Title

Evaluating dispersal and culvert passage performance of juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in urban streams

Presenter Information

Ethan Green

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137B

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

As world population grows, the boundaries between anthropogenic and natural environments expand. This often leads to habitat degradation and fragmentation. For aquatic systems in the Pacific Northwest, culverts and anthropogenic crossing structures in stream channels pose barriers to the migration of anadromous fish. In the city limits of Ellensburg, Washington, the channels of Wilson and Mercer Creeks collectively flow under anthropogenic structures for over 2,000 meters. Mercer and Wilson Creeks held populations of Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) that have since been extirpated. To test the impact of culverts on fish movement, individually PIT tagged juvenile Coho salmon (n=6,024) were released at two sites in each stream. Fish were tracked with a portable PIT tag antenna and electrofishing surveys. ArcGIS software was used to plot detections and derive distances travelled by individual fish. Downstream dispersal distance and distance travelled through culverts varied among the population. More fish dispersed from their release site in the lower release sites than in the upper. More data on how culverts impact downstream migration will become available when the juvenile Coho salmon smolt in the spring of 2013. As this study continues, it will provide useful information on how Coho salmon respond to urban environments.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Paul James

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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Evaluating dispersal and culvert passage performance of juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) in urban streams

SURC 137B

As world population grows, the boundaries between anthropogenic and natural environments expand. This often leads to habitat degradation and fragmentation. For aquatic systems in the Pacific Northwest, culverts and anthropogenic crossing structures in stream channels pose barriers to the migration of anadromous fish. In the city limits of Ellensburg, Washington, the channels of Wilson and Mercer Creeks collectively flow under anthropogenic structures for over 2,000 meters. Mercer and Wilson Creeks held populations of Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) that have since been extirpated. To test the impact of culverts on fish movement, individually PIT tagged juvenile Coho salmon (n=6,024) were released at two sites in each stream. Fish were tracked with a portable PIT tag antenna and electrofishing surveys. ArcGIS software was used to plot detections and derive distances travelled by individual fish. Downstream dispersal distance and distance travelled through culverts varied among the population. More fish dispersed from their release site in the lower release sites than in the upper. More data on how culverts impact downstream migration will become available when the juvenile Coho salmon smolt in the spring of 2013. As this study continues, it will provide useful information on how Coho salmon respond to urban environments.