Scientists from WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife will be sampling in Lake Wenatchee starting this Monday March 19th. Sampling will be at night so don’t be surprised to see a few unusual lights.

For several years, Chelan County Natural Resources Department has worked with the community and fisheries management agencies to develop a plan to evaluate the food web dynamics in Lake Wenatchee. Partial funding has been secured to start this monitoring effort. Last summer, fisheries biologists began data collection in Lake Wenatchee, the Little Wenatchee, and the White River to monitor juvenile spring Chinook salmon. The results will help scientists understand the distribution, feeding behavior, growth, and risk of predation as these fish migrate through the Lake. This research also estimates which fish eat juvenile spring Chinook salmon. The data will provide an initial estimate for predation losses imposed on juvenile salmon by different predators. Future studies, if funded, will calculate the survival rate of spring Chinook as they migrate through the lake. Data is being collected by Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Geological Survey, and US Forest Service Research Station.

Starting Monday March 19th, scientists will be collecting fish samples from boats starting at dusk and work may continue until dawn depending on catch rates. Lakeside residents might see buoys on the water which are often blinking at night. Residents might also hear the generator on the boat that runs the electrofishing equipment and boat lights will be shining into the water to facilitate sampling efforts. We hope to host a community meeting to share the results and findings of this data collection effort once the preliminary analysis has been completed.

For more information about this project contact Jennifer Hadersberger at jennifer.hadersberger@co.chelan.wa.us or (509) 667-6682.

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