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Large wood and in-stream habitat for juvenile coho salmon and larval lampreys in a Pacific Northwest stream

May 6, 2017

The influences of large wood on Pacific salmon are well-studied, but studies of nonsalmonid species such as lampreys are uncommon. To address this need, we evaluated the potential effects of large wood on larval lampreys (Pacific Lamprey, Entosphenus tridentatus; and potentially Western Brook Lamprey Lampetra richardsoni), as well as juvenile Coho Salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch, in a small coastal Oregon stream. Our objectives were to 1) identify in-stream habitat characteristics associated with the presence of larval lampreys and abundance of juvenile Coho Salmon; and 2) evaluate how these characteristics were associated with in-stream wood. To address habitat use, we quantified presence of larval lampreys in 92 pools and abundance of juvenile Coho Salmon in 44 pools during summer low flows. We focused on a study reach where large wood was introduced into the stream between 2008 and 2009. Results indicated that presence of larval lampreys was significantly associated with availability of fine sediment and deeper substrate. The abundance of juvenile Coho Salmon (fish/pool) was strongly associated with pool surface area and to a weaker extent with the proportion of cobble and boulder substrates in pools. Pools with wood, regardless of whether they were formed by wood, had significantly greater coverage of fine sediment, deeper substrate, and greater pool surface area. Taken together, these results suggest that in-stream wood can provide habitat associated with presence of larval lampreys and greater abundance of juvenile Coho Salmon.