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Data from: Effects of a novel fish transport system on the health of adult fall Chinook salmon

Cite this dataset

Geist, David R. et al. (2016). Data from: Effects of a novel fish transport system on the health of adult fall Chinook salmon [Dataset]. Dryad.


Movement past hydroelectric dams and related in-river structures has important implications for habitat connectivity and population persistence in migratory fish. A major problem is that many of these structures lack effective fish passage facilities, which can fragment spawning and rearing areas and negatively impact recruitment. While traditional fish passage facilities (e.g., ladders, trap and haul) can effectively enable fish to pass over barriers, their capital or operational costs can be significant. We evaluated the utility of a novel transport device that utilizes a flexible tube with differential internal air pressure to pass fish around in-river barriers. A total of N = 147 adult fall Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) nearing maturation were apportioned to three treatments and a control group. In two of the treatments, adult fall Chinook salmon were transported through the device via two lengths of tube (12 or 77 m) and their injury, stress, and immune system responses and reproductive function were compared to a third treatment where fish were moved by a standard trap and haul method and also to a control group. We observed no significant differences among the treatment or control groups in post-treatment adult survival, injury or stress. Indicators of immune system response and reproductive readiness were also not significantly different among the four groups. Egg survival was significantly different among the groups, with the highest survival in the eggs from females transported 77 m and lowest in the control group; the differences were highly variable within groups and not consistent with the duration of treatment or degree of handling. Taken together, the results suggest the device did not injure or alter normal physiological functioning of adult fall Chinook salmon nearing maturation and may provide an effective method for transporting such fish around in-river barriers during their spawning migration.

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Columbia River