BLM Colorado

BLM Colorado

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fisheries Interns Get Feet Wet


BLM Colorado's Kremmling Field Office partnered with the Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program this summer to provide work experience and training to two local students. This nationwide program sponsored by the American Fisheries Society is designed to stimulate career interest in fisheries science among young people from underrepresented groups. The program offers a paid summer internship and mentoring opportunity for high school juniors and seniors.

Through the program, two seniors from West Grand High School, Charlee Manguso and Yvette Garcia, engaged in a variety of projects at the Kremmling Field Office. The students measured stream flows and water quality, evaluated riparian health and fish habitats, studied stoneflies, placed radio transmitters in stocked fish at the Blue Valley Ranch, and collected cutthroat trout tissue samples for genetic testing.

West Grand High School seniors Yvette Garcia (left) and Charlee Manguso (right)

Field Office Hydrologist Paula Belcher served as the primary mentor for the interns, with several other specialists providing a diversity of experiences. Fisheries Biologist Tom Fresques taught the students about fisheries field work. Jon Ewert, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Fisheries Biologist, and Brien Rose, Fisheries Biologist for the Blue Valley Ranch, included the students in their field work, exposing them to work experiences with a state agency and a private ranch, respectively. In addition, Charlee and Yvette worked with BLM resource specialists to learn from them about their areas of focus, such as Ken Belcher for forestry, Katy Smith for recreation, Andy Gent for hydrology, Darren Long for wildlife, and Zach Hughes, a Natural Resource Specialist who also provided guidance.

Colorado River Valley Fisheries Biologist Tom Fresques and Hutton Junior Fisheries Intern Yvette Garcia conduct electroshocking for cutthroat trout. Eletcroshocking uses two electrically charged "paddles" to send a weak electric current through the water, which briefly stuns fish and allows survey crews to net them.

BLM Colorado's fisheries and riparian programs depend on a variety of organizations and a multitude of conservation partnerships, from the grass-roots to the national level, to join in the process of aquatic habitat conservation.

Story by Deanna Masterson, Public Affairs Specialist. Photos by Andy Gent and Kristen Doyle.