We used an extensive network of more than 170 radio receiving stations to document fine-scale passage efficiency of adult anadromous Pacific lamprey at Bonneville and The Dalles Dams in the lower Columbia River in the northwestern U.S.A. Each spring from 1997 to 2000, we released 197-299 lamprey with surgically implanted radio transmitters. Unique transmitter codes and the date and time of reception at each antenna site were downloaded electronically, and initial processing was conducted to eliminate false positive signals. The resulting large Oracle database was analyzed using an Arc View-based coding protocol. Underwater antennas positioned outside the fishway entrances detected lamprey approaches, and antennas positioned immediately inside the entrances indicated successful entries. Entrance efficiency (the number of lamprey that successfully entered a fishway divided by the number that approached that fishway) was compared for different types of entrances (main entrances versus orifice entrances) and entrance locations (powerhouse versus spillway). Lamprey used orifice-type entrances less frequently than main entrances, and passage success was generally low (< 50%) at all entrances to fishways at Bonneville Dam (the lowest dam in the system). Lamprey activity at the entrances was highest at night, and entrance success was significantly higher at The Dalles Dam (the next dam upstream from Bonneville Dam) than at Bonneville Dam. In 1999 and 2000, construction modifications were made to Bonneville Dam spillway entrances, and water velocity at these entrances was reduced at night. Modifications to increase lamprey attachment at the entrances improved lamprey entrance efficiency, but entrance efficiency during reduced velocity tests was not significantly higher than during control conditions.
Additional publication details
Use of an extensive radio receiver network to document Pacific lamprey (Lampetra tridentata) entrance efficiency at fishways in the Lower Columbia River, USA