Columbia versus Fraser River

Kintama has worked extensively on salmon conservation issues in British Columbia.  Here is a comparison of the movements of smolts from the undammed Fraser River and the 8-dam Columbia – see Application page for more detail.  Our research paper on relative smolt survival in these two systems went to the “top 10” list in Google New’s Science & Technology when it was published! 

Read the Journal article here

Snake (Columbia) and Thompson (Fraser) River Chinook and Steelhead animation:

Click on the box in the lower right corner for the full-screen animation

Cultus Lake Sockeye

Perhaps Kintama’s most important contribution to BC salmon conservation, is our Cultus Lake sockeye work on this COSEWIC listed stock;  see Applications page for more detail. Our work shows their outmigration pathways, speed of movement, and – most importantly – mortality rates. The first animation shows smolt migrations over 4 years of study; the second animation shows the smolt outmigration in 2007 and the return as adults 2 years later using specially programmed tags. Survival matched the overall Cultus run and we successfully recorded both the outbound and inbound migration of the two survivors (red dots)—a world first!

Click on the box in the lower right corner for the full-screen animation

Cultus Lake Sockeye (2004 -2007)

Cultus Lake Sockeye (2007 Smolt Outmigration -2009 Adult Return)

Sakinaw Sockeye

Our joint research with Dr Chris Wood (DFO) found important new results for one of Canada’s most endangered salmon populations! These animals have a very different migration behaviour  from other salmon populations in the Strait of Georgia; with some even went into the lower Fraser River. Smolts remaining resident in the Strait of Georgia had better survival until adult return than those who emigrated, and Kokanee (the supposedly land-locked version) migrated out to sea when tagged and released directly into the ocean!

(Paper now In Press)

Click on the box in the lower right corner for the full-screen animation

BC Steelhead Migrations

Our work on BC steelhead smolt migration and survival, in collaboration with one of BC’s eminent steelhead biologists, Bruce Ward (BC MoE), is particularly extensive. We have broadly expanded the populations under study and the first video below shows an overview of the movement of all study populations.

Of particular note is our collaborations with the Seymour Steelhead Society & Dr Shannon Balfry of UBC; we have been conducting nested statistical trials of (a) the efficacy of vaccinating smolts against marine viruses and (b) transporting smolts out beyond the river mouth before releasing them (Read Paper). The second animation below shows the comparative movements of the smolts subjected to various medical treatments. We show in the paper that observed survival was increased many times by vaccination and barging.

BC Steelhead Migrations 2004-2009

Seymour Steelhead (2009 – Vaccine & Barge Trials)

Chilko Sockeye

A joint study conducted with Dr Scott Hinch & Dr Tim Clark at UBC and funded by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, this animation shows the rapid downstream migration of wild 2 yr old sockeye smolts. Survival in the lower Fraser River (from Mission downstream) and from the Fraser River mouth to the N Strait of Georgia sub-array was high and similar with our prior survival studies on Cultus Lake sockeye. Our groups identified two areas of unusually high mortality: (1) during the initial downstream section in the Chilko River and (2) between the N Strait of Georgia and Queen Charlotte Strait sub-arrays.

Chilko animation 2010

Chilko animation 2011

Chilko animation 2012

Chilko animation 2013
The Chilko 2013 animation is available in our new animator here.