Survival of migrating sea trout (Salmo trutta ) smolts during their passage of an artificial lake in a Danish lowland stream

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Abstract

Artificial lake development is often used as a management tool to reduce nutrient runoff to coastal waters. Denmark has restored more than
10 000 ha of wetlands and lakes in the last 14 years as a consequence of ‘Action Plans for the Aquatic Environment’, which aim to meet the
demands of the European Union’s Water Framework Directive. Juvenile, seaward migrating salmonids are highly affected by impounded waterbodies, as they are subjected to extraordinary high mortalities due to predation and altered habitat. From 2005 to 2015, survival and migration patterns of wild brown trout (Salmo trutta) smolts were investigated by using radio, acoustic and Passive Integrated Transponder telemetry both before and after the development of an artificial lake in a small Danish lowland stream. In 2005 and 2006, before the lake developed, survival was estimated to be 100% in the river stretch where the lake later developed. In 2007 and in the period between 2009 and 2015, mean yearly survival decreased to 26%. Mean time for passing the area increased significantly after the development of the lake from 0.42 to 5.95 days. Generalized additive models were used to model the probability of a successful passage. Water temperature and discharge were key environmental factors affecting survival of the smolts during the passage of the lake. Furthermore, smolt survival was negatively correlated with condition factor. This elevated level of smolt mortality may seriously compromise self-sustaining anadromous
salmonid populations when artificial lakes are developed in connection with rivers
Original languageEnglish
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Volume33
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)558-566
ISSN1535-1459
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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