West Fork biologists are trained in the collection of environmental DNA (eDNA) to determine species presence/absence. All samples are analyzed by Genidaqs Genetic Laboratory in Sacramento, CA.
In the Summer of 2018, eDNA collection and analysis was utilized as part of a larger project investigating fish distribution in Walsh Lake, located in the Cedar River Municipal Watershed. We were particularly interested in non-native fish and whether or not the distribution of these fish was expanding. The results of paired eDNA and traditional sampling methods validated each other, indicating eDNA is a valid approach to document non-native or rare fish species. This approach provides an especially effective sampling technique in wetland and other low gradient habitats where easily disturbed fine sediment and other factors make traditional fish sampling methods less effective.