Recap of This years Lumens at Jenner, CA.

Stayed home and worked on some stuff today.

This post may not be of interest to some, so I added the post on the turtles to make up for it.

I took the day off from the river today, I had some stuff to do, like getting my chain saw carburetor to work and besides there was a big bike thing going on today with over seven thousand bikes on the road, not a good time to be on the road. I worked on that carb most of the day, but didn’t’ get that darn saw going. I think I’ve got about three days in getting that saw going, so far and still, no go? I did get my rebuilt carb on the van going today, so that was good. Wasn’t really much to do, because I installed it a couple days ago, but when I started the engine, gas was leaking from the gas line connection where it went into the carburetor. No mater how tight I got it, it wouldn’t stop leaking. I finally took it all off, so I could inspect it. I was looking for a crack, but no cracks. I was having that giving up feeling. I looked some more with magnification and I found a little metal thread in there that must of been getting between things. I took it out and reinstalled things and it worked real good. No leaks. The van was running nice, but I do hear an exhaust leak in the manifold that I will have to fix, someday, when I get tired of hearing it. :O)

Photo Phosphorous Plankton (Lumens) Recap of this years observations.

This is the fourth year I have been checking on the lumens. Years one and two, I only saw a little bit of the lumens and only a few small fish, mostly west of Penny Island, near the big  trees on the south shore of the river. Looking back, I’d say it was weak. I didn’t check much out in those years, because I was just starting to learn about it, and since it was a little on the weak side, I didn’t have much reason to get excited about it.

On the third year, last year, I was out there checking out lumens, when I was blown away by all the lumens and fish I saw. It was a big Red tide year, the year they lost a lot of abs that were supposed to have been killed by it the red tide. I think I went out to check the lumens only a few times last year, but it was enough to get me to thinking about it.

So this year, I as primed and ready to check out the lumens and see what I could learn.

The mouth of the river was closed or partly closed the first part of July, this year.

Yes, it was, the ocean had pushed the mouth southward, down behind the jetty. When the spring river flow slowed down enough, the mouth closed or partly closed. A closed mouth, no water flows out to sea, or into the river, unless it is a very high tide that breaks over the sand. A partly closed mouth, only a little water can flow out to sea, or come back into the river.

The first part of July, the mouth was just barely open, so very little ocean water could come into the mouth. However, the high tides that hit just before the middle of the mouth, caused the mouth to open all the way up, full flow was possible.

How the mouth of the river is opened by a high tide.

When the high tides came just before the middle of the month, they were high enough to flow over the sand bar that closed the mouth. The tides were high enough that the ocean water flowed and caused the sand blocking the mouth to flow into the river area, opening the mouth a little, so the next time high tide happened, it opened it some more. When the ocean tide went out between the high tides, there was enough water in the river from the high tides to help wash more sand out of the mouth into the ocean. This process of several high tides caused the mouth to open full wide, just to the right of the jetty.

Once I saw the mouth open, I decided it was time to look for lumens. Now, at that time I was under the impression that you needed to have a high tide come into the river just before or just about dark to see the lumens, as I thought, at the time that they came in and went out with the tides.

The first night I went out was August 15th. There were some lumens, but not many fish, almost none to be seen. Are we starting a cycle here? I went out a number of times. There got to be more lumens and a lot more fish. It looked like the fish in the river started weak, then there were a lot of them, then they tapered off again. Is this a yearly cycle?

Fresh river water floats on top of the salty ocean water.

Because I was on the river a lot in my kayak, I actually saw the cold ocean water diving under the warmer river water at several different places in the river, depending on conditions, like how much and how fast the ocean water can get into the river mouth. I saw how foam from the ocean floated on the surface showing where the ocean water was diving down. I saw several foot ripples in the water winding a long way, were the ocean water was diving under the fresh warmer river water. I witnessed the warm river water floating on top of the colder salt water, sometimes only a couple inches thick. I could tell this by my paddle. The fresh river water doesn’t glow because the lumens stuff lives in salt water only. So, if one dips a paddle in the water, just on the surface and there is no glow, it’s fresh water, or at least not salty ocean water. But put the paddle blade down a little deeper and there are lots of glow. I also use my finger to test for temperature and salt content to detect water conditions.

