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Ecology

Evaluation of the Effects of the Priest Rapids Project on Fall Chinook Salmon

Battelle has been conducting a multifaceted evaluation of the effects of the Priest Rapids Project (Priest Rapids and Wanapum dams and reservoirs) on all freshwater life history stages of fall chinook salmon. Research has focused on spawning and rearing habitat use and availability. The effects of fluctuating discharge on habitat suitability and spawning activity has been investigated through the collection of empirical data and the development of hydraulic models. Data have been collected on survival from egg-to-fry (be capping redds) as well as survival for subyearling chinook salmon passing through the dams and reservoirs. Products from this research have been valuable to the client as they prepare their application for relicensing of their hydropower project with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The following tools/methods have been used extensively on this project;
  • Beach seining for distribution and abundance assessments of rearing juvenile salmon (2000-2002)
  • Snorkeling for microhabitat use data (2000-2003)
  • Redd caps and water column fry traps to assess production/survival of fall chinook salmon from natural redds (2002-2003)
  • Collection of pre-emergent fall chinook salmon by hydraulic pumping of redds
  • Underwater videography for locating deepwater spawning areas and for collecting substrate particle size data (2000-2003)
  • Passive hydroacoustics for assessment of spawning activity (as it relates to project operations and daylight) (2001)
  • Acoustic camera (DIDSON) technology for collecting adult salmonid fallback data at a dam (2001)
  • Hyporheic assessment of the groundwater/surface water interaction using piezometers, water quality sensors, and sediment permeability sensor devices (2001-2002)
  • Collection of sediment particle size data by tri-tube freeze-coring with liquid Nitrogen
  • Hydraulic modeling (2D) to assess spawning and rearing habitat suitability under a range of project operations scenarios (2000-2003)
  • Hyrdodynamic modeling (2D; unsteady state) to quanitfy the habitat area affected by project operations (as it relates to stranding in the Hanford Reach) (2001-2003)
  • Hydraulic modeling (3D) to estimate effects of changes to project configuration on aquatic habitat
  • PIT-tag survival studies to assess survival of juvenile fall chinook salmon in the project area and as returning adults (2000-2003)
  • Advanced Sonar/GPS systems to produce detailed bathymetry data for the entire project area (2000-2002)
  • Design of spawning habitat enhancement experiments (2003)

Products:

  • McMichael, G.A., C.J. Murray, D.R. Geist, and M.C. Richmond. 2006. Fluctuating flows and Chinook salmon: A review of previous work relevant to the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River, updated November 2006. PNWD-3772. Battelle, Pacific Northwest Division, Richland, Washington.
  • McMichael, G.A., C.J. Murray, D.R. Geist, W.A. Perkins, M.C. Richmond, and A.M. Coleman. 2006. Fluctuating flows and Chinook salmon: A review of previous work relevant to the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. PNWD-3656. Battelle, Pacific Northwest Division, Richland, Washington.
  • McMichael GA, CA McKinstry, JA Vucelick, and J Lukas. 2005. "Fall Chinook Salmon Spawning Activity Versus Daylight and Flow in the Tailrace of a Large Hydroelectric Dam." North American Journal of Fisheries Management 25(2):573-580. doi:10.1577/M04-044.1
  • McMichael GA, CL Rakowski, BB James, and J Lukas. 2005. "Estimated Fall Chinook Salmon Survival to Emergence in Dewatered Redds in a Shallow Side Channel of the Columbia River." North American Journal of Fisheries Management 25(3):876-884.
  • McMichael G.A., M.D. Bleich, S.M. Anglea, R.J. Richmond, R.L. Townsend, and J.R. Skalski. 2005. A study to determine the feasibility of PIT-tagging wild juvenile subyearling Chinook salmon in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. PNWD-3604, Battelle—Pacific Northwest Division, Richland, WA.
  • Perkins, W., M. Richmond, and G. McMichael, 2004. Two-Dimensional Modeling of Time-Varying Hydrodynamics and Juvenile Chinook Salmon Habitat in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. In Critical Transitions in Water and Environmental Resources Management, Proceedings of the 2004 World Water and Environmental Resources Congress, June 27-July 1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Sehlke, G., D. F. Hayes, and D. K. Stevens, eds. ASCE. Reston, Virginia.
  • McMichael, G.A., J.A. Vucelick, J.R. Skalski, and R.L. Townsend. 2004. Subyearling Chinook salmon survival studies in the Priest Rapids Project. Report prepared for the Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County. Technical Report PNWD-3371, Battelle – Pacific Northwest Division, P. O. Box 999, Richland, Washington, 99352.
  • McMichael, G.A., R.P. Mueller, and J.A. Vucelick. 2004. Chinook salmon escapement and spawning in the Priest Rapids Project. 2004. Report prepared for the Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County. Technical Report PNWD-3380, Battelle – Pacific Northwest Division, P. O. Box 999, Richland, Washington, 99352.
  • McMichael, G.A., J.A. Vucelick, C.A. McKinstry, and R.P. Mueller, and. 2004. Fall Chinook salmon spawning activity versus daylight and flow in the Columbia River at Vernita Bar. 2004. Report prepared for the Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County. Technical Report PNWD-3383, Battelle – Pacific Northwest Division, P. O. Box 999, Richland, Washington, 99352.
  • McMichael, G.A., D.R. Geist, T.P. Hanrahan, E.V. Arntzen, R.P. Mueller, R.A. Moursund, J.A. Carter, J.M. Becker, C.A. McKinstry, W.A. Perkins, D.D. Dauble, T.M. Degerman, J. R. Skalski, R.L. Townsend, B.B. James, and D.R. Thornhill. 2003. Chinook salmon in the Priest Rapids Project. Report prepared for the Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County. Technical Report PNWD-3243, Battelle – Pacific Northwest Division, P. O. Box 999, Richland, Washington, 99352.
  • McMichael, G.A., and eleven co-authors. 2003. Subyearling Chinook salmon stranding in the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. Report prepared for the Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County. Technical Report PNWD-3308, Battelle – Pacific Northwest Division, P. O. Box 999, Richland, Washington, 99352.
  • Sealock A.W., and G.A. McMichael. 2002. Comparing the Migration Rates of Subyearling Fall Chinook Salmon in the Columbia River During High and Low Flow Years. PNWD-3186, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.

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