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Ecology

Effects of River Discharge on Hyporheic Exchange and Sediment Transport in Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon Spawning Areas

This research is evaluating physical riverine processes affecting the spawning habitat and egg pocket incubation environment of fall Chinook salmon. Study areas include historic spawning sites in the Swan Falls reach of the Snake River near Marsing, ID, and contemporary spawning sites within the Hells Canyon reach of the Snake River. The overall objective of this project is to evaluate the relationships between riverbed hydrologic exchange processes and the survival and emergence timing of incubating fall Chinook salmon. We are employing sophisticated numerical models, electronic sensors, data loggers, and sampling devices to quantify riverbed temperature gradients, riverbed porewater velocity, egg pocket sediment accumulation, bedload transport capacity, and egg/alevin survival. Results from these studies are being used by Idaho Power Company in the relicensing of the Hells Canyon Complex of dams on the Snake River.

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