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«2013 Annual Progress Report Prepared by: Paul M. Sankovich Donald R. Anglin David M. Hines Department of the Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Bull Trout Distribution, Movements and Habitat Use in the Umatilla River Basin

2013 Annual Progress Report

Prepared by:

Paul M. Sankovich

Donald R. Anglin

David M. Hines

Department of the Interior

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Columbia River Fisheries Program Office

1211 SE Cardinal Court, Suite 100

Vancouver, WA 98683

June 3, 2014

Table of Contents

Table of Contents………………………………………………………………………………… 2 List of Figures……………………………………………………………………………………. 3 List of Tables……………………………………………………………………………………... 4 Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………… 5 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………. 6 Methods…………………………………………………………………………………………. 10 Instream Flow Assessment…………………………………………………………….... 10 Fish Passage at Instream Diversion Structures………………………………………….. 13 GIS-based Recovery Planning Tool……………………………………………………...13 Movement and Origin of Bull Trout Captured at Three Mile Falls Dam……………….. 15 Results…………………………………………………………………………………………… 15 Instream Flow Assessment……………………………………………………………… 15 Fish Passage at Instream Diversion Structures………………………………………….. 16 GIS-based Recovery Planning Tool……………………………………………………...18 Movement and Origin of Bull Trout Captured at Three Mile Falls Dam……………….. 19 Discussion……………………………………………………………………………………….. 19 Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………………………… 23 References………………………………………………………………………………………. 24 List of Figures Figure 1. Location of instream diversion structures and other landmarks in the lower Umatilla River and the study reach between Westland Dam and the Stanfield Drain where fish passage surveys were conducted in July and August 2013………………………11 Figure 2. Schematic of a stream cross section where water depth and velocity measurements were taken at nine equally spaced stations along a transect within the wetted width of the stream, and “cells” (bounded by dashed lines) within which water depth and velocity were assumed to be constant and equaled the measurements taken at the midpoint of each cell. Water depth and velocity were assumed to equal zero between the end of each wetted bank and the midpoint between them and the adjacent station……... 12 Figure 3. Location of sites where water depth and velocity measurements were taken (Passage Sites) in the Umatilla River during fish passage surveys in July and August 2013, and location of gaging stations (Flow Sites) used to determine stream flow in the Umatilla River below Westland and Dillon dams during the surveys………………………. 14

List of Tables

Table 1. Average daily discharge in the Umatilla River between Westland and Dillon dams and Dillon Dam and the Stanfield Drain during reconnaissance and barrier surveys in July and August 2013.

Two methods of calculating average daily discharge between Westland and Dillon dams (a and b) were used and are described in the Methods section. Average daily discharge on the day each reach was surveyed is listed in bold……………………………………………………………………………………….. 16 Table 2. Number of stations meeting minimum depth critera (“usable stations”) along transects in the Umatilla River during barrier surveys in July and August 2013.

Transect locations are given in Figure 1 and Appendix Table A1. Subadult BT, Adult BT, and ChS = minimum depth criteria required for passage of subadult bull trout (12 cm), adult bull trout (18 cm), and adult Chinook salmon (24 cm). S1 and S2 = Surveys 1 and 2. …………………………………………………………………….………. 17 Table 3. Location and estimated area of larval lamprey habitat in the Umatilla River between Westland Dam and the Stanfield drain in July 2013. The coordinates are in map datum NAD83……………………………………………………………………….. 18

Abstract

The goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s studies in the Umatilla Basin is to provide information that can be used to develop recovery actions for bull trout Salvelinus confluentus listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In 2013, our objectives were to 1) conduct an instream flow assessment to determine if the current minimum flow target for the Umatilla River (50 cubic feet per second [cfs] at the Dillon gage) is sufficient to provide passage for subadult and fluvial adult bull trout, 2) begin to evaluate bull trout and Pacific lamprey Entosphenus tridentatus passage conditions at instream diversion structures in the lower Umatilla River (lamprey were included because they are a priority species for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servide), 3) begin to construct a GIS-based recovery planning tool that describes current physical and hydrologic conditions in the Umatilla Basin and how they relate to spatial and temporal patterns of bull trout distribution and movement, and 4) continue to monitor the movement and origin of any bull trout trapped in the ladder at Three Mile Falls Dam (TMFD), near the mouth of the Umatilla River. We found the 50 cfs minimum flow target is likely sufficient to provide passage for subadult and adult bull trout in the reach of stream between Westland Dam and the Stanfield drain, a reach identified by local experts as likely to be the most limiting. We found no evidence the ladders at the instream diversion structures had ever been evaluated to determine if conditions within them were consistent with those anticipated based on the design of the ladders, or if the ladders were suitable for bull trout. Lamprey adult passage structures, or lamprey alternative passage structures (LAPS) had been added to Three Mile Falls, Maxwell, Dillon, and Feed Canal dams in recent years, and will be added to the remaining dams in the near future. Past evaluations of the fish screening and bypass facilities in the canals at the instream diversion structures had shown the rate of injury and delay in travel time of juvenile anadromous salmonids generally were within acceptable limits, as were the efficiencies of the screens in preventing fish passage into the canals. No evaluations were conducted using bull trout, but no evidence was provided indicating the results would have differed greatly for them.





