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Upper Skagit River intrinsic potential results

March 29, 2024

We assessed habitat suitability for salmonids across selected tributaries upstream from three hydroelectric dams on the upper Skagit River in Whatcom County, northern Washington. We used NetMap, a commercial toolset within the ArcMap geographic information system (GIS), to analyze stream attributes based upon a synthetic stream channel network derived from digital elevation models. The GIS-derived stream attributes—including gradient, bankfull width, valley width index, elevation, and stream flow—allowed us to examine the spatial distribution and relative quality of spawning and rearing habitat for salmonids based on existing intrinsic potential (IP) models. As a first step, we created maps of potential anadromous fish distribution by identifying potential migration barriers within the synthetic stream network. Next, we applied a suite of existing IP models for steelhead, Coho, and Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus mykiss, O. kisutch, and O. tshawytscha, respectively) to estimate low, medium, and high IP habitat for each species. Three different IP models were used for each species, based on species preference curves from populations from coastal Oregon, northern California, Alaska, and western Washington.

Publication Year 2024
Title Upper Skagit River intrinsic potential results
DOI 10.5066/P9MKQ2UK
Authors Jeff Duda, Jill M Hardiman
Product Type Data Release
Record Source USGS Digital Object Identifier Catalog
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center (WFRC)