Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
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own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
#14 at the Tribal sucker hatchery
Larry Dunsmoor, Tribal Biologist: This is our hatchery facility. We are standing on our water quality lab. We are in the process of… Well, let’s see… Let me give you a little history. When I came here in 1988, efforts had just gotten underway, I don’t know, they were probably a year or year and a half into trying to figure out how to raise Lost River and Short nose Suckers. It turns out they were really quite difficult to figure out how to raise in a fish hatchery setting, and one thing led to another, and over the years we were able to move from the ancient old lumber mill building that was down below the road and was destroyed in the earthquake up to this facility. So, over the years, we were able to figure out how to raise the fish finally, after a lot of effort, and I can tell you a little bit more about that when we go up there. But in this part of the facility, we built in this lab space, and we are in the process of, a multiyear process of slowly developing more and more capability in here, and within a year or a year and a half, we hope to be fully self-servicing in terms of our ability to analyze nutrient samples and basically the whole suite of water quality samples that are so frequently taken by all kinds of folks in the basin. We’re looking at a state-of-the-art automated water quality analyzer that we’ve been able to obtain grant monies for. So, we’re pretty excited about it, and we’ve been working with the National Water Quality Lab for US geological survey out of Denver. They have been real helpful for us, and they are going to help us get the thing set up, and there is sort of a rotating water quality lab, quality control thing that is set up among many labs where they are periodically sending you unknowns, you know, to run your tests on, and then to maintain your certification, you have to, obviously, analyze them properly, and so there is sort of a… So, anyway we’re pretty excited about that.
This facility gives us the opportunity to work properly with other folks. Right now, out in the other room here, we’re working with TNC, the Nature Conservancy. They are doing some soil experiments. I don’t really know a whole lot about what they are doing. Something with nutrient liberation from sediments under various conditions of Ph and things like that I think. So, this facility gives a lot of opportunities to do the kind of work that needs to be done up here. I don’t know what else to say about this in here. I can take you in and show you the fish part of the operation if you would like.
Dunsmoor: …over there where it cycles through some bio-filtration systems and those vertical tanks over there are covered with black plastic, and they aerate the water and bring it up to temperature, and then it comes into this system, which cycles water through continuously.
Woman: What temperature is the water?
Dunsmoor: Oh, it just depends on what time of the year it is. We usually run it between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius. We don’t heat the water. It is just ambient air temperature.
Dan Keppen: Can you make the conversion to Fahrenheit please?
Dunsmoor: Not very well, actually. In the 60s, I think. We struggled for years with these fish because as many of you know, their eggs are 3-mm in diameter. When they hatch, they are 10- to 12-mm long, the largest fish are. They are little helpless things, and it turns out it was really hard for us to figure out how to raise the darn things. They would grow to a certain age and then die en masse. It took us a long time to figure out what was going on, and we finally narrowed it down to dietary problem. So, now we raise shrimp, when we're raising the larval fish, and we get them over that hump, and then they just are pretty easy. We’ve had these fish here for a couple of years now.
Barb Hall: These are all the same age?
Dunsmoor: Yeah. They are at all different sizes (??). We periodically split them out … We splint the different-sized fish into different tanks.
Barb: Do we have Lost Rivers?
Dunsmoor: These are Lost Rivers. All these are Lost Rivers.
Barb: Are there any short nose?
Dunsmoor: There are some short nose in those tanks, but we can’t see them…
Barb: …like mud. How comes there’s no mud? Larry, how comes there’s no mud?
Dunsmoor: What we do is, we drop the water real low for these a couple of times a year so that they can do well. Everybody always wants to know are we releasing these fish? Are we raising fish for release? The answer is no, we’re not, and there are no immediate plans to do that. These are domesticated fish. You see, when you go out in the wild… I can take some ripe males and ripe females, and I can take the eggs out of a female, and I can spray the sperm from a male, and I can get about 90% to 95% of those eggs to hatch. Then, I can take those larvae then we can release them and have a really high success rate, raise them up to whatever size you want… To do that we're removing the natural selection process.
Dunsmoor: …natural selection starts at spawning and proceeds through their who lives, and so the genetics of the fish that are best suited to live in the environment they are facing out there are the ones that survive…
noisy room...Dunsmoor fades out
END OF TOUR
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