[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

NFC: Flier Newsletter Goes out tommorrow to @2500 folks...with pics


MANY APOLOGIES for not living up to the FLIER's name and tarnish
ing its reputation by being tardy.  However, the editor has been 
distracted and detoured by an insane fall survey schedule and a 
serious illness in the family.  Please bear with me and I am 
confident the next issue will be back on track.  This will be a 
quarterly issue and larger than usual to use up the backlog of 
material growing higher everyday.  Finally, always remember 
articles, announcements, discoveries, or anything related to fish 
and aquatic species are welcomed for upcoming issues.  Please 
"snail" mail or email them to the addresses provided on the last 
page of the newsletter.

PRESIDENT'S REPORT - Thanks to all of you who are inaugural 
members of the NFC.  We have done a great deal together.  We have 
navigated all the red tape that comes with a new nonprofit agen
cy.  Without the considerable efforts of our volunteers, we would 
never have come this far or this fast.  Once again, I thank you.  
While administrative work is important work, it is not why we are 
here.  We are here to support the conservation of native fishes 
in practical ways.  In this country, only a few dollars are spent 
and few people care about our nongame species.  As a result, 
common species are ignored and uncommon ones are written off.  We 
seek to change this.  We are taking a simple approach to these 
problems.  First, we are collecting and sharing information.  Our 
website, <http:// nativefish.interspeed.net/> is a clearing house 
for articles, life histories, photos, and the like.  This site is 
already one of the largest information sources about nongame 
native fishes on the web and is constantly growing.  With in
creased public awareness will come greater public involvement.  
Secondly, we are getting involved locally.  We are supporting 
projects like classroom aquariums, stream cleanups, or taking 
kids fishing or collecting.  When I say, "WE," I really mean - 
"YOU!"  When you see an opportunity to help locally - DO IT!  If 
you need equipment or expertise in some way or another, please 
ask!  I can be reached by email: <robertrice at juno_com>, or at 
2213 Prytania Circle Navarre, Florida 32566.  I'll be happy to 
help you get started.  You, however, must supply the drive and 
desire - SO ASK AWAY!  With our extensive conservation agenda, we 
have already taken on several projects.  This includes stocking a 
new aquarium at the Lowery Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida, setting up 
a blackbanded sunfish life history study in partnership with the 
Florida Fresh Water Fish Commission, and our Exotics Removal 
Program (ERP) harvests exotics from southern waterways, destroy
ing most, returning none, and selling the rest to aquarists.  The 
proceeds are used to fund other NFC conservation efforts.  We 
will also be setting up a special fund for conservation easements 
and land purchases.  In my opinion, this is the single best way 
to preserve our aquatic heritage by protecting our watersheds.  
As you can see, we have just begun to work locally. The job is 
immense and we will need many more to join us.  So get involved, 
give gift memberships to friends,  start a 4H or scout troop 
project.  Do what excites and is of interest to you.  Let us help 
you help your local waterways.  Whether a passive member or a 
project leader, you are important and needed. Your membership 
fees allow these grass roots projects to occur.  So any kind of 
help is beneficial.  Whether it's a dollar or an hour of your 
time, it all makes a difference.  Remember, we are here for one 
purpose - the conservation of our aquatic heritage.  As such, we 
are a niche organization.  Not that many people know or care much 
about darters, killies, pygmy sunfishes, and the like.  Someday, 
through our efforts, they will.  So be prepared because, often 
times, our efforts will be lonely ones.  It does not make them 
any less important or right.  It does however make them a bit 
more difficult.  Because of our special focus, we will never be 
as big as the "MAIN STREAM" conservation organizations.  That's 
just fine, we know our niche - those unloved little fish.  We are 
here to serve and to partner with any organization that shares 
common ground. For example, our land purchases will probably 
never be huge, however, if we partner with other conservation 
organizations, together we can help identify and preserve signif
icant land that benefits our fishes and the wildlife around it.  
Conservation does not occur in a vacuum.  One can not save elk 
without saving everything required to live and reproduce. That 
simply will be our approach. To act locally and partner national
ly.  Have a great Holiday and please take some time this season 
to spend with your family in the great outdoors.  Robert Rice, 
President, Native Fish Conservancy

