The Paddlefish Project is an innovative science enrichment program that networks schools with scientists conducting special studies related to the reintroduction of the American Paddlefish, Polyodon spathula, to Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake in East Texas.
The Paddlefish Project serves as a model for improving communities and benefitting the environment by providing elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students, their teachers and professors, volunteers, and community participants with content knowledge, scientific process and critical thinking skills for informed decision-making.
Paddlefish Reintroduction Education Initiative
The Collins Academy hosts day camps, educational events for students, professional development workshops and other activities with the Paddlefish Project as their focus.
Final Report for Big Cypress Bayou Paddlefish Reintroduction Assessment
Experiment in Action
In early 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Caddo Lake Institute released 50 paddlefish into Caddo Lake and Big Cypress Bayou to test previous in-stream habitat restoration work and planned releases of water from Lake O’the Pines.
The paddlefish release provides opportunities for schools to become heavily engaged in ecological studies and environmental education.
Students, teachers and educational groups conduct their own, age appropriate, standards aligned, environmental testing and investigations expanding on the work project scientists are doing.Each fish has an implanted radio transmitter. Since the radio signals are unique, each tagged fish can be tracked by towers placed along the bayou. As part of the experiment, students and other interested parties can follow paddlefish movements, question project scientists, and share relevant data on the project web site.
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Results of this experiment will determine whether restoration of the flow regimes and channel substrate will provide a favorable enough habitat for paddlefish restoration. If successful, the experiment will lead to a watershed-wide reintroduction of up to 10,000 juvenile paddlefish.
Returning Paddlefish to Caddo Lake [ watch video ]
Caddo Lake Institute [ project brochure, website ]
Texas Parks & Wildlife [ paddlefish information ]
Gravel Bar Construction [ watch video ]
A Prehistoric Persuit [ watch video ]
The Paddlefish Project involves community members in quality stewardship, science-based activities. It is a public demonstration of the power of common understanding and focused action.