Newsletter May 2022

It’s Springtime in the Hatchery!

Spring Pygmy Sunfish photographed by Ben Calvert

The CFI staff has had our hands full for the last several weeks with the temperatures getting warmer and most of our species laying eggs.

Our springtime spawners include:

  • Blotched Chub

  • Blotchside Logperch

  • Boulder Darters

  • Buck Darters

  • Crystal Darters

  • Pygmy Sculpin

  • Roanoke Logperch

  • Spring Pygmy Sunfish

  • Tennessee Dace

  • Yellowcheek Darters

We wanted to include an Honorable Mention to our Banded Sculpin, who are late winter spawners and are now done for the year.

If you’re interested in knowing more about these fish and the other species we work with, head over to our Instagram or Facebook page! We’ve just completed an In-Hatchery Photo Series where we dedicated posts to each species that we work with and include some information about them, such as the work that we do with them and their conservation status.

When fish spawn and we need to collect their eggs, there are two main methods of egg collections that we use:

Blotchside Logperch active egg collection.

Passive egg collections are when we allow the eggs to hatch in the Breeding Tank that they are laid in, and we collect their larvae from a Catch Tub that drains from the Breeding Tank. This only works with fish that have pelagic larvae such as Bluemask Darters and Yellowcheek Darters.

Active egg collections happen when we gravel wash substrate or otherwise intervene to collect the eggs from the Breeding Tank, and allow them to hatch out in a separate Incubation Tank or Incubation Tray. We use this method to collect eggs from fishes that typically have benthic larvae or those that attach eggs to some kind of substrate (ceramic tiles, for example). Examples of these include fish like madtoms, Catonotus darters, and Spotfin Chub. This method can be used with pelagic larvae as well, though we prefer to passively collect these.

In the image to the left, Curt, a volunteer, assists Derek in checking a 5-gallon bucket for eggs after performing an active egg collection for Blotchside Logperch.

Field Work Update

Due to an abundance of rain the last several weeks we have not been able to begin our field season. As many know, most of our fieldwork includes snorkeling. A lot of rain can create dangerous field conditions for us with deeper water and high flow. It looks like more rain this week, but we are hoping to begin our long list of field work next week. We sure are eager to stick our faces in streams!

Education and Outreach

Last week our friend Joel Sartore of National Geographic paid us another visit to photograph more of our fish for his Photo Ark. It’s always a great time catching up with him, and we hope to see him again soon!

We are currently in the process of building a new website! That will be launching sometime this month, so stay tuned for an update about that.

Layla, a volunteer, assists in splitting Spring Pygmy Sunfish to new grow-out tanks

During Earth Month, CFI staff members attended two showing of Freshwaters Illustrated's Hidden Rivers documentary. The showing were hosted at Maryville College and The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, both very local to our hatchery. Following these showings the hosting groups held a Question and Answer session where could ask us questions about our involvement in Hidden Rivers and the work we do here at Conservation Fisheries. It's always a joy to attend these documentary showings, and we look forward to the next one!

Finally, we’re currently accepting applications for Summer Volunteers!

Our Summer Season is from June-August, and we’re looking for volunteers who can consistently commit 2-3 days per week for 4-5 hours per day during the hours of 9am-4pm. More details can be found on our flyer here.

As always, thanks for your unwavering support! We greatly appreciate your interest in keeping up with our work.

-- The CFI Staff