Spring 2021 Newsletter
Quick Content Links
- President’s Message
- Treasurer’s Report
- 2021 NCAFS Awards
- 2021 Meeting of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society
- News and Updates from the Mentoring Committee
- Lake Sturgeon Reintroduction in Western North Carolina
- My Mea culpa: The Legacy Behind the Logo, or Will the Real Dr. John E. Cooper Please Stand Up?
- Aquarium Plants Infested with Zebra Mussels Found in North Carolina
- Good Work! – Recent Publications by NCAFS Members
- Stories of Interest
- Call to Action!
- Valuable Links
Thanks to all the folks that helped make our first virtual chapter meeting successful. The online meeting platform was not what I had in mind when I became President-Elect. Ever-changing plans and flexibility have been the new normal throughout this pandemic. The Program and Arrangements Committee was anxious about receiving enough presentations to make the meeting viable and executing a virtual meeting without technical difficulties. However, the Committee and the membership persevered, with 23 presentations and 120 registered attendees (the highest attendance in recent memory). Once again, the membership demonstrated its strength and dedication to the success of the Chapter. I’m looking forward to next year’s meeting when we can hopefully meet in person and resume the informal discussions that are just as important as the formal presentations.
Please congratulate President-Elect Andrea Leslie and Secretary/Treasurer Casey Grieshaber. Also, I would like to extend a big thanks to Jake Rash and Kelsey Roberts for their dedication over these past years. We have a great team of officers on the Executive Committee, so reach out to us if you have questions, comments, and suggestions.
Spring sampling has begun, and I am thankful to be back on the water again. As we return to a little bit more of a normal field season in 2021, please keep all your safety protocols in mind. Take actions to ensure your safety and the safety of your teammates, and be willing to accept advice.
Submitted by Ryan Heise, NCAFS President
Balances as of March 1, 2021
NCAFS Wells Fargo Checking Account: $7,856.70
NCAFS PayPal Account: $79.94
RRCC Wells Fargo Saving Account: $7,123.67
Edward Jones Ichthus (Student) Fund: $30,832.55
Edward Jones General Fund: $68,399.96
As of February 2021, the NC Chapter of the American Fisheries Society has a total of 66 NCAFS-only members and 50 NCAFS and AFS members for a total of 116 active members (subject to change). Of our total membership, 13 are students, 87 are professional members, and 16 are retirees or lifetime members. Thank you to everyone who paid their dues!
Our annual meeting was held February 16–17 and was virtual for the first time. There were 123 meeting attendees (23 students, 6 retirees, 91 professionals, and 3 unknowns) and 23 professional presentations. Thanks to Duke Energy for hosting the meeting and thank you to all the members for making this another successful and fun meeting!
For a detailed report of NCAFS’s transactions in 2020 please reference the 2021 Business Meeting Minutes, available on our website for review. For any questions regarding meeting minutes, finances, or procedures, please contact Casey Grieshaber, the new Secretary/Treasurer for NCAFS ([email protected]). It has been my pleasure to serve the NC Chapter members!
Submitted by Kelsey Roberts, past NCAFS Secretary/Treasurer
2021 NCAFS Awards
For the 2021 annual meeting, the Awards Committee recruited judges and conducted the judging for the W. Don Baker Memorial Best Professional Presentation Award. There were 10 full-length presentations made by professional members. The professional presentations were judged by Tom Kwak, Corey Oakley, and Greg Cope. The Richard L. Noble Best Student Presentation Award was not presented in 2021 because there were no full-length presentations made by students.
The 2021 W. Don Baker Memorial Best Professional Presentation Award was presented to Casey A. Grieshaber of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for her presentation entitled “Winter trout stocking in Piedmont impoundments and changes in angler effort”. Her presentation was co-authored by Lawrence G. Dorsey. Congratulations Casey!
Submitted by Greg Cope, Awards Committee Chair
2021 Meeting of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society
The Virginia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society is hosting the first ever virtual meeting of the Southern Division of the American Fisheries Society, April 6-9, 2021. The program includes all of the usual Technical Committee Meetings; symposia on Black Bass, crayfish, urban fishing, and others; as well as 5 continuing education workshops. Meeting sessions will be both live and recorded, and meeting registration is only $25 for professionals and $10 for students! Participants who register by April 5 may attend live and recorded sessions, while late registrants can review recorded content until July 6.
