Students will raise cutthroat trout |

Students will raise cutthroat trout

by Sheila Gardner

Thanks to a $5,000 grant, children in Douglas County schools may someday be raising cutthroat trout for the Lahontan Fish Hatchery. Fifteen teachers recently participated in a Saturday workshop at Minden Elementary School called “trout in the classroom.”

“It is probably one of the best workshops I ever attended,” said MES Principal Klaire Pirtle of the April 4 workshop. “I am very excited about it. It was wonderful to learn about our local environment. The kids will learn a lot.”

The program will be funded by a grant from U.S. Fish and Wildlife prepared by a team of groups involved in river conservation. Participants include representatives of High Sierra Flycasters, Nevada Division of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, and Western Nevada Resources Conservation and Development, United States Department of Agriculture.

“In the next month, the classrooms will get incubators and chillers and each class will get a few hundred Lahontan cutthroat trout eggs,” said Dan Kaffer, area coordinator of USDA Western Nevada Resources Conservation and Development. “The students will put the eggs in the incubators, and watch the eggs develop and hatch out. Then the students will release the trout in the Carson River or tributary streams.

“During the time the eggs are incubating, the students will learn from U.S. Wildlife personnel, flycasters and others about the importance of watersheds, water quality and quantity and erosion and all those things that can affect fish,” Kaffer said.

Depending on the temperature, the process takes about a month, Kaffer said.

“My organization will help provide education about erosion control and conservation of the watershed. Tyler Turnipseed from Carson Valley Conservation District will work with students on the importance of private lands erosion control and conservation work,” said Kaffer.

He estimated that up to 15 classrooms a year may be able to raise not only Lahontan cutthroat trout, but eventually brown and rainbow trout, too. Kaffer said the program is applicable to students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“Our thanks go out to Douglas County schools and U.S. FIsh and Wildlife Service, Flycasters and everyone for providing this valuable program to the county,” Kaffer said.

He said it is possible to have fish available for release in the fall for the annual Conserve the Carson Day. If the fish are ready in June and flows are too high, the fish may be held over and fed and raised until the fall.

“You don’t want to dump baby fish out at 4,000 cubic feet per second,” Kaffer said.

Kaffer said timing for the workshop was perfect, as it coincided with last week’s Carson River Conference in Carson City.

“Children learning about how they can improve their watershed is one of many pieces of the puzzle as we all work together to try to improve and enhance the Carson River so that is provides all the agricultural, recreational and aesthetic values our community would like it to and provide good, clean water,” Kaffer said.

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