White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) ???95 cm TL were monitored using acoustic and radio telemetry at a large hydroelectric dam (the Dalles Dam) on the Columbia River, during March 2004 through November 2005 to determine timing and routes of passage and to characterize general movements. Transmitters were surgically implanted into 148 fish during the study; 90 were released into the tailrace and 58 into the forebay. We documented 26 passage events by 19 tagged fish: eight upstream via fish ladders and 18 downstream, mostly through open spill gates. During the study 17 fish entered the two ladders one or more times; 11 entered only the east ladder, three entered only the north ladder, and three entered both ladders at sometime. Residence time within the ladders by individual fish was variable, ranging from about 1 min to nearly 6 months (median = 7.7 h). Only six fish successfully ascended the east ladder, one fish twice. We could not unequivocally determine which fish ladder one fish used to pass upstream. Differences in construction between the north and east fish ladders may account for the greater success of the east fish ladder in passing sturgeon upstream. Changes to operations at hydroelectric dams to benefit migrating anadromous salmonids may influence upstream or downstream passage by white sturgeon. Altering patterns and timing of spill discharge, altering fish ladder entrance attraction flows, and the use of lights, sound, and partial barriers to direct other species of fish to preferred passage routes have unknown effects on sturgeon passage. A better understanding of the consequences to the metapopulation of increasing or precluding upstream or downstream passage is needed. ?? 2007 The Authors.
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White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) passage at the Dalles Dam, Columbia River, USA