TOPEKA SHINER TRICK OR TREAT - In late October, the Flier Editor 
joined biologists and professors from Iowa, Nebraska, and Minne
sota who met in Luverne, MN to collect in area streams and ex
change information about the Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) 
which has been proposed for federal endangered status.  Perhaps 
the most single important factor revealed during the two day 
excursion was the species' preferred habitat was not clear, 
flowing streams (often reported in literature), but seasonally 
flooded, turbid and mucky oxbows, old channels, and cut-offs.  
One awful looking site yielded over 200 specimens from one short 
seine haul.  Even more bizarre was the species' presence in a 
pond dug for livestock.  One participant remarked, "So that's why 
its also called the Shit Hole Shiner!"

KEEPING IN TOUCH AND CURRENT - The Native Fish Conservancy has a 
new website: <http://nativefish.interspeed.net> and is under the 
very talented direction of Tim Ayers (St. Paul, MN).  Web page 
highlights include articles on almost any topic regarding native 
fishes, large gallery of photographs, bulletin board to post 
announcements and inquiries, and a chat room which meets on 
Sundays at 8 PM CST.  There is also a general email list which 
automatically sends messages about native fishes to all subscrib
ers who can either reply or just read and discard.  To subscribe 
to this list, send an email to: <NFC at actwin_com>.  For those that 
do not have Internet access at home, check the public library.  
Many have computers dedicated solely for this purpose, and for 
the faint at heart, a very helpful and friendly staff who are 
happy to provide assistance.  Finally, images, articles, an
nouncements and advertisements are always welcomed.  Please 
contact Tim for submission formats and instructions at: 
<tayers@bridge. com>.

RARE FISH AND MUSSEL NEWS - The July/August 1998 Endangered 
Species Update reported: (1) Six new Gulf Sturgeon (Acipenser 
oxyrynchus desotoi) spawning areas have been located in the 
Choctawhatchee River system (AL&FL).  Previously, only two spawn
ing sites were known in the Suwannee River (FL).  The species 
preferred spawning habitat consisted of rivers with limestone 
bluffs or outcroppings of hard substrates.  
(2) Proposed for federal endangered status: The Devils River 
minnow (Dionda diaboli) was once the most abundant species in 
several Rio Grande tributaries (TX), but is now one of the rarest 
due to habitat loss and possibly predation from the introduced 
smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieui).  The Cowhead Lake tui 
chub (Gila bicolor vaccaceps) is known only from Cowhead Lake, CA 
where 98% of the species' range has been lost to irrigation and 
dams.  (3) Final Listings: Seven mussels have been listed as 
endangered or threatened in AL, GA, and FL.  Endangered mussels 
include the fat threeridge (Amblema neislerii), shinrayed pocket
book (Lampsilis subangulata), Gulf moccasinshell (Medionidus 
penicillatus), Ochlockonee moccasinshell (Medionidus simpsonia
nus), and oval pigtoe (Pleurobema pyriforme).  Threatened include 
the Chipola slabshell (Elliptio chipolaensis) and purple bank
climber (Elliptio sloatianus).  All these species have declined 
due to habitat loss from reservoirs, channel maintenance, and 

Exotics Removal Program to collect exotic fishes for sale to 
tropical fish wholesalers.  Collectors involved acknowledge the 
impact on established exotic populations, especially in open 
systems, is negligible, but their efforts have reaped a signifi
cant windfall in generating revenues to fund other NFC projects.  
These invaders are here to stay and many more will arrive in the 
future.  Perhaps it's time to view these fishes in a different 
light as another renewable and harvestable natural resource.  For 
more information on the program and a price list, contact Daryl 
Roche, 425 NE 12th Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL  33301

A NOTEWORTHY RECORD - In September 1998, NFC member, Mark Hove, 
was  looking in the St. Croix River (MN&WI) for potential fish 
hosts of the federally endangered winged mapleleaf (Quadrula 
fragosa) when he seined up a significant surprise - crystal 
darters (Crystallaria asprella). The locality, near St. Croix 
Falls, WI, represents the most northerly latitude reported for 
this species.  Unfortunately, the species was later ruled out as 
a suitable host for the winged mapleleaf.

