5/13/2017 – eDNA sample collection

Permit #:  1705-1
Trip Leader name:  Bill Gee

Trip date:  13 May 2017

Trip purpose:  eDNA sample collection
Areas of Cave visited:  Upstream Thunder
Trip participants:  Bill Gee, Shannon Brewer, Joshua Mouser, Ben Perkins, Jenny Sung
Entry Time:  9:30am
Exit Time:  3:30pm
The trip report:  This is the third of three trips to collect eDNA (Environmental DNA) samples from Carroll Cave.  See my previous trip report from March 25 for more details regarding the process.

Everyone met at the silo shortly before 9:00am.  Jenny almost did not make it due to getting lost.  We were going down the shaft when she pulled up.

Everyone was in the cave by 10:00 am.  Ben, Joshua and Shannon went on ahead while I helped Jenny gear up and rappel down the shaft.

The area had received quite a lot of rain about two weeks before the trip.  There were signs all over the cave of flooding.  We saw fresh sand in many places, and the old boot prints were blurry.  Water was standing in places that are usually dry.

Jenny and I caught up with the others at the Rimstone Room, the first of the sample collection sites.  I immediately pulled out the data shuttle so I could download data from the logger.  The stilling well had been displaced by the flooding.  The concrete construction brick it is bolted to was clear out of the water on a shelf.  I replaced the stilling well, downloaded the logger and then tightened the cables that support the upper end of the well.

We collected samples at the second site, then moved on to the third.  The intention at the third site was to collect two bottles of water, take some notes and then move on.  As it turns out, we spent quite a bit of time at this site.  There was a cave fish moving around the rocks.  Shannon took quite a few photos of it along with some movies.

Just for a lark someone turned over a rock and discovered what might be a leech!  It was a worm-like creature about 1 or 2mm diameter by 35 or 40mm long.  Joshua got several photos of it.

The fourth sample site is the pool just upstream from Thunder Falls.  The water level in Thunder River was running about 6 or 8 inches above normal.  Thunder Falls was definitely thundering!  Shannon and Joshua filtered the samples from the last Carroll River stop, then collected and filtered samples from the pool just above Thunder Falls.  Jenny and Ben did a bit of site-seeing.

We returned to the ladder for lunch, arriving there about 12:40.  After a sandwich lunch, I downloaded data from both the stream logger and the barometric pressure logger.  We left about 1:00pm to head upstream to UL2.

The second sample site in Thunder River is at Goska’s Fish Pool.  We did the usual sample and filter routine, then went on to UL2.

The sample site in UL2 is just 40 feet into the passage.  There at least 4 fish right at the sample site.  We arrived there about 1:40pm.  Ben, Joshua and Shannon did the sample collection and filtering while Jenny and I went on down the passage to download the data logger.

At the entrance to UL2 everyone except me climbed up the mud trail to admire one of the best formation areas in the cave.  We were on the way back to the ladder about 2:40 pm.

We arrived at the ladder about 3:10 pm.  Gearing up went quickly.  I climbed first so I could help Jenny get off the rope safely.

Ben and I pulled up the rope and I closed the cave.  The weather was nearly perfect – sunny and about 80 degrees.  We all changed, packed up and headed down the hill.

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