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Monitoring the movements of juvenile Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) in the Yakima River, Washington, using acoustic telemetry, 2019–20

May 26, 2022

Anthropogenic barriers to main-stem and tributary passage are one of the primary threats associated with declining populations of Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) in the Columbia River Basin. Juvenile lamprey are of special interest because their downstream migration to the ocean may be affected by barriers such as dams or water diversions. Telemetry studies that describe the movement and passage of juvenile lamprey have not been possible until the recent development of a micro-transmitter specifically for use in juvenile lamprey and eels. Through a collaborative research approach, we used these prototype transmitters and acoustic monitoring arrays installed for a juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) migration study to evaluate juvenile lamprey movements in the Yakima River (river kilometer 179 to the river mouth) in 2019 and 2020. We tagged and released 152 juvenile lamprey from April 30 to June 5, 2019, and on June 9, 2020. Lamprey were released 6.9 kilometers (km) upstream from Wapato Dam, 1.2 km upstream from Prosser Dam, and into the canal and tailrace at Prosser Dam. Most tagged lamprey did not initiate downstream movements within the 18 days of tag life, as evidenced by our detections of lamprey in the highest numbers at the first monitoring site downstream from their release site, with limited or no detections at sites farther downstream. There was no evidence of missed detections (lamprey detected at a downstream site without corresponding detections upstream). Overall detections of tagged lamprey were low: 27.0 percent in 2019 and 48.0 percent in 2020. River flows were less than the 10-year average during the monitoring period and water temperatures were variable. Lamprey arrived at detections sites predominantly during periods of darkness (85.3–96.6 percent) following daytime releases. Travel rates through the study area ranged from 0.2 to 45.3 kilometers per day, and lamprey generally remained at each detection station for less than about 20 minutes. Groups of lamprey released together generally had similar travel rates with a small number of fish that moved more quickly or slowly than the remainder of the group. In addition to monitoring the migration and behavior of juvenile lamprey, we also assessed some assumptions of survival models (determining downstream drift of purposely killed fish and empirically measuring transmitter operating life) to benefit future evaluations focused on migration survival of juvenile lamprey.

Publication Year 2022
Title Monitoring the movements of juvenile Pacific Lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) in the Yakima River, Washington, using acoustic telemetry, 2019–20
DOI 10.3133/ofr20221052
Authors Theresa L. Liedtke, Ralph T. Lampman, Patrick Monk, Amy C. Hansen, Tobias J. Kock, Tyler E. Beals, Daniel Z. Deng, Michael S. Porter
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2022-1052
Index ID ofr20221052
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center