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Recovery of sockeye salmon in the Elwha River, Washington, after dam removal: Dependence of smolt production on the resumption of anadromy by landlocked kokanee

October 19, 2016

Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. are adept at colonizing habitat that has been reopened to anadromous passage. Sockeye Salmon O. nerka are unique in that most populations require lakes to fulfill their life history. Thus, for Sockeye Salmon to colonize a system, projects like dam removals must provide access to lakes. However, if the lakes contain landlocked kokanee (lacustrine Sockeye Salmon), the recovery of Sockeye Salmon could be mediated by interactions between the two life history forms and the processes associated with the resumption of anadromy. Our objective was to evaluate the extent to which estimates of Sockeye Salmon smolt production and recovery are sensitive to the resumption of anadromy by kokanee after dam removal. We informed the analysis based on the abiotic and biotic features of Lake Sutherland, which was recently opened to passage after dam removal on the Elwha River, Washington. We first developed maximum expectations for the smolt-producing capacity of Lake Sutherland by using two predictive models developed from Sockeye Salmon populations in Alaska and British Columbia: one model was based on the mean seasonal biomass of macrozooplankton, and the other was based on the euphotic zone volume of the lake. We then constructed a bioenergetics-based simulation model to evaluate how the capacity of Lake Sutherland to rear yearling smolts could change with varying degrees of anadromy among O. nerka fry. We demonstrated that (1) the smolt-producing capacity of a nursery lake for juvenile Sockeye Salmon changes in nonlinear ways with changes in smolt growth, mortality, and the extent to which kokanee resume anadromy after dam removal; (2) kokanee populations may be robust to changes in abundance after dam removal, particularly if lakes are located higher in the watershed on tributaries separate from where dams were removed; and (3) the productivity of newly establishing Sockeye Salmon can vary considerably depending on whether the population becomes rearing limited or is recruitment limited and depending on how adult escapement is managed.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Recovery of sockeye salmon in the Elwha River, Washington, after dam removal: Dependence of smolt production on the resumption of anadromy by landlocked kokanee
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2016.1223752
Authors Adam G. Hansen, Jennifer R. Gardner, David A. Beauchamp, Rebecca Paradis, Thomas P. Quinn
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
Series Number
Index ID 70177064
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Seattle