Ecological Assessments: Fish, Invertebrates, Water Quality

San Pablo Bay, located North of San Francisco Bay, has several tributaries. Our group, the Hobbs Lab, conducts fish sampling in some of these tributaries; namely Gallinas Creek, Novato Creek, Petaluma River, Sonoma Creek, and Napa River. One of our research vessels, the LONSME (the six character “alpha” code for longfin smelt), was specially designed for shallow water sampling. The LONSME is a twenty-three-foot WorkSkiff that has had a trawl deck, two heavy duty winches, and an articulating gantry added to the base platform. These modifications allow us to utilize multiple sampling techniques; like mid-water trawl, otter trawl, and sled nets including the 20mm sled. Our sampling method in these tributaries have been duplicated from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Zooplankton Study, Smelt Larval Survey, 20mm Survey, San Francisco Bay Study, and the Fall Midwater Trawl Survey. This allows us to expand the scope of existing state surveys.

Since 2015, the Hobbs Lab group has been conducting monthly otter trawls on Sonoma Creek, Napa River and Petaluma River. In 2016 we added zooplankton trawling to our monthly surveys. Also in 2016, we started seasonal fish sampling targeting the longfin smelt larvae and juvenile life stages. We use the SLS (smelt larval sled), and 20mm net for this purpose. These life stage sampling efforts are started around the last week in December and end around March; depending on local water conditions.