Stream Team Intern Reflects on Summer

My name is Cora Newton and I’ve just begun my second year at Hawaii Pacific University in Kaneohe, Hawaii as a marine science major. This summer was my second summer of being a Stream Team intern. This job has been the perfect summer job. It’s allowed me to gain experience for the field I’m going into, giving me an advantage in the job field. This job also teaches me more about how to work as a member of a team, and since I was a returning intern, showed me that I can take a leadership role and give direction when necessary.

At the beginning of the internship this summer, I knew we’d be doing some of the old monitoring that we had done the summer before. But I also knew that we would be doing some new monitoring on different projects around the Hood Canal. I never expected how much we’d accomplish over the course of the summer. We worked on different projects in various places, including the Union River Estuary, Big Quilcene and Duckabush rivers, and Big Beef Creek. Throughout the summer, we constantly monitored the Union River Estuary. We monitored birds to see how many different species of birds were present. We also monitored vegetation to see how the restored estuary was adapting and recovering. Large woody debris was monitored in this estuary as well to see if any of the logs or stumps had moved, been brought in, or taken out by the tide. On the Big Quilcene River, vegetation was also monitored for the same reasons. At Big Beef Creek, we monitored birds as well as insects, noting the differences between the insects found in different areas, as well as identifying them down to their family.

Working on the Duckabush River was something new for us because we were writing protocols and choosing monitoring sites for a new monitoring effort to be done by volunteers in the area. The monitoring effort will include water quality and bird monitoring, along with photo points and game cameras, all aimed at gaining a better understanding of natural resources in the lower reaches of the river and the estuary.

Throughout the summer, we also completed a handful of stream surveys. For these surveys, we went as far as possible on four streams looking for any noxious or invasive species as part of HCSEG’s knotweed control program. On the Tahuya River, we helped with a fish rescue, removing sculpin, coho salmon, and stickleback from an area of the river that was drying up. Once the fish were removed from the slowly warming pools, they were relocated down the river where they had a better chance of survival.

One of the final highlights of the summer for me was assisting with HCSEG’s GreenSTREAM summer camp, which focuses on connecting youth with the Hood Canal watershed. This year’s camp included beach exploration, kayaking, forest planning, and more. We also represented HCSEG at community events such as Tahuya Day, Allyn Days, a volunteer fair, and the Taste of Hood Canal.

This experience will help me in the future because it has provided me with valuable skills and experience needed in the workplace. It’s also allowed me to keep learning every day.

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