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Adult green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) movements in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, California, December 2020–January 2023

April 30, 2024

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers American River Watershed Common Features project (ACRF) seeks to reduce flood risk for the City of Sacramento, California, and surrounding areas. The project includes levee-remediation measures to address seepage, stability, erosion, and height concerns as well as the widening of the Sacramento Weir and Bypass. The project reach is in the lower extent of the Sacramento River migration corridor for the federally threatened southern Distinct Population Segment of North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). To establish baseline migratory behavior, we examined adult green sturgeon transit through the project area prior to construction. Biologists from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers collected and tagged 55 adult green sturgeon with acoustic and passive integrated transponders, near Hamilton City, California, at river kilometer 332 of the Sacramento River each fall from 2020 to 2022. To evaluate fish movements, we deployed five acoustic detection sites at river kilometers 101, 90, 76, and 21 on the Sacramento River and in Tule Canal near the Sacramento Bypass at river kilometer 101 of the Sacramento River. The acoustic receivers detected nearly all tagged fish moving downstream through the ARCF study area during the same water year (October 1–September 30) in which they were tagged. Three fish released in October of 2020 arrived at the ARCF study area more than 362 days later in October 2021. The timing of tagged fish movements was associated with increases in river flow and not hour of day. Adult green sturgeon moved downstream from January to August when streamflows exceeded 15,000 cubic feet per second. During water year 2023 and the critically dry water year 2022, fish moved with the first peaks in flow occurring from mid-October to early January. Fish tagged in the critically dry water year 2021 entered the ARCF study area over an extended period from January to October, when flows remained around 10,000 cubic feet per second all year. Fish moved quickly between sites within the ARCF study area and generally spent less than 1 hour at each detection site.

Publication Year 2024
Title Adult green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) movements in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, California, December 2020–January 2023
DOI 10.3133/ofr20241025
Authors Amy C. Hansen, Summer M. Burdick, Ryan P. Johnson, Robert D. Chase, Michael J. Thomas
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2024-1025
Index ID ofr20241025
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center