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Brook trout passage performance through culverts

December 1, 2015

Culverts can restrict access to habitat for stream-dwelling fishes. We used passive integrated transponder telemetry to quantify passage performance of >1000 wild brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) attempting to pass 13 culverts in Quebec under a range of hydraulic and environmental conditions. Several variables influenced passage success, including complex interactions between physiology and behavior, hydraulics, and structural characteristics. The probability of successful passage was greater through corrugated metal culverts than through smooth ones, particularly among smaller fish. Trout were also more likely to pass at warmer temperatures, but this effect diminished above 15 °C. Passage was impeded at higher flows, through culverts with steep slopes, and those with deep downstream pools. This study provides insight on factors influencing brook trout capacity to pass culverts as well as a model to estimate passage success under various conditions, with an improved resolution and accuracy over existing approaches. It also presents methods that could be used to investigate passage success of other species, with implications for connectivity of the riverscape.

Publication Year 2016
Title Brook trout passage performance through culverts
DOI 10.1139/cjfas-2015-0089
Authors Elsa Goerig, Theodore R. Castro-Santos, Normand Bergeron
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Index ID 70170134
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Leetown Science Center