Development of an Evaluation Scheme to Predict Performance of Endangered Species Act (ESA) Fish Rehabilitation Projects Based on Linkages between Present and Projected Hydraulics, Stream Temperature and Food Web Function
* Can we predict the effects of stream rehabilitation projects aimed at altering channel hydraulics, stream temperature, and food web functionality under present and projected scenarios, using a two-dimensional (2D) flow and temperature model coupled with a fish food web model?
Need and Benefit
Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) are funding multi-year monitoring projects with intensive physical and biological sampling. The projects are coordinated with multiple Federal, State and tribal agencies or entities to ensure that the status and trends of fish habitat and fish populations--both hatchery-reared and wild or stream-reared fish--are monitored along with the direct effects of the projects. Because the physical and biological environment has so much natural variation--both seasonal and annual--the evaluation of the effectiveness of projects requires an understanding of the direct causative effects of the projects on salmon populations. Reclamation intends to use the support from this proposal to supplement existing efforts so that a causal connection can be made between the fluvial geomorphological characteristics of rehabilitation (particularly certain hydraulic parameters) and biological parameters associated with salmonid production (particularly parameters associated with food web functionality). Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Office (CSRO) thinks that adding research dollars to the existing Research Monitoring and Evaluation (RME) project and using current Technical Service Center (TSC) staff who are associated with the rehabilitation project design will provide needed continuity to the RME collaboration.
The purpose of the biological research is to determine potential hydraulic controls on food supply as it relates to prey community structure, predator competition, and growth of the target fish species, juvenile Spring Chinook and summer steelhead. Fundamentally, the rehabilitation projects will change the hydraulic function in the study reaches of the Methow and Entiat rivers. It is expected that the changes in hydraulic function will result in a change in biological function, and that the hydraulic parameters can be included in model of physical and biological processes to refine model prediction of fish production in response to similar treatments in other geographic locations.
Reclamation is coordinating its studies with BPA's Integrated Status and Trend Monitoring Project, which is implemented through an agreement with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Reclamation's work will provide a substantial portion of the status and trend data.
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