Columbia River Fish Program Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Date of Award
Master of Environmental Management (MEM)
Environmental Science and Management
Hydraulic gates -- Environmental aspects -- Lower Columbia River (Or. and Wash.), Water temperature -- Lower Columbia River (Or. and Wash.), Hydraulic gates -- Evaluation, Tides -- Columbia River Estuary (Or. and Wash.), Salmon -- Habitat -- Columbia River Estuary (Or. and Wash.), Estuarine restoration -- Lower Columbia River (Or. and Wash.)
Dramatic declines in salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest have brought new attention to the importance of estuarine rearing habitats. Levees and tide gates used to convert estuarine wetlands into farmland have reduced available habitat by more than half of historical levels. Recent efforts to restore estuarine habitats include tide gate replacement, though this method has been poorly studied. As a key indicator of salmon habitat suitability, temperature was used to evaluate the effects of tide gate replacement in a tidally influenced freshwater slough in the Lower Columbia River estuary. Three tide gates in the largest slough on Tenasillahe Island were replaced in 2007 with side-hinged aluminum gates. As managed during the data collection periods, the new tide gates did not allow tidal inflow into the slough. The study employed a Before-After, Control-Impact (BACI) approach, collecting data seasonally two years before and after replacement at the impact site and at the control site, a relatively unaltered slough on nearby Welch Island. Randomized Intervention Analysis and Monte Carlo tests revealed no significant difference in slough water temperatures after tide gate replacement, although minimum temperatures dropped up and downstream of the tide gates. Although the new tide gates did not have a significant effect on water temperature, the lower minimum temperatures may have been caused by a slight increase in tidal circulation. This result suggests that slough temperatures would decrease if the tide gates were managed to increase tidal inflow, and thus improve the quality of salmon rearing habitat.
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Ennis, Sara, "Effects of Tide Gate Replacement on Water Temperature in a Freshwater Slough in the Columbia River Estuary" (2009). Environmental Science and Management Professional Master's Project Reports. 12.