Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Report
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4343
Title: Elwha River baseline monitoring 2010-11
Report to: the Open Rivers Initiative. NOAA Restoration Center. Silver Spring, Maryland
Author/Editor: G. R. Pess, John R. McMillan, Martin Liermann, S. A. Morley, T. J. Beechie, Keith P. Denton, T. R. Bennett, Daniel Hernandez, Polly Hicks, Mike McHenry, Mel Elofson, Sonny Sampson, Raymond E. Moses, Roger Peters, Paul Bakke, J. J. Duda, S. J. Brenkman
Year: 2012
Date: June 25, 2012

The goal of our initial 2010 baseline monitoring effort in the Elwha river basin was three-fold:

1. Identify, develop, and test biological and physical monitoring protocols to identify a suite of monitoring parameters that are appropriate for use as part of the larger Elwha River dam removal monitoring efforts, as well as other dam removal efforts.

2. Collect data in the Elwha River basin, and other basins where appropriate, to establish baseline ecosystem conditions and track regional trends that could confound the response of salmon to dam removal in the Elwha River.

3. Develop and attempt to establish a database for use by the numerous co-managers working on the Elwha River dam removal project.

To attain these goals we identified five general questions that improve the focus of our monitoring goals (See 2009 ORI report). The questions cannot be answered with one year of baseline monitoring data because the focus of each one requires pre and post dam monitoring efforts.  Nonetheless, they are important because they help identify the types of spatial and temporal data needed to begin answering the overarching question of project effectiveness.  Answers to the questions will also help identify the parameters and techniques that are most directly applicable to assessing project effectiveness.

Parameters we identified as reporting priorities for the second year of ORI funding included evaluation of monitoring techniques for juvenile salmon abundance and distribution, and the effectiveness of physical habitat metrics for monitoring the Elwha and other dam removal efforts. Data was collected for all questions specified in the 2009 ORI Report; however, at this time there is not significant information upon which to report. For instance, while baseline data was collected on juvenile salmonid abundance, this dataset is as yet not complete enough for further analyses. Instead, this 2010 report focuses on the following questions:  

What is the effectiveness of various techniques for determining juvenile salmon abundance and distribution across different habitats of the Elwha watershed pre and post dam removal (Section 1.0)?

What do the following physical monitoring protocols tell us about baseline conditions in the Elwha River prior to dam removal, and how appropriate is each of these protocols for tracking river response post dam removal? The physical monitoring focuses on several elements including floodplain channel inventory (Section 2.0), longitudinal profiles (Section 3.0), fine sediment sampling (Section 4.0), turbidity monitoring (Section 5.0), and pebble counts (Section 6.0).


This document goes over the effectiveness of variation techniques for determining juvenile salmon abundance and distribution across different habitats in the Elwha river pre and post dam removal. It also discusses baseline physical habitat conditions focusing on specific techniques including floodplain channel inventories, longitudinal profiles, fine sediment sampling, turbidity monitoring, and pebble counts.

Notes: 84 pages
Theme: Habitats to Support Sustainable Fisheries and Recovered Populations
Foci: Characterize habitat effects on ecosystem processes, ecological interactions and the health of organisms.
Develop effective and efficient habitat restoration and conservation techniques.