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Chena River Juvenile Chinook Salmon Large Woody Debris Habitat Mapping

Nate Cathcart, research technician with the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, conducts a snorkel survey for juvenile Chinook salmon within a logjam along the Chena River, Alaska.


May 2017 - September 2018


Large woody debris (e.g., logjams, rootwads; LWD) within the channel provide important rearing habitat for fishes, and especially for juvenile Chinook Salmon in interior Alaska rivers, including the Chena River. For juvenile salmon, LWD provides cover from predation, refuge from high flow velocities, and high quality habitat for invertebrate prey items. However, the distribution, abundance, and characteristics of LWD, particularly within stream reaches where juvenile Chinook Salmon are known to rear, have yet to be quantified in the Chena River basin. This project is a collaboration among the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Results of this project will be used to evaluate the potential for reintroduction of LWD to reaches of the Chena River below Moose Creek Dam, provide juvenile salmon rearing capacity estimates for the basin, and contribute towards efforts to monitor LWD based on remote sensing and link the distribution and abundance of wood along the river to wildfire and land management practices.

Research Products and Activities


  • Cathcart, C.N., Falke, J.A., Crabill, B., and J. Fox. 2018. Longitudinal patterns of logjams and occupancy by juvenile Chinook Salmon in the Chena River, Alaska. Western Division American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Anchorage, Alaska, 21-25 May, 2018.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 54

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 673

Scientific Publications: 1905

Presentations: 4236



Funding Agencies

  • USFWS Anchorage


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey