Fish passage out of reservoirs is a critical issue for downstream movement of juvenile salmonids and other migratory species. Reservoirs can delay downstream migrations by juvenile salmon for months or years. Here, we examine whether a novel management activity implementing annual short‐term draining of a reservoir to streambed improves timely downstream migration of juvenile salmonids. We analyse 12 years of fish capture data from a screw trap located downstream of Fall Creek Reservoir (Oregon, USA) to examine changes in timing of passage out of the reservoir and to compare fish species composition pre‐ and post‐draining. We observed a contraction in the timing of downstream migration for juvenile Chinook Salmon and reduction of yearlings in years following draining. We suggest that briefly draining the reservoir to streambed leads to reduced abundance of warm‐water invasive fishes in the reservoir after it refills. These changes could decrease predation and shift competition between invasive and resident riverine‐adapted native fishes in the reservoir. Collectively, our findings suggest that this low‐cost reservoir management option may improve passage and connectivity for juvenile Chinook Salmon while also decreasing the abundance of invasive fish species in the reservoir. This case study underscores the crucial need for further evaluations of reservoir draining in other systems and contexts.
Murphy, Christina A.; Taylor, Gregory; Pierce, Todd; Arismendi, Ivan; Johnson, Sherri L. 2019. Short‐term reservoir draining to streambed for juvenile salmon passage and non‐native fish removal. Ecohydrology. 12(6):e2096. https://doi.org/10.1002/eco.2096.