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Cramer Fish Sciences
"Cramer Fish Sciences has played an important role in helping PGE define and resolve several difficult fisheries issues in our relicensing processes for both the Deschutes and Clackamas River projects. In the Deschutes Basin, they provided a credible basis for predicting how many steelhead could be supported upstream of the project. In the Clackamas River, CFS provided a credible basis for estimating impacts and mitigation credits for salmon and steelhead related to small changes in stream temperature."
John Esler
Portland General Electric (PGE)



Cramer Fish Sciences has been in business since 1987 and has worked on a wide variety of projects with a diverse set of clients.


Be sure to visit our YouTube and Vimeo channels for a full selection of our videos.

Juvenile Chinook salmon on the Lower American River

The purpose of this project was to monitor juvenile salmonids during a flow pulse event on the Lower American River. The pulse occurred during the 2014 drought, and was a management action intended to initiate downstream migration of Chinook salmon that were stranded in shallow off-channel habitats. We used video monitoring to compare juvenile abundance and movement patterns (downstream, upstream, and holding) in a shallow side channel before, during and after the pulse event and found that:

  • downstream migration was more common than upstream migration and holding during the flow pulse
  • fish abundance was lower following the pulse.

These results indicate that the flow pulse was effective in moving juveniles out of the side channel.


Video Monitoring on the Stanislaus River

We use a boat-operated underwater video camera to monitor deep river reaches on the lower Merced and Stanislaus Rivers prior to river restoration to determine whether deep sections have high large predator density and/or serve as adult salmonid holding areas. Non-native bass and native Sacramento suckers and pike minnow were most commonly observed; rarely, carp and rainbow trout also occurred.


Spawning Lamprey on the American River

We placed a stationary GoPro camera to document several spawning lamprey building a redd (i.e., nest) in the lower American River.


Chinook Salmon juveniles in the Lancaster Road Side Channel

Short video of Chinook Salmon juveniles in the newly created side channel at Lancaster Road restoration site on the Stanislaus River in Oakdale, CA on May 13, 2014. Flow was about 2600 c.f.s. One salmon can be seen in the sunny spot in the mid-left part of the video, while another comes through the shot quickly from left to right, and then cuts back across the screen later.


Utilization of physical habitat structure by juvenile salmonids

To better understand juvenile salmonid habitat preferences and how structural complexity affects foraging behavior, we built artificial structures of varying complexity and documented their use by juvenile salmonids. Bamboo stalks within a PVC frame were used to simulate habitats with varying complexity (low, medium, and high-density cover, no-complexity controls). Underwater cameras were mounted in the river adjacent to the structures and abundance and behavior were quantified. We found higher juvenile abundance in association with the high-density cover than any other cover density. Juveniles also foraged more actively behind the high-density cover treatment. These observations have implications for riparian habitat restoration design; densely planted riparian plants may be more effective in improving instream habitat conditions because they may provide better protection from high flow velocity or refuge from predation.


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