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The relation of streamflow to habitat for anadromous fish in the Stillaguamish River basin, Washington

January 1, 1987

The techniques of Instream Flow Incremental Methodology were used to determine the habitat available over a range of simulated streamflows for anadromous fish in certain reaches of streams in the Stillaguamish River basin, Washington. The stream discharge-habitat relations were used to identify that discharge termed the optimum discharge, which provides maximum habitat, for a particular species and life stage of fish. Optimum discharges varied throughout the Stillaguamish River basin because each discharge-habitat relation was unique. The mainstem of the Stillaguamish River is used primarily as a migration route by anadromous fish, but it is also used by chinook and coho salmon and steelhead trout for rearing and by steelhead adults and pink salmon for spawning. Optimum discharges, in cu ft/sec, ranged as follows in the mainstem Stillaguamish River: chinook fry, 600; steelhead--juveniles, 1,000, adults, 2,000, coho juveniles, 400; and pink spawning, 800. The North Fork Stillaguamish River is used for spawning and rearing by all the study fish species. Optimum discharges there were: chinook--spawning, 500 to 1,300, fry, 150 to 400; coho--spawning , 500 to 700, juveniles and fry, 50 to 200; steelhead--adults, 500 to 1,170, spawning, 800 to 900, fry, 50 to 140, juveniles, 300 to 500, chum spawning, 200 to 600; pink spawning, 300 to 600. All the study species spawn and rear in the South Fork Stillaguamish River, but coho spawn and rear fry only at the most upstream study site and chum spawn only at the most downstream site. Optimum discharge ranges on the South Fork were: chinook--spawning, 300 to 900, fry, 70 to 300; coho juveniles, 50 to 100; steelhead--adults, 300 to 900; spawning, 250 to 1,200, fry, 45 to 1,600, juveniles 200 to 500, pink spawning, 100 to 1,200; coho--spawning, 140, fry, 50; chum spawning, 100. Four tributary streams are used by all species except Pilchuck and Canyon Creeks, which are not used by chum salmon. Optimum discharges for all tributary streams ranged as follows: chinook--spawning, 170 to 750, fry 50 to 170; coho--spawning, 90 to 350, fry 20 to 80, juveniles, 35 to 130; steelhead--adults, 170 to 500, spawning, 130 to 400, fry, 20 to 70, juveniles, 70 to 350; pink spawning, 70 to 300; chum spawning in Squire Creek and Jim Creek, 70 to 450. Water temperatures measured in late summer at all sites ranged between 14.5 to 17.5 C. (Lantz-PTT)

Publication Year 1987
Title The relation of streamflow to habitat for anadromous fish in the Stillaguamish River basin, Washington
DOI 10.3133/wri864326
Authors S. S. Embrey
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 86-4326
Index ID wri864326
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse