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Potential ISA stream monitoring project


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As 2006 approaches and the deadline for the ISA grant program bears down upon us, now is the time to begin applying for supplemental funds to enhance ISA conservation activities. One such program being considered would be a scientific angling and monitoring program based on ISA volunteerism. To gauge it's feasibility we need input about the level of interest.

 

The project concept is based on the angler diary program (such as Paul T has been collecting) and citizen stream monitoring programs such as RiverWatch or Izaak Walton's Save our Streams. The focus would be on sites where stream restoration projects have been slated or important fisheries are found. There would be substantial input and guidance from state agencies such as the IDNR.

 

The strength of an ISA program compared to other river monitoring programs would be that we are on the river more often than most other people and therefore have the potential to collect some fairly detailed data sets. Ideally too, the program would be FUN. We would look forward to doing it and we would find it easy to maintain the quality standards of the data we collect. The important question here is, “What would we consider fun and worthwhile enough to do.”

 

Input from any source of any type would be valued here. The primary questions are:

 

1. Would we be interested in working on a stream monitoring program together?

2. What kind of monitoring would we be willing to do (listed below)?

3. What would we be willing to do that is not listed here?

 

For instance, would we be willing to:

 

1. Keep a detailed angler's diary?

2. Take 1/2 an hour from regular fishing trips to fish to use a specific fishing method and record the results?

3. Spend a half hour angling with specific methods at a specific site?

4. Take a day or more a year to collect detailed data sets at one or more sites?

5. Keep a photographic archive of specific sites?

6. Attend a training session in fish identification and stream site monitoring?

7. Engage in follow up training and quality control initiatives to ensure data quality?

8. Keep online diaries and post data online?

 

Depending on the level of interest, we might collect stream monitoring data including some of the following:

 

1. Fish surveys

a. angling surveys

b. kick net surveys

c. electrofishing (supervised by the IDNR)

2. Invertebrate surveys

3. Substrate and habitat characterization

4. Bedload monitoring

5. Erosion monitoring

6. Monitor algae blooms

7. Riparian cover characterization

8. Mapping and quantifying fish nest sites

9. Photographic archives

 

Some of the types of analyses this data might help include:

 

1. Comparing IDNR electrofishing survey results to angling results in a particular stretch of river.

2. Scientifically monitor the effects of stream restoration projects on angling success.

3. Scientifically monitor favorite fishing sites for changes due to human disturbance.

4. Compare the effectiveness of specific angling techniques, sites and habitats.

 

What is our level of interest?

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Sounds pretty industrious. If we could get a high level of volunteer involvement/commitment it sounds like a very cool project. How many sites are we talking about? Obviously, individual involvement would depend on site location. If one site happened to be on the Kish, I'd be extremely involved. If all the sites were forty or fifty miles away, I'd be less involved.

 

I already keep a diary so that's a no brainer for me. (this would force me to be more diligent) As far as the other "would you be willing"s, yes. I know I spend a lot of time on the river, so why not take advantage of that time and put it to good use! (Not that fishing is NOT putting it to good use)

 

Sounds like fun to me.

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Sounds pretty industrious.

 

We wouldn't have to do it all. We would want to focus on the things that work for us.

 

I already keep a diary so that's a no brainer for me. (this would force me to be more diligent) As far as the other "would you be willing"s, yes. I know I spend a lot of time on the river, so why not take advantage of that time and put it to good use! (Not that fishing is NOT putting it to good use)

 

Sounds like fun to me.

 

Awesome, jude. If this fits cleanly with the kind of thing you do anyway, that's exactly what we have in mind. As a group, we can forward that data to people who can benefit the resource from that information.

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Guest rich mc

wouldnt it be better to find out what information is needed , then go after the anglers to do it. i like the idea of monitoring spawning areas and water temps. dom labrose mentioned this may be important in the next few years .

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wouldnt it be better to find out what information is needed , then go after the anglers to do it. i like the idea of monitoring spawning areas and water temps. dom labrose mentioned this may be important in the next few years .

 

Rich, the current list of potential data sets is based on discussions with IDNR biologists along those lines. I think a spawning survey would be a terrific project.

 

However, the intention here is also to build something that will last, and will be adaptable and useful to many settings. To do that, we need some idea about what we're willing to do. And, while working cooperatively and with the guidance of state biologists will be important, we should also maintain control of our own agenda to a degree. There are large categories of information that some biologists don't even realize is important yet. New things are being found out every day.

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So are we talking about one specific site, or several scattered sites? I think that will determine who gets involved and to what extent.

 

Chime in, guys!

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Depending on location, I would be interested in participating in any/all of those activities. I don;t have a digital camera, so number 5 would have to be with old-fashioned film.

 

1, 2, and 3 could be done on a fishing outing. I usually spend a little time trying something different anyway.

 

4. could probably be scheduled conservation outings/activities.

 

6 and 7 are very interesting. I'd really like to learn more about those subjects.

