General patterns of summer diel distribution and movement were identified for adult striped bass Morone saxatilis using tailwater habitat influenced by the diel operation cycle of a hydroelectric dam during the summers of 2003 and 2004. Striped bass distribution within the tailwater was similar during each diel-tracking event and across both summers. The majority of fish remained within the tailwater the entire summer; however, some made periodic excursions to and from the tailwater throughout the summer. Further, most striped bass were located within 0.5 km of Richard B. Russell Dam during all stages of operation on all occasions - probably because of the constant availability of optimal habitat during all three stages of operation on all diel-tracking events. The diel cycle of dam operation, which included pumped storage during each summer, did not degrade tailwater habitat below optimal conditions, according to summer habitat suitability index values for inland adult striped bass. Movement was significantly higher during hydroelectric generation operations than during no-generation and pumped storage periods in summer 2003; this difference was not apparent during summer 2004. Mean absolute movement peaked during hydroelectric generation on six of eight diel-tracking events. During both summers, movement was directed up-reservoir during no-generation and generation periods and down-reservoir during pumped storage. Mean total daily movement rates ranged from 0.59 to 4.04 km/d and were greater than those previously estimated from bimonthly sampling for this population. Total daily movement rate peaked during the first tracking event each summer and then declined as summer progressed. These findings suggest that hydroelectric discharges affect adult striped bass behavior, but the effects are not adverse as long as habitat is not degraded by hydroelectric facility operations. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2007.
Additional publication details
Diel behavior of adult striped bass using tailwater habitat as summer refuge