The Smith River remains one of California’s most pristine rivers, and it supports good salmon and steelhead runs — both of which are highly sought after by fishermen.
To protect salmon populations, existing fishing regulations only allow fishing on the entire river if flows rise above 400cfs (below 400cfs, fishing is only allowed from Rowdy Creek to the mouth).
Last fall, river flows hovered at 450cfs, and while the whole river was open to fishing, there were a lot of reports to Fish & Game of intentional snagging (some call it “tightlining”) of salmon.
With flows so low, salmon are easy to see and snag, and Fish & Game wardens said enforcement was problematic due to the size of the river and the diffculty proving somone was intentionally snagging fish.
CalTrout backs a proposed solution which would raise “fishing” flows (for the whole river) to 600cfs — a proposal which will be heard at the April Fish & Game Commission meeting in Eureka.
“I’ve been listening to the fishermen and other advocates and trying to determine what’s best for the fish and for the anglers” said CalTrout North Coast Regional Manager Darren Mierau.
“We’re definitely in support of changing the river flow closures from 400 cfs to 600 cfs, which better protects salmon.”
CalTrout Backs Trinity Fly Fishing Guides
The Trinity River has become a hot Northern California steelhead fishery over the last handful of years; its flows are being better managed for fish, and when anglers started hearing reports of double-digit steelhead catches in a single day (we heard romors about 30 fish per day), fly fishermen showed up in droves.
Lately, fly fishing guides have become concerned about the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) — notably the amount of gravel injected into the river to create spawning habitat.
Habitat is great, but guides have become concerned that too much gravel was filling in good holding areas.
With CalTrout urging the TRRP to hear the concerns of guides, the gravel injection process was halted for the year pending a scientific board review of the process.
CalTrout Northern Manager Darren Mierau said “The program needed to respond to the guide’s perspective on this — they’re on the river every day.”
“We’re happy to see the TRRP listened to the guides.”
The Trinity River is enjoying a renaissance with California’s steelhead fishermen, and while steelhead populations seem to be prospering, salmon populations remain a bigger question.
In this piece, CalTrout’s North Coast manager Darren Mierau looks at the Trinity’s recent history and (maybe) comeback.
By Darren Mierau
More than a decade has passed since the Trinity River Record of Decision (ROD) was signed in December 2000 by Bruce Babbitt, then Secretary of the Interior under President Clinton. Since then, there has been uncertainty about what has been done and the effectiveness of the work on the Trinity.
A Little History
A brief reminder of the Trinity’s illustrious background may be useful to set the stage.
At 2,900 square miles, the Trinity River is the largest – and arguably the most important – tributary to the Klamath River, joining the Klamath 45 miles upstream of the Pacific Ocean.
Historically, the Trinity River and its tributaries provided many hundreds of miles of salmonid habitat, and supported robust runs of spring and fall-run Chinook salmon, winter and summer steelhead, coho salmon, coastal cutthroat trout, sturgeon, lamprey, and other native fish and wildlife species. The Trinity River Flow Evaluation Study (TRFE; USFWS 1999) estimated up to 75,500 fall-run Chinook returned to the Trinity in good years.
Up To 90% Of Flows Diverted
Construction of Lewiston Dam on the Trinity River was completed in 1964 and blocked salmon and steelhead access to over 100 miles of habitat above the dam. Water operations then began diverting up to 75-90% of the annual water yield at Lewiston over to the Sacramento River for agricultural uses in the Central Valley.
The dramatic reduction in flows below the dam had severe consequences for the river channel and salmonid populations. In addition to habitat loss upstream of the dam, the river’s spawning gravel supply was cut off, the river became confined by riparian berms, spawning gravels and pools became degraded by fine sediment, and low baseflow releases provided poor water temperature conditions during the spring smolt outmigration period.
In addition, water quality conditions in the lower Klamath River had deteriorated to the point where survival of Trinity River juvenile salmonids heading out to the ocean was probably very low in many recent years.
