PUBLISHED: 11:14 AM on Wednesday, March 2, 2005
Juneau fisheries biologist receives national recognition
Pete Schneider, Fisheries Biologist for the Juneau Ranger District, has received national recognition for his work involving underwater fish cameras and the production of a DVD he calls "Fish Eye, An Underwater Exploration of the Tongass National Forest". The submission won top prize in a competition sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service's Nature Watch program, whose mission is "to provide children and adults the opportunity to safely view, and participate in, activities and programs that raise their level of awareness and understanding of wildlife, fish, and plants, and their connection to ecosystems, landscapes, and people".

Schneiders's goal for the project was to create a "highlights" video showing a unique perspective of fish and wildlife behavior in their natural environment. The footage can be used in classrooms, and enjoys a wider audience, as well. GCI has aired segments of the fish movements and beaver antics for the general public on local TV.

To conduct the underwater filming, Schneider employed waterproof cameras to capture footage of salmon, Dolly Varden, and cutthroat trout spawning behavior using VHS, S-video, and mini-DV formats. The raw images were then reviewed and used to assemble a master collection of fish and wildlife footage suitable for viewing, with the assistance of GCI. Some of the scenes caught on camera include redd excavation, territorial behavior, courtship display, and actual spawning. Eulachon (Hooligan) video was also filmed as part of the project, using clear-water footage from the Situk River in Yakutat, Alaska.

In addition to fish, an infrared camera installed into the den of an active beaver lodge provided a bit of beaver footage, as well. The animals can be seen grooming themselves and each other, napping, and performing general housekeeping duties within the den. It is a unique opportunity to see what kind of fish and wildlife activities take place below the surface and behind the scenes.

As a part of being recognized for his innovative efforts, Schneider was also awarded a digital camera. Pete has worked for the Juneau Ranger District for 5 years, and has a degree in Zoology from the University of Idaho, as well as a teaching certificate from Lewis-Clark State College.

Juneau District Ranger Pete Griffin congratulated Schneider, saying, "Winning a national award is a significant achievement. Pete deserves recognition for his accomplishment."