Category: 2014

2014 Fund Project

Exploration of Potential Early Life Mortality in Canadian-Origin Chinook Salmon Eggs Due to Thiamine Deficiency

Low Yukon River Chinook salmon returns in recent years have resulted in commercial fishery closures and severe restrictions to subsistence fishing in an effort to meet escapement goals. Causes of reduced productivity and poor returns are unknown, and have led to several initiatives to improve assessment and understanding of the mechanisms driving these declines. Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency has led to population-level productivity changes and dramatic declines in salmonid stocks from the Great Lakes and Baltic Sea, and is a possible mechanism influencing productivity of Yukon Chinook salmon. Thiamine deficiency increases early life stage mortality of offspring, lowers adult survival, and reduces vigor and migratory abilities, particularly for stocks with long migration routes like Canadian-origin Chinook salmon. A preliminary analysis completed in 2012 was limited in samples, but indicated potential for thiamine deficiency in Yukon Chinook salmon (only 23% of the females sampled in the Yukon River had eggs with fully replete thiamine levels). The proposed work will increase sample sizes and provide an interannual context for variability in prevalence of thiamine deficiency. Our goal is to assess Chinook salmon egg thiamine levels and to assess the potential for thiamine deficiency to influence Canadian-origin Yukon Chinook salmon productivity. We are requesting funds to analyze Chinook salmon eggs sampled from predominantly mixed Canadian-origin stocks (Rampart Rapids) and from two Canadian spawning locations (Teslin River and Whitehorse Rapids Hatchery). We hypothesize that thiamine levels in Canadian-origin Yukon Chinook Salmon are below thiamine replete levels in some or all areas.  At the end of this project, we will be able to specify to the Yukon River Panel what areas, if any, Canadian-bound Yukon Chinook salmon are thiamine deficient. This research could increase our understanding of Chinook salmon productivity declines in the Yukon River.

URE-06-14N Exploration of potential early life mor...

Genetic Stock Identification of Fall Chum Salmon in Commercial Harvests, Yukon River

This project is designed to test the feasibility of analyzing stock composition of the commercial harvest at the mouth of the Yukon River drainage. Currently genetic sampling at Pilot Station sonar occurs after the District Y-1 fishery, three days into the run. Inseason genetic analyses take an additional three days, which means stock composition estimates are available a minimum of six days after the fish have passed through the sample location. Additionally it is important to determine if the commercial fishery harvests are similar in stock composition as those produced at Pilot Station sonar project. Managers must allow a target number of Canadian-origin chum salmon to pass the international border due to a bilateral international agreement to meet management objectives. Canadian-origin chum salmon contributions range from 2% to 46% throughout the run that consists of four to six pulses annually. Knowing the stock composition in the commercial harvest would result in more informed management decisions concerning Canadian-origin chum salmon. If there is no difference between stock compositions in the lower river fisheries and Pilot Station, then effort could be put into more timely analysis in either sampling location. As the majority of the commercial fishery occurs in the lower commercial districts, collecting and analyzing samples earlier in the run would improve inseason management. This project will analyze fall chum salmon genetic samples from District Y-1 commercial fishing periods during the transition from summer to fall chum salmon in mid-July when a mix of the two are being harvested. In addition, samples will be collected from the largest two pulses in the remainder of the run when the largest commercial harvests may occur. Stock compositions will be estimated using the available chum salmon baseline of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). This is a feasibility study. All samples will be analyzed post-season and the inseason utility of these analyses will be evaluated.

URE-01-15 GSI fall chum commercial harvests

URE-01-14N Genetic stock identification of fall ch...