EXOTIC FISHES WEBSITE - A never seeming end of non-native species 
are being introduced into North America and hundreds have estab
lished permanent populations.  The Nonindigenous Species Program 
in Gainsville, FL is tracking the spread of exotics and maintains 
a very informative website <http://nas.nfrcg. gov/>. Highlights 
includes a searchable database and charts illustrating the 
sources of introductions.   One feature which NFC members can 
play an active and helpful role in is electronically reporting 
occurrences of exotics whenever encountered.  However, voucher 
specimens or photographs provide an additional "body of proof" 
for local ichthyologists to verify identification or can be 
forwarded to Gainesville.  For more information on submitting 
"hard copy" data contact the Nonindigenous Fishes Program, USGS, 
Florida-Caribbean Science Center, 7920 NW 71st St., Gainesville, 
FL 32653.  Editor's Note: The program's staff recently completed 
a book on exotic fishes which should be available early next 
year.  Species accounts will include a range map showing states 
with native populations and nonnative occurrences, identifica
tion, means of introduction, status, and impacts. 

RECREATIONAL COLLECTOR'S LICENSE?  At present, many aquarists, 
students, and even some ichthyologists bypass the mountain of red 
tape associated with applying for and keeping scientific and 
educational collector's permits for a much simpler angling li
cense.  Several states have provisions for taking many nongame 
fishes as bait for personal, non-commercial purposes.  However, 
more often than not, the red flags go up in the faces of natural 
resources officials when the "C" word is used when requesting 
rules and regulations.  Collecting, as an activity, is perceived 
as being just too far out of the "main stream."  NFC President, 
Robert Rice, would like to change this prevalent attitude and has 
been conferring with biologists in the Freshwater Fish Commission 
and legislators in his home state of Florida.  So far, his pro
posals have been cordially received and they are providing help
ful input and assistance on those which show potential and are 
politically viable.

NATIVE NOT EXOTIC - That was the final word on crayfish collected 
this summer in the Mississippi River near the MN-IA line.  NFC 
members, Ray Katula (Genoa, WI), Josh Fye (Winona, MN), and the 
Flier Editor were slogging through the muddy sloughs in search of 
state listed fish when we collected several large, dark red 
crayfish.  Since, none of us  had never seen anything like this 
before, we assumed it was yet another exotic.  Specimens were 
sent to the MN Department of Natural Resources where biologists 
identified them as White River crayfish (Procambarus acutus 
acutus) which had only been found once before in Minnesota wa
ters.  Finally,  some good news for a change! 

STATE WEBSITES - Many state natural resource agencies maintain 
websites where vast amounts of environmental and recreational 
information are only a mouse click away.  Here are a few to check 
Florida = http://www.state.fl.us/gfc
Kansas = http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us
Minnesota = http://www.dnr.state.mn.us
Missouri = http://www.conservation.state.mo. us
Wisconsin = http://www.dnr.state. wi.us

GALLOPING GOBIES - The September 1998 Seiche reported the round 
goby (Neogobius melanostomus) was introduced into the Greats 
Lakes from ballast water of transoceanic ships and was first 
found in the St. Clair River near Detroit in 1990.  Reports of 
the alien invader from the Duluth - Superior Harbor (MN&WI) had 
been few and far between since the exotic's discovery in 1995.  
However, this summer two teenage anglers caught 83 in July near 
Barker's Island Marina.  The Minnesota Department of Natural 
Resources also reported a commercial fishermen using pound nets 
in the harbor caught several gobies during April and May.  The 
Seiche article included discouraging news that, as of September, 
the invaders have now spread to all the Great Lakes when gobies 
appeared in Lake Ontario, and this year was also the first time 
gobies had been reported in two North American inland lakes.  On 
yet another front, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported 
1998 surveys found gobies in the Little Calumet River and Cal Sag 
Channel which is 14 miles from the species point of introduction 
in southern Lake Michigan and a two mile advance downstream since 
the 1997 surveys.  This expanding population is of concern be
cause it has the potential of spreading downstream to the Missis
sippi River. 

