Karuk Tribal Projects
- Klamath River Coho Salmon Habitat Restoration
The objectives of this project are to assist with planning and design of off-channel habitat ponds along the Klamath River corridor. Construct at least two off-channel ponds along the middle Klamath corridor. Assist with final planning and construction costs of the Seiad Creek Channel Reconstruction and Habitat Restoration Project and to participate in cooperative restoration planning forums.
- Spring / Summer / Fall Mainstem Out-Migrant Salmonid Monitoring on Klamath River at Big Bar and Lower Salmon River
The Karuk Tribe has conducted juvenile salmonid out-migrant monitoring in the mainstem Klamath River at Big Bar since 1997 and in the mainstem Salmon River since 2001. The Salmon River Restoration Council (SRRC) has cooperated with trapping operations since 2002 by providing labor for trap operations. The Tribe proposes to work in cooperation with SRRC and operate rotary seven days per week on the mainstem Klamath River and Salmon Rivers. Trapping operations will begin in April and continue into July and or until holding live fish is not feasible due to poor water quality. Water quality in the Salmon River has not been a problem during past trapping operations and therefore will continue thru the August and September time frame. Monitoring will continue in the mainstem Klamath through the fall months (Oct-Dec) to capture fall redistribution of Coho salmon juveniles. Additionally a trap will be operated in the mainstem Klamath above Happy Camp.
- Middle Klamath River Tributary Summer Steelhead and Spring Chinook Snorkel Census
Summer steelhead and spring run Chinook salmon are both species of special concern by both state and federal agencies. Middle Klamath River tributary populations are the last viable wild socks that remain in the Klamath Basin. The surveys will contribute to a data set that dates back more than twenty years for some tributaries. This annual survey is very important for long term monitoring and evaluation of recovery efforts. Snorkel surveys will be conducted during the summer months on the Salmon River, Wooley Creek, Bluff Creek, Red Cap Creek, Camp Creek, Dillon Creek, Clear Creek, Elk Creek, Indian Creek, Thompson Creek, Grider Creek and the lower Scott River. Surveys will be conducted in coordination with other participating agencies and Tribes.
- Klamath River Flow Study Activities Support
The purpose of this request is to support the Klamath River Flow Study. The Karuk Fisheries Program will assist the US Fish and Wildlife Service and US Geologic Survey with Flow Study efforts on going on the mainstem Klamath River. These efforts will include out-migrant fish trapping and sampling in the river reaches downstream of Iron Gate Dam to the confluence of the Scott River. Data will assist development of the fish production model SALMOD, development of habitat suitability curves and determining fish health and viability of juveniles. Information gathered during this study is intended to assist with mainstem Klamath River flow recommendations and water management issues. Additionally, the data collected will assist with ongoing dam removal efforts and current Secretarial Determination on removal of Klamath River hydroelectric dams.
- Monitoring Tributary Flow and Water Temperature Contributions to the Mainstem Klamath River
Stream flow and water quality conditions in the mainstem Klamath River limit the production of salmonids during the late spring, summer and early fall. Water quality in the mainstem Klamath River is highly influenced by tributary inputs. Water temperatures in the mainstem Klamath River typically reach lethal levels for salmonids during warm summer months except within the downstream vicinity of cold water tributaries confluences, commonly known as “thermal refugia”. Cold water contributions from tributaries are critical for salmonid survival during the summer months. Water conservation, protection of cold water sources and monitoring is a prioritized need in the Klamath River Basin.
Water temperature data loggers will be placed in all significant tributaries and bracketed in the mainstem Klamath River around major tributaries. Summer discharge measurements will be conducted during the low flow period, at monthly intervals, on all significant tributaries in the project area to establish baseline discharge information and calibration data for existing flow gauges. New flow gauges will be installed in Seiad Creek as an effort to monitor effects of ongoing flow and channel restoration projects occurring in the watershed.
- Spring Chinook Spawning Abundance in the Salmon River
The Salmon River is one of the few remaining rivers in California with a viable population of wild spring run Chinook salmon. The Salmon River is an undammed river that flows into the Klamath River. Historically the Klamath River had a predominantly spring run population, but today has shifted to a dominate fall run population due to dams blocking habitat and hatchery practices. Currently the Chinook salmon in the Salmon river consists of a fall returning population and spring returning population. The fall population usually spawns in the lower reaches of the North Fork Salmon River and South Fork Salmon River and the mainstem Salmon River. The fall run typically spawns from mid -October through November. The spring run population spawns typically in the upper reaches of the North Fork and South Fork during mid-September through mid-October. Spawning surveys for the spring run population have only recently begun to be monitored through effort by the Salmon River Restoration Council, US Forest Service and Karuk Tribe. Traditionally the fall run population was assessed for harvest management purposes, but this does not include the spring run because they are not targeted during commercial, tribal and sport harvest. Recent efforts to restore the Klamath Rivers spring run Chinook include dam removal and fish passage to the upper Klamath Basin were the spring run salmon were once abundant. Efforts are underway to evaluate reintroduction of salmon to the Upper Klamath Basin therefore understanding the Salmon river population will likely be an important action leading up to a reintroduction effort. The Tribe proposes to work collaboratively with the Salmon River Restoration Council and other cooperators to implement the spawning surveys from mid-September through mid-October.
- Middle Klamath River Adult Coho Spawner Escapement Estimate
The Karuk Tribal Fisheries Program initiated adult Coho spawning surveys in the Middle Klamath River tributaries (for the purpose of this study the middle Klamath is the area between the Scott River and Trinity River) in 2003 and now conducts surveys annually. Data regarding Coho salmon spawning and distribution is limited and has not been well documented in tributaries of the mid-Klamath River. A long term goal of this work is to develop accurate estimates for Coho spawning escapement in the mid-Klamath River. An increased understanding of current Coho distribution and spawning will support management actions and restoration efforts. The Tribe has established working relationships and cooperation with private landowners that are willing to grant access to primary coho spawning and rearing tributaries including Seiad Creek, Indian Creek, Grider Creek, Sandy Bar Creek, Stanshaw Creek and South Fork of Clear Creek. The Conservation District (RCD) in the Scott River which shares the common objective with the Karuk Tribe to increase our understanding of Coho research and recovery actions within the Scott River watershed. Additional spawning tributaries identified by our efforts are located on public land and include; Kings Creek, Independence Creek, Titus Creek, Cade Creek, Little Horse Creek, Little Grider Creek, Irving Creek, Aikens Creek, boise Creek, Swillup Creek, Ti Creek, Rck Creek and For Goff Creek. The Tribe will survey suspected spawning reaches within the listed tributaries once every two weeks from early December 2012 through mid-January 2013.