Biological monitoring experts working for the Conservancy recently raised a concern about extremely predatory fish species potentially causing harm to juvenile giant garter snake populations. One of the worst is the large mouth bass. We found several on one of the marsh complexes where giant garter snakes are present.
After training them on the ways of the HCP, and giant garter snakes more specifically, we asked a couple of fishing experts to target large mouth bass in the most impacted areas. It was amazing what they caught. See photo with this post, as but one example. All told, the fish ranged from two pounds to just over four pounds. More than large enough to inhale large numbers of newly born giant garter snakes. We got this done in a giant garter snake hotspot (meaning lots of them this year), including gravid females, and I can’t help but think that by removing the maws of death these large mouth bass present to giant garter snakes, we rendered some life saving assistance. In wildlife biology, at least as practiced on the Conservancy lands and in accordance with the HCP, we don’t try to eliminate, we try to control.
Instead of dewatering, chemical solutions, mechanical solutions, etc., I think we’ve found the secret here. Skilled and trained fishing experts doing targeted work, on specific sites, just before the giant garter snake neonates make their appearance in the world. Maybe we’ve helped even the odds a bit. I hope so, anyway.