ODFW News Release
November 15, 2002
Record Number of Chinook Salmon Spawn in John Day Basin
JOHN DAY — Biologists found 1,500 spring chinook spawning nests in the index survey areas of John Day Basin this fall, which is the highest number since surveys began in 1959.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has surveyed the same stream reaches (index survey sections) in the John Day River and its tributaries for 43 years to monitor long-term trends in wild fish populations. Biologists count the number of nests, or redds, in each reach and examine salmon carcasses to determine their size, age, and origin.
ODFW’s John Day Chinook Monitoring Project, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, conducts additional surveys to account for spawning outside of the traditional survey areas. This year, an additional 455 redds were observed in these areas making the total 1,955 redds counted basin-wide. This is the highest number of redds ever counted in the John Day basin. The vast majority of spawners were wild fish. Only 1 percent of all carcasses examined by surveyors were determined to be stray hatchery fish.
Favorable ocean conditions have led to recent strong returns. The increasing population over the past four decades also can be attributed to enhanced fish survival throughout the John Day Basin.
ODFW biologists agree that fish passage and habitat in the John Day — particularly in the last 15 years — has definitely improved as a result of cooperative projects by private landowners, public agencies, tribes and other interest groups. Changes in land management and irrigation practices, the removal of migration barriers, installation of fish screens, and floodplain restoration projects all have contributed to improved chinook returns.
While salmon numbers will always fluctuate, quality habitat in the John Day Basin will help ensure the long-term survival of the basin’s wild fish
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
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Dum spiramus tuebimur
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