The Plumas County Fish and Game Commission heard some updates from fish and frog experts during its Dec. 7 meeting.
Ken Roby, a hydrologist and representative of Trout Unlimited, spoke on a recent e-DNA study done on the Feather River basin.
The study takes a look at the environmental DNA within the rivers and lakes. The water samples collected by Roby and his crew were tested for DNA samples. He said they looked for seven different organisms that included disease pathogens, invasive species and different species of trout. Based on the results of the sampling, Trout Unlimited would be able to determine where the best place for restoration efforts could be.
Trout Unlimited is an organization that heads up conservation efforts for fresh water streams and rivers, and habitats for trout.
“One of the main reasons we wanted to do this study was to find the best place for restoration efforts,” said Roby. “It didn’t make sense for fish restoration in areas where pathogens are present.”
Roby said the DNA identification process expanded over four lakes and areas within the Feather River basin. He said they discovered more occurrences of brown trout than they expected, and no record of invasive species such as New Zealand mud snails.
“Overall I think it was a very good exercise,” said Roby. “The use of an e-DNA study in this project was very effective.”
Bull frogs bite the bullet
Collin Dillingham with the U.S. Forest Service provided an update on the bull frog in the Meadow Valley area. The Forest Service will begin eliminating the invasive species next year with nets and pellet guns. The bull frogs are becoming a problem especially for the Sierra Nevada and Foothill yellow legged frogs, as the bull frogs will eat them. Bull frogs eat ducklings, other frogs and insects, and, according to Dillingham, they are harming the ecosystem in the upper Feather River Watershed.
“This is just an overall restore-the-food-web type thing,” said Dillingham.
Dillingham said the Forest Service will be eliminating the bull frogs on public land, but the ponds and stream on private property could pose a problem for the project if bull frogs remain in those areas. The Forest Service will be partnering with private parties who will go to those private properties, upon the invitation of the property owner, and eliminate the bull frogs.
“We are working to find where other bullfrogs are,” said Dillingham, “which is why we are doing some of this outreach.”
Dillingham said the Forest Service is also open to volunteers who would like to participate in the elimination process. They would have to take a course on bullfrog identification to be eligible to help shoot them. Any person interested in volunteering or property owners interested in opening up their ponds for eradication should contact Dillingham at [email protected].