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Ecology

Conceptual Spawning Habitat Model to Aid in ESA Recovery Plans for Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon

The objective of this project is to develop a spawning habitat model for fall chinook salmon. We are studying habitat selection in the Hanford Reach, a population that is successfully reproducing, and developing a broader knowledge base upon which we can make decisions that will lead to recovery of fall chinook salmon in the Snake River, a population that is listed under the Endangered Species Act. Results from this project are being used in an adaptive framework as described below:

  • the transfer of technology for sampling hyporheic habitats of a large cobble bed river. These new methods allow investigators to evaluate hyporheic processes in spawning areas of large river salmonids, including fall chinook salmon in the Snake River (Geist 2000a; Geist 2000b; Geist et al. 1998).
  • the transfer of technology for sampling redd site selection using aerial photography and hydraulic models (Geist et al. 2000; Visser et al. 2002).
  • the development of a conceptual spawning habitat model for fall chinook salmon. This model is being proposed as a framework upon which to develop production estimates and future research/monitoring efforts (Geist and Dauble 1998).
  • a comparison of watershed characteristics between the Snake and Columbia rivers and how these characteristics improve spawning habitat at other measurement scales. This comparison suggests that the Snake River and Hanford Reach have different production potentials. This information will allow managers to better interpret data from other sub-basins in the Columbia and Snake River system (Dauble and Geist 2000).
  • information on the importance of upwelling into salmonid spawning habitat has been used to define critical habitat needs over Endangered chum salmon that spawn downstream of Bonneville Dam (Geist et al. 2002).

Products

  • Arntzen, E.V., D.R. Geist, P.E. Dresel. 2006. Effects of fluctuating river flow on groundwater/surface water mixing in the hyporheic zone of a regulated, large cobble bed river. River Research and Applications, 22(8): 937-946.
  • Geist, D.R., E.V. Arntzen, Y.J. Chien, T.P. Hanrahan, C.J. Murray, W.A. Perkins, M.C. Richmond, X. Yulong. 2006. Spawning habitat studies of Hanford Reach fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Final report to Bonneville Power Administration. PNNL-16093.
  • Visser, R., D.D. Dauble, and D.R. Geist. 2002. Use of aerial photography to monitor spawning of fall chinook salmon in the Columbia River. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 131: 1173-1179.
  • Geist, D.R. 2000a. The interaction of ground water and surface water within fall chinook salmon spawning areas in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. Pages 95-98 in Proceedings of the Ground-Water/Surface-Water Interactions Workshop. US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC. EPA/442/R-00/007.
  • Geist, D.R. 2000b. Hyporheic discharge of river water into fall chinook salmon spawning areas in the Hanford Reach, Columbia River. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57(8): 1647-1656.
  • Geist, D.R., J. Jones, C.J. Murray, and D.D. Dauble. 2000. Suitability criteria analyzed at the spatial scale of redd clusters improved estimates of fall chinook salmon spawning habitat use in the Hanford Reach, Columbia River. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57(8):1636-1646.
  • Dauble, D.D., and D.R. Geist. 2000. Comparison of mainstem spawning habitats for two populations of fall chinook salmon in the Columbia River basin. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management 16:345-361.
  • Geist, D.R., M.C. Joy, D.R. Lee, and T. Gonser. 1998. A method for installing piezometers in large cobble-bed rivers. Groundwater Monitoring and Remediation 18: 78-82.
  • Geist, D.R., and D.D. Dauble. 1998. Redd site selection and spawning habitat use by fall chinook salmon: the importance of geomorphic features in large rivers. Environmental Management 22:655-669.

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