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Effect of ice formation and streamflow on salmon incubation habitat in the lower Bradley River, Alaska

Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4202

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Abstract

A minimum flow of 40 cubic feet per second is required in the lower Bradley River, near Homer, Alaska, from November 2 to April 30 to ensure adequate salmon egg incubation habitat. The study that determined this minimum flow did not account for the effects of ice formation on habitat. An investigation was made during periods of ice formation. Hydraulic properties and field water-quality data were measured in winter only from March 1993 to April 1995 at six transects in the lower Bradley River. Discharge in the lower Bradley River ranged from 42.6 to 73.0 cubic feet per second (average 57 cubic feet per second) with ice conditions ranging from near ice free to 100 percent ice cover. Stream water velocity and depth were adequate for habitat protection for all ice conditions and discharges. No relation was found between percent ice cover and mean velocity and depth for any given discharge and no trends were found with changes in discharge for a given ice condition. Velocity distribution within each transect varied significantly from one sampling period to the next. Mean depth and velocity at flows of 40 cubic feet per second or less could not be predicted. No consistent relation was found between the amount of wetted perimeter and percent ice cover. Intragravel-water temperature was slightly warmer than surface-water temperature. Surface and intragravel-water dissolved-oxygen levels were adequate for all flows and ice conditions. No apparent relation was found between dissolved-oxygen levels and streamflow or ice conditions. Excellent oxygen exchange was indicated throughout the study reach. Stranding potential of salmon fry was found to be low throughout the study reach. The limiting factors for determining the minimal acceptable flow limit appear to be stream-water velocity and depth, although specific limits could not be estimated because of the high flows that occurred during this study.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Effect of ice formation and streamflow on salmon incubation habitat in the lower Bradley River, Alaska
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
96-4202
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1996
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey ; Branch of Information Services [distributor],
Description:
vi, 34, 29 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.