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Title: Monitor and Protect Wigwam River Bull Trout for Koocanusa Reservoir : Summary of the Skookumchuck Creek Bull Trout Enumeration Project Final Report 2000-2002.

Abstract

This report summarizes the third and final year of a bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) enumeration project on Skookumchuck Creek in southeastern British Columbia. The fence and traps were operated from September 6th to October 11th 2002 in order to enumerate post-spawning bull trout. During the study period a total of 309 bull trout were captured at the fence. In total, 16 fish of undetermined sex, 114 males and 179 females were processed at the fence. Length and weight data, as well as recapture information, were collected for these fish. An additional 41 bull trout were enumerated upstream of the fence by snorkeling prior to fence removal. Coupled with the fence count, the total bull trout enumerated during the project was 350 individuals. Several fish that were tagged in the lower Bull River were recaptured in 2002, as were repeat and alternate year spawners previously enumerated in past years at the fence. A total of 149 bull trout redds were enumerated on the ground in 2002, of which 143 were in the 3.0 km index section (river km 27.5-30.5) that has been surveyed over the past six years. The results of the three year project are summarized, and population characteristics aremore » discussed.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, OR (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
US Department of Energy (US)
OSTI Identifier:
812659
Report Number(s):
DOE/BP-00005672-3
R&D Project: 2000-004-00; TRN: US200315%%69
DOE Contract Number:
5672
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1 Dec 2002; Related Information: Cover title: Skookumchuck bull trout fence summary Revised cover title (Online version): Skookumchuck Creek bull trout enumeration project-fence summary
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; BRITISH COLUMBIA; RIVERS; STREAMS; TROUT; WATERSHEDS; POPULATION DYNAMICS; BULL TROUT - KOOTENAI RIVER WATERSHED - COUNTING; FISH TRAPS - KOOTENAI RIVER WATERSHED.

Citation Formats

Baxter, Jeremy, and Baxter, James S. Monitor and Protect Wigwam River Bull Trout for Koocanusa Reservoir : Summary of the Skookumchuck Creek Bull Trout Enumeration Project Final Report 2000-2002.. United States: N. p., 2002. Web. doi:10.2172/812659.
Baxter, Jeremy, & Baxter, James S. Monitor and Protect Wigwam River Bull Trout for Koocanusa Reservoir : Summary of the Skookumchuck Creek Bull Trout Enumeration Project Final Report 2000-2002.. United States. doi:10.2172/812659.
Baxter, Jeremy, and Baxter, James S. Sun . "Monitor and Protect Wigwam River Bull Trout for Koocanusa Reservoir : Summary of the Skookumchuck Creek Bull Trout Enumeration Project Final Report 2000-2002.". United States. doi:10.2172/812659. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/812659.
@article{osti_812659,
title = {Monitor and Protect Wigwam River Bull Trout for Koocanusa Reservoir : Summary of the Skookumchuck Creek Bull Trout Enumeration Project Final Report 2000-2002.},
author = {Baxter, Jeremy and Baxter, James S.},
abstractNote = {This report summarizes the third and final year of a bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) enumeration project on Skookumchuck Creek in southeastern British Columbia. The fence and traps were operated from September 6th to October 11th 2002 in order to enumerate post-spawning bull trout. During the study period a total of 309 bull trout were captured at the fence. In total, 16 fish of undetermined sex, 114 males and 179 females were processed at the fence. Length and weight data, as well as recapture information, were collected for these fish. An additional 41 bull trout were enumerated upstream of the fence by snorkeling prior to fence removal. Coupled with the fence count, the total bull trout enumerated during the project was 350 individuals. Several fish that were tagged in the lower Bull River were recaptured in 2002, as were repeat and alternate year spawners previously enumerated in past years at the fence. A total of 149 bull trout redds were enumerated on the ground in 2002, of which 143 were in the 3.0 km index section (river km 27.5-30.5) that has been surveyed over the past six years. The results of the three year project are summarized, and population characteristics are discussed.},
doi = {10.2172/812659},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Dec 01 00:00:00 EST 2002},
month = {Sun Dec 01 00:00:00 EST 2002}
}

Technical Report:

