed room of river biologists and restorationists over a 4 hour period.
While Pikeminnow have been in the Eel River since the 1970’s, Josh Fuller, the NMFS Lead Biologist regulating the environmental impacts of the Potter Valley Project, said NMFS is still trying to develop an effective Adaptive Management Plan and, “I am just so excited that CalTrout is putting this on. We need help right now tackling this issue both in the [Potter Valley] Project Area and throughout the watershed.”
Pikeminnow are an invasive, predatory fish species in the Eel River, but Pikeminnow are native to other salmon bearing rivers of California such as the Sacramento and Russian Rivers.