The Trinity River Record of Decision, and the Trinity River Restoration Program (TRRP) built upon it, are intended to reverse degraded river conditions and bring back robust salmon and steelhead runs. But how does the TRRP propose to accomplish recovery. Casting aside the past paradigm of single-species management, the TRRP pursues recovery through several important program components:
- Streamflow management to re-establish the natural, physical processes (annual flood flows, gravel supply and transport, bank scour and floodplain inundation, plant desiccation, etc.) that create and maintain high quality aquatic habitat
- Mechanical reconstruction of channel banks and floodplains to rescale the river to fit the post ROD flow regime
- Sediment management to increase beneficial coarse-sized spawning gravels and reduce detrimental fine sediment
- A rigorous science and adaptive management program to learn from this fundamentally important experiment in river restoration.
To date, the TRRP has accomplished the following:
- All of the infrastructure upgrades (bridge replacements, road work) have been completed to allow Lewiston Dam high flow releases up to a maximum of 11,000 cfs
- The ROD recommended flow regime has been fully implemented since 2005, with the first-time peak of 11,000 cfs released from Lewiston for three days in May of 2011
- The sediment augmentation program has placed approximately 65,000 cubic yards of coarse gravel and cobble to recreate spawning habitat and other river features
- A total of 23 bank rehabilitation sites have been built in Phase 1 of mechanical reconstruction, and another 23 sites are planned and designed for Phase 2.
So, how are these accomplishments impacting the salmon and steelhead returns?
Two fish trapping weirs are operating on the Trinity River, one near Willow Creek (for enumerating fall-run Chinook, coho, and fall-run steelhead) and one near Junction City (for enumerating spring-run Chinook). Fish returning to the Trinity River Hatchery are also counted.
Estimates of the total run size of fall-run Chinook salmon upstream of the Willow Creek weir show annual returns to the Trinity River in recent years to be fluctuating in a range typical of the past three decades – with run-size estimates ranging between 23,000 and 64,000 fish. No post-ROD rebound in adult Chinook counts appears in the data, but Chinook seem to be holding steady.
Coho salmon, on the other hand, appear to be declining further in the Trinity River, despite being supported by a hatchery. Similar declines are being observed in many other rivers throughout the North Coast. Following several good years in which adult coho estimates exceeded 20,000 fish, the past four years have not topped 10,000 adult coho, and have dipped as low as 5,750 adult coho.
Steelhead, the elusive salmonid that defies our best efforts at population estimation, appear to be doing well in the Trinity River, and maybe better than the salmon runs.
As of early October 2011, DFG biologists reported seeing “large numbers of steelhead pass through Willow Creek [weir] and have surpassed the number trapped there all of last year.” They also noted “a large percentage of Chinook salmon are two year old jacks (grilse). This potentially bodes well for next year’s run, particularly the three year old adult component.”
A fish rebound may not be entirely clear from available data, but some program participants think even this year may be the first clear uptick, and the next few years may continue to see larger salmon and steelhead returns.
So, while the outcome of the TRRP is unclear, one thing is certain – the past decade has brought tremendous change to the Trinity River. And more change is certain to come.
CalTrout will continue to support the ROD and the river restoration program. We also encourage program managers to conduct a thorough review of Phase 1 implementation, and to respond to concerns voiced from outside the program on the outcome of restoration actions.
UC Davis’ Peter Moyle has studied California’s native fish species since the 70s, and in a distressing post on the California Water Blog, he suggests less than 1% of historic Coho salmon populations remain in California’s waters:
The State and Federal fish agencies were skeptical of our results, but when they did their own studies they found the situation was just as bad as we had indicated. Ultimately this led to California coho salmon being placed on the endangered species list (1996). In the past three years (2008-2010), estimates by California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) indicate somewhere between 500 and 3000 adult coho total returned each year to California streams, a 90% decline since our last study, meaning that at most 1% remain. They are virtually extinct south of San Francisco Bay. Coho numbers have continued to decline to the point where the coho recovery plan (NMFS 2007) is more of an extinction prevention plan than a plan for recovery.
Moyle also points out that populations of all Salmon in the Eel River have declined by 99% — an astonishing number.
