August 31, 2020
Chloe Heads into the Field and onto the River
Chloe Obara’s First Week
Hi, my name is Chloe! I just graduated from William & Mary this spring with a degree in geology and a minor in marine science. I grew up in Virginia Beach where I developed a passion for conserving and enjoying the natural environment offered by the Chesapeake Bay and beyond. I am thrilled to be pursuing these interests while working at the Arundel Rivers Federation this year as a Chesapeake Conservation Corp volunteer funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. My journey is already off to an exciting start!
During my first week I jumped boots-first into monitoring and restoration field work. Nancy Merrill, Outreach Manager, treated me to a tour of the West and Rhode rivers as we spent a pleasant and unusually cool August day monitoring the water quality. Our measurement probe directly relays the data to our laptop computer, meaning we can see how the river is doing directly below our boat! While on the water we met a FIFTH-generation waterman named Buck Scott who imparted some local knowledge. He recalls the days when underwater sea grass was so thick that boat propellers became easily tangled and you could see blue crabs swimming up the clear waters of the channel. His stories are a reminder of why we strive to restore our local waterways.
The following day, I joined David Lanier, Restoration Manager, and summer interns Brittany and Jon to survey fish populations. These surveys are completed annually to assess the health of local streams before and after the implementation of restoration projects. Looking like something out of Ghostbusters, we strapped on orange battery-powered backpacks. We waded through the Bacon Ridge stream the Federation had restored a year and half ago. Using electrical current sent through the water to temporarily stun any nearby fish, we then recorded their species and size. I was ~shocked~ by the diversity of species we found! We discovered 6 species and 200 individuals, including Golden Shiners, Eastern Mudminnow, Brown Bullhead Catfish, Creek Chubsucker, as well as Green and Pumpkinseed Sunfish. The pre-restoration survey in that same stream reach discovered only one species with 18 individual fish.
I know that my experiences this past week are just the tip of the iceberg for the breath of projects happening at Arundel Rivers. I look forward to sharing my future adventures with you!