“CSI:Highline” (Community Salmon Investigation) Training Starts Oct. 7th

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Dennis Clark, Miller/Walker Creek Basin Steward, tells us that the Community Salmon Investigation for Highline – aka “CSI: Highline” – has garnered great interest from the Burien, Normandy Park, and SeaTac communities, and that training begins this Thursday, Oct. 7th.

If you haven’t yet signed up, don’t fear – back-up Investigators are still needed.

Thursday’s training session will run from 4pm – 6pm at Normandy Park City Hall Council Chambers, located at 801 SW 174th Street in Normandy Park.

Clark encourages all CSIers to wear comfortable and weather-appropriate clothes as you will be outside the City Hall building (but not in the streams) for a half hour.

Here’s the draft Agenda:

  1. Introductions.
  2. Purpose of the Community Salmon Investigation: Highline: Not just a catchy acronym.
  3. Investigating Carcasses for “Pre-Spawn Mortality”: Let’s cut up dead bodies!
    We will have salmon carcasses and demonstrate how to cut them open.  Bring the kids – seriously!  Steve Damm, US Fish & Wildlife Service, has been running pre-spawn mortality surveys in Longfellow Creek in West Seattle and will be the “visiting forensic investigator” for this activity.
  4. Identifying Salmon: Actually, they don’t all look alike.
    PowerPoint presentations they way they were meant to be used – fast and mostly visuals.
  5. How to Monitor: It’s not just a walk in the Park.
    Safety requirements, equipment, property access and locations, how to walk the streams, recognizing/marking redds, and how to record data.
  6. Teams and Scheduling: Speed dating for salmon lovers.
    Pairing up individual volunteers; how to request a backup volunteer for schedule conflicts; liability waivers; and distributions of supplies.

Here are more details from Clark:

RSVP. If you cannot make the training, please let me know. Everyone will benefit from it but it is vital that at least one person from each team go through the training. If you are an individual (currently unmatched) volunteer and cannot attend, I will pair you up with someone who gets the training and will send you the training materials.

Also, I will accompany each team on their first or second investigation in October and then once or twice during the season for quality control.  So while we will cover a lot of info, you don’t have to master all of it on October 7. You will also be able to call me most any time for coaching when dealing with new/unexpected issues.

Click here to download the DRAFT Survey Plan for CSI: Highline (as a .doc file). This will be further revised and expanded by October 7 but at present it describes the basic steps the volunteers will follow. You will note that there is a lot of discussion about recording data. This is because good data collection is essential to produce reliable information about the creek. Good data collection is something anyone who is detail-oriented and a keen observer can do.

Please read the DRAFT Survey Plan to begin to familiarize yourself with the data collection protocols. We will go over the protocols on October 7 but reading the plan now will prepare your brain!

Response to the CSI: Highline program notice has been great and we currently have enough volunteers to field seven two-person teams, one for each day of the week.  We also have one backup volunteer but I would like more since there will be inevitable attrition. If we get enough “backups”, we may establish three-person teams from which two members survey on their given day of the week. Three-person teams can establish their own “rotations” based on interest and availability of the members. This will lighten the load for all and increase certainty that there will be two-person teams surveying each day, which is very important for data quality.

If you talk to people who are interested, please invite them to the training session. (Also, some of you stewardship “regulars” are BCC’ed – you’d make great “backup” volunteers given your knowledge of and dedication to the streams! Join us for the training session if you’re tempted.)

For more information, contact Dennis Clark at 206-296-1909 or via email at [email protected].

EVERYONE SHOULD RSVP for the October 7 training by 9 a.m. Wednesday, October 6.

Thank you for your interest in CSI: Highline.  This is an exciting program that relies on your energy and enthusiasm to gather valuable information on stream health.  I look forward to working with you all.

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