We went out to the Flint yesterday since it's the new moon, so time to driftnet. The original plan was to go out today, but there was a big threat of rain (it's raining now) and also the river was probably lower than last Saturday with no rain in-between. It was a mild day, and the river was indeed about 6 inches lower than last Saturday which made moving around much easier. We were able to set up both nets in the places that we usually put them. The first picture is my standard view towards the bridge, showing lower water level.
Alex and Doug are carefully picking their way back across the river with the net from our "station B" on the far side of the river.
Jeremy and Brian compare strange wader tricks as we prepare to leave for the day.
Alex, Jeremy and Doug wash out a net, trying to flush out trapped drifting animals into a peanut butter jar using as little water as possible. If done right, it's kind of like having concentrated Flint River water.
Also, Brian and I went to the Alabama Imperiled Fishes meeting at Lake Guntersville State Park on Wednesday, hosted by Steve Rider of the state DCNR. 20-plus people were there, sharing experiences and thoughts about various vulnerable species in the state. Bernie Kuhajda from Tuscaloosa talked about his findings with the newly-rediscovered trispot darter, which are very different than what has been found with the Tuscumbia darter - both are spring run species, but the trispots vary genetically from stream to stream while the Tuscumbias vary little across their range. Mike Sandel, also from Tuscumbia, talked about the Alabama pygmy sunfish that faces multiple threats as the city of Huntsville expands to the west into its spring habitat. The species seems to be stable in three of its springs, and in trouble at the other eight or so springs that make up this ecosystem, due to human land uses. Various speakers spoke about finding more Cahaba shiners in various parts of the Cahaba River system than might have been feared, given that the species is listed as Threatened under the ESA. The meeting is an informal way to hear and share about species facing threats in the state, and what is being done to help them and study them. It may be combined next January with similar meetings that have been held for crayfish and mollusks, kind of a one-stop solution since many of the same people attend these meetings.