Fire’s Influence on Juvenile Chinook Salmon Populations Through Large Woody Debris Input

By Elise Otto

Whitman College, Walla Walla WA

This study examines the effect that recent fires may have on chinook salmon habitat created by large woody debris in a stream system in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.  We measured wood input on burned and unburned stream reaches and observed smolt behavior around and away from LWD.  We found that severely burned areas have more large wood and that smolts near LWD are significantly longer.  However a direct relationship between fire and juvenile fish growth and survival requires more research.