Friday October 27, 2023

Hatch Magazine

A recently completed study using relatively new eDNA technology shows that replacing culverts that might act as fish migration barriers is key to restoring salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest. And, presumably, wherever faulty culverts interrupt salmonid migration. More broadly, however, the study is a herald for the use of eDNA science in restoration work conducted across environments and around the globe.

eDNA, or Environmental DNA, is defined by the U.S. Geological Survey as “nuclear or mitochondrial DNA that is released from an organism into the environment. Sources of eDNA include secreted feces, mucous, and gametes; shed skin and hair; and carcasses. eDNA can be detected in cellular or extracellular (dissolved DNA) form.”

The University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) teamed up to study the presence of salmon and trout eDNA both before and after two culvert replacement projects near Bellingham, Wash. The study took place over the lifespan of the projects, which ran from March 2021 to December 2022.

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