Submitted by the NCAFS Newsletter Review Committee
News and Updates from the Mentoring Committee
The Mentoring Committee would like to thank our panelists and moderators, as well as professional and student attendees, for our February 15, 2021 virtual student-mentor workshop. Our evening workshop was filled with great information to share with students in attendance. We received excellent feedback on what worked and suggested improvements for our next workshop. The workshop was recorded and is available on our NCAFS Mentoring Committee webpage.
Thanks to Jessica Baumann for introducing Dr. Keith Gibbs, Western Carolina University (WCU), and the opportunity to network with him as a new professor at the university. He is the co-advisor for the WCU Forestry and Wildlife Club. He expressed interest in creating an AFS student subunit. I connected him to Randy Schultz, Iowa DNR fisheries biologist and AFS Constitutional Consultant, to assist in the guidance of subunit creation. I connected via my Iowa DNR network and spoke with Randy directly. There may be opportunities to form a joint AFS/TWS student subunit as WCU already has a Wildlife Society student subunit.
Thanks to Ben Ricks for connecting us to ECU-AFS, a student subunit of the Tidewater AFS Chapter, yet also a university here in North Carolina with a fisheries program. I met with the ECU-AFS ExCom on Wednesday, March 3 and will be attending (virtually) an ECU-AFS meeting on Wednesday, March 24 to present our Mentoring Committee and activities to date with workshops, as well as listening and responding to students’ questions and concerns about conservation careers.
I signed up to the Tidewater Chapter AFS listserv to post information for professionals and students (ECU-AFS, UNC-W, Duke University, University of Maryland, University of Maryland-Eastern Shore). I reached out to Scott Baker at UNC-W and shared that I’d be glad to present the NC TOWER information at the upcoming virtual Tidewater AFS meeting on April 22, 2021.
I received an e-mail from Jessica Page Jordan on Friday, March 5 with good news. She recently accepted a full-time position with NC State Parks as the Piedmont Region Biologist in the Natural Resources Program. I met Jessie Page Jordan at the Minorities in Natural Resource Conservation during the virtual 2020 SEAFWA meeting. She was a part of our listening session and served as a moderator at our Feb. 15 workshop. She noted: “Thanks so much for your mentorship, I really think that you getting me connected is what helped do the trick.” Pretty cool! Her name and contact information is anticipated to be where the vacancy position is listed: https://www.ncparks.gov/more-about-us/about-parks-recreation/natural-resources.
Please feel free to reach out to me (Kevin Dockendorf) and share thoughts and input on the mentoring topics for the coming year.
Submitted by Kevin Dockendorf, Mentoring Committee Chair
Lake Sturgeon Reintroduction in Western North Carolina
The Lake Sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens (State Species of Special Concern) is native to much of the Mississippi River drainage including the upper Tennessee River Basin, with historical records including the French Broad River in Buncombe and Madison counties (Tracy et al. 2020). However, the species was considered extirpated from North Carolina during the mid-20th century, likely due to water pollution, overharvest, and widespread damming of the Tennessee River Valley. In 2015, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission joined neighboring states in a coalition known as the Southeastern Lake Sturgeon Working Group, a multi-agency partnership that is coordinating efforts to reintroduce the Lake Sturgeon throughout its native range.
The bulk of the Lake Sturgeon restoration effort comes through a complicated propagation process that begins on the banks of the Wolf River in Wisconsin. Biologists with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish & Wildlife Service net large broodfish Lake Sturgeon where they aggregate during their spawning run. The eggs are fertilized on site and hauled to Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery in Georgia, where they are incubated and hatched. After a few weeks, the Lake Sturgeon fry are sent to hatcheries around the Southeast, including Edenton National Fish Hatchery and Table Rock Fish Hatchery in North Carolina, where they are fed brine shrimp, pelleted feed, and eventually, blood worms.
