This report summarizes work by U.S. Geological Survey’s Columbia River Research Laboratory (USGS-CRRL) in the Wind River subbasin, from November 2011 through October 2012. Funding was provided by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) under contract 55275. The primary focus of USGS activities during this time was tagging of parr steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss with Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags, and establishing a network of instream PIT tag interrogation systems (PTIS). The PIT-tagged parr steelhead will provide movement and life history data through recapture events and detections at instream PTIS systems, will contribute to estimates of adult steelhead returning to the Wind River, and aid in the evaluation of the removal of Hemlock Dam on Trout Creek steelhead populations.
The Wind River Watershed project (BPA Project Number 1998-019-00) is a
collaborative effort to restore wild steelhead in the Wind River, WA. The four partner agencies
are the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW),
USGS-CRRL, and Underwood Conservation District (UCD). This partnership was established in
the early 1990s with support from BPA, and has continued to conduct extensive habitat,
research, monitoring, and coordination activities across the subbasin. The project works at
multiple levels to identify and characterize key limiting habitat factors in the Wind River; restore
degraded habitats and watershed processes; document fish populations, life histories, and
interactions; investigate efficacy of restoration actions; and to share information across agency
and non-agency boundaries. Long-term research in the Wind River has focused on assessments
of steelhead/rainbow trout populations, relationships with introduced populations of spring
Chinook salmon O. tshawytscha and brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, and effects of habitat
variables and habitat restoration on fish productivity.
During the period covered by this report, we PIT tagged steelhead parr in headwater
sections of the subbasin (Figure 1), maintained a PTIS in Trout Creek, installed a PTIS in the
Wind River, and installed smaller scale PTISs in Trapper Creek, Paradise Creek, and the Wind
River upstream of Paradise Creek (Figure 2). Additionally we maintained thermologgers to
collect water temperature data near the PIT tagging sites.
A statement of work (SOW) was submitted to BPA in October 2011 that outlined work to
be performed by USGS-CRRL. The SOW was organized by Work Element (WE), with each
describing a research task. This report summarizes the progress completed under each WE.