Wednesday, June 8, 2011

US Geologic Survey Research Ship in Grand Marais

A friend called me this evening to tell me that a large research vessel pulled into the channel and tied up on the pier at the end of coast guard point. Most likely Grand Marais bay is too shallow to allow such a vessel to navigate into the bay.

I looked up the ship on line to find out more about her.

As you can see from the photos, she is owned by the United States Geological Survey. She was built in 1999 by the Patti Shipyard, Inc. (Pensacola, FL) at a cost of over $3,300,000. She was designed by a management team which included the USGS Great Lakes Science Center (Ann Arbor, MI) and the USACE Marine Design Center (Philadelphia, PA). The operational team is the USGS Lake Superior Biological Station (Ashland, WI). The research vessel makes an annual circumnavigation of the lake as part of an ongoing census of fish populations in Lake Superior. The primary mission of the spring lake survey is to gather census information on forage fish populations around the lake. This is accomplished using a trawl net at predermined "stations" along the shore. The crew of the Kiyi consists of a combination of fishery biologists and the vessel's navigation team. Once the fish are aboard the vessel they are sorted by species, counted, weighed, and measured in the vessel's Wet Lab. The crew of the Kiyi works four to five stations each day, averaging about twelve hours work from start to finish, rain or shine.

The Kiyi is 107 feet long, 27 feet wide, and has a hull depth of 12 feet. She carries a gross tonnage of 290, with a displacement weight of 232 tons. Her maximum speed is 11 knots with a fuel capacity of 9,600 gallons. She accomodates three crew and six researchers and can stay out of port for up to ten days. She has two 640 HP Cummins engines, two Cummins generators, and a 2,000 pound, 30 foot deck crane. She is used to net fish and has a net reel as well as a gill net lifter.

Her main port is in Ashlund, WI. A new dock was constructed there in 2008 to provide a safe docking location for the new, congressionally funded Research Vessel Kiyi. The City of Ashland donated a valuable 3-acre waterfront parcel, which contains an abandoned vessel dock and has received Congressional funding to further develop the site as a federal facility.

The vessel is names after a deep water fish that used to be found in all the Great Lakes except for Lake Erie, but is now only found in Lake Superior (Coregonus kiyi). It is reportedly most abundant at depths greater than 260 feete (80 m). In Lake Superior most kiyi are found at depths of 590 feet (180 m).

This is one of the smaller ciscoes. Adult kiyi average approximately 9.8 inches (250 mm) total length and six ounces 1 (70 grams) in weight. They are silvery pink or purple iridescence, darker on the back and white on the belly. They may have a dark tip on the lower jaw. They have a conspicuous, large eye.

In addition to the Kiyi, the Army Corps of Engineers has 53 vessels including: 2 debris collectors, 3 dredge vessels, 1 other research vessel (plus the Kiyi), 9 survey/patrol vessels, 16 tow boats, and 21 barges.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info. We were watching the crew of this vessel work in Big Bay this evening and wondering what they were up to. They apparently set out their sonar drag and headed north over the horizon.