Capture and Relocation of Salmonids Guidelines for a Qualified Biologist

A qualified fisheries biologist shall perform all seining, electrofishing, and fish relocation activities. The qualified fisheries biologist shall capture and relocate salmonids and other native fish prior to construction of the water diversion structures (e.g., cofferdams). The qualified fisheries biologist shall note the number of salmonids observed in the affected area, the number of salmonids relocated, and the date and time of collection and relocation. The qualified fisheries biologist shall have a minimum of three years of field experience in the identification and capture of salmonids, including juvenile salmonids. The qualified biologist will adhere to the following requirements for capture and transport of salmonids:
a) Determine the most efficient means for capturing fish. Complex stream habitat generally requires the use of electrofishing equipment, whereas in outlet pools, fish may be concentrated by pumping down the pool and then seining or dip netting fish.
b) Notify the RC one week prior to capture and relocation of salmonids to provide RC or NMFS staff an opportunity to attend.
c) Initial fish relocation efforts will be conducted several days prior to the start of construction. This provides the fisheries biologist an opportunity to return to the work area and perform additional electrofishing passes immediately prior to construction if there is water in the isolated construction area. In these instances, additional fish could be captured that eluded the previous day’s efforts. If water is left in the construction area, dissolved oxygen levels sufficient for salmonid survival must be maintained.
d) At project sites with high summer water temperatures, perform relocation activities during morning periods.
e) Prior to capturing fish, determine the most appropriate release location(s). Consider the following when selecting release site(s):
– Similar water temperature as capture location
– Ample habitat for captured fish
– Low likelihood of fish reentering work site or becoming impinged on exclusion net or screen.
f) Periodically measure air and water temperatures and monitor captured fish. Temperatures will be measured at the head of riffle tail of pool interface. Cease activities if health of fish is compromised owing to high water temperatures, or if mortality exceeds three percent of captured salmonids.