FERL Research Initiatives

Adult Straying

The Adult Salmon Passage Program, a major FERL research project, has been monitoring the upriver migrations of adult salmon and steelhead through the Columbia and Snake rivers since 1996. This body of research includes projects and publications on a wide range of adult migration questions, including: 1) survival, escapement, and mortality agents; 2) homing and straying; 3) passage behaviors at dams and in reservoirs; 4) fallback over spillways and through dam turbines; 5) effects on migration of river discharge, water temperature, and dissolved oxygen; 6) stock-specific behaviors and migration timing; 7) the effects of juvenile transportation on adult behavior; and 8) salmon and steelhead energetics and reproductive fitness. Special research emphasis is placed on understanding the impediments to restoration of threatened and endangered populations of salmonids and other fish species at risk. In the migration studies, FERL biologists use PIT-tag and radiotelemetry monitoring systems along with harvest reward and cooperative tag recovery programs to quantify fish behaviors, reach survival, and overall migration success.  Results are used to make recommendations for improving salmonid passage through the Federal Hydrosystem and in spawning tributaries. 

Other FERL research includes foundational work on the life history, habitat requirements, and migration survival and behavior of Pacific lamprey in the Pacific Northwest; outmigration of Snake River juvenile Chinook salmon; water temperature and dissolved oxygen monitoring at dams and in tributaries; the behavior and ecology of American shad, bull trout, and white sturgeon in the Columbia River system; effects of pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) on salmonids and the use of pinniped exclusion technology at dams; salmonids of the Elwha River (WA) and Skeena River (BC); and habitat mapping and monitoring in the Columbia Estuary and selected model watersheds. The development of a long-term water quality monitoring protocol is an important new component in FERL research capabilities. 



Webmaster: Daniel Joosten

Last updated: February 21, 2013.