Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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rlown
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Post by rlown » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:59 am

transparency by the organizations in charge.. That's the disconnect. Some do better than others. We need the plan pre-restoration and to be listened to.








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TahoeJeff
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Post by TahoeJeff » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:02 pm

I just came from a job at Fallen Leaf Lake and the feds are still gill netting to remove anything but Cutts.
It is a waste of $, as there is no way given the size and depth of that lake, they'll get 'em all.
“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”

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gdurkee
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Re: Frog Release Into SEKI 8/30

Post by gdurkee » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:13 pm

Please explain why the nets were in the water in 2007 prior to public scoping (2008) in Yose and the Environmental assessment in 2011..
Russ: hi. Fish netting prior to the EIR was done on a case by case basis to show 'proof of concept' and allowed under a research permit. As it became obvious that netting worked, a more formal study and proposal was made to expand the program and, especially, to use rotenone in areas where netting was unlikely to be 100% successful. I think the first netting was tried in the early 90s by Vance Vreedenburg at 60 Lakes Basin.
Please define "High Sierra"?
WD: I don't know that there's a formal definition. I'd call it, roughly, anything above 8,500' or so but it's pretty subjective.
Hard for me to believe the Native Americans did not do a bit of planting. You certainly see evidence of their presence in the higher reaches of the Sierra. I have even seen arrowheads just below the summits of a few peaks.

A compromise, to me, would be if for every lake netted to save the frog, another back country lake would be planted with fish, so that the net effect is even for both the frog lovers and fishermen. This would be a win-win. Certainly there are currently barren lakes that have sufficient spawning areas
Native Americans & fish. A good question. The only evidence that Native Americans didn't plant fish is, when Euro-Americans arrived, the absence of evidence: there were no fish upstream of barriers like waterfalls or steep cascades. NA's were absolutely everywhere using most 3rd & even 4th class routes. But, apparently, never brought fish to the high lakes. It's also quite likely that, like bears and many raptors, they depended on frogs for a major food source.

Once Euro-Americans arrived fish were, in fact, planted in almost every single body of water in the Sierra. For several decades, Cal F&G had a formal restocking program that, in many remote places was done by air drops. The mortality of those drops was close to or at 100% (strangely, they seem never to have studied its effectiveness). In Sequoia Kings & Yosemite, all F&G restocking was ended in the late 70s (Volcanic Lakes were the last).

The point here is that if there's no fish in a High Sierra Lake, it's because they can't survive there (or, lately, been netted out). If the fish are small, they're exceeding their food supply and have a very small spawning area. I've seen a number of lakes that had large fish in the 70s wipe out their food supply so that by the mid-90s they'd be reduced to large numbers of small fish. I'm not aware of a single barren lake that would support fish. If it's barren today (that is, fishless or frogless -- such lakes still support a pretty diverse aquatic ecosystem) it's barren for a good ecological reason. So, there's no point in some sort of "trade". The trade already happened over the last 100 years and the fish are currently established wherever they can survive. No point in adding any fish to a lake that's already exceeded its food supply. In NPS areas it would never be allowed anyway.
Species come and go, non-natives have taken over for eons, survival of the fittest. Is not that the way of evolution? Why are we arbitrarily setting the balance of species in a point in time and saying that it must stay static, and the we humans must intervene to keep it that way.
And, aha! that is at the core of what we've been talking about. Strangely, I've been fiddling with a now very long essay on that subject. It may or may not be coming to a thread near you. For the moment, I'll just say that, for National Parks, it's a deep philosophical and practical question with a long history. NPS has, more or less, chosen a point in time for the large wilderness parks: the point an ecosystem was prior to the arrival of Euro-Americans. The "species come and go" argument is certainly true but the next question, then, is what is our responsibility to species when they "go" as a result of our actions? This is at the heart of our long-developing wilderness ethic. I retreat to, once more, meditate on that heavy responsibility.

To paraphrase Darwin (writing on poverty): "If the extermination of a species be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin."

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