Saturday, May 16, 2009


Computer work. It wsan't as bad as it sounds.

Here's some pictures of the area that I took:


It was a long day.

8:00 am: Arrive at work full of zest, wit, and my general good nature. Computer work (GIS) ensues.

11:30 am: Go home for a delicious lunch. I am a culinary god.

12:15 pm: Leave for Central Point (near Medford) for another gravel mining meeting.

12:55 pm: Arrive in Central Point too late. No chance to get pre-meeting coffee. I play tiny violin.

1:00 pm: Meeting begins. Boredom skyrockets.

4:00 pm: Meeting ends. Time seems to have flown by... backwards. Ian dilly-dallies.

4:30 pm: Four of us cram into Ian's Toyota Tacoma and drive an hour and a half north to Roseburg for the Jefferson Society Fish Meeting.

6:00 pm: We arrive at the Chinese restaurant where the meeting is being held. The only Asian in the building is with us.

6:01 pm: I order a beer.

6:30 pm: Meeting begins. An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fish biologist gives a good talk about salmonids in the Umpqua River system while we eat "Chinese" food and drink beer.

8:30 pm: Meeting ends and a group of us head to McMenamins (a cool pub chain).

9:30 pm: We head south.

9:45 pm: I fall asleep in the car.

11:15 pm: We arrive in Central Point.

12:00 am (5.15.09): We arrive back at the ranger station.

8:00 am: Arrive at work full of zest, wit, and my general good nature.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Today, we got to go post fishing regulation signs around Applegate Lake, so I got a chance to see parts that I hadn't yet seen. I also got to go up to the smaller Squaw Lakes to post some signs and check out the area. These little lakes were pretty cool and seemed like they had some neat campsites (walk-in and, I think, free). We then went to look for snags (dead trees) again. I have been really enjoying the chance to see the area and driving the network of forest roads. Today was no exception. I got to drive some really bad roads and have been practicing my 4-wheel-drive skills in this big Forest Service truck. I actually really like the technical aspect of driving over ruts, cobbles, and large rocks and getting to feel like I am somewhere nobody has been in a long time. The country is beautiful, but you can really see that this area was flattened for timber in the recent past. The result of this is the Forest Service feeling like they need to thin the understory for their "fuels reduction" program or, as I like to refer to it, "the great fire scare." Unfortunately, I've noticed that this has caused the following effect: a monoculture. Okay, not really a monoculture, but close. What they are keeping is the overstory; the second-growth trees that have grown since the timber industry left or that have survived the timber industry. This translates to mostly Pine and Fir species. What's removed are the hardwoods (Madrone and oaks) and shrubs that are trying to establish themselves. I understand the need to reduce the risk of fire and that this understory is the main way fire spreads, but in doing so, the Forest Service seems to be reducing the chance for forest diversity which seems pretty important to me. Hopefully I will learn more about this along the way and maybe be able to form a more concrete opinion.

Pretty good day.


Boring day today. More office work, organization, and reading. The highlight of the day was going to Medford to pick up our "rig" at the Forest Service mechanic. I got to go by myself and it was nice to get away from the office (and the other intern for awhile).


Well, I had a lot of fun over the weekend, but I had to go back sometime...

The day was spent organizing the office and looking for more trees for our stream restoration project.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


We were all over the place today. It was great.

First thing, I had to go check the Palmer Creek gage and connectivity (only one reading this time). Still connected at pretty low flows; this is a good thing.

Next, Ian took us electrofishing to see if there were salmonids in a small stream that had a potentially ill-placed culvert. I (and Helena) had never been before so it was a good learning experience. We first electrofished the larger stream nearby to get the hang of things. We got a lot of sculpins, a cutthroat and some young steelhead. It was good to get "fish in hand," as the dweeby fish nerds say. We electrofished the smaller, potentially affected stream. There were no fish which was good (?). That doesn't mean that there were historically no fish, but it means there are none being affected now.

