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Holding behavior of Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and steelhead O mykiss smolts, as influenced by habitat features of levee banks, in the highly modified lower Sacramento River,; California



Holding behavior of Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and steelhead O mykiss smolts, as influenced by habitat features of levee banks, in the highly modified lower Sacramento River,; California



Environmental Biology of Fishes 96.2-3: 245-256



Using acoustic telemetry methods on large numbers of tagged fish, we studied how the holding behavior of Chinook salmon and steelhead smolts could be related to habitat features and spatial and temporal variables on a highly altered section of the Sacramento River. We viewed downstream migration as a process in which fish transition between moving and holding states, and used a binomial and negative binomial Generalized Linear Model to analyze two aspects of holding: 1) probability of holding, and 2) holding time. For Chinook salmon, the probability of holding increased as wood size and fine substrates increased; holding time increased as overhead shade increased. For steelhead, holding behavior was only weakly related to habitat variables, in contrast to the strong relationships with spatial and temporal variables. For both species, the probability of holding increased when distance from the release location decreased and instream flows decreased. We found support for three main findings: 1) spatial and temporal factors have considerably greater influence on Chinook salmon and steelhead smolt holding behavior than nearshore habitat features; 2) holding behaviors of Chinook salmon smolts are influenced more strongly by habitat features than steelhead smolts; and 3) incorporation of habitat features such as large woody material and overhead shade should be considered when conducting nearshore bank rehabilitation projects to increase cover from predators and provide velocity refuge, improving holding habitat during downstream migration.

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Accession: 036500672

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DOI: 10.1007/s10641-012-0060-z


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