Trophic feasibility of reintroducing anadromous salmonids in three reservoirs on the north fork Lewis River, Washington: Prey supply and consumption demand of resident fishes

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
By: , and 

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Abstract

The reintroduction of anadromous salmonids in reservoirs is being proposed with increasing frequency, requiring baseline studies to evaluate feasibility and estimate the capacity of reservoir food webs to support reintroduced populations. Using three reservoirs on the north fork Lewis River as a case study, we demonstrate a method to determine juvenile salmonid smolt rearing capacities for lakes and reservoirs. To determine if the Lewis River reservoirs can support reintroduced populations of juvenile stream-type Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, we evaluated the monthly production of daphniaDaphnia spp. (the primary zooplankton consumed by resident salmonids in the system) and used bioenergetics to model the consumption demand of resident fishes in each reservoir. To estimate the surplus of Daphnia prey available for reintroduced salmonids, we assumed a maximum sustainable exploitation rate and accounted for the consumption demand of resident fishes. The number of smolts that could have been supported was estimated by dividing any surplus Daphnia production by the simulated consumption demand of an individual Chinook Salmon fry rearing in the reservoir to successful smolt size. In all three reservoirs, densities of Daphnia were highest in the epilimnion, but warm epilimnetic temperatures and the vertical distribution of planktivores suggested that access to abundant epilimnetic prey was limited. By comparing accessible prey supply and demand on a monthly basis, we were able to identify potential prey supply bottlenecks that could limit smolt production and growth. These results demonstrate that a bioenergetics approach can be a valuable method of examining constraints on lake and reservoir rearing capacity, such as thermal structure and temporal food supply. This method enables numerical estimation of rearing capacity, which is a useful metric for managers evaluating the feasibility of reintroducing Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. in lentic systems.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Trophic feasibility of reintroducing anadromous salmonids in three reservoirs on the north fork Lewis River, Washington: Prey supply and consumption demand of resident fishes
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2016.1219678
Volume 145
Issue 6
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Seattle
Description 17 p.
First page 1331
Last page 1347
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Lewis River