New Year, New Gear and a New Office

If given the chance to work with or for different Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices across the region, I say take the opportunity!

In January 2022, I began my career with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service as a biologist with the Carterville Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO). While there, I was part of the native fish habitat restoration branch and helped with invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

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projects. This meant that I helped with a wide variety of projects in both familiar and new areas of fisheries for me. One example of these efforts included sampling fish communities at Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Chautauqua National Refuge to assess the impact of water drawdowns on invasive carp populations. Another allowed me to collaborate with outside partners to create and establish a telemetry array in the Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 22 to gather fish movement data for a fish passage structure structure
Something temporarily or permanently constructed, built, or placed; and constructed of natural or manufactured parts including, but not limited to, a building, shed, cabin, porch, bridge, walkway, stair steps, sign, landing, platform, dock, rack, fence, telecommunication device, antennae, fish cleaning table, satellite dish/mount, or well head.

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This past fall, I had the opportunity to begin a new position at Columbia FWCO. I’m still a biologist, now working within the invasive carp program, experiencing new projects with new gear types. On my first day, I was introduced to my new coworkers, given a tour, then sent to Kentucky Lake to participate in the last week of field work for 2022. That week, I helped conduct night electrified paupier trawling across Kentucky Lake assess gizzard shad and Silver Carp populations. Since then, I have been assisting in the preparation and aging of Silver Carp otoliths from across the region to better understand population demographics across basins. Within my first few months here at Columbia FWCO, I’ve already experienced and learned new areas of fisheries and I’m excited to see what the 2023 field season brings. Region 3 does great work across its many FWCOs and I’m grateful to have experience with two of them.

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