Spawning coho salmon habitat associations in Susitna River tributaries, Alaska

Project Description

Coho salmon in the Susitna River support significant commercial, sport and subsistence fisheries in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Lack of basic life stage information of Susitna River coho salmon stocks, coupled with proposed hydropower development, highlight fishery resource concerns in a system currently experiencing declining returns. This project will utilize habitat data from the USFWS Fisheries Branch 2013 Mat-Su Perched culvert project, with an emphasis on analyzing coho salmon spawning habitat-associations in five Susitna River tributaries. Using these data, this research will examine the spawning habitat associations that are biologically relevant and at what habitat scale for Susitna River basin coho salmon spawning ecology. Project objectives include the following: ), (1. Assess and compare habitat metrics of gradient, substrate composition, channel unit frequency, groundwater flux and width-to-depth ratio of five ADFG Susitna River coho salmon spawning escapement index streams.), (2. Using coho salmon spawning survey data conduct a multi-scale habitat analysis (stream, reach and transect level) to assess the biologically relevant scale of spawning site selection in five ADFG Susitna River coho salmon escapement index streams.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

picture of Trent Sutton

Trent Sutton

Associate Dean of Academics
  • Recruitment dynamics of fishes
  • Fish habitat assessment
  • Population biology and ecology of fishes
  • Trophic ecology and food-web dynamics
(907) 474-7285
Full Profile

Research Staff

Betsy McCracken, Master's Degree Graduate Student, University of Alaska Fairbanks, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, Fisheries Division

Project Funding

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Start Date: 2013-01-00 End Date: 2016-12-00

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