Research, monitoring, and evaluation of emerging issues and measures to recover the Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon ESU, 1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016

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The portion of the Snake River fall Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha ESU that spawns upstream of Lower Granite Dam transitioned from low to high abundance during 1992–2016 in association with U.S. Endangered Species Act recovery efforts and other federally mandated actions. This annual report focuses on (1) numeric and habitat use responses by natural- and hatchery-origin spawners, (2) phenotypic and numeric responses by natural-origin juveniles, and (3) predator responses in the Snake River upper and lower reaches as abundance of adult and juvenile fall Chinook Salmon increased. Spawners have located and used most of the available spawning habitat and that habitat is gradually approaching redd capacity. Timing of spawning and fry emergence has been relatively stable; whereas the timing of parr dispersal from riverine rearing habitat into Lower Granite Reservoir has become earlier as apparent abundance of juveniles has increased. Growth rate (g/d) and dispersal size of parr also declined as apparent abundance of juveniles increased. Passage timing of smolts from the two Snake River reaches has become earlier and downstream movement rate faster as estimated abundance of fall Chinook Salmon smolts in Lower Granite Reservoir has increased. In 2016, we described estimated the consumption rate and loss of subyearlings by Smallmouth Bass before, during, and after four hatchery releases. Before releases, Smallmouth Bass consumption rates of subyearling was low (0–0.36 fish/bass/d), but the day after the releases consumption rates reached as high as 1.6 fish/bass/d. Bass consumption in the upper portion of Hells Canyon was high for about 1–2 d before returning to pre-release levels, but in the lower river consumption rates were reduced but took longer to return to pre-release levels. We estimated that most of the subyearlings consumed by bass were of hatchery origin. Smallmouth Bass predation on subyearlings is intense following a hatchery release, but the predation pressure is relatively short-lived as subyearlings quickly disperse downstream. This information will allow us to better estimate subyearling loss to predation from our past efforts at time intervals less than 2 weeks. These findings coupled with stock-recruitment analyses presented in this report provide evidence for density-dependence in the Snake River reaches and in Lower Granite Reservoir that was influenced by the expansion of the recovery program. The long-term goal is to use the information covered here in a comprehensive modeling effort to conduct action effectiveness and uncertainty research and to inform Fish Population, Hydrosystem, Harvest, Hatchery, and Predation and Invasive Species Management RM&E.

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Publication Subtype:
Other Government Series
Research, monitoring, and evaluation of emerging issues and measures to recover the Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon ESU, 1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016
Year Published:
Bonneville Power Administration
Contributing office(s):
Western Fisheries Research Center
67 p.
United States
Other Geospatial:
Snake River basin