Biologists Report Record Nest Countby Staff
The Idaho Statesman, January 1, 2004
An annual survey by biologists found the largest number of fall chinook spawning nests in the Snake River since the research began in 1991, Idaho Power Co. said.
Idaho Power biologists said the survey, completed Dec. 12, located 1,524 redds, or nests. Last year, 1,113 were found in the river.
The study looks for signs of fall chinook spawning in the Snake River between Idaho Power´s Hells Canyon Dam and Asotin, Wash.
Idaho Power, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nez Perce Tribe cooperate in the census. The redd surveys usually start in late October and end in early December.
Most of the search is done by helicopter and supplemented by underwater surveys that locate redds not visible from the air.
This year, biologists found 394 nests by using boat-mounted underwater cameras. In 2002, that method turned up 235 redds.
Concerns about the wild Snake River fall chinook, which is an endangered species, prompted Idaho Power to voluntarily change the way it operates its complex of three Hells Canyon dams.
In 1992, the company began holding outflows from Hells Canyon Dam at consistent levels during the spawning season from mid-October to early December. That ensures the redds remain submerged.
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