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A decision analysis of flow management experiments for Columbia River mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) management

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High spawning flows from Hugh Keenleyside Dam (HKD) on the Columbia River results in dewatering of eggs in mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) populations, but the ultimate effect on adult abundance depends on the shape of the egg-to-adult recruitment curve. Our decision analysis assessed the benefits of alternative flow experiments while accounting for uncertainties in this relationship and in flows in the Columbia and Kootenay rivers. The value of experimenting depended on the true recruitment relationship, how we quantified experimental benefits, and experimental design. With current uncertainty, the optimal HKD spawning flow (out of 11 alternative flows) was 1699.2 m3·s–1. Spawning flows below 1699.2 m3·s–1 did not improve egg survival because lower flows rendered high-quality spawning habitat unavailable and increased scour mortality. Two experimental designs, both with higher precision monitoring, had a high probability of detecting the true recruitment curve at reasonable cost. Information from these experiments suggested an optimal spawning flow of 1699.2 m3·s–1 if adult abundance were sensitive to egg mortality or 1982.4 m3·s–1 if the population were insensitive.

Les forts débits du barrage Hugh Keenleyside (HKD) sur le Columbia pendant la période de fraye des populations du ménomini de montagne (Prosopium williamsoni) ont comme conséquence de laisser les oeufs à découvert; mais l'effet final sur l'abondance des adultes dépend de la forme de la courbe de recrutement de l'oeuf à l'adulte. Notre analyse décisionnelle évalue les bénéfices d'expériences de débit de rechange, tout en tenant compte des incertitudes de cette relation et des débits du Columbia et de la Kootenay. La valeur des expériences dépend de la véritable relation de recrutement, de la manière dont les bénéfices expérimentaux sont comptabilisés et du plan d'expérience. Compte tenu de l'incertitude actuelle, le débit optimal de HKD durant la fraye (de 11 débits de rechange examinés) est de 1699,2 m3·s–1. Les flux inférieurs à 1699,2 m3·s–1 n'améliorent pas la survie des oeufs parce les débits plus bas rendent inaccessibles des habitats de fraye de haute qualité et augmentent la mortalité due à l'affouillement. Deux plans d'expérience, tous deux avec une précision supérieure de surveillance, ont une probabilité de détecter la véritable courbe de recrutement à un coût raisonnable. Les informations fournies par ces expériences indiquent un débit optimal pendant la fraye de 1699,2 m3·s–1 si l'abondance des adultes est sensible à la mortalité des oeufs et de 1982,4 m3·s–1 si la populatioest pas sensible à cette mortalité.

[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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