Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8713
Title: Upscaling Site-Scale Ecohydraulic Models to Inform Salmonid Population-Level Life Cycle Modelling and Restoration Actions Lessons from the Columbia River Basin
Author: Joseph M. Wheaton, Pete A. McHugh, Nick Bouwes, W. Carl Saunders, Sara Bangen, Philip Bailey, Matthew Nahorniak, C. Eric Wall, Chris E. Jordan
Publication Year: 2017
Journal: Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
DOI: 10.1002/esp.4137

With high resolution topography and imagery in fluvial environments, the potential to quantify physical fish habitat at the reach-scale has never been better. Increased availability of hydraulic, temperature and food availability data and models have given rise to a host of species and life stage specific ecohydraulic fish habitat models ranging from simple, empirical habitat suitability curve driven models, to fuzzy inference systems to fully mechanistic bioenergetic models. However, few examples exist where such information has been upscaled appropriately to evaluate entire fish populations. We present a framework for applying such ecohydraulic models from over 905 sites in 12 sub-watersheds of the Columbia River Basin (USA), to assess status and trends in anadromous salmon populations. We automated the simulation of computational engines to drive the hydraulics, and subsequent ecohydraulic models using cloud computing for over 2075 visits from 2011 to 2015 at 905 sites.  We also characterize each site¿s geomorphic reach type, habitat condition, geomorphic unit assemblage, primary production potential and thermal regime. We then independently produce drainage network-scale models to estimate these same parameters from coarser, remotely sensed data available across the entire Columbia River Basin. These variables give us a basis for imputation of reach-scale capacity estimates across entire drainage networks. Combining capacity estimates with survival estimates from mark-recapture monitoring  allows a more robust quantification of capacity for freshwater life stages (i.e. adult spawning, juvenile rearing) of the anadromous lifecycle. We use these data to drive life cycle models of populations, which not only include the freshwater life stages but also the marine and migration life stages through the hydropower system.  More fundamentally, we can begin to look at more realistic, spatially explicit, tributary habitat restoration scenarios to examine whether the enormous financial investment on such restoration actions can help recover these populations or prevent their extinction.

Theme: Habitats to Support Sustainable Fisheries and Recovered Populations
Foci: Characterize relationships between habitat and ecosystem processes, climate variation, and the viability of organisms.
Develop effective and efficient habitat restoration and conservation techniques.