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Climate considerations in the management of anadromous fishes in the Pacific Northwest. Nate Mantua JISAO Climate Impacts Group University of Washington NOAA Climate and Living Marine Resources Workshop Pacific Marine Environmental Lab May 14, 2008 Seattle, WA. Outline.

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climate considerations in the management of anadromous fishes in the pacific northwest

Climate considerations in the management of anadromous fishes in the Pacific Northwest

Nate Mantua

JISAO Climate Impacts Group

University of Washington

NOAA Climate and Living Marine Resources Workshop Pacific Marine Environmental Lab

May 14, 2008 Seattle, WA

outline
Outline
  • A bit of background
  • Short term harvest planning
  • Long-term recovery planning
  • Water resources and hatchery operations
slide3

The Ocean Phase: most of a

salmon’s life, typically half the

mortality, and nearly all the growth

abundance varies
Abundance varies
  • Salmon fisheries are managed at the level of stocks (or independent population groups)
  • Stock-sizes vary, so the success of abundance-based management depends in part on accurate pre-season run-size forecasts
    • and accurate stock distribution forecasts for mixed stock fisheries
slide6
The abundance of Pacific salmon has likely been at historic highs since the 1980s
  • Hatcheries have contributed ~60% of the increase
  • The ocean’s carrying capacity for salmon appears to have doubled!

From Nathan Taylor UBC Fisheries Centre

Millions of adults

a north south see saw in salmon production
A North-South see-saw in salmon production

spring chinook returns to the Columbia River mouth (1000s)

Alaska pink and sockeye catch (millions)

Cool PDO

Warm PDO

Cool PDO

Warm PDO

???

these are hard times for west coast salmon and salmon fisheries
These are hard times for west coast salmon and salmon fisheries
  • Wild salmon abundance now just a few percent of historic levels, and hatchery programs have only partially mitigated for the lost abundance
  • 1990s ushered in the era of ESA listings
    • 28 of 52 west coast ESUs currently listed as either threatened or endangered with extinction under the ESA
  • 1990s also ushered in an era of sharply reduced harvest opportunities for west coast salmon fishers
klamath river fish kill 2002
Klamath River fish kill 2002
  • Disease, high fish densities, low flows and a very warm river resulted in massive kill of adult chinook salmon in the lower Klamath River

Conservation concerns over the offspring from the 2002 returns led to a curtailed CA/OR chinook season in 2005, and sharp restrictions in 2006

www.oregonwild.org

forecasts for short term 3 6 month harvest and allocation planning
Forecasts for short-term (3-6 month) harvest and allocation planning
  • pre-season run-size predictions for every river: “how many fish will there be in the ocean this summer fishing season? Whose fish are they? How much protection do depleted stocks need?”
  • run-size forecasts are based on assumptions about productivity trends (typically a persistence forecast) and information about the number of spawning adults, jack returns, and juveniles produced in hatcheries … use fish to predict fish, yet forecast errors are frequently 50-100%!
  • No climate information has been formally used, but many studies have looked to “climate indicators” for help in reducing forecast errors
oregon opi coho marine survival
Oregon (OPI) coho marine survival

Persistence forecasts often fail because productivity varies by an order of magnitude…

slide13

West-coast sub-arctic habitat is dynamic and sensitive to changing wind patterns (frequently influenced by El Niño and La Niña)

Sept 1997 El Niño

Sept 1998 La Niña

slide14

upwelling food webs in our coastal ocean: the California Current

Cool water, weak stratification

high nutrients, a productive “subarctic” food-chain with abundant forage fish and few warm water predators

Warm stratified ocean, few

nutrients, low productivity “subtropical” zooplankton, a lack of forage fish and abundant predators

Typically high NW salmon survival

Typically low NW salmon survival

coastal ocean impacts on coho marine survival logerwell et al 2003 fish oceanogr
coastal ocean impacts on coho marine survival (Logerwell et al. 2003, Fish. Oceanogr.)
  • key factors?
  • Stratification
  • spring transition date
  • spring winds, upwelling and transport
  • key factors?
  • Stratification
  • winter winds, downwelling and transport

?

