Lincoln City, Ore. — April 30 marked the end of another successful year of fish trapping on Schooner Creek, a tributary of the Siletz River near Lincoln City. The operation of the Schooner Creek fish trap is a collaborative effort between the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the US Forest Service (USFS) that began in 1987.
Volunteers play a vital role in the success of the project by performing much of the important work that takes place at the fish trap. During the 2006/2007 season, 16 members of the Newport based Long View Hills Fishing Club, a representative of the Mid-Coast Chapter of the Assoc. of the NW Steelheaders and some ‘independent’ volunteers shouldered the responsibility of operating the trap beginning back in November 2006.
“Without this group of volunteers, the data would be almost impossible to collect,” says James Ray, ODFW Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program Biologist for the Mid Coast who coordinates the project. “We’re really lucky to have such motivated volunteers in the community who are willing to commit so much time to long duration projects like this one. The work they do at the trap is really valuable to ODFW and I know I can rely on the volunteers to operate the trap come rain or shine and collect accurate data.”
Each fish is carefully netted, identified for species and gender and checked for hatchery fin-clips, the data from each fish is recorded and entered into an ODFW database. Volunteers are also responsible for ensuring the trap is working properly, which, after a storm, often means clearing several feet of gravel out of the trap.
Over the last 20 years the Schooner Creek trap has provided ODFW with valuable long term monitoring data, which is essential for the management of fisheries resources in the Siletz Watershed. The trap records the annual abundance of Coho salmon and Steelhead trout in the creek and is a valuable tool for monitoring straying of hatchery fish within the Siletz Basin.
The Schooner Creek trap will be undergoing some important maintenance work in late June so that it’s continual operation is ensured. The funding is courtesy of the ODFW Restoration and Enhancement Program and is just one of the many projects that the program supports throughout the state.
If members of the public are interested in volunteering for this project or learning about other volunteer opportunities with ODFW in the Central Coast area they should contact James Ray at (541) 867 0300 ext. 253.