Prior to stocking, hatchery staff mark the year-class of each fish by removing unique combinations of scutes, which will provide additional insight during future monitoring efforts. As water temperatures begin to drop during late summer, the Lake Sturgeon are stocked from the two hatcheries into the French Broad River in Madison County, downstream from Redmon Dam. Since 2015, approximately 28,000 fish have been stocked in North Carolina.
Lake Sturgeon are a long-lived, slow growing species so it will likely take many years to document the success of the stocking program. NCWRC biologists in the Aquatic Wildlife Diversity Program began monitoring efforts in the fall of 2019 using trot lines, but no fish were recovered. Monitoring and stocking were suspended in 2020 due to complications with the pandemic, but biologists are hopeful that both programs will be resumed in 2021. There has been some recent evidence of success, however. NCWRC biologists and law enforcement officers have received a few angler reports of Lake Sturgeon catches near Hot Springs, NC.
Submitted by Dylan Owensby and Luke Etchison
My Mea culpa: The Legacy Behind the Logo, or Will the Real Dr. John E. Cooper Please Stand Up?
In August 2016, I penned an article for our Summer 2016 newsletter about our Chapter’s original logo and the man behind the logo – the recently deceased Dr. John E. Cooper of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. However, I lately realized that I had made a grievous error. The thrust of the article about the remarkable life and contributions of Dr. Cooper is still correct, but I had attributed the design to the wrong Dr. John E. Cooper! What follows is a recent e-mail exchange I had with the correct Dr. Cooper:
January 5, 2021
From: Bryn Tracy
Illustration of the NC AFS Logo
To: [email protected]150
“Dr. Cooper —
In reading the November 2020 issue of Fisheries, which I only happened to receive yesterday, I noticed on page 627 that your name was listed as a Contributed Sessions Chair for the 2021 annual AFS meeting. I then searched for your company on the Internet and came across your website. After looking through the list of your publications, I then went to the photographs and illustrations (https://www.cooperenvironmentalresearch.com/illustrations/). One illustration caught my eye — the North Carolina Chapter of AFS’s logo.
I am a member of the NC Chapter and in 2016 I wrote an article for our quarterly newsletter (see attached pdf file and The Legacy Behind the Logo –https://nc.fisheries.org/summer-2016-newsletter/). I had always thought that the person who originated our logo was Dr. John E. Cooper, a well-known crayfish expert and one of the founding members of our Chapter. In seeing your illustration, I have realized that I have made a serious mistake. I would like to give you credit and plan on writing a follow article explaining my error.
Perhaps you could give me some background on how you, also a John E. Cooper, came up with the logo and not the John E. Cooper who I thought drew it? Where you one of the founding members? And at that time were you a student of Dr. Rulifson at ECU? Boy, I really have screwed things up.
Thank you very much for any assistance [sic] and clarification which you can provide”.
January 6, 2021
From: john cooper
Re: Illustration of the NC AFS Logo
To: Bryn Tracy
Dr. Cooper and I have been mistaken for each other many times, especially when I worked in North Carolina. I used to receive mail intended for him and vice-versa. I did not meet Dr. Cooper but I did correspond with him on several occasions. I was quite surprised when I saw that his birth date is the same as mine, just a different year. I started drawing in high school making posters for class elections, eventually moving on to drawing fishes, zooplankton, and plants. The egg and larvae development of fantail darters was one of my early publications and I have continued to illustrate various fishes for my own publications and for colleagues. I also enjoy drawing scenes for t-shirts, primarily with fishes, for meetings and book covers. I wanted the logo to be distinctive and the state outline as a rock seemed to be a good choice and adding darters to it was an easy choice.
To answer your specific questions: I was not a founding member of the NC Chapter (I was a founding member of the Tidewater Chapter), I was not a student of Roger Rulifson, we worked together on various studies at ECU before I left in 1993 to start a PhD program at SUNY-ESF in Syracuse. I thought that I would be in NY for about 6 years but plans always change and I have stayed here. Most of my work over the past 20 years has been as a contractor doing biological studies. I have attached a modified resume and two pictures that you can use as you wish.
Dr. John E. Cooper
Cooper Environmental Research
1444 County Route 23
Constantia, NY 13044
Coincidentally, the two Dr. Coopers shared the same birthday, November 17th, but the age difference between them was 19 years. And like the elder Dr. Cooper, the junior Dr. Cooper had and continues to have an illustrious career as a fishery and aquatic biologist and as a 50-year member of AFS.
