If you happened to be visitingGrayson Highlands State Parklast week, you may have noticed a group of staff and volunteers in the streams with a strange backpack. If you saw, I would bet you questioned what they were doing.
Grayson Highlands State Park
Big Wilson, Cabin Creek, Quebec Branch, Wilburn Branch, and Mill Creek are all located within Grayson Highlands. They are also home to native brook trout and rainbow trout. Trout Unlimited partnered to survey the streams in the park. The study is to look at the health of the fish in the streams and is now done every 5 years.
Studying native trout at Grayson Highlands
To begin this study, a 100 meter section of the stream is block off with nets. Staff wear a backpack shocker, which sends a light electric current into the water. They pass through the part of the stream that has been blocked. The fish are stunned which allows staff to easily dip them into a separate water source. The current is not strong enough to harm the fish. Once separated, each fish is measured and weighed. All the data, including the width of the stream and ph level of the water are logged for data purposes by a Fisheries Biologist. This process is repeated 3 times per section of the stream. All fish are released back into their natural habitat.
Fish are dipped out of the creek and kept separate for studies
This year, the regular staff was joined by Youth Conservation Corp members.
Grayson Highlands Youth Conservation Corp help with fish study
For more information about Grayson Highlands State Park online.