McIntyre Creek Streambank Stabilization

McIntyre Creek is an important Chinook salmon rearing stream within the City of Whitehorse. This creek flows directly into the Yukon River and is culturally important to the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC); it is part of TKC’s Traditional Territory and an important fish camp was present at the mouth of the creek in the past. It is a documented Chinook salmon rearing channel, and a considerable number of juvenile Chinook have been captured in the lower reaches of this creek below Mountain View Drive, during recent fish sampling works (EDI 2011). In the 1940’s the U.S. Army initiated the construction of a landfill on the escarpment above the lower reaches of McIntyre Creek. This landfill was operated by the army through the 1940’s, and then transferred to the City of Whitehorse and operated as the municipal landfill until it was closed by the Yukon Water Board in 1975. In 1968, a large volume of dump refuse slid down the escarpment and into McIntyre Creek. Subsequently, with the construction of a berm, the affected portion of McIntyre Creek was re-routed to isolate it from its original stream channel which was extensively filled with debris at bottom of the escarpment. With the exception of the berm construction in 1968, large scale clean-up and remediation of the landfill and associated riparian area of McIntyre Creek did not occur until TKC initiated these work in 2004. In 2005, TKC constructed a new earth berm in the riparian area of lower McIntyre Creek. The construction of this berm was funded by the Yukon River Panel R&E fund (CRE-53-06) and was constructed as the first stage of TKC’s clean-up of the former landfill. The purpose of the berm was to prevent the creek from eroding into the area of the former creek channel that was isolated in 1968.
Recent visits to the site have indicated that several areas of McIntyre Creek near the former dumpsite are actively eroding, and may by-pass the berm structure that was installed in 2005. The stream bank in this area is steep and is eroding too quickly to allow for the establishment of riparian vegetation. Although the
majority of the surface waste material was removed during TKC’s clean-up operations, if the creek erodes into the former dumpsite area, remaining waste material could be exposed and transported downstream into the Yukon River. It is felt that this potential issue could be avoided by installing some stream bank stabilization features to deflect flow away from this area. As such, TKC proposes to install small flow deflection structures along the eroding banks of McIntyre Creek, to slow the rate of erosion in the area of concern.

CRE-24-14 McIntyre Creek Stream Bank Stabilization

Yukon River Chinook Salmon Mainstem Outplant Program Spawning Success Evaluation

The goal of this project will be to determine Chinook salmon spawning success from hatchery juveniles out-planted in the mainstem of the Yukon River.  Success will be investigated by surveying the study area for emergent fry (0+) in early spring using electro-fishing instrumentation. Spawning success assessment will be complemented by conducting adult spawning surveys in August.  The deliverable will be a report detailing the work conducted and an opinion on the success/value of outplanting chinook fry into this section of the Yukon River and if the practice should be continued or other options considered.  As this investigation will be conducted in the vicinity of another outplant location (i.e. Wolf Creek) information relevant to the understanding of this location will be obtained although the focus will be on the mainstem.

CRE-16-15 Yukon R. Chinook Salmon Mainstem Outplan...

CRE-16-14N Yukon River Chinook Salmon Mainstem Out...

Porcupine River Chum Salmon Telemetry

The Fishing Branch River weir has been used for numerous years to document the annual escapement of Porcupine River chum; however, weir operations were discontinued after 2012, in favor of a sonar station near Old Crow. To compare future run estimates from the Porcupine River sonar program to historical counts from the Fishing Branch River weir, a thorough understanding of the destination of chum salmon passing Old Crow is required. The weir and sonar programs operated concurrently in 2011 and 2012; chum salmon were floy tagged at the sonar site and a portion of the tags were recovered at the weir, providing rough estimates of the proportion of Porcupine River chum salmon passing the Fishing Branch weir location. In 2013, EDI Environmental Dynamics Inc. (EDI) radio tagged 94 chum salmon at the sonar site and tracked them to spawning destinations throughout the upper Porcupine River. The results of this program indicate that approximately 74% of tagged chum salmon spawned upstream of the former weir site in 2013. A second year of radio tagging will provide strong confidence in the relationship between weir and sonar counts, which has been under development since 2011. The proposed project involves conducting a second year of radio telemetry for chum salmon in the Canadian portion of the Porcupine River watershed. Fish will be tagged at the Porcupine River sonar location and tracked to tributaries in the Porcupine River, upstream of the sonar site. The knowledge of current spawning locations gained from the 2013 program will be used to focus the surveys on known chum salmon spawning habitats, while also adding more previously undocumented tributaries that could support spawning chum salmon.

CRE-10-13N Porcupine River Chum Salmon Telemetry P...

