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Juvenile Coho Salmon Overwintering Study- Winter 2013 Update

March 26, 2013

The longer days sure make it seem like spring is in the air, but there is still plenty of snow and ice on the land and rivers. We recently spent a few days on the lower Anchor River, sampling for juvenile coho that we had tagged last October in what we presumed were their overwintering habitats. This is an extension of our overwintering research that began in 2010. Our goal has been to better understand the habitat conditions that contribute to survival, and potentially growth, for these overwintering juvenile salmon. Our original research documented that habitats with groundwater input are more favorable than those without, but we also noted that all groundwater habitats are not equal. To better understand how differences in groundwater input may affect survival and growth, we have been intensively studying a few overwintering habitats, and PIT tagging juvenile coho to track their progress over the winter.

The first image shows a site primarily supported by groundwater before we augered holes for sampling-the open water lead is a groundwater seep. The second image shows a site with moderate groundwater influence-it’s an channel off the main river that is supported in part from groundwater, and in part from the river. The third image shows a minnow trap being deployed through a drilled hole. Recaptured fish were weighed, and sampled for stomach contents, as shown in the last two images.

This project is a collaborative effort between KBRR, the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of South Florida, with funding provided in part from the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.

Coowe Walker, Watershed Specialist

Kachemak Bay Research Reserve

95 Sterling Highway, Suite 2

Homer, AK 99603

907.226.4651

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