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eDNA Assessments in Puget Sound

eDNA 2Wild Fish Conservancy continues to partner with the US Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station to implement cutting-edge environmental DNA (eDNA ) assessments in watersheds throughout Puget Sound.

eDNA is an powerful tool that allows researchers to determine with confidence whether fish species of interest are present upstream from sample sites.  This is accomplished through laboratory analyses of water samples to identify DNA from target species.  The tool is more effective, efficient, and benign than traditional ‘presence-absence’ approaches like electrofishing.  We are using it to fill data gaps about the spatial and temporal distribution of Puget Sound chinook and steelhead in South Puget Sound, understanding that we can improve the effectiveness of protection and restoration planning if we know where the fish are, and when they’re there.  With the Snoqualmie Tribe as a project partner, we are also exploring the effectiveness of eDNA as a tool to help determine the upstream-extent of fish distribution in headwater channels. Stay tuned for results.

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