 

Collection of Genetic Material from Adult Chinook Salmon in the North Big Salmon Watershed

This project follows the focused, effective and efficient model developed and used by DFO Stock Assessment in the Yukon and Transbondary Rivers.  A helicopter will be used to access the river, assess sampling opportunities in respect of concentrations of spawners, safety of landing, and efficiency of sampling.  The area where the most fish may be captured at the least risk will be sampled first, then the second and so on. The North Big Salmon downstream of Northern Creek is well suited to this strategy.  The high water wetted perimeter is wide and at lower water levels has well developed bars.  These allow risk-free landing sites. Tissue acquisition will follow the current DFO Protocols. All locations where sampling occurs will be geo-referenced.  The numbers of fish sampled in each will be reported. Representative digital photographs will be taken, collated and submitted to DFO and offered to the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation.

 

CRE-05-14N Collection of genetic material from adu...

 

Whitehorse Rapids Fishway Stewardship

This project provides a strong stewardship opportunity for its young employees and the various visitors to the Fishway. The stewardship portion of this project targets people of all ages who visit the fish ladder, but particular focus is on its employees, including local high school and university students. These employees develop a good understanding of the salmon life cycle, management and habitat as they monitor information from DFO and ADF&G to follow the passage of the salmon up the river, and work with hatchery staff to collect broodstock, look after salmon fry aquaria in the interpretive centre, communicate this information to fishway visitors daily and conduct stream walks at Wolf Creek to monitor adult returns. Fishway employees also learn about sampling techniques and salmon husbandry through assisting the Hatchery manager with egg takes and ASL sampling. The employees communicate their knowledge to a broad range of visitors to the ladder, including the hosted Open House in August during the primary run time, which fosters an appreciation for salmon and support for the management of the salmon and their habitat. Public recognition of the importance of this interpretation venue to the tourism sector of the Yukon also enhances the local support for stewardship of Yukon River salmon. Through this project the various visitors learn about the valuable resource that is present in the Yukon River drainage and the employees through their work experience learn valuable skills that can help them pursue a career in fish and wildlife interests.

CRE-64-19. Fish ladder Report final 2019

CRE-64-18 Fishladder Year End Report 2018

CRE-64-17 Whitehorse fish ladder Year End Report 2...

CRE-64-14 Whitehorse Rapids Hatchery Stewardship

CRE-64-13 Whitehorse Rapids Fishway Salmon Steward...

Yukon River In-Season Salmon Management Teleconferences

The goal of this program is to improve public awareness of fishing conditions and to foster community support for the management of Yukon River salmon. This is done on a weekly basis through the hosting of in-season salmon management teleconferences during the fishing season. The program has run consistently for the past 12 years, funded by the Yukon River Panel and the Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program. Participants on the call include Yukon River fishermen, community harvest surveyors, Tribal councils, First Nations, policy makers, non-governmental organizations and state and federal resource managers. The content of the call includes updates and reports from villages on fishing activities and environmental conditions as well as management reports on their fisheries assessments and strategies. Open discussion and question and answer periods take place following the reports. The calls are focused on in-season management and there are numerous questions posed from the fishermen to the managers. In recent years, with low Chinook salmon runs, it is critical to have this open dialogue that enables management to share weekly data on run counts, timing, gear restrictions etc. and for managers to hear from fishermen on their reports of what they are harvesting and seeing in the river. Management is complex and new fishing gear and many openings and closings in the different fishing districts have become common. This dialogue helps build community support because it is an open forum where the public gets to interact directly with resource managers and hear rationale for management decision-making. While not everyone agrees on fisheries management strategies this open forum helps to build an open dialogue and working relationship. It is also a place for fishermen to share their concerns directly with managers and they can ask for changes in fishing gear or hours of time allowed to fish. Outcomes from this program have included the development of a cadre of people from the Yukon River that communicate on a weekly basis about the Yukon River salmon runs, in-season, many of which are different than those that participate in other annual forums. The calls are a reliable, affordable and effective in-season communication that should continue in order to offer an opportunity for people from the Yukon River to participate in fisheries management discussions about the conservative management actions taking place in recent years. People who participate on the call are local leaders in various ways and they share the information on the calls with other community members. They also share their community concerns on the call thus actings as community liaisons during the fishing season. This is extremely helpful as the management agencies are only based in two locations during the fishing season and have limited time and ability to travel out to each and every community to meet firsthand with fishing families.

 

CC-01-16 Yukon River In-Season Salmon Management T...

CC-01-15 In-season teleconferences 2015

CC-01-14 Yukon River In-Season Management Teleconf...

