Scientists and fisheries biologists will launch a five-year study to understand how angler use of reservoirs influences fish populations.

Kevin Pope, assistant leader of the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will lead the study. Staff biologists from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission also will participate.

Anglers will be interviewed in person to determine how much time they spend fishing on various reservoirs, along with what fish they caught, released or kept.

“Angling is the most influential mechanism structuring fish populations in freshwater systems,” said Pope. “The purpose of this project is to gain an understanding of the factors affecting peoples’ decisions on what reservoir to fish.”

The study seeks to document the amount of time anglers spend at five Nebraska reservoirs — Calamus, Harlan County, McConaughy, Merritt and Sherman — and their catches. Anglers will be interviewed April through October during the next five years.

Anglers at an additional three to six reservoirs yet to be determined also will be interviewed during that period.

The study also intends to determine what factors lead to anglers’ decisions to fish one reservoir rather than a nearby reservoir within the Salt Valley region. This task will involve year-round interviews of anglers over the next four years.

Anyone interested in becoming a creel clerk should contact Pope or the commission’s fisheries staff within their district.

Habitat meeting set this week in Brownville: A public information meeting to discuss habitat projects along the Missouri River in Southeast Nebraska is set for Thursday in Brownville.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Brownville Town Hall and will feature staff members from the Game and Parks Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Topics will include the Langdon Bend wetland development project near Nemaha, habitat creation through the Missouri River Recovery Program, a new appraisal method for Wetland Reserve and Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Programs, and the Open Fields and Waters Program. There will be a question-and-answer session.

Brandt receives club’s wildlife officer award: Conservation Officer Scott Brandt of Gering recently received the Shikar-Safari Club International’s 2008 Nebraska Wildlife Officer of the Year award.

Brandt, an officer since 1983, is an accomplished investigator who has brought some big wildlife cases to prosecutors, said his supervisor, Conservation Officer Jim Zimmerman.

He also has sponsored a youth waterfowl hunt, is an active member of Platte River Basin Environments and has helped secure public access to thousands of acres of land in the Scotts Bluff County area.

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