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Quality Assurance Project Plan: Lower Yakima River Thermal Refuge Profiling

Publication number Date Published
18-12-009June 2018
VIEW NOW Quality Assurance Project Plan: Lower Yakima River Thermal Refuge Profiling (Number of pages: 56) (Publication Size: 13112KB)

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Author(s) Appel, Marcella, Benton Conservation District
Description Warm water temperatures in the lower Yakima are a factor in the timing of upstream salmonid migration in the late-summer and early fall. Late spring out-migration survival is also influenced by rapid water warming, especially in drought years. Enhancement of thermal refuge locations on the lower Yakima may support late spring and summer migration of anadromous species when water temperatures are otherwise too warm for fish passage.

This multi-agency project, led by Benton Conservation District (BCD), will map the longitudinal thermal profile of the lower Yakima River (lower Yakima) from Wapato to Richland, WA. Data will be used to identify cool water influents that can be developed for thermal refuge. Profiling will occur during base flow conditions (summer) in 2018 and 2019. Identification of thermal refuge locations is critical for supporting management and habitat action decisions to enhance, promote, or utilize these areas for thermal refuge.

The project goal is to obtain quality longitudinal thermal profiling data for the lower 100 miles of the Yakima River to be used in support of future project development. This project supports Yakima mainstem habitat enhancement goals of the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan and compliments the currently funded lower Yakima River Smolt Survival study. This project is a first step towards managing functional thermal refuge sites on the lower Yakima River in order to address thermal migration barriers. These thermal refuge sites are suspected to increase in-migration survival rates and provide beneficial warmer water for out-migration juvenile smolts during the winter and spring months. With anticipated climate change impacts in the basin resulting in higher river temperatures and lower springtime flows, thermal refuge locations will become increasingly important for migratory species.
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Keywords Yakima River Basin, Quality Assurance Plan, Yakima Basin, Yakima River, salmonids, salmon, salmonid
WATERSHED Water Resource Inventory Area 37 Lower Yakima