Juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) migrating through California's Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta toward the Pacific Ocean face numerous challenges to their survival. The Yolo Bypass is a broad floodplain of the Sacramento River that floods in about 70 percent of years in response to large, uncontrolled runoff events. As one of the routes juvenile salmon may utilize, the Yolo Bypass has recently received attention for having potential benefit to rearing and migrating salmon. Consideration is being given to a plan to build a cut or “notch” in the Fremont Weir to increase juvenile salmon access to the Yolo Bypass. To help provide information about the potential benefit of such a plan, we analyzed data from a telemetry study conducted in February and March 2016 by the U.S. Geological Survey and California Department of Water Resources to estimate entrainment into and distribution of juvenile Chinook salmon within the Yolo Bypass, and to compare survival and travel time through the Yolo Bypass to other routes in the Delta. We also estimated juvenile Chinook salmon survival through three short reaches of the Sacramento River where the proposed California WaterFix North Delta Diversion intakes would divert water to export facilities to provide baseline information against which any effects of those intakes could be measured in the future.
We found that entrainment into the Yolo Bypass varied widely and was quite high only at the peak of the March 2016 flood. Spatial distribution of juvenile Chinook salmon within the Yolo Bypass was fairly even for fish entering the Yolo Bypass over the Fremont Weir, but increasingly skewed toward the east bank for fish released within the Yolo Bypass. Survival within Yolo Bypass was not significantly different for fish based on spatial distribution. Survival through the Delta for fish migrating through the Yolo Bypass was generally on par with the weighted survival through the Delta of fish migrating through all other routes. Survival was highest for fish remaining in the Sacramento River and lowest for those entrained into the Interior Delta via Georgiana Slough. Survival through the short section of the Sacramento River near the proposed North Delta Diversion intakes was high.
|Title||Survival, travel time, and utilization of Yolo Bypass, California, by outmigrating acoustic-tagged late-fall Chinook salmon|
|Authors||Adam C. Pope, Russell W. Perry, Dalton J. Hance, Hal C. Hansel|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Open-File Report|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Western Fisheries Research Center|
Russell Perry, Ph.D.
Russell Perry, Ph.D.