, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 204-213

Foraging by juvenile salmon in a restored estuarine wetland

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Abstract

The functional value of a restored estuarine wetland as a foraging area for juvenile chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) and fall chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha) was evaluated during the spring seaward migrations of each species in 1987 and 1988. During both years, fish foraged selectively. While temporarily residing in the restored wetland, both salmon selected primarily chironomid insects (midge larvae, pupae, and adults) over all other organisms considered available prey. A detritus-based food chain (detritus-chironomids-juvenile chum salmon or chinook salmon) suggests that the restored wetland provides productive foraging habitat for migrating juvenile chum and fall chinook salmon during their early residency in the estuary. However, the equivalency of foraging in restored or created estuarine wetlands compared to foraging in altered riverine or natural habitats remains untested.

Contribution no. 852, School of Fisheries, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195.