Whomping Willows

The I-Minus river system presented challenges unforeseen via Google Earth as we planned our fish passage antenna locations.  The IM2 antenna station, for example, seemed perfectly situated between two converging streams, giving us access to two sites using only one data logger.  Today’s surprise, however, materialized as soon as the helicopter settled on our proposed site.  Willows of all sizes covered the area, presenting a fire hazard for our R44, which needed to relocate to higher, less flammable ground.  Because the I-Minus outlet stream hosts at least one very large grizzly bear, we’re on high alert for signs of bear activity as Tom Glass and I installed and tuned the two fish antennas.  I’ve seen willows effectively conceal large grizzlies and moose, as if swallowed whole before my eyes.  Bear spray at the ready, we managed to install both antennas and tune one of the two before rain, thunder and mosquitoes took charge. IMG_4215Tom places large rocks over the IM2b antenna. IMG_4220Stream-side wild flowers line the riparian zone of this I-Minus outlet tributary. IMG_4225 Monsterously large willows provide cover for large mammals, including myself, but don’t deter those blood seeking fiends, the mosquitoes. IMG_4227 Back at camp, it’s like Christmas as the Fishscape team receives a shipment of solar panels and marine batteries from Fairbanks.  This equipment won’t stay in camp long, however, we’re deploying most of it tomorrow and the rest goes into action on the rivers either on the 9th or 10th of July.

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