BUY A BOOK AND SUPPORT THE NFC - Amazon.com is an Internet book 
dealer which carries an incredible array of topics on fishes and 
many other nature related subjects as well.  Ordering is easy.  
Simply access the Amazon web page from the NFC link.  Use the 
searchable database to find a specific book or browse several 
under a topic.  Remember, NFC receives a percentage of every sale 
(including videos and music CDs), so fill up that shopping cart!

A SECOND CHANCE FOR SURVIVAL?  Rumors continue to persist that 
the blue pike (Stizostedion vitreum glaucum) may still exist in 
lakes of Minnesota, Tennessee, Ontario, and Quebec.  Long before 
extinction was believed to have occurred around 1970 in the 
eastern Great Lakes, both fisheries agencies and anglers may have 
played Johnny Appleseed and spread this cousin of the walleye to 
inland lakes.  For decades, anglers have reported catching blue 
cast walleyes and DNA samples have been analyzed from many suspi
cious specimens.  Unfortunately, tissue from preserved blue pike 
specimens cannot be used as a match, but DNA samples have been 
collected from the mucous on scales  removed for age and growth 
studies during the 1940s and 1950s.  Meanwhile, other biologists 
are searching for archived and often misplaced fish stocking 
records which just might lead them to the real thing.  

AUTHORS WANTED - NFC is holding an amateur writer's contest which 
is open to  members who subscribe to the NFC email list and have 
not published anything within the last 36 months.  Topics are 
limited to species' life histories, primary and secondary school 
programs, and general conservation projects.  Please no editori
als or political essays.  Readable and factual articles will be 
added to the NFC website.  The Writer's Contest Team will judge 
the articles and select the winners.  Non-members are welcomed, 
but will need to submit a $2 entry fee.  Articles will be accept
ed through March 15, 1999 and can be sent on disk to Robert Rice 
or emailed directly to the NFC list at NFC at actwin_com.  Prizes 
include: Three third prizes of a 1 year membership plus a Tomel
leri print of the winner's choice.  The second prize includes all 
of the above plus a new filter.  And the first prize includes all 
of above plus $25 and assistance to get the winner's article 
published in Tropical Fish Hobbyist or Freshwater and Marine 

BOUNTY HUNTERS - The November 1998 Field & Stream reported a 
bounty program has been in place since 1991 to reduce the popula
tion of native northern squawfish (Ptychocheilus oregonensis) in 
the Columbia and Snake Rivers (ID, OR, WA).  Anglers are paid $3-
$5 for each squawfish and a few of the best make $12,000-$15,000 
a year.  Research has shown this species is a major predator on 
young endangered salmon and steelhead.  The Bonneville Power 
Association (BPA) used the data to successfully lobby for the 
program as a stopgap measure until decisions can be made regard
ing BPA hydropower dams which have been blamed for the lion's 
share of losses in anadromous fishes.  The squawfish's name is 
also under attack by some Native Americans who find it offensive.  
In 1999, the name will be officially changed to northern pikemin
now.  Kind of loses something in the translation!

ADOPT AN AQUARIUM - One simple, easy, and enjoyable way to turn 
kids on to native fishes is setting up an aquarium in a classroom 
or nature center.  No need to be extravagant when a small ten 
gallon aquarium will suffice.  Besides learning about natives, 
kids can also be responsible caretakers helping with feeding and 
maintenance.  The Flier Editor maintains three aquariums in an 
elementary school where the kids notice every little thing that 
goes on in the underwater world, and in one classroom, elections 
decided who would be the lucky one to take care of the fish.  
Finally, if a lack of equipment or expertise is an issue, contact 
Robert Rice, 2213 Prytania Circle, Navarre, FL 32566. 

