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Environment & Energy

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park's BioBlitz Is Underway

photo of Joyce Rennick-Ball

Click here for results from the 2016 CVNP BioBlitz.  

Hundreds of volunteers and scientists are in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park today to help with the first BioBlitz, a comprehensive inventory of the living things in the park.

At Indigo Lake in Peninsula, scientists are combing the water to see what kinds of fish live here.

They’re using a process called “electrofishing,” which administers a small jolt of electricity to briefly stun the fish, so they can be collected and examined up-close.

Kent State student Ashley Tillison is helping out and says she’s looking forward to what the results say about the health of the lake.

“There’s a lot of talk about climate change currently – sort of a politically loaded issue – so it’s kind of cool that this will provide some evidence either for or against, in either direction.”

Crews have also put out fyke nets in Indigo Lake to collect fish – though not kill them -- and tomorrow morning they’ll be pulling the nets to see if there are additional species in the lake.

Where are the lichen?

photo of electrofishing
Scientists spent part of the day at Indigo Lake cataloging fish that were caught through electrofishing; no fish were hurt, and they were released once finished.

Another group is cataloging the different types of lichen on the Virginia Kendall Ledges. Park officials say a diverse population of the fungus-and-algae hybrid is a good indicator of the health of the park.  Volunteer Joyce Rennick-Ball from Stow took the day off from her job at FedEx because she was curious about lichen, too.

“The reason that it’s good that’s here and it’s thriving is it’s actually a sign that we’re decreasing the pollution in our environment. We walk by this stuff all the time and never really pay much attention. So, I just thought it would be interesting to learn a little bit about it.”

One reason the Cuyahoga Valley National Park prohibits climbing at Virginia Kendall Ledges is because that would disturb and remove the lichen, which are often light blue or green in color.

The Bio-Blitz continues through tonight and then starts up again tomorrow morning.