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Title: Distribution and status of seven native salmonids in the interior Columbia River basin and portions of the Klamath River and Great basins

Author: Thurow, Russell F.; Lee, Danny C.; Rieman, Bruce E.;

Date: 1997

Source: North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 17: 1094-1110.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: We summarized presence, absence, current status, and potential historical distribution of seven native salmonid taxa - bull trout Salvelinus confluentus, Yellowstone cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki bouvieri, westslope cutthroat trout O. c. lewisi, redband trout and steelhead O. mykiss gairdneri, stream type (age-1 migrant) chinook salmon O. tshawytscha. and ocean type (age-0 migrant) chinook salmon - in the interior Columbia River basin and portions of the Klamath River and Great basins. Potential historical range was defined as the likely distribution in the study area prior to European settlement. Data were compiled from existing sources and surveys completed by more than 150 biologists. Within the potential range of potamodromous salmonids, status was unknown in 38-69% of the area, and the distribution of anadromous salmonids was unknown in 12-15%. We developed models to quantitatively explore relationships among fish status and distribution, the biophysical environment, and land management, and used the models to predict the presence of taxa in unsampled areas. The composition, distribution, and status of fishes within the study area is very different than it was historically. Although several of the salmonid taxa are distributed throughout most of their potential range, declines in abundance and distribution and fragmentation into smaller patches are apparent for all forms. None of the salmonid taxa have known or predicted strong populations in more than 22% of their potential ranges, with the exception of Yellowstone cutthroat trout. Both forms of chinook salmon are absent from more than 70% and steelhead from more than 50% of their potential ranges, and all are approaching extirpation in portions of their remaining ranges. If current distributions of the taxa are useful indicators, many aquatic systems are remnants of what were larger and more complex, diverse, and connected systems. Because much of the ecosystem has been altered, areas supporting strong populations or multiple species will be critical for conservation management. Moreover, restoration of a broader matrix of productive habitats also will be necessary to allow fuller expression of phenotypic and genotypic diversity in native salmonids.

Keywords: native salmonids, distribution, interior Columbia River basin, Klamath River Basin, Great Basin

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Thurow, Russell F.; Lee, Danny C.; Rieman, Bruce E. 1997. Distribution and status of seven native salmonids in the interior Columbia River basin and portions of the Klamath River and Great basins. North American Journal of Fisheries Management. 17: 1094-1110.

 


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