Timing, Size, and Movement of Upstream Migrating American Eels in the Santee-Cooper Basin, South Carolina

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 10:30 AM
207 (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
David Coughlan , Normandeau Associates, Denver, NC
Bill Post , South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, SC
Allan Hazel , South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Charleston, SC
Over recent years, upstream migrations of juvenile American Eel in South Carolina portions of the Santee-Cooper Basin have been monitored at several locations.  Glass eels were collected in Goose Creek (~ 40 rkm from the ocean).  These eels averaged 55 mm TL with peaks generally occurring in March.  Elvers were collected at the USACE St. Stephen Dam on the Santee Rediversion Canal (~92 rkm from the ocean).  Elvers typically measured 100 mm TL and were collected at variable times.  Spring peaks occurred in April and all collected elvers were passed upstream into Lake Moultrie.  Finally, year round monitoring occurs at the Wateree Dam (~229 main channel rkm further upstream) where low numbers of elvers and eels (> 150 mm TL) were collected. One late-April to early-May collection peak occurred at the Wateree Hydro. 

From 2010 to 2013, elvers at St. Stephen were implanted with visible elastomer tags in order to monitor travel to upstream dams.  Of 7,469 tagged elvers, two were collected in 2013 at the Wateree Dam and indicated that the fastest travel time was approximately one year.  Low catches of eels upstream of the Santee-Cooper reservoirs is intriguing and worthy of additional research.