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Title: Factors affecting route selection and survival of steelhead kelts at Snake River dams in 2012 and 2013

In 2012 and 2013, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) conducted a study that summarized the passage route proportions and route-specific survival rates of steelhead kelts that passed through Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) dams. To accomplish this, a total of 811 steelhead kelts were tagged with Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry System (JSATS) transmitters. Acoustic receivers, both autonomous and cabled, were deployed throughout the FCRPS to monitor the downstream movements of tagged kelts. Kelts were also tagged with passive integrated transponder tags to monitor passage through juvenile bypass systems (JBS) and detect returning fish. The current study evaluated data collected in 2012 and 2013 to identify environmental, temporal, operational, individual, and behavioral variables that were related to forebay residence time, route of passage, and survival of steelhead kelts at FCRPS dams on the Snake River. Multiple approaches, including 3-D tracking, bivariate and multivariable regression modeling, and decision tree analyses were used to identify the environmental, temporal, operational, individual, and behavioral variables that had the greatest effect on forebay residence time, route of passage, and route-specific and overall dam passage survival probabilities for tagged kelts at Lower Granite (LGR), Little Goose (LGS), and Lower Monumental (LMN) dams. In general, kelt behaviormore » and discharge appeared to work independently to affect forebay residence times. Kelt behavior, primarily approach location, migration depth, and “searching” activities in the forebay, was found to have the greatest influence on their route of passage. The condition of kelts was the single most important factor affecting their survival. The information gathered in this study may be used by dam operators and fisheries managers to identify potential management actions to improve in-river survival of kelts or collection methods for kelt reconditioning programs to aid the recovery of Snake River steelhead populations.« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Steelhead kelts; dam passage survival; hydroelectric dams; acoustic telemetry