Do Beaver Dam Analogues Act as Passage Barriers to Juvenile Coho Salmon and Stealhead Trout?


Humboldt State University’s graduate student Chris O'Keefe spent most of the summer in the Scott River working towards a Master’s of Science in Fisheries Biology degree. Chris's thesis abstract is the following:

Beaver dam analogues (BDAs) are well-documented to increase suitable  rearing habitat for juvenile salmonids. Installing BDAs is an increasingly popular alternative to more intensive restoration techniques. Traditional restoration methods often Focus on small-scale, site-specific habitat and can be expensive to implement, while BDAs can provide An option for large-scale restoration due to the relatively low cost and effort required to install them. BDA  structures also allows dreams to be more Dynamic, and they promote the restoration of stream processes to a more natural state. However, widespread installation of BDAs has been slowed by regulatory agencies’ concerns that beaver dams May impede fish passage. few Studies have empirically assessed the extent to which BDAs Impede fish Passage, and no Studies have elucidated environmental and BDA-specific  factors that affect passage. This knowledge Gap in the specific literature warrants further investigation in order to discern the suitability of BDAs for future restoration. Accordingly, we will quantify the ability of Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and Steelhead trout  (Oncorhynchus mykiss) To bypass Beaver Dam structures by monitoring movement of fish in the field, conducting field experiments on existing BDAs, Conducting controlled hatchery experiments. Our findings will provide regulatory agencies with empirical evidence as to whether BDA's prevent Coho and steelhead passage in order to inform permitting and implementation.