Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

River network and reach‐scale controls on habitat for lamprey larvae in the Umpqua River Basin, Oregon

October 22, 2020

This study developed a spatially explicit framework to support the conservation of Western Brook Lamprey Lampetra richardsoni and Pacific Lamprey Entosphenus tridentatus in the Umpqua River basin, Oregon. This framework identified locations within the river network likely to support “potential burrowing habitat” for lamprey larvae based on geomorphic conditions and evaluated the overlap of potential burrowing habitat with water temperatures suitable for the nonnative, piscivorous Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu. The study also documented reach‐scale factors that create heterogeneity in potential burrowing habitat to guide on‐the‐ground habitat restoration. Based on criteria for mean annual suspended sediment loads and channel slope, 18% of the Umpqua River network was classified as potential burrowing habitat. Existing mean August water temperatures of ≥20°C were suitable for Smallmouth Bass for 32% of the potential burrowing habitat. This percentage increased to 41% of the potential burrowing habitat using projected mean August water temperatures for year 2040, suggesting that water temperatures in the future will facilitate upstream expansion of Smallmouth Bass into the potential burrowing habitat. At finer spatial scales, potential burrowing habitat was influenced by channel features, such as large wood, pools, and local channel slope and width. These results provide an initial template for identifying locations in river networks likely to have potential burrowing habitat, considering the overlap between threats and lamprey habitats, and planning conservation actions to support native lampreys.