Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Want to get your hands on some fish?

Peter Moyle holds a native pikeminnow netted as part of a recent fish trapping event along Putah Creek. Jacob Katz/Courtesy photo

The Putah Creek Council invites local residents to meet the fish and the biologist who helped save Putah Creek. A family-friendly hands-on fish surveying event is planned for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 9, and is part of PCC’s Watershed Wonders fundraiser series.

The event will be led by UC Davis professor Peter Moyle, who will take participants to several spots along Putah Creek at UCD’s Russell Ranch for the morning’s activities.

In the late 1980s, a drought caused Solano County to divert all flows out of Putah Creek for human uses. Putah Creek Council and many collaborators sued and eventually won protections for the creek’s water level.

Those protections are based on the California Fish and Game code, which makes fish conservation downstream of dams mandatory. Moyle’s long-term studies of Putah Creek’s fishes helped show that the creek’s native fish populations were viable and unique.

Putah Creek hosts many unusual and interesting native fish species, including pikeminnow, tule perch, Sacramento sucker and sculpins as well as a number of non-native fish such as bass and catfish.

Participants will have a chance to learn about and participate in several fish surveying methods (including beach seining and electrofishing) and will have the chance to hold and examine various fish before they are released back to the creek.

In addition to the hands-on activities, Moyle will discuss how the interactions of native and non-native fish shape the aquatic ecosystems of the local creek. Participants are invited to bring transparent plastic containers and aquarium nets if they wish to collect bugs and small fish to look at.

Moyle is a professor of fish biology in the department of wildlife, fish and conservation biology and associate director of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC Davis. He has studied the ecology and conservation of freshwater and estuarine fishes in California for more than 40 years, focusing on the interactions between native and alien species.

Tickets for the Putah Creek fish survey and seining event are $35 for Putah Creek Council members and $50 for the general public. Tickets for children (ages 5-13) are $5 each, with a limit of two children per responsible adult. They may be purchased online at www.putahcreekcouncil.org.

Participants who are unable to register online can sign up by calling Katherine Holmes at (530) 753-5592.

Participants should be prepared to wade in the creek, wear water shoes and shorts, and bring a towel, sunscreen and sun hat.

In addition to the fish trapping event, upcoming Watershed Wonders activities include a half-day of fly fishing for two people with local guide Greg Bonovich. Participants may set their own date. The fee is $350.

The Putah Creek Council is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Putah Creek. Its Watershed Wonders fundraiser series explores the people and places that make Putah Creek and its community special.



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