Nearly 200 Jackson Hole Middle School seventh grade students joined biologists and others from Grand Teton National Park, Trout Unlimited, Teton Science Schools and Wyoming Game and Fish earlier this week to help with a trout research project.
The Adopt-a-Trout Field Days at the Gros Ventre Campground on September 24 and 25 saw students rotate through educational stations conducted by various event partners, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.
The students learned about and participated in fish radio tagging, telemetry, water quality monitoring, electro-fishing and macroinvertebrate identification.
Participants watched as a biologist surgically implanted fish with radio tags, before testing the Gros Ventre River water to see if the tagged fish were going to be released into a healthy environment. Students learned what the tagged fish will eat, how far they might travel, and they took educated guesses as to whether they might move upstream or downstream through the changing seasons.
Jackson Hole seventh graders, with the support of Trout Unlimited and Wyoming Game and Fish officials and volunteers, will monitor life histories of the 35 radio tagged fish for the remainder of the year to see if the removal of the Newbold Dam—a project completed by Trout Unlimited and the National Park Service in the Spring of 2013—changes the movements of fish in the Gros Ventre River.
Biologists hope the dam removal will increase connectivity between the Snake River and upstream habitat in the Gros Ventre drainage for cutthroat trout and other native fish.
The study is funded largely through a grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole to the Grand Teton National Park Foundation.