Students work in groups to collect data at each transect.

OKANOGAN – Okanogan High School ecology students have created a community outreach video about their work collecting data at Woody Island at the south end of town.

In 2014, along the Okanogan River, the Colville Confederated Tribes’ Department of Fish and Wildlife opened a relic channel for juvenile salmon habitat near Woody Island. In addition to the relic channel, there is a side channel that acts as flood plain habitat, said Kim Kogler, education specialist at the Okanogan Conservation District.

The department joined with the school’s ecology of the Okanogan class and the conservation district to study the possible benefits of opening the side channel for additional habitat.

During each school year, students conduct monthly visits to document changes in channel vegetation, macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects) and fish use. They learn about fish management from local fish biologists and the relationship between humans and water.

This year, the 2020-2021 class planned to lead a community event to share information about their class, their work, and water quality and salmon health. But because of COVID-19 complications, the class created a video instead, Kogler said.

In the video, the students describe how they prepare for data collection days and why they have been collecting data at Woody Island since 2014.

The video may be viewed on Okanogan Conservation District’s YouTube channel or at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74Anqjo2ES0.

In addition to the school, tribe and conservation district, the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board also contributed.

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