Kirsti Marohn: Surveying Fish in Streams for Water Health


Chad Anderson and John Sandberg slosh through a muddy stream in hip waders, pausing occasionally to duck under overgrown branches or swat a mosquito.

Sandberg carries a long pole with a metal ring on the end. He moves it through the water, sending out an electrical current that temporarily stuns the fish. Anderson comes behind him with a net, scooping them up. “We want to capture every single species, every fish,” Anderson said. “The little species are sometimes just as important as the big ones...”

This slow and sometimes painstaking work is part of the MPCA’s effort to document and monitor all 80 of Minnesota’s major watersheds. The work has produced a wealth of data about the health of Minnesota’s rivers, lakes and streams.