RESEARCH PROPOSAL TEASER - The Flier Editor has two darter popu
lations in mind for future NFC funded research studies.  The 
first is a johnny darter (Etheostoma nigrum) population, which at 
this time, appears restricted to the Artichoke River in St. Louis 
County, MN.  Specimens exhibit a unique and very distinctive 
brown blotching primarily from the chin to the abdomen.  The 
second is the only known Minnesota lake population of rainbow 
darters (E. caeruleum).  Larry Page at the Illinois Natural 
History Survey has examined specimens of both species and agrees 
they look odd when compared to most other populations.  He de
scribes the johnny's darker appearance as the "northern effect" 
which may be caused from matching the darker substrates present 
in the streams or an effort to absorb more heat from sunlight.  
The rainbows possessed bands in the dorsal fin that were unlike 
those of most populations, but the most interesting trait was the 
variation in the banding exhibited in this single collection.  
Behaviorally, the rainbows are also different, Ray Katula (Genoa, 
WI) spawned the "lakers" in 1998 and he observed they act more 
like Iowa darters (E. exile) in showing a distinct aversion to 
any type of current.  Larry's final comments on the oddballs 
were, "Until someone looks at the geographic variation over the 
range of the species, we won't know how odd they really are."

LOST PRINTS?  A few inquiries have come in from members who paid 
for postage, but never received their free Joe Tomelleri fish 
print when joining the NFC.  If you are one of the lost, please 
send your top three choices to the Flier Editor.  Once again, the 
choices were paddlefish, rosefin shiner, redbelly dace, longear 
sunfish, and redfin darter.  We apologize for the inconvenience. 

THE JOURNEY BEGINS - In August, NFC received its first of six 
organizational scientific collector's permit for a life history 
and propagation study of the bluehead shiner (Pteronotropis 
hubbsi) in Arkansas.  The species has a small range in the cen
tral U.S. and its life history is poorly known.  Results of this 
study will be reported on the NFC website and it is hoped these 
endeavors are only the beginning of many to come.

EDITORIAL: LAND ACQUISITIONS - Should the NFC be directly in
volved in purchasing land to protect aquatic habitats?  There are 
some very important things to consider.  In streams, the entire 
watershed upstream of the preserve would also have to be protect
ed either through purchase or easements.  One factor often over
looked is streams serve as transport channels of not only water, 
but also sediment and pollution.  Even in headwater streams this 
could be a monumental task and financially prohibitive.  Protect
ing only a parcel is not good enough.  Spring habitats face 
another threat beyond the immediate vicinity - irrigation and 
groundwater contamination.  Perhaps projects should be scaled 
down and restricted to small closed basin lakes and ponds, but 
still after purchase, sites will require management and monitor
ing.  Cooperative projects with government agencies and organiza
tions have been mentioned before and are likely the best and only 
way to go.  Experience gained from these masters of the profes
sion will reveal if the NFC really has what it takes to become a 
land baron. 

FEMINIZED FISH - The September-October 1998 River Crossings 
reported male fish studied downstream of sewage treatment plants 
in 8 UK rivers had feminized reproductive tracts.  Culprit chemi
cals could not be identified due to the mix found in sewage 
effluent, however, suspects include pesticides, cosmetics, and 
plastics.  These products contain chemicals called endocrine 
disrupters which mimic estrogen and block testosterone.  This 
study's significance and also concern is the first documented 
occurrence of widespread sexual disruption in wild vertebrate 

FISH QUIZ - NFC member, Karen Kobey is a naturalist for Hennepin 
Parks (MN) at the Coon Rapids Dam Visitor Center.  She has de
veloped a short quiz to test our fish IQ.  How well can you do? 

