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Salmon smolt survival similar in Columbia and Fraser rivers
Date:10/28/2008

ging historic survival rates of smolts is practically impossible, according to Schreck. Though there is good historical data on returns of adult salmon to river systems, it is difficult to estimate how many smolts they produced and how many young salmon survived their migration to the ocean. Judging what is a healthy survival rate in historic terms is a challenge.

Schreck did say that new fish passage technologies and increased release of water over spillways has improved smolts' initial survival of the eight dams on the Columbia River. But there also is evidence that smolts delay their migration for days before trying to navigate past the first dam, which combined with lower river flow rates because of the dams, leads to a delay in entering the ocean.

"We can't emphasize enough how complex salmon survival is," Schreck said. "It begins with the adults returning from the ocean loaded with contaminants, some of which is passed on through the eggs. There can be an impact on the embryo development and transition to the smolt phase. Parasites and disease play a role, as do water quality and other factors.

"Navigating dams may have become easier," he added, "but the process could still be inducing enough stress to cause higher mortality upon reaching the ocean."


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Contact: Carl Schreck
carl.schreck@oregonstate.edu
541-737-1961
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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