In fact, Moyle suggests the Coho has little hope of escaping extinction in the state of California. In Part II of his informative blog post, he lays out the reasons for this precipitous decline — and what can be done about it.
In my last blog, I provided evidence that coho salmon were headed for extinction in California. Here I discuss why and what we can do about it. The over-riding cause of coho decline is 150 years of land abuse in fragile coastal watersheds. This abuse is from logging, farming, grazing, mining, urbanization, road building, and other practices that alter ecosystems, cause massive sediment delivery to the rivers, divert water, block fish migrations, and generally create environments inhospitable to coho salmon.
While these abuses are being dealt with in small ways by agencies, one of the biggest obstacles to salmon recovery is fish hatcheries. The massive declines of wild coho were masked by returns of fish to hatcheries, which now have also declined. But increasingly scientific studies are documenting the severe impact to wild fish of interbreeding with hatchery fish (Araki et al. 2007, Kostow 2009, Chilcote et al. 2011). Essentially, interbreeding reduces the reproductive capacity of wild populations by as much as 10 times, preventing recovery.
So what do we do? One way is to continue to follow the present path: arm-wave about the terrible state of coho salmon populations, take a few palliative measures (as the beleaguered, under-staffed State and Federal agencies are now trying to do) and then track the extirpation of coho from California. The coho salmon, like the grizzly bear, will become another quaint icon of California history.
In Part II, Moyle outlines the steps needed to prevent Coho extinction (note, this is not the same as “recovery”), which include:
- Improve hatchery management
- Protect remaining habitat
- Focus restoration efforts
- Improve coastal region land management practices
- Reclaim estuaries
- Remove dams (he points to Dwinnell Dam on the Shasta River)
CalTrout is fighting to restore California’s salmon populations — especially Coho populations on the Klamath, where the Scott and Shasta Rivers offer the hope of sustainable populations.
With salmon populations all over the state under siege from habitat loss, water quality issues and poor hatchery management, there’s no shortage of battles.
Traversing the rugged hillsides for several hundred miles along the mainstem Eel River, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad crosses many Eel River tributaries on its way north to Eureka, CA.
The railroad was built in an era when fish passage for adult salmon and steelhead was not a concern, or at least was not adequately protected, and many of the railroad crossings created migration barriers.
Most land ownerships in the Eel River watershed, as in most other North Coast area watersheds, have been surveyed in recent years for migration barriers. The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) Eel River corridor has been an exception.
The railroad is now defunct along the section that runs through the Eel River Canyon, due to numerous irreparable or cost-prohibitive landslides. But the migration barriers remain.
In 2009, a grant was awarded to CalTrout from the CA Department of Fish and Game’s Fishery Restoration Grant Program (FRGP) to assess the NCRA railroad corridor along the Eel River. CalTrout hired the local fish passage expert Ross Taylor and Associates to conduct the fish passage survey.
Those field surveys are now complete, and are currently being summarized in a draft report due to be finished by Ross Taylor in December 2011. According to Ross, his crews have inspected more than 55 stream-railroad crossings, and of those 55, more detailed fish passage surveys were conducted at 20 of them (such as the culvert on Dean Creek shown in the photograph).
The selection criteria for full surveys considers whether or not the streams are fish-bearing and if engineering or construction crews can eventually reach the site.
Of the twenty surveyed sites, at least two have caught the attention of local Fish and Game managers and may be in-line for the next phase of fish passage design and culvert replacement.
Those two sites are Bridge Creek in southern Humboldt County, and Woodman Creek, a large tributary to the Eel located 20 miles northeast of the town of Laytonville (170 miles north of SF). Woodman Creek’s barrier is right at the mouth of the tributary and blocks access to more than 10 miles of good quality habitat, so it should be a worthy investment for a future implementation project.
Fish passage through culverts at stream crossings is an important factor in the recovery of depleted salmonids populations along the Pacific Northwest. Although most fish-bearing streams with culverts tend to be relatively small in size with usually a couple of miles or less of upstream habitat, thousands of these barriers exist and the cumulative effect of blocked habitat is significant.
