Salmon Carcass DNA Collection Project

We are looking for people to participate our Salmon Carcass DNA project during the coming salmon migration season in Auburn Ravine. By collecting DNA from salmon carcasses each season, we will be able to accurately estimate lineage percentages for fall-run Chinook salmon in Auburn Ravine. (How many are the offspring of salmon that spawned in Auburn Ravine, and how many are from hatcheries, or other streams?)

This volunteer activity involves walking/wading along a section along Auburn Ravine on Saturday mornings from mid-October until mid-February (weather and water conditions permitting.) Each section is 1 to 1.5 miles in length. Volunteers do not have to participate every Saturday, but are welcome to if they wish. For safety’s sake, we have the volunteers work in pairs. The volunteers look for salmon carcasses and if they find them, they collect a DNA sample by cutting a small piece off of the salmon’s heart. The heart is a much better source of DNA than a fin clip because the heart is usually the last organ to decompose after a salmon dies. We have a CDFW permit for this project. Young people age 10 to 17 are welcome to participate but must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. All volunteers, parents, or legal guardians will need to sign a waiver form.

It will be best if volunteers have their own wading boots (preferably the chest-high type), but some loaners may be available. Volunteers should never wade deeper than waist deep. Friends of Auburn Ravine (FAR) will provide training on DNA collection.

The project manager kicks off the event each Saturday at McBean Park in Lincoln at 9AM. The project manager hands out the DNA collecting kits, assigns volunteers to their stream sections and works out how they will get to and from their sections (who carpools with who to where?). When they are done walking their stream sections, the volunteers return to McBean Park, turn in the collecting kits, and the DNA samples to the project manager who will freeze the DNA and hand it off to Cramer Fish Sciences for analysis.