Over-Summer Habitat Contraction and Water Quality Declines in Intermittent Tributaries of the Russian River.

Russian River Salmon and Steelhead Monitoring Program
Publication Date

Created for the 2018 SRF conference by Elizabeth Ruiz, Chris O'Keefe, Sarah Nossaman, Andrew McClary, Mariska Obedzinski, and Andrew Bartshire. In California streams, the summer low-flow period is often associated with decreases in habitat quality and quantity, as well as increases in juvenile coho salmon mortality. CA Sea Grant has identified insufficient summer streamflow as a bottleneck to salmon recovery in tributaries to the lower Russian River. These streams have been observed drying at different times and rates, and evidence suggests that impacts of intermittency vary across reaches. Few studies have examined implications of intermittency and water quality decline at the habitat scale. To examine changes in habitat and water quality in relation to changes in flow-related parameters over the summer, we selected 12 study units on three tributaries and measured a range of biological, physical, and chemical parameters over a five-month period in 2017.