CalTrout’s new North Coast Area Manager Darren Mierau will continue to work with local managers and area experts to carry out the long process of barrier assessments, prioritization, and replacement to help restore salmon and steelhead access to their ancestral habitat throughout the watershed.
Current NOAA Fisheries guidelines and CDFG criteria for new culvert installation aim to provide unimpeded passage for both adult and juvenile salmonids. Investments in the repair of these sites, although sometimes expensive, provide long-lasting and permanent solutions to aid salmon and steelhead recovery.
On August 16, CalTrout’s new North Coast Region Manager, Darren Mierau, was invited to attend the California’s Joint Legislative Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture’s hearing on the endangered coho salmon.
At the hearing, titled “COHO SALMON ON THE BRINK: Understanding the Depth of the Crisis and Recovery Strategies,” Darren highlighted the threats to coho salmon in the Shasta River and offered specific actions that can be taken to help.
As a result of the meeting, emergency legislative measures are being considered to aid in coho salmon recovery.
California Trout recently awarded the Joe Paul Award to Tom Weseloh — CalTrout’s North Coast Region Manager for over 20 years.
This award, which is CalTrout’s highest honor, acknowledges an individual’s lifetime achievement in protecting and restoring wild trout and steelhead.
According to Gary Arabian, CalTrout Board Member of over 15 years, “Because of Tom’s passionate commitment to our mission and his dedication and complete focus on the fish, today many of the rivers and streams on the North Coast have healthier populations of steelhead and salmon than when he began his work for us 20 years ago.“
Tom’s many achievements include the following:
- Instituted the Steelhead Report Card in 1992, a program that provides substantial money for steelhead monitoring and restoration projects
- Advocated for the Steelhead Restoration & Management Plan for the State of California
- Helped develop a coho recovery strategy and led a 10-year effort to have coho salmon added to the California Endangered Species list
- Facilitated the renewal of the Fish and Game Commission Wild Trout Program and Heritage Trout Program through passage of AB 7
- Was a strong presence in Sacramento, meeting with stakeholders to secure funding for CalTrout initiatives and passage of important bills
- Served as a key member of the California Advisory Committee on Salmon & Steelhead Trout, recommending state fund allocation
- Secured the flow regimes that brought back the Trinity River’s salmonid populations through the 2000 Record of Decision, as well as served as a Board Member for Friends of the Trinity River
- Worked closely with the Smith River Advisory Council and the Smith River Alliance in acquiring and/or protecting thousands of acres within the Smith River Watershed
Tom always stayed focused on CalTrout’s mission and as he has told so many of us, “It’s all about the fish and the work we do to protect them.”
We are excited to announce that Darren Mierau has joined CalTrout as our North Coast Region Manager , where he’ll oversee and expand projects on the Smith, Eel, Shasta Rivers and Redwood Creek.
With nearly 20 years experience as a fishery biologist and aquatic ecologist, Darren has worked closely with CalTrout in the past – collaborating with Mark Drew (Eastern Sierra Region Manager) on the Mono Basin and with Curtis Knight (Mt. Shasta Region Manager) on the Shasta River.
We’re happy to have him. Welcome, Darren!
CalTrout’s involvement with the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), which attempts to bring together the groups that have long fought over the Klamath River, its water and its imperiled steelhead and salmon populations.
Recently, an idependent science panel finalized a series of reports which characterized the KBRA as a “major step forward” in restoring native Klamath fish populations, yet an article in the Los Angeles Times focused only on the panel’s reservations about issues of water quality and the complexity of the undertaking.
The press release below offers a more balanced look at Klamath Dam removal and the KBRA:
For Immediate Release: July 20, 2011
For more information contact:
Craig Tucker, Karuk Tribe, 916-207-8294
Glen Spain, PCFFA, 541-689-2000
Independent science panel calls Klamath Agreements a “MAJOR STEP FORWARD”
Independent Experts Note that Success Hinges on Effectively Implementing Restoration Actions in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA)
Klamath River Tribes and Commercial Fishermen Say Dam Removal Needed to Restore Livelihoods and Cultures
Yesterday, a series of independent science reports were finalized that highlight the benefits of dam removal and river restoration on Klamath fisheries. The reports emphasize that in order to fully realize the benefits offered by the pending Klamath Agreements, adequate funding and effective implementation of specific restoration measures is necessary.
