Spawning Habitat Studies of Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), Final Report.

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The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory conducted this study for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) with funding provided through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council(a) and the BPA Fish and Wildlife Program. The study was conducted in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. The goal of study was to determine the physical habitat factors necessary to define the redd capacity of fall Chinook salmon that spawn in large mainstem rivers like the Hanford Reach and Snake River. The study was originally commissioned in FY 1994 and then recommissioned in FY 2000 through the Fish and Wildlife Program rolling review of ... continued below

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186 pages

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Geist, David R.; Arntzen, Evan V. & Chien, Yi-Ju (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) March 2, 2009.

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Description

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory conducted this study for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) with funding provided through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council(a) and the BPA Fish and Wildlife Program. The study was conducted in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. The goal of study was to determine the physical habitat factors necessary to define the redd capacity of fall Chinook salmon that spawn in large mainstem rivers like the Hanford Reach and Snake River. The study was originally commissioned in FY 1994 and then recommissioned in FY 2000 through the Fish and Wildlife Program rolling review of the Columbia River Basin projects. The work described in this report covers the period from 1994 through 2004; however, the majority of the information comes from the last four years of the study (2000 through 2004). Results from the work conducted from 1994 to 2000 were covered in an earlier report. More than any other stock of Pacific salmon, fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) have suffered severe impacts from the hydroelectric development in the Columbia River Basin. Fall Chinook salmon rely heavily on mainstem habitats for all phases of their life cycle, and mainstem hydroelectric dams have inundated or blocked areas that were historically used for spawning and rearing. The natural flow pattern that existed in the historic period has been altered by the dams, which in turn have affected the physical and biological template upon which fall Chinook salmon depend upon for successful reproduction. Operation of the dams to produce power to meet short-term needs in electricity (termed power peaking) produces unnatural fluctuations in flow over a 24-hour cycle. These flow fluctuations alter the physical habitat and disrupt the cues that salmon use to select spawning sites, as well as strand fish in near-shore habitat that becomes dewatered. The quality of spawning gravels has been affected by dam construction, flood protection, and agricultural and industrial development. In some cases, the riverbed is armored such that it is more difficult for spawners to move, while in other cases the intrusion of fine sediment into spawning gravels has reduced water flow to sensitive eggs and young fry. Recovery of fall Chinook salmon populations may involve habitat restoration through such actions as dam removal and reservoir drawdown. In addition, habitat protection will be accomplished through set-asides of existing high-quality habitat. A key component to evaluating these actions is quantifying the salmon spawning habitat potential of a given river reach so that realistic recovery goals for salmon abundance can be developed. Quantifying salmon spawning habitat potential requires an understanding of the spawning behavior of Chinook salmon, as well as an understanding of the physical habitat where these fish spawn. Increasingly, fish biologists are recognizing that assessing the physical habitat of riverine systems where salmon spawn goes beyond measuring microhabitat like water depth, velocity, and substrate size. Geomorphic features of the river measured over a range of spatial scales set up the physical template upon which the microhabitat develops, and successful assessments of spawning habitat potential incorporate these geomorphic features. We had three primary objectives for this study. The first objective was to determine the relationship between physical habitats at different spatial scales and fall Chinook salmon spawning locations. The second objective was to estimate the fall Chinook salmon redd capacity for the Reach. The third objective was to suggest a protocol for determining preferable spawning reaches of fall Chinook salmon. To ensure that we collected physical data within habitat that was representative of the full range of potential spawning habitat, the study area was stratified based on geomorphic features of the river using a two-dimensional river channel index that classified the river cross section into one of four shapes based on channel symmetry, depth, and width. We found that this river channel classification system was a good predictor at the scale of a river reach ({approx}1 km) of where fall Chinook salmon would spawn. Using this two-dimensional river channel index, we selected study areas that were representative of the geomorphic classes. A total of nine study sites distributed throughout the middle 27 km of the Reach (study area) were investigated. Four of the study sites were located between river kilometer 575 and 580 in a section of the river where fall Chinook salmon have not spawned since aerial surveys were initiated in the 1940s; four sites were located in the spawning reach (river kilometer [rkm] 590 to 603); and one site was located upstream of the spawning reach (rkm 605).

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186 pages

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  • Related Information: document dated September 2006

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  • Report No.: P110555
  • Grant Number: 652 REL 14
  • DOI: 10.2172/962135 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 962135
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc928007

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  • March 2, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 9:33 p.m.

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Geist, David R.; Arntzen, Evan V. & Chien, Yi-Ju (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory). Spawning Habitat Studies of Hanford Reach Fall Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), Final Report., report, March 2, 2009; Portland, Oregon. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc928007/: accessed August 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.