Short-term otolith growth rates, residence times, and forage of two species of juvenile salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) were compared in a created and natural estuarine slough on the Chehalis River in Washington to assess the functional equivalency of the created slough in providing suitable rearing habitat. Otolith microstructure, mark-recapture data, and forage of sub-yearling chinook, O. tshawytscha, and coho, O. kisutch, residing in both sloughs during the spring of 1991 and 1992 served as indicators of rearing habitat quality. No significant differences in the number or width of coho daily otolith increments: were detected between the sloughs. Juvenile chinook residence and emigration times were also comparable. Aquatic and terrestrial insects composed the majority of all chinook and coho diets; however,the order of importance of main prey items did differ between sloughs, and salmon in the created slough had emptier stomachs, possibly because of reduced prey availability and/or foraging efficiency.
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