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Using spatial, seasonal, and diel drift patterns of larval Lost River suckers Deltistes luxatus (Cypriniformes: Catostomidae) and shortnose suckers Chasmistes brevirostris (Cypriniformes: Catostomidae) to help identify a site for a water withdrawal struct

January 1, 2010

A small irrigation diversion dam near Chiloquin, Oregon, was removed and replaced with a pump station to improve fish passage for Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose suckers (Chasmistes brevirostris) entering the Sprague River on their spawning migrations. During the developmental phase of the pump station, a need was identified to better understand the larval drift characteristics of these endangered catostomids in order to reduce entrainment into the irrigation system. The spatial, seasonal, and diel distribution of drifting larvae was measured during the 2004 spawning season at two proposed sites on the Williamson River where the pump station could be located. Larval drift for both species coincided with the irrigation season making them subject to entrainment into the irrigation system. Drift occurred almost exclusively at night with larvae entering the drift at sunset and exiting the drift at sunrise. Nighttime larval densities were concentrated near the surface and at midchannel at both sites. Densities were generally greater on the side of mid-channel with greater flow. During early morning sampling we detected a general shift in larval drift from surface to subsurface drift. We also observed an increase in larval densities towards the shore opposite from the proposed pump station at the upper site whereas larval densities remained high at midchannel at the lower site. During daytime sampling, the few larvae that were collected were distributed throughout the water column at both pump sites. This study found that larvae drifting during all time periods were generally distributed further across the cross section, deeper in the water column, and closer to where the proposed water withdrawal structure would be built at the downstream site when compared to the upstream site. Recommendations were provided to locate the withdrawal facility at the upstream site and operate it in a manner such that larval entrainment would likely be minimized.