By Shelly Hiron - Fisheries Technician
Whether it is up in a forested riparian drainage working in a creek, at a screen monitoring site salvaging fish, or installing a new screen or screw trap, the human element at the Idaho Fish and Game Screen Shop in Salmon is full throttle in the summer. The public will see our Idaho Fish and Game Fish Screen Shop employees out and about in varied work capacities.
The seasonal summer fish crew are often college students gaining valuable work experience. They are challenged with surveying streams to determine fish species distribution and habitat fluctuations. The scientific data they collect is used by fisheries biologist to understand trends in specific populations of fish and their passage into tributaries and their habitat priorities. The seasonal “fish techs” collect habitat information and electro-fish to determine the diversity of fish, their weights and lengths, genetic make-up, and general health conditions at historically, repeated locations. These surveys help with monitoring the success of previous fish plans.
Fish screens help protect anadromous fish passage back to their home waters, and they keep anadromous fish out of irrigation ditches and ultimately out of hayfields and pastures. From April through to November, screens are watched over daily by the screen tenders. This group of local, seasonal employees make certain the screens are functioning properly. This entails cleaning the screens of debris, assuring the fish bypass back to the stream is functioning, relocating fish caught in ditches and relaying their concerns back to fisheries biologists, mechanical and engineering staff at the Screen Shop. There are over 280 screens that are watched over in Lemhi and Custer County, Idaho!
The Screen Shop’s mechanical staff fix and repair the fish screens and traps as need. Plus, they build and install new screens and countless other construction jobs in the region. Their work is where anadromous fish science and the rubber meets the road! This is science, construction, and design with a giant serving of resourcefulness. The mechanical staff at the Screen Shop are the ultimate team of MacGyver’s!
So if you are out in Upper Salmon Basin and you see the Fish and Game Fish Screen Shop staff, please stop and say hello and ask about their projects.