Date of Graduation

Spring 6-3-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

John Callaway

Second Advisor

Stephanie Ohshita

Third Advisor

David Smith


Outmigration is an important life stage for Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) survival in the Sacramento River, and yet our understanding of their behavior and needs during this time is limited. To gain a better understanding of their survival and movement rates during outmigration, late fall run Chinook salmon smolts were tracked using acoustic telemetry techniques. Habitat features were measured and quantified throughout the study area to evaluate how Chinook salmon respond to key levee features including shade, instream woody material, and aquatic vegetation. The overall average movement speed through the entire study area was 0.77 m/s with an overall survival of 86%. Based on multiple linear regressions, vegetation was found to have the largest effect on speed with fish slowing down with increased vegetation cover. Shade, river mile, and velocity also had significant effects on movement speeds, but instream woody material was not significant. The result for woody material was surprising since it was anticipated to have a large impact on movement speeds. A positive correlation was found between faster fish movement speeds and higher survival. No evidence of diel movement patterns was found after releasing the fish. These finding can help managers create sites better designed to help Chinook salmon in the Sacramento River system. Results from this paper indicate that the type of woody material being installed might not be appropriate for this life stage of salmon.