Abernathy Fish Technology Center
Pacific Region

Applied Research Program in Ecological Physiology

Capability/Technical Service - Development and evaluation of remote monitoring technologies.

Definition. Various management plans and Endangered Species Act related Biological Opinions stress the need to evaluate the distribution, freshwater habitat use, and migration patterns of declining, threatened, and endanagered species of fish such as bull trout, cutthroat trout, and other salmonids. This critical needs has lead to the development of montioring technologies which avoid some of the pit falls of traditional monitoring methods (i.e. fixed traps, mark-recapture, and radio telemetry) such as flow dependent effciencies, labor costs associated with field operations, and the handling effects on individual fish. Sample Project Development of Passive Integrated Transponder Tag Interrogation Units for Imperilled Columbia River Basin Salmon and Trout In cooperation with various partners PIT tag interrogation arrays have been implemented at Columbia River basin monitoring sites established in Washington and Oregon. At each site, construction, installation, monitoring, and where necessary, upgrades of PIT tag antenna arrays which enable the evaluation of trout and salmon distribution, freshwater habitat use, and migration patterns. Data collected via PIT tag antenna arrays continues to demonstrate the utility of this new PIT-tag technology application to monitor and evaluate seasonal movements of fish; determine over winter survival and migration timing; identify micro-habitat use; and examine smolt to adult survival.
Partners Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U. S. Forest Service, U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, Utah State University, and the USFWS, Columbia River Fisheries Program Office

PIT Tag Interrogation System Construction (4.33MB PDF file): Procedures for the construction and installation of antennas that detect and decode PIT tags for the identification of individual aquatic organisms

PIT Tag System DC/DC Converter to power a PIT Tag reader (965 Kb)

PIT Tag Antenna Array remotely monitor fish  movements.

Construction of Remote Monitoring Antenna for Trout Unlimited in Rush Creek, WA
In order to enumerate or track bull trout populations invasive techniques are often applied. However, the use of PIT tag technology allows these measurements to be made with adverse effects on endangered fishes. Trout Unlimited and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife are evaluating a population of bull trout; however, conditions preclude them from constantly handling individuals. As a result PIT tag technology was employed to meet their study objectives. We constructed, supplied, and maintained Trout Unlimited and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with PIT tag antennas to track movement and population size of bull trout in Rush Creek, WA
Partners Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Trout Unlimited

Remote Monitoring Array during high flow.

Evaluating Steelhead Take Caused by Bureau of Reclamation Surface Water Diversion Structures in the Umatilla River, Oregon.
In 2004, NOAA issued a Biological Opinion for ongoing operations and maintenance of the Umatilla Basin Project. The Biological Opinion directs the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to conduct its activities at all federal diversion structures in the Umatilla Basin to avoid or minimize incidental take of Mid-Columbia River steelhead. We constructed, maintained, and monitored PIT tag antenna arrays at two BOR operated water surface diversion structures (Feed and Maxwell Canals) as well as one at Three Mile Fall dam. The antenna arrays have allowed us to quantify and evaluate how to reduce incidental fish “take” (including delay, residualism, survival, and mortality) at water surface diversion structures.
Partner: Bureau of Reclamation

Technical PIT Tag Antenna Training for the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla
Monitoring migrating juvenile and adult salmon during periods of high river flow are often problematic. As a result, PIT tag technology may be applied to track individuals with greater success than screwtraps or instream weirs. In addition, PIT tag technology allows individuals to be tracked without handling threatened or endangered salmonids. Tribal assistance is a paramount issue for the USFWS. While the installation and maintenance of PIT tag technology could be contracted it is more important to teach methodologies in order to reduce long term costs and reliance on contractors. Equally important threatened and endangered species may be more reliably monitored. We held a two day training session for Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla biologists on PIT tag technology. The training session included how to build PIT tag antennas, connect proper electronics to multiplexers, and instream installation. In addition, guidance was offered for electronic noise and PIT tag efficiency testing. Lastly, instructions regarding antenna layout and instream positioning were discussed in order to maximize efforts while reducing long term maintenance costs.
Partners: Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, USFWS Lower Snake River Compensation Plan Office

Last updated: September 24, 2014
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