eDNA Monitoring of Ich in the Klamath River 2017/2018

Salmonid Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation (RM&E)

Project IDYUROK-2017-4
Recovery DomainsN CA - S Oregon
Start Date06/01/2018
End Date09/30/2019
Last Edited10/31/2019
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The YTFP proposes to collect water samples from 3 locations on the lower Klamath River. These sites will be selected based on their proximity to past ich outbreaks and ease of accessibility. Sampling would occur from May through October with water samples collected on a weekly basis using an automated water sampling machine (isco). Once collected, water samples will be taken back to our laboratory to be filtered and the filtrate will be frozen and shipped to OSU for analysis. We would also conduct 2-3 longitudinal sampling events. These events would take place over the course of a single day with multiple sampling locations spread out over the entire lower Klamath River. Ideally, longitudinal sampling would take place before, during, and after any potential outbreak of ich. This sampling strategy assists researchers in identifying any “hot spots” and possible sources of disease epizootics.

Currently, the YTFP ich monitoring program is through direct, lethal sampling of fish which can insensitive to early or light infections. Sentinel fish exposures are not possible during periods of high water temperature typically associated with Ich outbreaks. Water sampling for ich eDNA will provide valuable insight and compliment any ongoing ich studies and can be utilized as an early warning for disease outbreaks. This is the the most important aspects of this project. Working with OSU, the YTFP has the ability to relay specific real time information to water managers regarding the levels of Ich in the Klamath River. This tangible result can be invaluable when dealing with disease issues on the lower Klamath River.

Project Benefit    

• This project will improve management practices (harvest management and water management) to maintain healthy salmon populations and ensure overall sustainability of naturally-spawning Pacific salmon and steelhead.
• This project will also help maintain salmon populations necessary for the exercise of the Yurok Tribe’s federal fishing right.
• This project supports the timely implementation of preventative measures; it will reduce the chances of large-scale mortality events that affect spawning fish on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

Outcomes & Benefits

• This project will give researchers and managers an enhanced understanding of the ich lifecycle and how it relates to salmonids.
• Information gathered during this project could be used as an early warning to identify possible disease outbreaks.
• This project will also provide data so that management actions (primarily water management related to the operation of the federally owned Klamath Irrigation Project and the Trinity Division of the Central Valley Project) can be improved with respect to their effect on anadromous fish in general, and particularly with respect to ESA-listed SONCC coho salmon and Chinook salmon important to the Yurok Tribe’s subsistence and commercial fisheries.


Metric Completed Originally

Funding Details

Report Total:$25,000

Project Map


Blue Creek area    

  • Worksite Identifier: Blue Creek area
  • Start Date: 06/01/2018
  • End Date: 09/30/2019
Area Description
Klamath River near Blue Creek

Location Information

  • Basin: Klamath
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: California
  • Recovery Domain: N CA - S Oregon
  • Latitude: 41.42958927273287
  • Longitude: -123.93164634704291


  • Upper Klamath / Trinity Rivers Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Southern Oregon / Northern California Coastal Chinook Salmon ESU
  • Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast Coho Salmon ESU
  • Klamath Mountains Province Steelhead DPS




  • E.0 Salmonid Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation (RM&E)Y (Y/N)
    •      . . E.0.a RM&E Funding 25,000.00
    •      . . E.0.b
      Complement habitat restoration project
    •      . . E.0.c
      Project identified in a plan or watershed assessment.
    •      . . E.0.d.1 Number of Cooperating Organizations 1
    •      . . E.0.d.2
      Name Of Cooperating Organizations.
      Oregon State University
    •      . . E.0.e.1 Number of reports prepared 0
    •      . . E.0.e.2
      Name Of Report
    •      . . E.2 ResearchY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . E.2.a Research Funding 25,000.00
      •      . . . . E.2.b.7 Investigating fish health and/or disease/parasitesY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . E.2.b.7.a
          Key issues addressed by fish health and/or disease/parasites research