Spring Fish Slam 2017 – Big Cypress

Science Center Objects

22-23 March 2017 - Ten teams of fishery biologists sampled 28 sites amid unexpected wildfires in the Big Cypress National Preserve over the two day period. On the second day a reporter from the Miami Herald accompanied a ground crew team.

Big Cypress Fish Slam 2017 sample locations
Big Cypress sample locations: 1. Golden Gate canal, 2-4. Bear Island, 5-6. I-75 and SR29 canal, 7. canal at mile marker 78, 8. L-28 Interceptor canal, 9. Deep Lake, 10-11. Wagonwheel Road, 12. Birdon Road culverts, 13. Turner River culverts, 14-15. Bass Lake area, 16. Birdon Road canal, 17. campground boat ramp, 18. US41 culvert, 19. Turner River boat ramp, 20. Turner River canal, 21. Burns Lake, 22. Monument Lake, 23. Monroe Station canal, 24. Loop Road culverts, 25. Loop Road at Sweetwater Strand, 26. Oasis gator hole, 27. Big Cypress airport borrow ponds, 28. L-28 tie-back canal.

22-23 March 2017 - Ten teams of fishery biologists from U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Peninsular Florida Fisheries Office and Welaka National Fish Hatchery (USFWS), Big Cypress National Preserve (BICY), National Park Service (NPS), Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida International University (FIU), University of Florida (UF), Audubon Florida, University of West Florida (UWF), and Broward College sampled 28 sites amid unexpected wildfires in the Big Cypress National Preserve over the two day period. On the second day a reporter from the Miami Herald accompanied a ground crew team.

See story here: What’s smaller than a python but just as bad for South Florida? Invasive fish

This Fish Slam is another event conducted by the Non-native Fish Action Alliance and marks the first non-native fish survey in Big Cypress National Preserve in almost 15 years. Teams sampled a variety of water bodies within the Preserve including canals, ponds, ditches, and culverts. Collection gear included electrofishing boats, backpack electrofishers, cast nets, hook and lines, minnow traps, and gill nets. Thirteen nonnative fish species were collected, including one that had not been seen before on the Preserve: Nile tilapia. Nile tilapia populations are relatively spotty across Florida and have only been identified south of Lake Okeechobee since 2010. It is possible Nile tilapia is more widespread than we thought across south Florida as they may be commonly confused with blue tilapia, which is physically similar.

All native species were returned to the wild alive. Field collections and observations of non-native fishes were entered into the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database (USGS 2017).

Citizens can report non-native fishes to the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database using the reporting form.

Big Cypress Fish Slam 2017 field collections of non-native fishes
All native species were returned to the wild alive. Field collections and observations of non-native fishes were entered into the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database (USGS 2017).

Participants in the Big Cypress Slam included Stefahnee Austin (NPS), Jesse Blanchard (FIU), Ken Blick (USFWS), Tony Brady (USFWS), Mary Brown (USGS), Nicholas Charles (Audubon), Shawn Clem (Audubon), Allison Durland Donahou (UF), Zach Fratto (NPS), John Galvez (USFWS), Kelly Gestring (FWC), Silvia Gutierre (University of West Florida), Kristina Hsu (Audubon), Howard Jelks (USGS), Bill Loftus (Cherokee Nation Technologies), Tim Lyons (UF), Tony Pernas (NPS), Kristen Reaver (Cherokee Nation Technologies), Mica Rumbach (Audubon), Pam Schofield (USGS), Kylie Simonton (Broward College), Murray Stanford (FWC), Vanessa Trujillo (FIU), and Quenton Tuckett (UF).

This work was funded by US Geological Survey, Invasive Species Program, the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, and the Big Cypress National Preserve. We thank Friends of Everglades for their administrative assistance. Tony Pernas and Steve Schulze (NPS) provided assistance with logistics and permits.

REFERENCES
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). 2017. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database. Gainesville, Florida. Available via http://nas.er.usgs.gov/. Accessed 10 May 2017