Evaluations for lamprey currently are being conducted by other agencies. We collected and began summarizing much of the information needed to construct the GIS-based recovery planning tool, which will be completed and available to managers by 2015. One bull trout PIT tagged at TMFD was not detected at any of the PIT tag detection sites in the Umatilla or the remainder of the Columbia Basin, so its movements were unknown. There also were no detections of bull trout either PIT tagged at TMFD (n=7) or already outfitted with a PIT tag when trapped at TMFD (n=1) in previous years. The genetic analysis required to identify the river of origin of the bull trout trapped in 2013 was not completed before the publication of this report.

Introduction

Bull trout Salvelinus confluentus were officially listed as a Threatened Species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1998. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) subsequently issued a Draft Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2002) which included a chapter for the Umatilla-Walla Walla Recovery Unit (Chapter 10). This chapter was updated in 2004 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2004) and is the current guide for recovery actions in the Umatilla Basin. The goal of bull trout recovery planning by the FWS is to describe courses of action necessary for the ultimate delisting of this species, and to ensure the long-term persistence of self-sustaining, complex interacting groups of bull trout distributed across the species’ native range (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2004).

Bull trout in the Umatilla Basin exhibit two different life history strategies. Fluvial bull trout spawn in the headwaters and the juveniles rear there for one to four years before migrating downstream as subadults to larger main stem areas, and possibly to the Columbia River where they grow and mature, returning to the tributary stream to spawn (Fraley and Shepard 1989).

Downstream migration of subadults generally occurs during the spring, although it can occur throughout the year (e.g., Hemmingsen et. al. 2001). These migratory forms occur in areas where conditions allow for movement from upper watershed spawning streams to larger downstream waters that contain greater foraging opportunities (Dunham and Rieman 1999).

Stream-resident bull trout also occur in the basin, completing their entire life cycle in the tributary streams where they spawn and rear. Resident and migratory forms of bull trout may be found living together for portions of their life cycle, but it is unknown if they can give rise to one another (Rieman and McIntyre 1993). Bull trout size is variable depending on life history strategy. Resident adult bull trout tend to be smaller than fluvial adult bull trout (Goetz 1989).

Under appropriate conditions, bull trout regularly live to 10 years, and under exceptional circumstances, reach ages in excess of 20 years. They normally reach sexual maturity in four to seven years (Fraley and Shepard 1989; McPhail and Baxter 1996).

When compared to other North American salmonids, bull trout have more specific habitat requirements. The habitat components that shape bull trout distribution and abundance include water temperature, cover, channel form and stability, valley form, spawning and rearing substrates, and migratory corridors (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1998). Throughout their lives, bull trout require complex forms of cover, including large woody debris, undercut banks, boulders, and pools (Fraley and Shepard 1989; Watson and Hillman 1997). Juveniles and adults frequently inhabit side channels, stream margins, and pools with suitable cover (Sexauer and James 1997). McPhail and Baxter (1996) reported that newly emerged fry are secretive and hide in gravel along stream edges and in side channels. They also reported that juveniles are found in pools, riffles, and runs where they maintain focal sites near the bottom, and that they are strongly associated with instream cover, particularly overhead cover. Bull trout have been observed overwintering in deep beaver ponds or pools containing large woody debris (Jakober et al. 1998).

Habitat degradation and fragmentation (Fraley and Shepard 1989), barriers to migration (Rieman and McIntyre 1995), and reduced instream flows have all contributed to the decline in bull trout populations in the Columbia River Basin.

In summary, bull trout need adequate stream flows and temperatures and the corresponding habitat for each of the different life history functions at specific times of the year in order to persist. Habitat conditions must be adequate to provide spawning, rearing, and migration opportunities, cover, forage, seasonal movement, and over-wintering refuges.

The goal of the FWS studies in the Umatilla Basin is to develop information and analyses to assist in assessing the relative merit of potential action strategies in making progress towards meeting the requirements outlined in the Umatilla-Walla Walla chapter of the Draft Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2004) for the recovery and delisting of bull trout.

Specifically, FWS studies were designed to address the following recovery plan objectives:

–  –  –

• Conserve genetic diversity and provide opportunity for genetic exchange.

The habitat objective should be accomplished through a series of steps designed to restore and maintain suitable habitat conditions for all bull trout life history stages and strategies.

The first step should consist of defining the physical conditions that comprise suitable bull trout habitat. The second step should be application of these habitat “criteria” to current conditions to determine the extent of the relevant stream that currently provides suitable habitat. The third step should consist of determination of the changes required to improve habitat in areas indicated in the recovery plan that do not currently provide suitable conditions. The fourth step should consist of implementing changes to restore and maintain suitable habitat conditions for all bull trout life history stages and strategies.

The genetic diversity objective should be accomplished by maintaining connectivity among local populations of bull trout to facilitate gene flow and genetic diversity. As the recovery plan discusses, connectivity consists of maintaining the fluvial component of each local population which includes providing conditions that allow fluvial adults to effectively move between spawning and wintering areas, and ensuring that movement of both fluvial adult and subadult bull trout can occur, at least seasonally, between local populations within each core area in the recovery unit. This includes establishing the physical conditions necessary for up- and down-stream fish passage, and providing a continuum of suitable physical habitat to ensure the persistence of fluvial life stages and provide the opportunity for genetic interchange between local populations within each core area.

The approach the FWS used to plan studies in the Umatilla Basin consisted of the

following steps:

–  –  –

• Use this information and results from these studies to assist in guiding actions that will make progress towards bull trout recovery.



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