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Title: Re-Introduction of Lower Columbia River Chum Salmon into Duncan Creek, 2002-2003 Annual Report.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed Lower Columbia River chum as threatened under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in March of 1999 (64 FR 14508, March 25, 1999). The listing was in response to reduction in abundance from historical levels of more than half a million returning adults to fewer than 10,000 present day spawners. Harvest, loss of habitat, changes in flow regimes, riverbed movement and heavy siltation have been largely responsible for the decline of Columbia River chum salmon. The timing of seasonal changes in river flow and water temperatures is perhaps the most critical factor in structuring the freshwater life history of this species. This is especially true of the population located directly below Bonneville Dam where hydropower operations can block access to spawning sites, dewater redds, strand fry, cause scour or fill of redds and increase sedimentation of spawning gravels. Currently, only two main populations are recognized as genetically distinct in the Columbia River, although spawning has been documented in most lower Columbia River tributaries. The first is located in the Grays River (RKm 34) (Grays population), a tributary of the Columbia, and the second is a group of spawners that utilize themore » Columbia River just below Bonneville Dam (RKm 235) adjacent to Ives Island and in Hardy and Hamilton creeks (Lower Gorge population). A possible third population of mainstem spawners, found in the fall of 1999, were located spawning above the I-205 bridge (approximately RKm 182), this aggregation is referred to as the Woods Landing/Rivershore population or the I-205 group. The recovery strategy for Lower Columbia River (LCR) chum as outlined in Hatchery Genetic Management Plans (HGMP) has three main tasks. First, determine if remnant populations of LCR chum salmon exist in LCR tributaries. Second, if such populations exist, develop stock-specific recovery plans involving habitat restoration including the creation of spawning refugias, supplementation if necessary and a habitat and fish monitoring and evaluation plan. If chum have been extirpated from previously utilized streams, develop re-introduction plans that utilize appropriate genetic donor stock(s) of LCR chum salmon and integrate habitat improvement and fry-to-adult survival evaluations. Third, reduce extinction risks to the Grays River chum salmon population by randomly capturing adults in the basin for use in a supplementation program and reintroduction into the Chinook River basin. The Duncan Creek project was developed using the same recovery strategy implemented for LCR chum. Biologists with the WDFW and Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) identified Duncan Creek as an ideal upriver location below Bonneville Dam for chum re-introduction. It has several attributes that make it a viable location for a re-introduction project: historically chum salmon were present, the creek is low gradient, has numerous springs/seeps, has a low potential for future development and is located close to a donor population of Lower Gorge chum. The Duncan Creek project has two goals: (1) re-introduction of chum into Duncan Creek by providing off channel high-quality spawning and incubation areas, and (2) to simultaneously evaluate natural recolonization and a supplementation strategy where adults are collected and spawned artificially at a hatchery. For supplementation, eggs are incubated and the fry reared at the Washougal Hatchery to be released back into Duncan Creek. The tasks associated with re-establishing a naturally self-sustaining population include: (1) removing mud, sand and organics present in four of the creek branches and replace with gravels expected to provide maximum egg-to-fry survival rates to a depth of at least two feet; (2) armoring the sides of these channels to reduce importation of sediment by fish spawning on the margins; (3) planting native vegetation adjacent to the channels to stabilize the banks, trap silt and provide shade; (4) annual sampling of gravel in the spawning channels to detect changes in gravel composition and sedimentation levels. Tasks associated with the second goal of the recovery strategy for Lower Columbia River chum are detailed in The Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for the Duncan Creek Chum Salmon Reintroduction Program. Four main questions are used to evaluate the success of this program: (1) what egg-to-fry survival rates are being achieved in the renovated channels, (2) what is the survival of the eggs and fry used in the artificial rearing program in Duncan Creek, (3) what is the survival and spawning ground distribution of adult chum salmon produced from the spawning channels and the artificial rearing program, and (4) what is the straying rate of non-program chum salmon into Duncan Creek. The monitoring portion of the Duncan M&E includes documenting and monitoring the physical attributes of the channels.« less
  1. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
R&D Project: 200105300; TRN: US200713%%294
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Sponsoring Org:
United States. Bonneville Power Administration.
Country of Publication:
United States