 

8. Would this be on the web site?

 

For instance, would we be willing to:

 

1. Keep a detailed angler's diary?

2. Take 1/2 an hour from regular fishing trips to fish to use a specific fishing method and record the results?

3. Spend a half hour angling with specific methods at a specific site?

4. Take a day or more a year to collect detailed data sets at one or more sites?

5. Keep a photographic archive of specific sites?

6. Attend a training session in fish identification and stream site monitoring?

7. Engage in follow up training and quality control initiatives to ensure data quality?

8. Keep online diaries and post data online?

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So are we talking about one specific site, or several scattered sites? I think that will determine who gets involved and to what extent.

 

Chime in, guys!

 

The future of a program like this would depend on the level of interest. By necessity it would start small and have the potential to evolve. Certainly the needs for data are unlimited.

 

The first project that could use this kind of input might be a bank restoration/lunker structure installation being planned in the Northwest region (Apple River drainage). That's one site.

 

However, the potential for this approach is unlimited. With enough participation, anyone throughout the state could contribute by working in systems close to them if the level of interest were high enough.

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Al, at this point one activity that has been suggested by the DNR is a fish collection and ID demonstration/training.

 

There are also some simple stream monitoring techniques that could be easily taught. Pebble counts (measures siltation), streambed transects (measures movement of bedload), densityometer readings (measures canopy cover), photographic records, macroinvertebrate diversity measures...

 

...quite a bit is possible.

 

And yes, I'd like to see some of it online. The first priority would be to provide data to the biologists, but we could use some of these things on our own site.

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You want feedback, so I'll give mine.

An important aspect in monitoring streams would be to gauge what effect invasive species has on small streams and the smallmouth that inhabit them.

We could start with the ones the DNR deposits in them for sport.

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You want feedback, so I'll give mine.

An important aspect in monitoring streams would be to gauge what effect invasive species has on small streams and the smallmouth that inhabit them.

We could start with the ones the DNR deposits in them for sport.

 

I think we can handle that.

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Does PRN, the state or anyone else still offer training sessions?

 

Dan Sollee has offered some help if we pick up the Clear Creek project.

 

I've done all of those data collections, so I'm planning to do the majority of the training.

 

I don't know if PRN still offers training.

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Some good ones....

 

2. Invertebrate surveys

 

5. Erosion monitoring

 

6. Monitor algae blooms

 

I think there might be two ways to approach these items in regard to the volunteer aspect.

 

One might be to pick projects that are easy to do (time wise and consistency wise) and can be incorporated into a guy's fishing day and be done by one individual seeing that a lot of guys fish alone.

 

The other might be to set an day (or multiple days) on the calendar where we meet at a location with a bunch of guys and complete a morning project such as an invertebrate survey.

 

If we could pick two types of projects and give info (instructions) on each, then a guy could pick what suits his time and commitment.

 

A lot of these are hard for the regular guy to choose based on the above info.

 

For example, how many times during the year does #5 have to be done? In how many locations and with what equipment? Without that info I (and probably others) couldn't make a full commitment.

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Interested, especially for the DuPage. Could you get the wading ban in Naperville and DCFP lifted for me???

 

Awesome. And probably, yes.

 

....One might be to pick projects that are easy to do (time wise and consistency wise) and can be incorporated into a guy's fishing day and be done by one individual seeing that a lot of guys fish alone.

 

The other might be to set an day (or multiple days) on the calendar where we meet at a location with a bunch of guys and complete a morning project such as an invertebrate survey.

 

Exactly!

 

If we could pick two types of projects and give info (instructions) on each, then a guy could pick what suits his time and commitment.

 

Assume for the moment, that there would be the 2 kinds of sampling you describe. One would require between 10-30 minutes of a regular fishing trip. The other would be a half day or so with several people being involved.

 

A lot of these are hard for the regular guy to choose based on the above info.

 

For example, how many times during the year does #5 have to be done? In how many locations and with what equipment? Without that info I (and probably others) couldn't make a full commitment.

 

Number 5 could be done with an ordinary digital or film camera once a year by going to exactly the same spots and sighting along exactly the same transects. One photo might be enough to be useful. Ten would be awesome.

 

The purpose is to record changes in bank conditions, land use, anthropogenic intrusions, vegetation and stream channel condition. Suppose for instance a stream bank restoration had been put in place. Over the years, the photographs would tell the story of how it had fared. Conversely, if a bank was experiencing erosion due to cattle grazing or construction or someone put in illegal structures, the photographic record would tell the tale (and might provide the leverage to get the problem fixed).

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I fished the Apple five or six times last year. If that site is chosen, it would give me an excuse to go there more often! The question is: are there enough ISA guys who fish the Apple often enough for this to work?

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I fished the Apple five or six times last year. If that site is chosen, it would give me an excuse to go there more often! The question is: are there enough ISA guys who fish the Apple often enough for this to work?

 

That's what we're trying to figure out....and I think some of these data sets should definitely be our "favorite" spots.

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