Anodonta Adventure on the Eel River

My latest Trail Signs project is one I worked hard to obtain - the Mountain Lake Restoration within the Presidio. I lowballed my pitch to the Trust because I really wanted to tell this story. It worked. This body of water is probably the most famous within San Francisco. It was because the Spanish soldier's in the De Anza Expedition of 1776 found fresh water for their horses here, crossing a sea of sand dunes, that the Presidio was even founded.
Mountain Lake has been punched in the gut ecologically for centuries - literally halved when Highway 1's approach to the Golden Gate Bridge was put in and a dumping ground for non-native pet turtles and fish.
Jonathan Young, a wildlife biologist/herpetologist with the Trust is working with others to restore historic species to the lake.
I joined he and a mollusk/water expert named Niveen Ismail yesterday in collecting California Floater Mussels ( Andonta californiensis )
along the South Folk of the Eel River ( Mendocino Co.) Once part of Mountain Lake, these mussels will have a great deal to do with stabilization, filtration and sustainability of the finished restoration. The Fish & Wildlife permit allowed for the removal of 35 of these Species-of-Concern. This creature has a parasitic relationship with the Three-spined Stickleback fish (which we saw this day and will be restored to the lake as well). It's this relationship I'm excited to try to paint and the Trust seems cool to allow me to try to tell the more obscure stories there. ( No slur to the Birding Community, but if I'm asked to paint one more Great Blue Heron for a trail sign, I'll barf.) The California Floater ( so named for it's behavior of floating to the top when it dies...) turned out to be much more beautiful than I imagined: bronze tones and muddy greens. It was in amongst the more common Western Pearlshell mussels ( Margaritifera falcata ). I played shore su chef to the experts, immediately putting each Floater in a cooler as they came up from snorkeling along the edge of the river, passing me each with trembling hand from the extremely frigid water. I was SO HAPPY I wasn't the one in a wet suit.
Got to explore and iNat cool stuff in a part of California I'd never been to: is there really any better way to spend a day?

Posted on October 21, 2013 06:42 PM by robberfly robberfly

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

Observer

robberfly

Date

September 11, 2013 03:28 PM PDT

Description

I've been hired to illustrate some Trail Signs for the Mountain Lake restoration. This freshwater native we found in Lobos Creek.

Photos / Sounds

What

Signal Crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 11:40 AM PDT

Description

Jonathan told me this was the Rusty Crayfish, not the common invasive one normally sees in CA.,

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Pearlshell (Margaritifera falcata)

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 11:35 AM PDT

Description

Collecting trip to the Eel River for Anodata Mussels for Mountain Lake. These were the other large, freshwater mussel present.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 12:08 PM PDT

Description

The target species: the permit allowed for the collection of 30 of these. They have a parasitic relationship with Stickleback fish.

Photos / Sounds

What

California Roach (Hesperoleucus symmetricus)

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 12:13 PM PDT

Description

We thought these might be chubs?

Photos / Sounds

What

Marsh Ramshorn (Planorbella trivolvis)

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 12:36 PM PDT

Description

Ram's Horn Snail

Photos / Sounds

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 12:41 PM PDT

Description

Sitting out on a pipe. Seemed oblivious to my approach. Size of a half dollar.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 12:57 PM PDT

Description

Pulled this guy out of the Eel River....

Photos / Sounds

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 01:02 PM PDT

Description

Native freshwater snail...

Photos / Sounds

What

American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 01:03 PM PDT

Description

Herptologist told me to throw it on the banks. I didn't have the heart...which was stupid considering how much damage they do to the natives...

Photos / Sounds

What

California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus)

Observer

robberfly

Date

October 20, 2013 03:13 PM PDT

Description

Jonathan said there are many species within this genus ....

Comments

Sounds like a great adventure, Liam. Thanks for painting us the picture (sans blue herons). I ♥ the Eel River - it's nice to learn a little more about its natural history.

Posted by wildmarin over 10 years ago

Good work!

Posted by lg_price over 10 years ago

what a wonderful adventure! Keep up the great work and enjoy.

Posted by taogirl over 10 years ago

Most fantastic.

Posted by sterling over 10 years ago

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