1.  Which two fish are closely related?
	A. walleye, B. bluegill, C. catfish, D. sauger

2.  Fish use this to detect vibrations in the water:
	A. tail fin, B. nostrils, C. lateral line, D. gills

3.  Johnny darter refers to.
	A. a lure, B. a species of minnow, C. a species of perch.

4. Which fish eats zebra mussels?
	A. freshwater drum, B. lamprey, C. northern pike.

5. What family contains the most species in Minnesota?
	A. sunfish, B. sucker, C. pike, D. minnow.

6. Which of the following are not native to Minnesota?
	A. smallmouth bass, B. carp, C. brown trout, D. rainbow 

7. Fish are aged by their
	A. fins, B. bones, C. scales, D. B&C.

ANSWERS: 1. A&D, 2. C, 3. C, 4. A, 5. D, 6. B,C&D, 7. D

MINNESOTA'S AQUATIC EXOTICS - Fortunately, harsh winters will 
assure Minnesota will never become the permanent home to a flood 
of exotic fishes like Florida has. However, there is concern what 
impact exotic temperate fishes may have on the native species.  
The MN DNR has a new publication to address these issues: Nonin
digenous Fish in Inland Waters: Response Plan to New Introduc
tions - Special Publication No. 152.   Species considered poten
tial invaders include ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus), white perch 
(Morone americana), round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), rudd 
(Scardinius erythrophthalamus), and three-spine stickleback 
(Gasterosteus aculeatus).  Sections include a brief account of 
each species, response plan, suggested collecting gears, and 
descriptions of fish toxicants commonly used for control meas
ures.  The publication is free and available from MDNR Fisheries, 
Box 12, 500 Lafayette Rd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

GOING AGAINST THE FLOW - The October 1998 Field&Stream reported 
why many fish instinctively orientate their bodies into the 
current.  The behavior is called rheotaxis and fish do it for 
different purposes.  Trout use it to more efficiently catch food 
items coming downstream while minnows in still pools cruise about 
in a school,  but when entering current immediately disbands to 
orientate individually into the flow. 

RESISTANCE IS FUTILE - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 
Fisheries Resources Office in La Crosse, WI has been conducting 
an ongoing studying of paddlefish in the Wisconsin, Mississippi, 
and Chippewa Rivers.  The results to date have provided invalu
able information on migration patterns and scores of occurrence 
records for the Minnesota Natural Heritage Program's database.  
In September 1998, the Flier Editor was invited to ride along 
with a survey crew on the Chippewa River near Carryville, WI.  A 
large mesh gillnet was set in a deep hole, but before dropping 
off the last float, several upwellings appeared on both sides of 
the net.  One fisheries biologist casually remarked, "PADDLE-
FISH."  In two hours of effort, 13 "spoonbills" were captured, 
weighed, measured, and first timers, tagged in the jaw, and also, 
in the rostrum with a magnetically coded wire.  The most amazing 
and unexpected reaction to this ordeal was total passivity.  
These gentle giants merely rolled over and "played dead" in the 
nets and again mustered only a half-hearted wiggle or two when 
lifted into the livewell.  The other welcomed surprise was the 
absence of body slime which made them a pure pleasure to handle.  
Overall, a very unique and memorable day.  Can't wait to go 

FLESH EATING AQUARIUMS - The MayJune 1998 Health reported the 
Royal Sussex County Hospital in England has treated a "rash" of 
stubborn skin infections which stumped the specialists.  However, 
when it was finally realized all the patients were hobby aquar
ists, doctors identified the culprit pathogen as Mycobacterium 
marinum.  The cure calls for two months of antibiotics, but 
prevention is preferable by wearing rubber gloves in the aquari

wrote up the following "Commandments" for collecting and fishing 
on private lands.  These are only suggestions, but using them can 
go a long way in gaining and keeping access to a favorite stream 
or lake. 

1. Obtain permission prior to using private property.

2. Leave gates the way you found them.

3. Unless otherwise notified, drive only on marked roads.

4. Report any damage or illegal activities.

5. Invite the landowner to join you.

6. Observe the landowner's request regarding areas that are not 
to be entered.

7. Say good-bye when leaving.

8. Always be courteous to the landowner and remember you are a 
guest on their property. 

HEART - FRIENDLY FISH - The June 1998 Seiche reported many Lake 
Superior fishes (e.g., Siscowet or "fat" lake trout and lake 
herring) have fairly high levels of omega 3 oils which helps them 
survive in cold water by lubricating the membranes around the 
fish's cells.  These oils can also reduce the risk of heart 
disease in humans and work a lot like aspirin.  The discovery has 
created a new and booming business in fish oil capsules for most 
who cannot eat a pound of fatty fish per day.

