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Science supporting water management decisions and Pacific salmon enhancement in the Willamette River Basin

Upper Willamette River spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead are anadromous fish species that use the mainstem Willamette River and its tributaries to spawn, rear, and migrate to and from the ocean. However, the physical and ecological conditions which these species depend upon have been substantially impacted by the construction and operation of dams, reservoirs, and revetments that provide flood control and other societal benefits to communities in the Willamette Valley.

Photo of the Willamette River, Oregon
Willamette River Basin in a low water period. Photo taken by Toby Kock.

USGS researchers from the Western Fisheries Research Center and the Oregon Water Science Center recently completed a study that reviewed existing fisheries datasets and provided an overview of research approaches for estimating habitat availability and carrying capacity of Pacific salmon in the Willamette River Basin. This effort was focused on supporting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their flow-management decision-making in the basin. This study is one of a series of reports and manuscripts that are being completed to provide resource managers with new information that can be used to enhance riverine conditions for Chinook salmon, steelhead and other species in the basin.   

Kock, T.J., Perry, R.W., Hansen, G.S., White, J., Stratton Garvin, L., and Wallick, J.R., 2021, Synthesis of habitat availability and carrying capacity research to support water management decisions and enhance conditions for Pacific salmon in the Willamette River, Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1114, 24 p.,

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