Effects of river scale flow regimes and local scale habitat properties on fish community attributes
We recorded the movement of Sacramento suckers, Catostomus occidentalis, and hitch, Lavinia exilicauda, before and during a controlled flood release on a regulated California Central Valley River, using radio telemetry. Both species made small, local movements (<550 m) during pre-flood flows. During flood releases, some individual suckers made significantly larger movements (>8100 m) both up and downstream of pre-flood flow locations within the main channel while others did not. In contrast, increased flows did not significantly influence hitch movement from a side-channel pool. Sacramento suckers tended to move upstream during flow increases and downstream during flow reductions while no strong relationship for hitch was apparent. These data show that native Central Valley fishes may exhibit a variety of responses to flow change, including schooling and spawning activity, movements to refugia from higher velocities and no marked change. Managers must take into account life history, age and timing associated with specific species when implementing controlled flow strategies.