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Biological / Geospatial Projects

aimed at answering important environmental questions

  • Implementation and Evaluation of the Inland Avian Predation Management Plan

    Project: Implementation and Evaluation of the Inland Avian Predation Management Plan

    Client: USACE - Walla Walla District & U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
    Year: 2014 - 2018
    Location: Columbia River Plateau
    Provided assistance to the Corps and the Bureau of Reclamation in the implementation of Phase 1 and 2 of the Inland Avian Predation Management Plan (IAPMP). Included implementation of passive and active measures to prevent Caspian terns from nesting on Goose Island in Potholes Reservoir and Crescent Island on the mid-Columbia River. In addition, we assessed the outcome of management both in reducing the number of terns nesting in the Columbia Plateau region as well as reducing their impacts on juvenile salmonid survival. Learn More »

  • Relationship Between Salmonid Smolt Condition, Predation-related Mortality and Survival

    Project: Relationship Between Salmonid Smolt Condition, Predation-related Mortality and Survival

    Client: USACE - Walla Walla District & Grant County PUD
    Year: 2007 - 2018
    Location: Mid-Columbia and Lower Snake Rivers
    Investigated the use of rapid, nonlethal examination techniques to assess the condition and overall health of juvenile salmonids migrating from the Snake and Columbia rivers, including an evaluation of biotic (e.g., fish size and condition, run-timing) and abiotic (e.g., river discharge, water clarity, water temperature) factors that influence predation and fish survival. Learn More »

  • Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Caspian Terns and Double-crested Cormorants Relative to Their Impact on Salmonid Smolts in the Columbia River Estuary

    Project: Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Caspian Terns and Double-crested Cormorants Relative to Their Impact on Salmonid Smolts in the Columbia River Estuary

    Client: Bonneville Power Administration & USACE - Portland District
    Year: 1997 – 2018
    Location: Columbia River Estuary
    Objectives of these studies were to (1) assess the relative impacts of avian predators on smolt survival in the Columbia River estuary, (2) work with resources managers to develop management initiatives to reduce those impacts, (3) monitor and evaluate the efficacy of implemented management actions, and (4) provide analytical and technical support at a program level. Learn More »

  • Survival of Fall Chinook Salmon in the Deschutes River: A mark-recapture-recovery study based on PIT tags

    Project: Survival of Fall Chinook Salmon in the Deschutes River: A mark-recapture-recovery study based on PIT tags

    Client: Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWSRO)
    Year: 2017
    Location: Deschutes River
    In collaboration with CTWSRO, researchers from RTR are designing a study to quantify detection and survival probabilities of PIT-tagged juvenile fall Chinook salmon in the Deschutes River, Oregon. Learn More »

  • Central Valley Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) Tag Array Feasibility Study

    Project: Central Valley Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) Tag Array Feasibility Study

    Client: NOAA Fisheries – Southwest Fisheries Science Center
    Year: 2015
    Location: Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta
    RTR and Biomark, Inc. are working with NOAA Fisheries to investigate the use of Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags to monitor movement of juvenile salmonids in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Basin. Specifically, this study is to test the feasibility of using PIT-tag detection systems (arrays) at different locations within the Sacramento River, San Joaquin River, and the Bay-Delta watersheds to estimate detection probabilities of PIT-tagged juvenile salmonids. If feasible, a broader PIT-tag detection system might be developed for the Central Valley to help guide State and Federal fisheries management decisions. Learn More »

  • Caspian tern predation on Upper Columbia River steelhead: Retrospective analysis of juvenile salmonid acoustic telemetry systems (JSATS) data

    Project: Caspian tern predation on Upper Columbia River steelhead: Retrospective analysis of juvenile salmonid acoustic telemetry systems (JSATS) data

    Client: Grant County PUD
    Year: 2012 - 2015
    Location: Columbia River Plateau
    A spatial and temporal retrospective data analysis of JSATS-tagged salmonids was conducted to evaluate total mortality relative to mortality caused by piscivorous waterbirds in the Wanapum and Priest Rapids Project (dam and reservoir) in the middle Columbia River. Results were used to identify both the locations and magnitude of smolt losses due to avian predation. Geospatial maps and mark–recapture modeling techniques were used to generate results. Learn More »

  • Evaluation of Adult Fish Ladder Modifications to Improve Pacific Lamprey Passage at McNary Dam

    Project: Evaluation of Adult Fish Ladder Modifications to Improve Pacific Lamprey Passage at McNary Dam

    Client: USACE – Walla Walla District
    Year: 2015
    Location: McNary Dam
    Studies have indicated that fish passage structures (e.g., adult fish ladders) at Federal Columbia River Power System dams may impede upstream migration of adult Pacific lamprey. Recent modifications aimed at improving passage conditions for lamprey at dams have been implemented, including a Lamprey Prototype Entrance Structure (LPES) at the McNary Dam South Fishway Entrance Slot 2. As part of this study we evaluated lamprey approach and passage behavior at the LPES and monitored adult salmonid interactions at the entrance of the structure using optical and acoustic (i.e., Dual Frequency Identification Sonar) imaging techniques. Learn More »

  • Summary of Adult Steelhead Passage and Conversion in the Federal Columbia River Power System

    Project: Summary of Adult Steelhead Passage and Conversion in the Federal Columbia River Power System

    Client: USACE – Walla Walla District
    Year: 2015
    Location: Lower Columbia and Snake Rivers
    Columbia and Snake River summer steelhead often have complex, multi-stage pre-spawn homing migrations followed by rapid post-spawn ‘kelt’ migrations. Their extended freshwater migration and residency periods, as well as use of habitats outside of their direct migration route, create a variety of concerns for management of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) including potential need for surface-flow (i.e., non-turbine) downstream passage routes at dams during traditional non-spill periods. This is especially an issue in winter and spring when many adult steelhead are present in the FCRPS and can be overwintering (holding by pre-spawn fish), migrating upstream (post-overwintering pre-spawn fish), or moving downstream (post-spawn kelts and pre-spawn adults that ‘overshoot’ their natal tributary). Learn More »

  • Colonial Waterbird Predation on Lost River and Shortnose Suckers in the Upper Klamath Basin

    Project: Colonial Waterbird Predation on Lost River and Shortnose Suckers in the Upper Klamath Basin

    Client: Bureau of Reclamation & U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Year: 2015
    Location: Upper Klamath Basin, Oregon & California
    With our partner U.S. Geological Survey, we conducted a study to evaluate predation on Lost River Suckers and Shortnose Suckers, both listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, by American white pelicans and double-crested cormorants nesting in the Upper Klamath Basin, during 2009-2014. Learn More »

  • COLLECTION EFFICIENCIES, TRAVEL TIMES, INJURY AND SURVIVAL OF SALMONIDS AND LAMPREY FOLLOWING RELEASE INTO A MODIFIED BYPASS FACILITY AT LOWER GRANITE DAM, WA

    Project: COLLECTION EFFICIENCIES, TRAVEL TIMES, INJURY AND SURVIVAL OF SALMONIDS AND LAMPREY FOLLOWING RELEASE INTO A MODIFIED BYPASS FACILITY AT LOWER GRANITE DAM, WA

    Client: USACE - Walla Walla District
    Year: 2014
    Location: Lower Columbia and Snake Rivers
    Goals of this study were to (1) evaluate travel times and fish injury associated with passage through prototype structures (a weir and enlarged orifice) at a bypass facility, (2) characterize reservoir-specific downstream travel times, (3) estimate downstream collection and survival probabilities, and (4) evaluate if collection and survival probabilities were related to individual fish characteristics measured across multiple species at Lower Granite Dam. Learn More »