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USGS Divers at Turners Falls

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On August 23rd Barry Irwin and Rick Rendigs (WHFC), members of the USGS dive team, participated in scientific dive operations with Ted Santos (BRD) at the confluence of the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers near Turners Falls, Mass. Attempts were made at two sites to retrieve a moored receiver used for recording the species and movement of previously tagged anadromous fish within the river. The receiver operates much like a bar code counter at the grocery checkout line. Anadromous fish are fish that spawn in fresh water and live in sea water, such as the Atlantic salmon, American shad, striped bass, blueback herring, and shortnose sturgeon.

The S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center (CAFRC) located at Turners Falls, Mass., is a branch of the Leetown Science Center, Kearneysville, West Va., within the USGS-Biological Resources Division. The CAFRC studies the biology, ecology, and riverine migratory patterns of various species. The center also provides fish passage facilities (ladders) and develops management strategies toward the restoration and protection of anadromous fish.

The USGS divers were unable to locate the moored receiver after swimming various radii lengths around two buoyed sites thought to be "close" to the original deployment site. During their search in 25-30 ft of water, the divers encountered swift currents and noted sand waves on the order of four to six feet in height with 8- to 10-ft wavelengths. Because unusually high current flows had been recorded since the spring deployment of the receiver, it was concluded that the instrument package had either been swept away or buried by the migrating sand waves.

Related Web Sites
S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center (CAFRC)
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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