Black Bears Spotted

While in the field last week, we spotted a family of bears! These black bears must have smelled our presence and came to explore. The American black bear (Ursus americanus), is very common and widely distributed. They are a very intelligent and curious species, and feed mainly on berries, nuts, grasses, carrion, and insects. While caution should always be taken, black bears rarely attack humans; in fact most injuries only occur from people trying to feed, touch, or crowd them.

These sites in Harlan County, Kentucky which have been reclaimed, now provide prime habitat and foraging sites for these bears, and other wildlife.

Chrosomus cumberlandensis (Blackside Dace) – spawning!!

The Blackside Dace is olive green in color with black specks, a silver or red underside, and a single black stripe along its sides. During the breeding season, the male’s stripe becomes a deeper black, the red becomes brighter, and the fins turn a vibrant yellow. In the second and last pictures, the dace are actually using the nests of a different species (the Creek Chub) for spawning.

Elk Spotting

One of the best parts about our job is getting outdoors, which often brings with it some pretty cool wildlife sightings! Pictured here, a majestic Kentucky Elk checking us out from afar…

Fish Surveys

Rhododendron Pool

Jesse carrying the battery and backpack electro-fish shocker. The device stuns fish for several seconds so populations can be counted. These surveys can be used for baseline studies required for projects needing Clean Water Act permitting (NPDES), Section 404, Nationwide or Individual Permits or Protection and Enhancement Plans.