Chris Beasley, QCI
Instream PIT Tag Detection Systems (IPTDS) provide a powerful tool for estimating escapement for spring/summer Chinook salmon and steelhead. ISEMP has been integral to the support and development of IPTDS infrastructure throughout the interior Columbia River Basin for many years. Currently, ISEMP operates 67 IPTDS distributed across the Snake River (32), upper Columbia River (29), and John Day River (6). Snake and upper Columbia IPTDS leverage downstream adult PIT tagging and biological sampling at mainstem hydropower facilities (Lower Granite and Priest Rapid dams), and the subsequent detection of PIT tags at upstream IPTDS, to generate sex- and age-structurIned escapement estimates at the population, sub-population, and tributary scales (Figure 1). In addition, environmental data from probes operated at IPTDS have been used to develop models relating air and water temperature, estimate detection efficiency as a function of water depth, and monitor discharge in support of water transactions.
ISEMP collaborated with Biomark, Inc. to develop a cloud-based system to support remote data collection and quality control via satellite, cellular, land-line, or Ethernet connection. This system automatically contacts IPTDS to download interrogation, diagnostic, and environmental data at user-specified intervals. The interrogation data (PIT tag codes, time, and date stamp) are automatically parsed and uploaded to the PIT Tag Information System (PTAGIS). Corresponding diagnostic and environmental data are stored in the Biomark, Inc. Data-Manager (Figure 2). This web-based interface enables users to query interrogation, diagnostic, and environmental data; provides summaries of diagnostics and environmental data; and generates automated e-mail alerts when diagnostic data indicate equipment, power, or communication failures. The near real-time access to diagnostic data and automated alerts reduce long-term maintenance costs and provides a quantitative means to evaluate data integrity.
Findings and Uses
IPTDS provide important abundance information to monitor spring/summer Chinook salmon and steelhead populations throughout the interior Columbia River.
Automated systems (IPTDS, PTAGIS, Data-Manager) now allow the combination of PIT tag interrogation data from virtually any source (carcass surveys, weirs, arrays, etc.) to improve precision and reduce potential bias accompanying PIT-tag-based estimates of sex- and age-structured adult distribution, abundance, and survival.
When leveraged with biological information collected at mainstem hydropower facilities, these advanced systems provide unprecedented monitoring data to inform future conservation assessments.