A PERSISTENT EXOTIC - Kokanee salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) is a 
much smaller landlocked form of the sockeye salmon which is not 
native east of the Rocky Mountains.  Sockeye stockings in the 
Great Lakes basin have had little success. However, very limited, 
but reproducing populations persist in Drew Creek and Florence 
Lake (Langlade County) and Upper Bass Lake (Menominee County) of 
northeastern Wisconsin.  Kokanee were believed introduced in the 
late 1950s, but none have been reported anywhere else in the Wolf 
River system.  The impact Kokanee have on the native communities 
is not known, but introductions in western lakes and reservoirs 
have radically altered zooplankton composition and growth rates 
of game fishes.  One final fish note.  The first recognized 
Wisconsin state record for the species was in 1982 and weighed a 
whopping six ounces. 

THE INFAMOUS EXPLODING WHALE - Yes, a whale is a mammal, but this 
is a fishy tale to tell nevertheless.  A large, dead whale washed 
up on an Oregon beach where is continued to rot and really smell.  
All levels of government attempted to disown responsibility for 
dealing with the messy matter, but the highway department came 
forward with the solution of a half a ton of dynamite to blow it 
to pieces back into the ocean.  A news crew was on hand to film 
the event along with hundreds of spectators.  When the charges 
went off, no one expected the shower of blood, blubber, and body 
parts to go inland and rain down on the spectators.  No injuries 
were reported, but some vehicles were heavily damaged from fall
ing whale blubber.  A short video segment is available for your 
viewing pleasure on the Internet at: 
<http://www.perp.com/whale/>.  It takes a long time to download, 
but worth the wait! 

PUTTING BACK THE PISCES - In 1989, Knife Lake and River (Kanabec 
County, MN) were treated with rotenone to remove carp from the 
system.  Unfortunately, over 40 native fishes, the mudpuppy, and 
now it appears, most of the mussel fauna also had to be sacri
ficed.  For almost a decade, many game and nongame fishes have 
been successfully reintroduced.  The MN DNR Fisheries office in 
Hinckley reestablished the shorthead redhorse (Moxostoma macrole
pidotum) early in the restocking efforts, but the golden (M. 
erythrurum), and silver (M. anisurum) rehorse never took hold.  
In April, 1998, just over 30 gravid adults of each species were 
stocked again and it is hoped juveniles will begin appearing in 
future surveys.  The final group to tackle will be the mussels 
and surveys began this year in the only untreated reach of the 
Knife river to determine what the historical mussel community 
likely contained.   

TAIL END: WASTED EFFORTS - The northern redbelly dace (Phoxinus 
eos) is common as dirt in Minnesota, but ironically listed 
threatened just across the border in South Dakota where some 
unusual measures were taken to "save" the species.  The Nature 
Conservancy (TNC), Ducks Unlimited (DU), and South Dakota Game, 
Fish, and Parks Department cooperatively constructed an impound
ment on the TNC Crystal Springs Preserve near the town of Gary.  
Because a threatened species inhabited the stream where the dam 
was being constructed, a minnow fish ladder was incorporated into 
the design.  The Flier Editor visited the preserve in April of 
1990 hoping there would be some water flowing through the ladder 
and just maybe see a few fish actually making the "climb," but 
the spillway was bone dry because the impoundment was far from 
full.  The metal fish ladder made two switch backs to clear the 
dam's height of about four feet and had a series of alternating 
baffles in the channel to reduce the flow's velocity and also 
create eddies where fish could rest during the ascent.  I regret
ted that I couldn't see it in action and the preserve had no 
staff at that time.  However, I did notice a farmer working on 
his fence line a short distance away and thought it sure wouldn't 
hurt to ask.  He grinned at my questions and eventually broke 
into a chuckle.  He found the efforts to save the minnow not only 
pure folly, but also very funny.  However, he saved the best for 
last when he added, "And the darn thing doesn't even work!"  
Puzzled, I asked him to explain.  He recalled with delight how 
the surveyors took their precise measurements and the inspectors 
kept a watchful eye on construction, but still the entire struc
ture was not level.  When water does run over the dam, it's on 
the wrong side and the ladder is always high and dry.  I could 
only sum it up as the best intentions gone awry. 

Robert Rice
Help Preserve our Aquatic Heritage join the NFC
email us at NFC at actwin_com or  Sunfishtalk at listbot_com
website  http://nativefish.interspeed.net/