Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 769
Title: Impact of fine sediment on egg-to-fry survival of Pacific salmon:  A meta-analysis of published studies
Author: D. W. Jensen, E. Ashley Steel, A. H. Fullerton, G. R. Pess
Publication Year: 2009
Journal: Reviews in Fisheries Science
Volume: 17
Issue: 3
Pages: 348-359

Egg–to–fry survival of salmonids is tempered by habitat degradation, including increased sediment in streams.  To best manage multiple salmon species and prioritize scarce habitat restoration funds for the benefit of fish recovery, many studies have described and predicted the relationship between fine sediment deposited in spawning gravels and salmonid egg–to–fry survival.  In this article, we used published studies, agency reports, and university theses (N = 14) to create predictive relationships between percent fine sediment and egg–to–fry survival of Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), coho (O. kisutch) and chum (O. keta) salmon, and steelhead trout (O. mykiss).  In our analysis, coho survival tended to decline more rapidly per unit sediment increase and chum survival least rapidly.  Threshold effects were observed, with survival dropping rapidly when percent fines less than 0.85 mm was greater than 10%.  For other size classes of fines, a threshold was primarily observed only for eyed egg survival when fines exceeded 25–30%.  Our predictive models combine both field and laboratory data and take into account a variety of conditions; they include estimates of uncertainty in the impact of sediment on egg–to–fry survival.  These models can be used to forecast effects of watershed management practices on salmonids and to make comparisons between predicted salmonid survival rates under alternative management strategies for conditions where fine sediment is the limiting factor for survival.

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