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Ecology

Evaluation of the Restoration Potential of Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon Spawning Habitat

This research is being conducted for the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), with the goal of identifying potential hydrosystem operational conditions that could expand and restore spawning populations of Snake River fall Chinook salmon. The studies are addressing two research questions: “Are there sections not currently used by spawning fall Chinook salmon within the impounded lower Snake River that possess the physical characteristics for potentially suitable fall Chinook spawning habitat?” and “Can hydrosystem operations affecting these sections be adjusted such that the sections closely resemble the physical characteristics of current fall chinook salmon spawning areas in similar physical settings?” The studies are applying the hydraulic model MASS2, a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model developed at PNNL. The project provides value to BPA through analyses of alternative hydrosystem operations. The studies will result in a report on the location and spatial extent of potential restoration areas, and recommendations to the region for adjusting hydrosystem operations to improve Snake River fall Chinook salmon spawning habitat, including alternative flow scenarios by water-year type.

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