Or, you could say, the salty ocean water flows under the fresh river water.

From observing how the salt water flowed under the fresh water, I began to get curious what was happening up river with the lumens. A lady who has a house up above the highway one bridge had told me she sees lumens up there too. Made me wonder how far the lumens went up the river in the salt layer? From what I had leaned since the salty ocean water flows under the warmer fresh water layer, the salty layer can sneak up the river under the fresh water and go quite a ways, How far, I didn’t know and still don’t really know, but I do know more. The vertical rise of the river isn’t very much in the loser river, so if the river tide is six feet, the salt layer can likely go up the river estuary quite a ways. I know the high tides back up the water clear to the Vacation beach damn.When the mouth closes, and the water backs up high enough, it’s like a big lake all the way to Vacation Beach damn. I don’t’ think the salt goes that far though, more likely the Cassini Ranch ripple, but at higher tides or a closed mouth, the salt layer may go past this area. But I don’t’ really know too much about that for sure.

I did suspect the salty layer went up above the Willow Creek area from what I’ve heard from the biologists. I started looking up the river just below the end of Freezeout Road. I only looked once up there and didn’t see anything, so it may still be up there. But I did find it heavy in Marcum hole, also know as Sheep Head Creek hole, about fifty feet deep. I suspected the salt water flowed up to this hole and supplied it with ocean nutrients. What I think I found is the ocean does indeed feed this big hole and it acts something like a reservoir where salt life can live. It gets replenished by the high tides. The lumen tape stuff is living in that water even when there aren’t any high tides. That means krill and other ocean type stuff is living in there too, likely providing a valuable food source for a countless number of things.

The salt river runs up under the fresh water causing it to rise up, more than flow.

From observing the cold ocean water diving under the warmer fresh river water, near the mouth, it appeared that the ocean water flowed up the river, more under the fresh water, causing the fresh upper layer to lift up, rather than to flow. Of course as this fresh water is lifted up, it wants to go somewhere and there is a certain amount of mixing. I’ve noted how the fresh water moves around Penny Island. When the tide comes in, the salt moves up river. Because the north side of the river is deeper than the south side of the island, where there is a channel, the salt water flows up the north side of the island first, mainly because it is deeper than the island channel. Salt water pushes up against the western side of the island channel, but isn’t high enough to get up the south island channel, yet. So now we have a salt water damn on the west end channel of the island, blocking the down river flow of fresh river water. As the tide gets higher the salt water starts to go around and down the east side of the island. As the salt water enters the island channel, it puts pressure on the trapped fresh water that is there, causing it to raise and maybe do some mixing. I look at the island as a big mixer. The way the water moves around it causes waters to mix, which I think is mainly caused because of the difference in channel depths, one being a lot deeper than the other one.

Obviously there is a lot happening here that I’ll keep checking out as time goes by. I find the lumens o really help see things that aren’t apparent without it.

 

The lumen type stuff appeared  a lot longer than I thought it would.

My last day out looking for lumens was on Sept. 27th and I still saw some lumens out, although, mostly from Marcum hole. That’s it for me this year, they may still be out there, but they seemed to have slowed down or ceased, but I don’t know for sure because I stopped looking for now. Next year I will look some more. I’m not sure how long they will remain in Marcum hole? They seemed to be living there on their own.

I learned a lot this year.

Things start to come together after one spends enough time studying something. That’s what happened this year, now I have even more to think about and build on. It looks to me like this lumens thing starts out slow, builds and peaks and then decreases again. If krill and other ocean stuff follow this pattern, then there is a huge supply of nutrient type stuff coming into the river from the ocean, during this time, which I would suspect is a huge food source for things that feed in the estuary. To get this huge food source into the river, I would think the mouth of the river would need to remain open during this period.

That concludes the lumen’s adventure for this year.

I find the lumens really help see things that aren’t apparent without it.

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