Current landscapes and legacies of land-use past: understanding the distribution of juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and their habitats along the Oregon Coast, USA


The Oregon Coast landscape displays strong spatial patterns in air temperature, precipitation, and geology, which can confound our ability to detect relationships among land management, instream conditions, and fish at broad spatial scales. Despite this structure, we found that a suite of immutable or intrinsic attributes (e.g., reach gradient, drainage area, elevation, and percent weak rock geology of the catchments draining to each of our 423 study reaches) could explain much of the variation in pool surface area across the landscape and could contribute to an estimate of how many juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) one might expect to find in those pools. Further, we found evidence of differences in pool surface area across land ownership categories that reflect differing management histories. Our results also suggest that historical land and river management activities, in particular splash dams that occurred at least 50 years ago, continue to influence the distribution of juvenile coho salmon and their habitats today.

In Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.