Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Oregon
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Oregon Project

Pacific Lamprey Overwintering Habitat Research in North Umpqua River Basin

June 2010 - September 2011


Participating Agencies

  • Science Support Partnership

The research goal is to assess the autecology and diversity of upstream migratory behaviors (including holding, migration, aestivation, overwintering, and spawning phases), the key environmental variables that influence and shape these various migratory behaviors, as well as the various habitat needs of the adult Pacific lamprey in various phases of their upstream migration in North Umpqua River basin. Using coded radio tags, this project will assess the habitat use of adult Pacific lamprey at the landscape level (large scale) and site level (small scale). A variety of landscape level habitat variables (gradient, stream width, cover, etc.) and site level habitat variables (habitat type, substrate, water depth, etc.) will be analyzed in depth to determine their significance in phase-specific lamprey habitat selection. An assortment of temporally-sensitive environmental variables (water temperature, discharge, dissolved oxygen, etc.) will also be evaluated in terms of their significance for Pacific lamprey optimal habitat range as well as their role as cues for migration behavior. The project will also examine whether the migratory behavior patterns are associated with run timing, morphological, and physiological features of lamprey. Assessing the proportion of radio tagged lamprey that migrate through the counting station vs. other routes at Winchester Dam will be critical to provide a better estimate for the total population of adult Pacific lamprey in the North Umpqua River basin above Winchester Dam. This work will bridge the knowledge gap that exists in Pacific lamprey research and help fishery resource managers focus restoration activities for Pacific lamprey in key, essential habitat within the basin and other local watersheds. The outcomes from this research will help fishery managers prioritize on lamprey habitat conservation even under changing climate conditions.