|Documenting Oncorhynchus mykiss life histories in Rattlesnake Creek and White Salmon River prior to the reintroduction of anadromous fish above Condit Dam
Brady Allen* and Patrick J. Connolly
U.S. Geological Survey, Western Fisheries Research Center
Columbia River Research Laboratory
5501-a Cook-Underwood Rd., Cook, WA 98605
509-538-2299 x 356, firstname.lastname@example.org
From 2001 through 2005, we documented the life history characteristics of rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss populations prior to anadromous fish reintroduction in the White Salmon River with the pending removal of Condit Dam in 2010. The dam has blocked upstream migration of anadromous fish at river kilometer 5.1 since 1913. To document the existing O. mykiss life history diversity, we combined radio and passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagging technologies. Radio tagging (n = 64) was performed in the mainstem White Salmon River from the reservoir above Condit Dam through the likely zone of anadromous fish recolonization (rkm 5.1 – 19.7). To record movement and growth patterns in Rattlesnake Creek and the White Salmon River, an instream PIT-tag interrogation system was installed in Rattlesnake Creek at rkm 0.2, and PIT tagging (n = 4,856) was conducted in several reaches. The O. mykiss in Rattlesnake Creek and White Salmon River exhibited a wide spectrum of migratory tendencies including resident, fluvial, adfluvial, and anadromous life histories. Our radio-tagging and PIT-tagging efforts in Rattlesnake Creek and the White Salmon River showed that important linkages exist between the mainstem White Salmon River and tributary populations of O. mykiss. Some evidence showed that the connection to the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean has not been severed, which indicates that rainbow trout above Condit Dam have potential to be an important source for reestablishing the steelhead life history to the upper White Salmon River with the removal of Condit Dam. The results of these projects were used to assist management agencies in developing reintroduction plans for anadromous salmonid and management plans to meet restoration goals. In preparation for the restoration of fish passage to the historically anadromous portion of the White Salmon River, the Condit Workgroup was formed to create a fish salvage and anadromous salmonid re-introduction plan. Members of this group, which first met on 13 February 2007, included: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Yakama Nation (YN), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and PacifiCorp. Recommended options for steelhead reintroductions from the Condit Workgroup are being incorporated into NOAA’s Endangered Species Act recovery plans for the White Salmon River populations of Middle Columbia River steelhead.