An evaluation of fish behavior upstream of the water temperature control tower at Cougar Dam, Oregon, using acoustic cameras

Open-File Report 2015-1124
Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
By: Noah s. Adams, Collin Smith, John M. Plumb, Gabriel S. Hansen and John W. Beerman 


This report describes the initial year of a 2-year study to determine the feasibility of using acoustic cameras to monitor fish movements to help inform decisions about fish passage at Cougar Dam near Springfield, Oregon. Specifically, we used acoustic cameras to measure fish presence, travel speed, and direction adjacent to the water temperature control tower in the forebay of Cougar Dam during the spring (May, June and July) and fall (September, October and November) of 2013. Cougar Dam is a high-head flood-control dam, and the water temperature control tower enables depth-specific water withdrawals to facilitate adjustment of water temperatures released downstream of the dam. The acoustic cameras were positioned at the upstream entrance of the tower to monitor free-ranging subyearling and yearling-size juvenile Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Because of the large size discrepancy, we could distinguish juvenile Chinook salmon from their predators, which enabled us to measure predators and prey in areas adjacent to the entrance of the tower. We used linear models to quantify and assess operational and environmental factors-such as time of day, discharge, and water temperature-that may influence juvenile Chinook Salmon movements within the beam of the acoustic cameras. Although extensive milling behavior of fish near the structure may have masked directed movement of fish and added unpredictability to fish movement models, the acoustic-camera technology enabled us to ascertain the general behavior of discrete size classes of fish. Fish travel speed, direction of travel, and counts of fish moving toward the water temperature control tower primarily were influenced by the amount of water being discharged through the dam.

Adams, N.S., Smith, C.D., Plumb, J.M., Hansen, G.S., and Beeman, J.W., 2015, An evaluation of fish behavior upstream of the water temperature control tower at Cougar Dam, Oregon, using acoustic cameras, 2013: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1124, 62 p.,

The full report can be found on Sound Metrics' Fisheries Resources Page under Fish Surveys / Enumeration, Reports here.
And it is featured on the USGS official website:
View footage of an attempted Smolt Predation at the Water Control Tower at Cougar Reservoir, Oregon here.

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