Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spring steelhead surveys

April 28-May 1 2010

Spring steelhead surveys on the Ventura River were conducted last week by our biologist team. TRPA has been conducting steelhead studies in the Matilija/Ventura River basin since 2002 as part of the Matilija Dam project.

The work last week consisted of snorkel surveys of pools in the lower, middle, and upper reaches of the main stem Ventura River, as well as the main stem Matilija Creek. I snorkeled on Wednesday in the lower river.

This photo illustrates how a small fishing lure is used to estimate the maximum distance at which a diver would be able to distinguish a trout. Visibility was estimated at only about 4 ft in the lower pools, with water temperatures in the low 60 degrees F.

Although we did not see any steelhead on this day, lots of carp were documented, a relatively abundant non-native species found in the lower Ventura River.

The team worked their way up the river on Thursday and Friday, documenting juvenile trout in the middle and upper reaches of the river.

The Steelhead Population and Habitat Assessment in the Ventura River / Matilija Creek Basin studies are part of ongoing research effort to provide baseline data of the current population and advance the understanding of this species, which is endangered in Sou
thern California. This annual monitoring has documented continued productivity and the variability of fish presence within the watershed.

These spring surveys were sponsored by the 2009 Patagonia Salmon Run and the OneSurfFly fishing event last weekend.

The Matilija Coalition is proud to announce the success of our application to sponsor these studies through grant funding from the CA Dept of Fish and Game (DFG) Fisheries Restoration Grant Program through the NOAA Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. This funding will provide the resources for comprehensive Steelhead Population and Habitat Assessment in the Ventura River / Matilija Creek Basin in 2010-2011.