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Cramer Fish Sciences: Projects   Innovative Scientific Solutions for Fisheries and Environmental Challenges  
Cramer Fish Sciences
"[Regarding weekly weir reports] These reports are very impressive! Keep up the good work. I see applications elsewhere."
Dave Vogel
Natural Resource Scientists



Cramer Fish Sciences has been in business since 1987 and has worked on a wide variety of projects with a diverse set of clients. You can learn more about our current and recent work by viewing our Featured Projects below.


Merced River Ranch Floodplain Restoration

Merced River Restoration In 2008, Cramer Fish Sciences began working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Anadromous Fish Restoration Program and the California Department of Fish and Game on the Merced River Ranch Floodplain Restoration Project. The Merced River Ranch was purchased by CDFG in 1998 for the purpose of protecting riparian habitat, improving conditions for salmonids, and providing a long-term source of gravel for the Merced River and nearby projects. The site is located just below Crocker-Huffman Dam in the Dredger Tailings Reach of the Merced River. This area was heavily impacted by gold mining during the turn of the century and is the southernmost extent of Chinook salmon populations. The vision of the project is to restore ecosystem processes and critical habitats for juvenile and adult salmonids, in coordination with local communities and stakeholders, to promote the recovery of healthy and diverse Chinook salmon and steelhead populations in the Merced River.

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Lancaster Road Restoration

Lancaster Road Side Channel and Floodplain Restoration In 2008, Cramer Fish Sciences (CFS) was awarded a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP) (Grant #813328G012), for the Lancaster Road Side Channel and Floodplain Restoration Project (Project). Key goals of the Project were to rehabilitate and enhance productive juvenile salmonid rearing habitat in the Stanislaus River; and determine project effectiveness with an efficient and scientifically robust monitoring program. In order to adaptively implement restoration from its inception to its completion, the project was conducted in three phases: Phase I - Design, Outreach and Permitting; Phase II - Implementation; and Phase III - Post-implementation monitoring and continued outreach. The CFS team worked closely with the local community and resource agencies throughout each phase of the project.

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Lower American River

Lower American River In 2014, one of the most severe droughts in recorded California history pushed the conflict between economic needs and protection of key ecological processes on the Lower American River to the forefront of scientific and political discussion. Reservoir storage in the American River, a key California water artery, was at an all-time low and water release from Nimbus Dam was drastically reduced starting in mid-January. This coincided with fall-run Chinook salmon incubation, when much of the 2013/14 cohort was still within river gravels. Cramer Fish Sciences teamed up with local, state, and federal agencies to (1) determine the acute effects of this flow reduction on Chinook salmon, (2) develop a science-based process to make subsequent flow management decisions, and (3) monitor the effects of these decisions on incubating embryos and emerging and rearing fry.

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Stanislaus River Survival Study

Site study location In spring 2012-2014, Cramer Fish Sciences (CFS) conducted a multi-year mark-recapture experiment funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Anadromous Fish Restoration Program (AFRP: Grant #81332BG003) to estimate survival of radio-tagged juvenile Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha emigrating through the lower Stanislaus River (LSR) between the Oakdale Recreation Area rotary screw trap (RST) located at river km (rkm) 64.4 and the Caswell Memorial State Park RST located at rkm 14.4. A series of paired releases were performed along the approximately 50-km study reach in six roughly equal sub-reaches. The two releases were performed about a month apart to examine survival under different flow regimes. Mobile telemetry was performed to monitor daily movements (for up to 14 days following release) and outmigration behavior of experimental fish in relation to potential mortality sources (e.g., predator pools, agricultural diversions, etc.). Each year, additional fish were tagged and observed in a laboratory setting to assess post-surgery survival, tag retention, and behavioral effects of implanted tags.

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Out-migration Monitoring

Stanislaus Caswell Rotary Screw TrapIn 1996, Cramer Fish Sciences (CFS) implemented a juvenile salmonid out-migration monitoring program at Caswell Memorial State Park on the lower Stanislaus River. We have continued to estimate abundance of out-migrating juvenile Chinook salmon and steelhead/rainbow trout at this site each year in order to distinguish the effects of instream flow schedules and management actions.

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Watershed Population Support Analysis

 Identifying how many fish a stream can support is a critical factor when managing watersheds. Clients such as Portland General Electric and the Bonneville Power Administration face these challenges and Cramer Fish Sciences provides the answers by using it's own Unit Characteristic Method (UCM).

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Dam Flow Effects

Lower Yakima RiverCramer Fish Sciences was hired by the Kennewick Irrigation District and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) to estimate the effects of flow alternatives below the Prosser Dam on the Lower Yakima River in Washington. The goal was to quantify the potential benefits to salmon of the various flow alternatives being considered. PIT tag (passive integrated transponder) data was used from spring Chinook, fall Chinook, and coho salmon juveniles as well as other data to show the effects different flow scenarios had on salmonid survival.

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Fish Population Recovery Plan

 The Lower Columbia River Recovery Board relied on Cramer Fish Sciences to lead the effort in developing, coordinating, and drafting a comprehensive Recovery Plan for salmon and steelhead populations in the Lower Columbia River Basin.

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Life-Cycle Modeling

 A comprehensive analysis of population dynamics of coho salmon throughout the Klamath River basin is needed to distinguish the separate effects of Reclamation flow management from other limiting factors affecting coho. It was determined that a life-cycle model was the appropriate analysis tool for this purpose.

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