?

1st winter at sea

1st spring at sea

A few to ~100 adults in 2nd summer

10’s to 100’s post-smolts early summer

1000 juvenile

Salmon (smolts)

4 index ocean conditions model hindcasts for opi coho marine survival 1969 1998
4 index Ocean Conditions Model “hindcasts” for OPI coho marine survival, 1969-1998

Logerwell et al. 2003, Fish. Oc.

Empirically based models often do a good job “explaining” the past with environmental factors, but errors are generally large in forecast mode

R2= .75

coho forecasting systems

Fall

Winter

Spring

Summer

“fish-based forecasts” Jack returns

Harvest & allocation decisions(February-March)

Fishery

Run-size forecast

(using SST forecast)

Run-size forecast

(using obs’d ocean conditions)

Coho Forecasting Systems

Oregon coho salmon survival

Coastal Ocean Conditions

Sea surface temperatures

Sea level

Nearshore winds

Plankton surveys

http://www.cses.washington.edu/cig/fpt/orcohofc.shtml

lessons learned
Lessons learned
  • Time and space scale of climate information provided must match the scale of management decisions in order to be useful
    • Our basin-scale research results were inappropriate for local scale management decisions
    • Collaborating with a fishery scientist charged with supplying pre-season salmon predictions solved our scale mis-match problem
  • A better understanding for the complexity of the climate impacts on salmon pathway allowed for a sobering assessment of predictability limits
    • Key aspects of ocean conditions for coho salmon are not likely predictable, and this result highlights the importance of monitoring
monitoring systems
Monitoring Systems

http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fed/oeip/a-ecinhome.cfm

multi year to decadal forecasts
Multi-year to decadal forecasts
  • Skillful forecasts for the PDO or other modes of Pacific Decadal Variability are of great interest to salmon fisheries
    • It is now widely known that climate matters for Pacific salmon, but the lack of skillful forecasts limits the utility of this information
the longer view salmon recovery and restoration planning
The longer view: salmon recovery and restoration planning
  • Will climate change derail well-intended plans?
    • NOAA Fisheries is crafting recovery plans and criteria for getting ESA-listed stocks delisted
    • Biological Opinions are crafted to guide water management operations so they comply with ESA mandates in major salmon producing watersheds like the Columbia, Klamath, and Sacramento River basins
    • Large-scale conservation planning in the NGO world seeks advice on where to invest effort and $
    • Federal, state, and local agencies are looking for guidance on how and where to invest efforts to protect and restore salmon
    • Watershed-scale salmon restoration efforts are widespread across the west
slide22

Snohomish R. Chinook Recovery Planning Case Study

Snohomish R.

  • Evaluate the benefits of alternative habitat restoration plans under different future climate scenarios using linked hydrologic and salmon-lifecycle models
  • Battin et al. 2007: PNAS
impacts of climate change on salmon recovery in the snohomish river battin et al 2007 pnas
Impacts of Climate Change on Salmon Recovery in the Snohomish River (Battin et al. 2007: PNAS)

Decreasing Spawning Flows

  • Climate Change will make
  • salmon restoration more difficult:
  • Decreasing Summer Low Flows
  • Increasing Winter Peak Flows
  • Increasing water temperatures in critical periods

Increasing Winter Flows

additional climate considerations for nw salmon management
Additional climate considerations for NW salmon management
  • Water management
    • In all anadromous river basins, operations seek to balance multiple demands on water supplies; “normative” in-stream flows are the primary goal to optimize salmon production, but this usually conflicts with hydropower, irrigation, flood control, and transportation goals
  • Hatchery operations: the NW has enormous investments in this infrastructure, and hatcheries are now the backbone of west coast salmon fisheries.
  • Hatchery operations make no allowance for climate considerations
    • Climate information has the potential to inform decisions on smolt release number and timing, facilities siting, mothballing failing programs, or building new ones…