Findings from the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) were recently featured on the front page of the Mendocino County Observer. The ERRP have performed yearly surveys of non-native Sacramento pikeminnow populations in the South Fork Eel River from 2016-present. Working with UC Berkeley students Phil Georgakakos, Wes Slaughter, Taylor Schobel and Sage Kurnie along with Dr. Brett Harvey of the US Forest Service Redwood Science Lab, the 2018 survey found that the 2013-2015 drought has led to an uptick in large adult pikeminnow, and management of these populations is recommended in order to protect native salmon, steelhead, and others. The full article can be viewed here: 7-12-18 Observer Please also visit the ERRP website, www.EelRiverRecovery.org, to see photos and videos of the 2018 survey and learn how you can donate to the cause.
On March 14 2015, Mary Power found a new crayfish in the South Fork Eel River, just north of the Angelo Coast Range Reserve on the eastern edge of the first pool below confluence of the South Fork Eel with Ten Mile Creek. Phil Georgakakos tentatively identified this as the non-native (invasive) red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Procambarus_clarkii). Thanks to Sarah Kupferberg’s communications network, three crayfish experts quickly weighed in, supporting Phil’s identification. Phil and I found just the head and claws of this specimen—One expert expressed the hope that this crayfish had been eaten and tossed into the river. Although a human picnic seems unlikely, given the remote site, we can only hope this was the case~! We would be interested to hear if others see this new, intensely red, rather delicate (thin clawed) crayfish—with no “signal” white spots on its claws like the well-established (and possibly native) Pasifasticus leniusculus.
July 2014 was perhaps the most intense yellow jacket season we’ve ever experienced at Angelo. On July 17, 2014, Casey Huckins and Mary Power spotted a “yellow jacket” in a funnel web’s spider web on the road cut banks along the east side of Wilderness Lodge Road, between Skunk Creek and Elder Creek.
On closer inspection, the insect turned out to be a beetle–it had hard wing covers (elytra). This mimic looked and moved very much like a yellow jacket, close enough to fool us, almost. The closest match I (Mary) could find was Typocerus zebra, Zebra longhorn beetle, Cerambycidae, subfamily Lepturinae. I’m not sure whether they’re native here or not; the species in the photos occur in Tennessee and Texas. Joyce Gross was interested in whether this genus is expanding into
northwestern California, or has been introduced. Next time you see a solitary yellow jacket, look for the split of the elytra down the back. If anyone knows more about this beetle, we’d be interested. If you see a bunch of yellow jackets, though, run! (or rather, walk away, quickly) as you may have disturbed a nest. Always smart to carry benadryl tablets (sold at Geigers in Laytonville), and an Epipen if you think you may be allergic~mep