CC-01-13 Yukon River In-Season Management Teleconf...

CC-01-12 Yukon River Inseason Salmon Management Te...

CC-01-06 Yukon River In-Season Salmon Management T...

URE-11-03 Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Associati...

URE-11-02 In-Season Management Teleconference

 

Development of a Genetic Baseline for Canadian-origin Yukon River Chinook and Chum Salmon

A genetics-based analysis can be used to identify to what river system, drainage, or sub-drainage a salmon is returning, long before the salmon actually reaches its spawning grounds. This type of analysis is generally referred to as genetic stock identification (GSI) and is used in both research and management. In the Yukon River, it is used to identify the stock of origin of salmon caught in commercial, subsistence, and test fisheries (e.g., Pilot Station or Eagle Sonar). This information on stock composition is used by fisheries managers to make in-season decisions and to reconstruct the run at the end of the season. It can also be used to understand where a juvenile salmon is from; this is particularly useful given that many juvenile salmon do not rear in their natal streams.

All of this analysis and its resultant information hinges on having a representative genetic baseline. This project aims to ensure that the genetic baseline used by researchers and managers is representative of Canadian-origin salmon. A good portion of the genetic baseline already exists thanks to the work on this project that has already taken place. The aim of this project is to gather genetic baseline samples from those areas and stocks that are currently un-represented or under-represented and, in this way, improve the accuracy of all the estimates developed using GSI. Canadian sampling efforts are focused on filling the baseline gaps by collecting tissues from poorly represented Canadian tributaries.

CRE-78-16 Collection and Analysis of Yukon River D...

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CRE-78-15B Collection and Analysis of Yukon River ...

CRE-78-13A Collection and Analysis of Yukon River ...

CRE-78-13B Collection and Analysis of Yukon River ...

CRE-78-12A Collection and Analysis YR DNA Baseline...

CRE-78-12A Collection and Analysis YR DNA Baseline...

CRE-78-12B Collection & Analysis of Yukon River DN...

CRE-78-11A Collection and Analysis of Yukon River ...

CRE-78-11A Collection and Analysis of Yukon River ...

CRE-78-11B Collection and Analysis of Yukon River ...

CRE-78N-07A Collection of DNA Baseline Samples Wit...

Temperature Monitoring of Yukon River Chinook Salmon Spawning and Migration Habitats in Canada

After a returning salmon leaves the marine environment, water temperatures largely determine its ability to migrate and spawn successfully. The goal of this project is to develop a publicly accessible baseline of the thermal regimes of Yukon River Chinook Salmon spawning and migration habitats in Canada.

The Yukon River Canadian Water Temperature Monitoring Network (the Network) was initiated during the 2011 – 2012 ADF&G water temperature project, and is continued by a Canadian Consultant to the present. The Network currently comprises 15 Stations, and data collection is conducted in watercourses utilized by Chinook Salmon for adult migration and spawning, as well as juvenile incubation, rearing, overwintering and downstream migration. Design of the Network includes both geographical and temporal components. Data from temperature data loggers at each station are downloaded, checked and used to generate mean, minimum and maximum daily temperatures, and this data set is uploaded to yukonwatertemperatures.info.

The primary rationale for the project continuing is that it extends the temporal length of the baseline. This allows more complete consideration of the inter-annual range of temperatures that may be expected, and strengthens the baseline for future salmon fishery and habitat managers to determine temperature trends and effects thereof. The secondary rationale is the public nature of the project, with data being widely and freely distributed. This enables access to the data by agency and non-agency persons, and reduces the risk that data – and the investment in collecting it – will be lost due to personnel changes, government reorganizations or simple neglect.

CRE-20-19. Water Temperature Monitoring of Yukon R...

CRE-20-18 Water Temps Monitoring of YR Chinook Hab...

CRE-20-17 Water Temps Monitoring of YR Chinook Hab...

CRE-20-16 Water temperature monitoring of YR Chino...

CRE-20-15 Temperature monitoring of Yukon River Ch...

CRE-20-14 Water temperature monitoring of YR Chino...

CRE-20-13 Water temperature monitoring of YR Chino...

URE-25-12 Temperature monitoring of Canadian and A...

URE-25-11 Temperature monitoring of Canadian and A...