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  • An enumeration fence and traps were installed on Skookumchuck Creek from September 7 th to October 16 th to enable the capture of post-spawning bull trout emigrating out of the watershed. During the study period, a total of 252 bull trout were sampled through the enumeration fence. Length, weight, and sex were determined for all but one of the 252 bull trout captured. In total, one fish of undetermined sex, 63 males and 188 females were processed through the fence. A total of 67 bull trout were observed on a snorkel survey prior to the fence being removed on Octobermore » 16 th . Coupled with the fence count, the total bull trout count during this project was 319 fish. Several other species of fish were captured at the enumeration fence including westslope cutthroat trout, Rocky Mountain whitefish, kokanee, sucker, and Eastern brook trout. Redds were observed during ground surveys in three different locations (river km 27.5- 28.5, km 29-30, and km 24-25). The largest concentration of redds were noted in the upper two sections which have served as the index sections over the past four years. A total of 197 bull trout redds were enumerated on the ground on October 4 th . The majority of redds (n=189) were observed in the 3.0 km index section (river km 27.5-30.5) that has been surveyed over the past four years. The additional 8 redds were observed in a 1.5 km section (river km 24.0-25.5). Summary plots of water temperature for Bradford Creek, Sandown Creek, Skookumchuck Creek at km 39.5, and Skookumchuck Creek at the fence site suggested that water temperatures were within the range preferred by bull trout for spawning, egg incubation, and rearing.« less
  • This report summarizes the second year of a bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) enumeration project on Skookumchuck Creek in southeastern British Columbia. An enumeration fence and traps were installed on the creek from September 6th to October 12th 2001 to enable the capture of post-spawning bull trout emigrating out of the watershed. During the study period, a total of 273 bull trout were sampled through the enumeration fence. Length and weight were determined for all bull trout captured. In total, 39 fish of undetermined sex, 61 males and 173 females were processed through the fence. An additional 19 bull trout weremore » observed on a snorkel survey prior to the fence being removed on October 12th. Coupled with the fence count, the total bull trout enumerated during this project was 292 fish. Several other species of fish were captured at the enumeration fence including westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi), Rocky Mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni), and kokanee (O. nerka). A total of 143 bull trout redds were enumerated on the ground in two different locations (river km 27.5-30.5, and km 24.0-25.5) on October 3rd. The majority of redds (n=132) were observed in the 3.0 km index section (river km 27.5-30.5) that has been surveyed over the past five years. The additional 11 redds were observed in a 1.5 km section (river km 24.0-25.5). Summary plots of water temperature for Bradford Creek, Sandown Creek, Buhl Creek, and Skookumchuck Creek at three locations suggested that water temperatures were within the temperature range preferred by bull trout for spawning, egg incubation, and rearing.« less
  • This report summarizes the first year of a three-year bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) enumeration project on the White River and is a co-operative initiative of the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land, and Air Protection and Bonneville Power Administration. The White River has been identified as an important bull trout spawning tributary of the upper Kootenay River in southeastern British Columbia. The objective was to collect information on the returning adult spawning population to the White River through the use of a fish fence and traps, and to conduct redd surveys at the conclusion of spawning to provide an indexmore » of spawning escapement and distribution. The fence was installed on September 9th, 2003 and was operated continuously (i.e. no high-water or breaching events) until the fence was removed on October 9th, 2003. Estimation of the spawning population of White River bull trout was incomplete. This was due to a larger and more protracted out-migration than expected. As a result, the bull trout spawning population of the White River was estimated to be somewhere above 899 fish. In comparison, this represents approximately one third the population estimate of the 2003 Wigwam River bull trout spawning population. Based on redd index data, the number of bull trout per redd was over twice that of the Wigwam River or Skookumchuck Creek. This was expected as the index sites on the Wigwam River and Skookumchuck Creek cover the majority of the spawning area. This is not true on the White River. From previous redd counts, it is known that there are approximately twice as many redds in Blackfoot Creek as there are in the index site. Additionally, given the large size of the White River watershed and in particular, the large number of tributaries, there is a high likelihood that important bull trout spawning areas remain unidentified. Both floy tag and radio-telemetry data for the White River bull trout have identified extensive life history migrations. Similar data for the Wigwam River and