“The livelihoods of Klamath tribal communities and commercial fishermen up and down the west coast depend on the restoration of fish species in the Klamath River. The scientific analysis of dam removal in these independent reports generally agrees with what our tribal scientists predict too,” said Klamath Tribal Councilman Jeff Mitchell.
The new independent scientific reports provide scientific opinions on how dam removal will affect rainbow trout, bull trout, steelhead, Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, Lost River suckers, shortnose suckers, and lamprey. In general, the experts indicate that each of these species could see major population improvements if dams are removed and restoration actions implemented.
Dam removal, under terms of the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, has also already been confirmed to be in the best interest of public utility customers by both the Oregon and California public utility commissions (PUCs), the regulatory agencies that protect ratepayers. Those PUCs said that ratepayers’ costs would be at least half that of the other option to repair the aging dams and retrofit the structures to comply with modern safety and environmental regulations.
These scientific reports are part of a comprehensive body of information that is being compiled in a single report that will also be peer reviewed and presented to the Secretary of the Interior so he can be fully informed when making the Secretarial Determination on whether to remove the Klamath River dams, which is expected next March.
“This is very encouraging,” noted Glen Spain, representing coastal commercial salmon fishermen. “I think the panel reports show that we can indeed restore the Klamath’s fisheries and preserve local economies under the terms of the Klamath Agreements if Congress will fund it.”
Reviewers note that significant emergency funds are annually being spent on Band Aid solutions that don’t address root causes of problems. They also note that success reviving fisheries hinges, as expected, on successfully implementing the settlement Agreements.
“We know that there is more hard work in front of us than behind us. If we get the opportunity to implement plans to restore fisheries and water quality in the Klamath, we have to get it right. But we know that doing nothing will spell extinction for many of these at risk species as well as the local economies and cultures that depend on them,” said Arch Super, Chairman of the Karuk Tribe.
The Expert Panel Report highlights this point by writing, “There is much certainty that if the four dams are not removed, the Klamath Chinook salmon will continue to decline.”
Klamath River Tribes, commercial fishermen, conservation groups, farmers and ranchers worked for years on a restoration plan that would restore economically valuable fisheries while maintaining the economic viability of family farming in the Klamath Basin. Last spring these groups along with federal and state agencies and PacifiCorp signed two agreements that could lead to the largest river restoration effort in US history.
The two key components of the Agreements, removal of four aging dams and a more careful balancing of water resources between fish and farms, must be approved by Congress and the Secretary of Interior by March of 2012.
The final independent science panel reports are posted here:
Excerpts from the Expert Panel Reports
The following references can be found here:
“The Proposed Action appears to be a major step forward in conserving target fish populations compared with decades of vigorous disagreements, obvious fish passage barriers, and continued ecological degradation. The Panel concluded that a substantial increase in Chinook salmon is possible in the reach between Iron Gate Dam and Keno Dam.” (p. i)
“The Panel believes that dam removal is the greatest limiting factor precluding Chinook salmon rehabilitation. Time will also be needed for new Chinook salmon stocks to evolve to the evolving water quality conditions. Delaying dam removal seems an unwise proposal.” (p. 74)
“There is much certainty that if the four dams are not removed, the Klamath Chinook salmon will continue to decline.” (p. 69-70)
“The Proposed Action offers greater water quality potential than the Current Conditions in improving water quality for Klamath Chinook salmon.” (p. 9)
“The Proposed Action offers greater potential than the Current Conditions in reducing disease related mortality in Klamath Chinook Salmon.” (p. 12)
“The Proposed Action offers greater potential than the Current Conditions for Chinook salmon to tolerate climate change and changes in marine survival.” (p.19)
The following references can be found here:
