A New Survey

Last April when The Nature Conservancy (TNC) set up their survey equipment, an incorrect setting led to this reprise of the survey of our stream.  This year, the 8th grade will once again be the lead class in helping our town find solutions to improving the fish passage.  Donning hip boots and grabbing nets for an “eyes on” survey of what was swimming in the pool was another part of this beautiful morning.

A rainbow smelt?

This week’s rain brought outflowing water once again down through the stream and we also wonder if or how many young alewives have survived and egressed to salt water, after such a dry summer and early fall.  We wonder if among the chubs the long, thin and silvery fish are some smelt.  The numbers of chubs netted indicate their abundance!  This fall we’ve noticed cormorants and a great-blue heron that had fed extensively along the area of the Marsh outlet.  Another question to consider after talking with TNC is to wonder what effect the rising sea levels and big tides may have on the salinity of the Marsh over time.  Perhaps we should start a study on the salinity related to tidal inflows.

Below are pictures taken on October 4th, showing the dry conditions this early fall.

The Outlet

Surveying the Outlet Stream

Students were privileged to help survey elevations of the outlet stream to the Marsh.  The Nature Conservancy made a site visit to the stream on May 3rd; asked by the town’s Conservation Commission to survey the site and collect data to be used in the process of creating a concept design to improve fish passage.  Their crew of four biologists enlisted the help of both 6th and 7th grade volunteers to help hold the two prism poles as they took distance and angle measurements of referenced points that would help re-create the terrain of the outlet.  Students found it took concentration to keep the pole steady and level.

James taking a turn holding the ranging pole.

Willow, holding steady!

Sophia volunteered!

The surveying team explained to 8th grade student Zack U. about an additional “Z” coordinate, beside the familiar “X” and “Y”, describing it as “angle”.  The impromptu math lesson also brought in the concept of a graph’s “origin”; all the measurements were referenced from the fire hydrant at the back of the parking area.

Ahlivia and Cassi took the lead for 7th grade and helped with many of the data points, both in the water and on land.

Nick took a turn!

There was quite a lot of enthusiasm to see these professionals working in the field, taking up the cause of the returning alewives!

A special THANK YOU! to Ben Matthews and his team!