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Master of Environmental Science and Management: Master's Group Project

Modeling the Effects of Streamflow and Habitat Loss Changes for Juvenile Pacific Lamprey Conservation in the Columbia River Estuary

Mouth of Pacific Lamprey

Group Members: Julia Bickford, Krista Finlay, Ethan Hoffman, Lory Salazar-Velasquez, Craig Stuart

Faculty Advisors: Scott Jasechko

Client: Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission - CRITFC




The Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus), an ecologically and culturally important species to the Columbia River Basin, has declined by 95% over the past 60 years. Restoration efforts are critical to the survival of the species and associated cultural practices of the four Columbia River Treaty Tribes: the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. Pacific lamprey have long been neglected by research efforts in the Lower Columbia River, important habitat for larval, juvenile and spawning Pacific lamprey. 

The primary objective of this Group Project is to identify larval Pacific lamprey habitat locations in the region from the mouth of the Columbia River to Bonneville Dam to aid ongoing restoration efforts. We will analyze habitat metrics including flow velocity, temperature, salinity, connectivity, topography, turbidity, sedimentation, and toxicity. We will also analyze the effects of levee removal and sea level rise scenarios on flow rate and saltwater intrusion, respectively. This knowledge is vital to ongoing habitat restoration and management actions that aim to conserve the Pacific lamprey population in the Columbia River Basin. 

We will provide policy recommendations to the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) and other relevant stakeholders comprising management strategies that will benefit both the Pacific lamprey and other culturally and ecologically important species such as Chinook salmon. To accomplish this, we are conducting a literature review of larval Pacific lamprey habitat and the physiochemical factors that comprise their suitable habitat. We will create a geospatial multi-criteria analysis model to identify potential restoration areas for Pacific lamprey.

PhD mentor: Julia Lawson

Client contacts: Mike Matylewich, Charles Seaton, Laurie Porter, Greg Silver

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