Before moving to New York, Dr. Cooper spent quite a bit of time in eastern North Carolina at East Carolina University’s Institute for Coastal and Marine Resources. There he collaborated on anadromous fish projects on the Roanoke River with Dr. Roger Rulifson; was active in the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation and the Tidewater Chapter of AFS; was a member of the North Carolina Fishery Workers Association (the predecessor of today’s North Carolina Chapter of AFS); presented papers at scientific meetings on food habits and growth of Striped Bass, Morone saxatilis, in the Roanoke River and Albemarle Sound; and co-authored numerous papers and reports on Menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus, Striped Bass, Asiatic Clam, Corbicula fluminea, and zooplankton in the Roanoke River and Albemarle Sound.
It is ironic that in my original article, I wrote about the junior Dr. John E. Cooper, but it never crossed my mind that another side of the story was possible: “So why Fantail Darters? Why not crayfish? Well, NC AFS is primarily a fisheries management and conservation organization, but we have recently “widened our seine” to be more inclusive of those studying invertebrates such as crayfish, snails, and freshwater mussels; imperiled aquatic species; and aquatic toxicology issues. To my knowledge, [the elder] Dr. Cooper never published on darters, although there was a [junior] Dr. John E. Cooper who published two papers on Logperch, Fantail Darter, and Rainbow Darter in 1978 and 1979 in the American Midland Naturalist and in the Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. But he, [the junior Dr. Cooper], was affiliated with Appalachian Environmental Laboratory and the University of Maryland, Frostburg. Perhaps [the elder] Dr. Cooper just thought it was fitting to design a logo that had a Fantail Darter, one of North Carolina’s more widely distributed darters, perched atop and under the Ol’ North State looking outward to see what’s coming down the riffle, be it prey or pollution, and to protect the cavity where the next generation’s eggs have been laid. I don’t know the true answer, but I do miss the chance of asking [the elder] Dr. Cooper about it”.
And as I now write this article, I realize that I had made another mistake in my original article: “. . . and, for a short period of time, affiliated with the Institute of Coastal and Marine Resources at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC”. That statement should apply to the junior Dr. Cooper and not to the elder Dr. Cooper.
In some ways, I am embarrassed that I made these two mistakes. But in other ways, reflecting on what I did, I am glad it turned out the way it did. I was able to make an acquaintance with another AFS member whom I never would have had the opportunity to meet unless I had read Fisheries. I was also able to learn more about a researcher and the research he had conducted in eastern North Carolina while at East Carolina University, a university with whom I have never had much contact. But most of all, even though I think that I know much about historical ichthyology in North Carolina, I realize that I have barely “sorted the sample” and there is so much more to learn about those who have “netted before me”.
Submitted by Bryn Tracy
Aquarium Plants Infested with Zebra Mussels Found in North Carolina
On March 3, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (Commission) received notice that moss balls Aegagropila linnaei contaminated with Zebra Mussels Dreissena polymorpha were being sold at a Petco in Seattle, WA. Soon, word came in that these were also found at stores in Georgia, Virginia, and numerous other states. On March 4, Commission fisheries biologist Corey Oakley purchased moss balls from the PetSmart in Burlington, NC that appeared to contain Zebra Mussels. These moss balls were taken the next morning to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences where Curator of Mollusks, Art Bogan, confirmed that they were indeed Zebra Mussels.
The Commission sent Wildlife Enforcement Officers to every pet store in the State to inform store owners and managers of the contaminated moss balls. Most stores voluntarily agreed to destroy their inventory of moss balls or turned them over to Commission staff for decontamination and disposal.
For stores that did not volunteer to remove the item, Commission biologists inspected all moss balls for signs of Zebra Mussels. In all, over 280 stores were visited. Moss balls contaminated with Zebra Mussels were found in stores across the state. The Commission has also initiated a public relations campaign to inform aquarium owners of the risk of being infested with Zebra Mussels and how to safely dispose of the moss balls and decontaminate their fish tanks. The Commission is also coordinating with sister agencies including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, NC Department of Agriculture, and the NC Department of Environmental Quality.