Skookumchuck Creek populations illustrate there is considerable overlap and mixing among these three local populations within their over-wintering and feeding habitat. The upper Kootenay River, Lake Koocanusa and the lower Bull River provide overwintering and feeding habitat for the White River, Skookumchuck Creek and Wigwam River bull trout. Recommendations to improve escapement estimates and spawning distribution are provided. An accurate population estimate is especially important to provide baseline for any potential impacts due to wildfire and subsequent salvage logging that is currently underway immediately adjacent to and upstream of important spawning and rearing habitat in the Middlefork of the White River. Identification of important spawning habitat is important to meet management objectives for the White River.« less
  • The Skookumchuck Creek juvenile bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and fish habitat-monitoring program is a co-operative initiative of the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land, and Air Protection and Bonneville Power Administration. This project was commissioned in planning for fish habitat protection and forest development within the Skookumchuck Creek watershed and was intended to expand upon similar studies initiated within the Wigwam River from 2000 to 2002. The broad intent is to develop a better understanding of juvenile bull trout and Westslope cutthroat trout recruitment and the ongoing hydrologic and morphologic processes, especially as they relate to spawning and rearing habitatmore » quality. The 2002 project year represents the first year of a long-term bull trout-monitoring program with current studies focused on collecting baseline information. This report provides a summary of results obtained to date. Bull trout represented 72.4% of the catch. Fry dominated the catch because site selection was biased towards electrofishing sample sites which favored high bull trout fry capture success. The mean density of all juvenile bull trout was estimated to be 6.6 fish/100m{sup 2}. This represents one-half the densities reported for the 2002 Wigwam River enumeration program, even though enumeration of bull trout redds was an order of magnitude higher for the Wigwam River. Typically, areas with combined fry and juvenile densities greater than 1.5 fish per 100 m{sup 2} are cited as critical rearing areas. Trends in abundance appeared to be related to proximity to spawning areas, bed material size, and water depth. Cover components utilized by juvenile and adult bull trout and cutthroat trout were interstices, boulder, depth, overhead vegetation and LWD. The range of morphological stream types encompass the stable and resilient spectrum (C3(1), C3 and B3c). The Skookumchuck can be generalized as a slightly entrenched, meandering, riffle-pool, cobble dominated channel with a well-developed floodplain. The presence of an undisturbed riparian ecosystem dominated by mature, coniferous forest, combined with a high percentage of coarse particles in the stream bank, result in stable stream banks with low sediment supply. The results of the habitat assessment concur with the stable stream channel type and channel disturbance features noted were infrequent and minor in nature. Detailed summaries of channel profile, pattern, dimension and materials are provided in Appendices. It was recommended that a fourth index site representing tributary spawning and rearing habitat be established in lower Sandown Creek and included for baseline data collection in year two.« less
  • The Wigwam River bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) and fish habitat monitoring program is a trans-boundary initiative implemented by the British Columbia Ministry of Water, Land, and Air Protection (MWLAP), in cooperation with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The Wigwam River is an important fisheries stream located in southeastern British Columbia that supports healthy populations of both bull trout and Westslope cutthroat trout (Figure 1). This river has been characterized as the single most important bull trout spawning stream in the Kootenay Region (Baxter and Westover 2000, Cope 1998). In addition, the Wigwam River supports some of the largest Westslope cutthroat troutmore » (Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi) in the Kootenay Region. These fish are highly sought after by anglers (Westover 1999a, 1999b). Bull trout populations have declined in many areas of their range within Montana and throughout the northwest including British Columbia. Bull trout were blue listed as vulnerable in British Columbia by the B.C. Conservation Data Center (Cannings 1993) and although there are many healthy populations of bull trout in the East Kootenay they remain a species of special concern. Bull trout in the United States portion of the Columbia River were listed as threatened in 1998 under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The upper Kootenay River is within the Kootenai sub-basin of the Mountain Columbia Province, one of the eleven Eco-provinces that make up the Columbia River Basin. MWLAP applied for and received funding from BPA to assess and monitor the status of wild, native stocks of bull trout in tributaries to Lake Koocanusa (Libby Reservoir) and the upper Kootenay River. This task is one of many that were undertaken to ''Monitor and Protect Bull Trout for Koocanusa Reservoir'' (BPA Project Number 2000-04-00).« less