“Following dam removal, the abundance of redband/rainbow trout in the free-flowing reach between Keno Dam and Iron Gate Dam could increase significantly….Recreational fishing opportunities would be expected to increase in proportion to the increase in trout abundance in all areas.” (P. 77)
“Removal of the four dams downstream of Keno Dam should create significant increases in the size, abundance, and distribution of resident trout in the 45 miles of the Klamath River between Keno Dam and Iron Gate Dam.” (P. 66)
“We estimate that 43 mi of new free flowing water will be available to resident redband/rainbow trout after the removal of the four dams. This area will expand the total distribution of resident trophy trout in the fishery approximately seven times from below Keno Dam to the Iron Gate reach. This total reach should continue to produce large trout up to 23 inches.” (pp. 67-68)
“Redband/rainbow trout currently support trophy recreational fisheries in tributaries of Upper Klamath Lake, the lake itself, and in free-flowing sections of the Keno Reach between Keno Dam and J.C. Boyle Reservoir. The Proposed Action is expected to increase trout populations in all areas.” (p.77)
“Water in the Project Reach after the dams are removed will be enhanced by cold groundwater spring flow (285 cfs) located in the Bypass reach (e.g., Big Springs) (Turaski 2003; Tinniswood 2011). Water quality in the dam removal sections of the lower Klamath River would improve DO, pH, and nutrient concentrations due to KBRA implementation.” (p. 67)
“Removal of the four dams would reduce or prevent further growth of the blue-green algal blooms in the 22-23 mi (35.4-37.0 km) of slack water in the reservoirs between J.C. Boyle and Iron Gate dams (Cunanan 2009, Hamilton et al.). Water quality in the dam removal sections of the lower Klamath River would improve DO, pH, and nutrient concentrations due to KBRA implementation.” (P. 67).
Bull Trout (ESA listed)
The following references can be found here:
“The Proposed Action provides promise for preventing extinction of this species and forincreasing overall population abundance and distribution. The primary goal of actions should be the recovery and delisting of bull trout from a threatened status under the federal ESA.” (P. 77)
** Lost River and Shortnose Suckers (ESA listed)
The following references can be found here:
“Under Conditions without Dams and with KBRA, water quality conditions in Upper Klamath Lake are likely to improve particularly in restored wetlands and open water areas adjacent to wetlands so that growth and survival of the suckers in Upper Klamath Lake increases. It is also anticipated that levels of parasitism and disease will be lower with better water quality because fish will have lower stress levels and stronger immune systems.”(P. 51)
“Restoration actions under KBRA particularly in the Sprague River are substantial and should improve the quality of spawning and rearing habitat for suckers leading to higher survival and increased numbers of fish.” (P. 54)
“Water quality conditions in Keno Reservoir is extremely poor particularly during the summer…hundreds of adult (Lost River suckers, shortnose suckers and Klamath Largescale suckers) have been documented in the upper portion of this reservoir where water quality is better but many die during the summer (Piaskowski 2003). Conditions are not likely to change under current management. Conditions without Dams and with KBRA, major actions are proposed to reduce nutrients and organic matter to improve water quality and habitat conditions. If water quality conditions improve, survival of suckers moving downstream from Upper Klamath Lake into Keno Reservoir should increase and then the fish may be able to migrate back to Upper Klamath Lake as sub-adults or adults and contribute to the Upper Klamath Lake populations as spawners.” (P. 52)
The following references can be found here:
“If the KBRA is implemented effectively, improved habitat conditions are likely for steelhead. Under the Proposed Action alternative, steelhead would have access to substantial habitat that is currently inaccessible upstream of Iron Gate Dam, and KBRA will improve habitat throughout the system.” (p. 46).
“…the Proposed Action could result in increased spatial distribution and numbers of steelhead, and in the long term (decades), increased numbers relative to those under Current Conditions. If the Proposed Action is implemented ineffectively, there may be no detectable response of steelhead. If the Proposed Action is implemented effectively, and the other related actions occur [e.g.,Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)], then the response of steelhead may be broader.”
