Thursday, November 10, 2005

Protecting the Salmon

This story, from the Bee yesterday, reveals the yeoman work being done by so many, in a quiet and deliberate way, to protect the salmon, so beautifully described as “a fish that has long defined the soul of West Coast waterways.”

He's a big fish in a series of small ways
Biologist's little tasks may loom large for salmon
By Blair Anthony Robertson -- Bee Staff Writer Published 2:15 am PST Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Joe Johnson spends much of his work time on a pontoon boat on a quiet stretch of the Sacramento River, working to save a fish that has long defined the soul of West Coast waterways.

He bakes under the summer sun and shivers through the winter rains, devoted to making his rounds.

A recent Friday found him near Knights Landing, north of Sacramento, tending to the two salmon traps he maintains with fellow biologist Robert Vincik.

Taken piece by piece, much of what Johnson does seems small, tasks that are practically insignificant and performed in obscurity.

He catches fish in the traps. He scoops out leaves and debris and sifts through them with his fingers. He checks the speed of the current, the clarity of the water, its temperature. On and on, he records the details and the data, then sends them along for others to analyze.

It's the little things that define his day's work. But Johnson, a 40-year-old biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game, has devoted his career to the bigger picture. He's one of many helping to ensure the salmon's poignant round trip endures in the modern world and withstands all of the sins against Mother Earth.

For the rest of the story: