Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day three: in the creek! posted by Steve Fenchell

The morning began with a quick dash for coffee at the local Starbucks. After some light conversation about our personal teaching positions we headed out at approximately 8:30 am. We met with Kaitlyn and Chris from the SCA at the National Park, for the second day, to continue our monitoring of the pristine streams found in Prince William County.

Shortly after we drove to our first stream, which was a level two. We began electrofishing and exploring for more macroinvertebrates. We found many organisms, thanks to Gene helping us improve our techniques.

From this stream, we gathered for a brief lunch then we were quickly out to explore our next stream.

Mid-day we arrived at our boundary stream and were greeted by quite a potent odor...
After a short walk through a thorny "path", we turned around... thanks Gene... to find a reasonable opening to the stream. We were already suited up and began trekking through the slippery stream trying to balance ourselves and catch the many small fish getting zapped.

Splash!!! Jeanine took a spill, but luckily she was quickly back on her feet with the electroshocking pack. We found about 14 species of fish, switched out the waders and began digging for more macroinvertebrates. Many small critters, until Lee came across a Helgrammite that would give anyone the creepy crawlies... straight out of a 50's horror film.

After packing up, we headed back to the hotel to sort and ID. We were all able to preserve some representative inverts to show our students, then we cleaned up, and headed out for dinner. We decided on a small Thai restaurant, but were surprised with a "Closed Due to the Economy" sign. We walked to the Japanese restaurant next door, and were in for a great treat... Lee was the champ again as he caught some flying shrimp right in his mouth (others were close).

After dinner we decided to take a look at the used-book store, remember your 3-Rs! After a few great finds (I bought a collection of essays about global water issues and another Michael Pollan book) we headed back for a group discussion and a little social time!

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