Waldron Citizen Science
Waldron Citizen Science (Waldron Island) monitors a large salmon and rockfish nursery in Cowlitz Bay, where sandy and cobble beaches meet the rocky slopes of Mount Disney. Community volunteers use a special 120-foot seine to sample aggregations of fish in the bay every two weeks from June to October. Juvenile Chinook and Coho salmon are measured, their caudal fins are clipped for DNA extraction to determine their streams of origin, and non-lethal gut lavage is used to monitor their diet. Each fish is also checked for injuries such as seal bites and parasites such as “sea lice”. Sandlance, the major fish prey of juvenile Chinook, and herring, which may be staging a comeback in Cowlitz Bay, are also clipped and monitored. Rockfish are measured and lavaged, because their juvenile life histories and prey preferences are poorly understood. In addition, zooplankton are collected weekly in deeper water to study the effects of weather and “ocean climate” on the reproduction of animals such as crabs, shrimp, and krill, which form a very large and important part of marine food webs.