Helena and I then had to drive into Medford (45 minutes away) to drop our truck off at the Forest Service mechanic (problem started before I touched the truck) and get a loaner. We went on to Central Point (10 more minutes) to meet Ian for a meeting (a continuation of the meeting concerning the possibility of a mining operation on the Applegate). We got there on time and met with Ian; we went in and found an empty room. The posted schedule said the meeting was next week. Awesome. Ian was not too happy with himself, but did go on to tell us that last year he had driven six hours to a meeting and when he arrived, learned that he was one month early. What a clown.

So, back to the station. And, out to check Palmer Creek. The stream level dropped 0.01 feet and had totally lost connectivity over the course of the day. On to Applegate Lake to post some signage and spraypaint a sign on the pavement at the boat ramp. Artsy!


Not a bad day; I got to have a little variety and I spent most of it in the field.

First, we posted up at the ol' Palmer Creek stream gage (yes, it is actually "gage" in this situation) for a couple of hours. Riveting stuff.

Then for the fun. We drove around looking for dead, windblown, and/or hazard trees near forest roads. We need these trees (about 40 of them) for a stream restoration project on Palmer Creek where they will be strategically added to the stream channel to add complexity and create fish habitat. So, I got to 4-wheel the big Forest Service truck around some pretty awesome country on some pretty remote and rugged roads. I may have gone on a couple of roads I shouldn't have and may have gotten us into at least one hairy situation, but it was awesome driving over, around and through deep ruts, big rocks and through the encroaching brush. At each tree, we had to record its diameter, GPS location, height, and a whole host of other information. One small road system and we're almost a quarter of the way done.

But, it can't be all fun, so we returned to the stream gage to take an hour and a half of readings. And, back to the office to meet Ian who wasn't even there...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Wow! What a day... (insert sarcasm here)

First, we were posted at the Palmer Creek stream gauge for four hours so we could take stream height readings every 15 minutes. This was done so we could correlate the stream height there to a nearby drainage's (Star Gulch) known and publicized output. Palmer Creek is the one that goes dry intermittently, so we are trying to figure exactly at what output it goes dry and exactly where it goes dry first so we can know where to concentrate our rehab efforts.

After, Ian brought us up to check on some possible illegal instream mining work. We went through some truly beautiful and crazy landscapes. The paved road quickly turned to gravel which we wound up following a tributary to the Applegate. The road snaked through the mountains and all of a sudden we were in an awesome mountain valley. As soon as I had a chance to look around, we were leaving the valley and back into heavy woods headed for more mountains.

Later, he gave us an introduction to and showed us how to look for dead hazard trees for a project we will do later (more on this tomorrow).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Thousands of concentric rings spring outward followed by thousands more. As the raindrops hit the river, they create perfect expanding circular waves crashing into one another as they are carried downstream and out of sight. The dull light dances on the river as the rain changes the surface of the water in every direction. Standing still allows you to see every falling drop and its tiny, beautiful effect on the river as its countless brethren is joined.

Today was not bad; it didn't really seem like I did much real work... So, that was cool. First thing, I got to go out (on my own!) and check the connectivity of Palmer Creek (see "4.20.09"). Unfortunately, due to some poor directions from Ian, after checking the connectivity, I couldn't find the stream gauge so that we could correlate the amount of connectivity or no connectivity to how high the stream was. I am a failure at my first solo task. Boo me. When I get back to the office, after walking a certain stretch of stream three times, Ian's other intern, Helena, has arrived which stirs up a certain level of excitement and commotion. She seems nice enough. Later, Ian takes us along on a "show-and-tell" with a woman from the Community Justice organization to elaborate on some jobs he's laying her crew of no good do-gooders out on. I had seen pretty much everything already, but it was all new to Helena and it was still nice to be away from the ranger station. On the way back, Ian showed us all the Palmer Creek gauge so I would know exactly where it was. It wasn't where he had originally directed me to, but I still felt sheepish because it was close.

It rained all day so later Helena and I went to check the level of Palmer Creek again with hopes that we could see at exactly what level the stream reaches full connectivity. It still wasn't connected, but it was close. When we returned, Ian gave us a PowerPoint presentation that he has been promising me since I got here. It was mostly about the fisheries biology division of the Forest Service.