ESTIMATING ADULT CHINOOK SALMON EXPOSURE TO DISSOLVED GAS SUPERSATURATION DOWNSTREAM OF HYDROELECTRIC DAMS USING TELEMETRY AND HYDRODYNAMIC MODELSz

Abstract

Gas bubble disease (GBD) has been recognized as a potential problem for fishes in the Columbia River basin. GBD results from exposure to gas supersaturated water created by discharge over dam spillways. Spill creates a downstream plume of water with high total dissolved gas supersaturation (TDGS) that may be positioned along either shore or mid-channel, depending on dam operations. We obtained spatial data on fish migration paths and migration depths for adult spring and summer Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, during 2000. Migration paths were compared to output from a two-dimensional (2-dimensional) hydrodynamic and dissolved gas model to estimate the potential for GBD expression and to test for behavioural avoidance of the high TDGS plume. We observed salmon swam sufficiently deep in the water column to receive complete hydrostatic compensation 95.9% of the time spent in the Bonneville Dam tailrace and 88.1% of the time in the Ice Harbor Dam tailrace. The majority of depth uncompensated exposure occurred at TDGS levels>115%. Adult Chinook salmon tended to migrate near the shoreline and they tended to remain in relatively deep water. Adults moved into the high dissolved-gas plume as often as they moved out of it downstream of Bonneville Dam, providing no evidence that adults moved laterally to avoid areas with elevated dissolved gas levels. When water depths decreased due to reduced river discharge, adults tended to migrate in the deeper navigation channel downstream from Ice Harbor Dam. The strong influence of dam operations on the position of the high-TDGS plume and shoreline-orientation behaviours of adults suggest that exposure of adult salmonids to high-TDGS conditions may be minimized using operational conditions that direct the spilled water mid-channel. Our approach illustrates the potential for combined field and modelling efforts to estimate the fine-scale environmental conditions encountered by fishes in natural and regulated rivers. Published in 2007 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. key words: fish behaviour; gas bubble disease; hydrologic modelling; Chinook salmon; fish depth; gas supersaturation Received 25 January 2007; Accepted 22 February 2007

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@inproceedings{Johnson2007ESTIMATINGAC, title={ESTIMATING ADULT CHINOOK SALMON EXPOSURE TO DISSOLVED GAS SUPERSATURATION DOWNSTREAM OF HYDROELECTRIC DAMS USING TELEMETRY AND HYDRODYNAMIC MODELSz}, author={Eric L Johnson and Tami S. Clabough and Christopher Peery and David H . Bennett and THEODORE C. BJORNN and ay and Christopher C. Caudill and Marshall C. Richmond}, year={2007} }