At the national level, the contaminated moss balls have been found in at least 22 states. This number is likely to increase as more states report. It appears the moss balls originated in the Ukraine and were distributed by two distributors in Florida, one in New York, and one in California.
The Commission will continue its public information efforts. The Commission is in the process of developing a monitoring plan and is determining the feasibility of a response plan should Zebra Mussels be found in North Carolina waters. As a reminder, it is illegal to possess live Zebra Mussels in North Carolina. Anyone with questions can contact Todd Ewing at [email protected] or Christian Waters at [email protected].
Submitted by Christian Waters and Todd Ewing
Good Work! – Recent Publications by NCAFS Members
Dadswell, M. J., and R. A. Rulifson. 2021. A review of the fishes and fisheries of Minas Basin and Minas Passage, Nova Scotia, and their potential risk from tidal power development. Proceedings of the Nova Scotian Institute of Science 51:39-125.
Engman, A. C., T. J. Kwak, and J. R. Fischer. 2021. Big runs of little fish: first estimates of run size and exploitation in an amphidromous postlarvae fishery. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfas-2020-0093.
Etchison, L., and J. Rash. 2020. Hey, that’s still not a trout: getting to know your knottyheads. American Currents 45:25-29.
Rulifson, R. A., and M. J. Dadswell. 2020. Alewife and Blueback Herring captured by intertidal weirs of the Inner Bay of Fundy, Canada, display seasonal demographics that suggest multiple migrating stocks. Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 12:441-456.
Runde, B. J., T. Michelot, N. M. Bachelor, K. W. Shertzer, and J. A. Buckel. 2020. Assigning fates in telemetry studies using hidden Markov models: an application to deepwater groupers released with descender devices. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 40:1417-1434.
Tracy, B.H., S.A. Smith, and F.C. Rohde. 2021. Identifying North Carolina’s suckers may not be as hard as you think. American Currents. 46:3-14.
Young, J. M., M. E. Bowers, E. A. Reyier, D. Morley, E. R. Ault, J. D. Pye, R. M. Gallagher, R. D. Ellis. 2020. The FACT Network: philosophy, evolution, and management of a collaborative coastal tracking network. Marine and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science 12:258-271.
Submitted by the NCAFS Newsletter Review Team
Stories of Interest
Zebra mussels threaten NC waterways
The biggest statewide invasive species threat ever
Muskie moving back to their rightful place in French Broad River
NCAFS members Amanda Bushon & Scott Loftis discuss finding the fish in restored floodplains
Bottom trawling emits more CO2 than air travel
A big carbon footprint add to suspect economics and dwindling catch
American Eel aquaculture
Smuggling eels in suitcases, a $2,400 per pound product, and run-ins with the mafia
Native vs non-native
We stock them because we like them
Fish responsibly before it is ruined for everyone
Popular fishing magazine provides a roadmap to improving state-managed marine species
Canada DFO launching project to track ‘dark’ fishing
Illegal fishing operations will have to outrun satellites
Is politics getting in the way of sustainable cod in Newfoundland?
Moral of the story: don’t let fisheries collapse
Increasing dissolved organic matter in coastal zones could lead to ecosystem change
Most high-seas sharks at risk of extinction
Shark populations down 71% since 1970
Europe’s largest freshwater fish threatens native biodiversity
Wels catfish ‘wrecking havoc’ in Western Europe
Plastic, plastic everywhere
Efforts to understand and clean-up pollution in NC rivers and estuaries
The northern migration
NC trawlers fishing further north as oceans warm
Submitted by the NCAFS Newsletter Review Team
Call to Action!
If you want to contribute, have a story idea or would like us to include something in next quarter’s newsletter, email Kyle Rachels at [email protected] or give him a call at 252-548-4938.
Also, if you want to become more involved with one of the many great NCAFS committees then please check this link for information about each one, contacts, etc., https://nc.fisheries.org/who-we-are/committees/
The American Fisheries Society Home Page offers a wealth of links to assist you in your fishy endeavors. This and archived NCAFS newsletters, along with links, chapter information, and upcoming meetings, can be found here on our own website.