Rue Creek RSI smolt study

The Rue Creek watershed includes two stream branches that had recent passage barrier removal project performed. Upon removal of these barriers, the WBFEG in partnership with DFW began to operate RSI (remote site incubation) of late timed coho eggs with the goal of restoring a population of naturally spawning salmon in habitat that was previously blocked due to a passage barrier.

The study involves taking DNA samples of all parents spawned to allow for the application of PBT (parental based tagging) to determine the origin of progeny encountered in the Rue Creek system. Using salmon returning to the Forks creek hatchery, four groups of adults were spawned comprising of two groups of natural origin and two groups of hatchery origin parentage. These eggs were supplied to the WBFEG for rearing on-site using RSI equipment on two sites of the Rue Creek system.

The WBFEG plans to operate a smolt trap to collect tissue samples on out migrating smolts. These samples will then be evaluate to establish their parentage, either WxW, HxH or unknown (which is assumed to be from natural spawned). The results of this study will hopefully guide future restoration efforts by providing information regarding the sucess of RSI origin fish to establish a sustainable, naturally spawning population and evaluate any differences in performance between natural and hatchery origin eggs.

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