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Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) population and habitat surveys in the McKenzie and Middle Fork Willamette Basins, 2000

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  • Prior to 1978, Dolly Varden Salvelinus malma were classified into an anadromous and interior form. Cavender (1978) classified the interior form as a distinct species, Salvelinus confluentus, the bull trout. Bull trout are large char weighing up to 18 kg and growing to over one meter in length (Goetz 1989). They are distinguished by a broad flat head, large downward curving maxillaries that extend beyond the eye, a well developed fleshy knob and a notch in the lower terminus of the snout, and light colored spots normally smaller than the pupil of the eye (Cavender 1978). Bull trout are found throughout northwestern North America from lat. 41(sup o)N to lat. 60(sup o)N. In Oregon, bull trout were once distributed throughout 12 basins in the Klamath and Columbia River systems including the Clackamas, Santiam, McKenzie and Middle Fork Willamette sub-basins west of the Cascades (Buchanan et al. 1997). However, it is believed bull trout have been extirpated from west of the Cascades with the exception of the McKenzie sub-basin. Before 1963, bull trout in the McKenzie sub-basin were a contiguous population from the mouth to Tamolitch Falls. Following the construction of Cougar and Trail Bridge Reservoirs there are three isolated populations: (1) mainstem McKenzie and tributaries from the mouth to Trail Bridge Reservoir. (2) mainstem McKenzie and tributaries above Trail Bridge Reservoir to Tamolitch Falls. (3) South Fork McKenzie and tributaries above Cougar Reservoir. The study area includes the three aforementioned McKenzie populations, and the Middle Fork Willamette and tributaries above Hills Creek Reservoir. We monitored bull trout populations in the McKenzie and Middle Fork Willamette basins using a combination of sampling techniques including: spawning surveys, standard pool counts, juvenile trapping, radio tracking, electronic fish counters, and a modified Hankin and Reeves protocol to estimate juvenile abundance and density. In addition, we continued to reintroduce bull trout fry from Anderson Creek (McKenzie Basin) to the Middle Fork Willamette above Hills Creek Reservoir in an attempt to rehabilitate the bull trout population in the Middle Fork Willamette Basin. By monitoring population trends and determining life history characteristics of bull trout in McKenzie and Middle Fork Willamette basins we can make informed management decisions that will help maintain long term and sustainable bull trout populations in the Upper Willamette Basin.
  • DOE/BP-00004093-1
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  • Taylor, Greg, Jeff Ziller, ''Bull Trout Population and Habitat Surveys in the Middle ForkWillamette and McKenzie Basin'', Project No. 1994-05300, 21 electronic pages, (BPAReport DOE/BP-00004093-1)
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  • U.S. Department of Energy
  • Bonneville Power Administration
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