“…spatial distribution and increased numbers of individuals within the Klamath system.” (P.ii)
“The extent of new habitat for coho and steelhead upstream of Upper Klamath Lake will depend on the success of these fish to travel through the lake and establish populations in the tributaries. Thus, it will depend on the success of KBRA restoration activities.” ( p. 29)
“Under the Proposed Action alternative, newly established populations of coho salmon and steelhead upstream of Iron Gate Dam should help spread the risk in the long-term viability of salmon and steelhead in the face of the continuing stresses from land and water resource use in the upper basin and climate change. This might be particularly applicable to populations in the upper Klamath basin, where groundwater-dominated refuges might allow persistence in thermally suitable habitats in spite of expected warming.” (PP. 42-43)
“These benefits will be greatest for steelhead, assuming they are able to successfully colonize the spring-fed stream systems upstream of Upper Klamath Lake. Benefits for coho salmon will depend on the success of establishing productive coho salmon populations in these colder upper-basin habitats.” (P. 43)
Coho salmon (ESA listed)
The following references can be found here:
“Benefits for coho salmon will depend on the success of establishing productive coho salmon populations in these colder upper-basin habitats. The highest probability of success will be within the known historical range of coho salmon where cold-water habitats can be rehabilitated or maintained, such as the lower reach of Spencer Creek.”(P. 44)
“Establishment of coho salmon above Upper Klamath Lake is much less certain, but if attained, would be a significant contribution to the spatial diversity and suite of life history options available to Klamath Basin coho populations (Lestelle 2006).” (P. 44)
“Restoration of streamflows in tributaries downstream of Iron Gate Dam (e.g., Shasta and Scott Rivers) will likely be essential for enabling coho salmon populations to respond to habitat improvements there, providing a potential source of colonists for the new habitats above Iron Gate Dam.” (P. 44)
“Although Current Conditions will likely continue to be detrimental to coho, the difference between the Proposed Action and Current Conditions is expected to be small, especially in the short term (0-10 years after dam removal). Larger (moderate) responses are possible under the Proposed Action if the KBRA is fully and effectively implemented and mortality caused by the pathogen C. shasta is reduced. (p. ii)
“Large-scale restoration, such as the Proposed Action alternative, have great potential for benefiting the targeted species, but can also easily become ineffective due to the complexities of the plan and the ecosystem.” (P.71)
“A scientific advisory structure could be implemented at the beginning of the planning process to advise continually on effective and timely adaptation of KBRA mitigation and restoration activities in response to monitoring and experimental results, to identify ineffective and counterproductive activities, and to recommend new ideas and maintaining and fine-tuning activities that prove effective. (P.71)
“Access to habitat between Iron Gate and Keno Dams will allow for a small increase in coho and potentially larger increases in steelhead populations. If both upstream and downstream passage through Keno Reservoir and Upper Klamath Lake are successful, then access to upstream habitat (above Upper Klamath Lake) could increase the abundance of steelhead (possibly substantially) and coho salmon if fish utilize the new habitat and can successfully complete their life cycles.” (P.40)
“The Panel believes that the qualitative estimates of positive population responses for both coho (small because less likely to recolonize above Upper Klamath Lake) and steelhead (possibly substantial if recolonization occurs above Upper Klamath Lake) are reasonable, but information is currently insufficient for providing quantitative estimates.” (P. 40)
The following references can be found here:
“Pacific lampreys are currently extirpated above Iron Gate Dam; they are unable to pass the dam and the confirmed upstream limit in the mainstem Klamath River is Bogus Creek….an additional 69 miles of Pacific lamprey habitat will be opened up by removal of the four lower Klamath River dams.” (P. 29)
“The most promising reaches for lamprey use lie between the J.C. Boyle powerhouse and Caldera rapids and in the low-gradient reach currently inundated by Copco Reservoir.” (pp. 28-29)
“Under the Condition without Dams and with the KBRA Alternative, increases in dissolved oxygen levels are expected to improve habitat productivity for Pacific and other Klamath River Basin lamprey species.” (P. 36).
“Although the Panel does not know to what extent Pacific lamprey would use the available habitat upstream of Keno Dam, the KBRA is expected to increase habitat productivity for the freshwater-resident lamprey species.” (P. 38)
S. Craig Tucker
home office: 707-839-1982
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