Salmon Population Modeling

Effects of land use and climate change on Skagit River salmon populations

Additional Funds Needed for Completion: $200,000–300,000

Background and motivation: In the Pacific Northwest, many resource managers are concerned about the long-term viability of salmon populations in response to a changing environment driven by climate change and increasing land use. These populations include Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tschawytcha) and steelhead (O. mykiss), listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in many areas, and coho salmon (O. kisutch), currently listed as a Species of Concern in Puget Sound. Better understanding of the potential threats to these species from land use will improve our management alternatives such as habitat restoration and protection and sustainable harvest levels. To effectively predict how species will be affected by future land use and climate change, we need life cycle models that examine population responses to habitat changes mediated by changes in land use and climate. We propose to construct these models for Chinook salmon, steelhead, and coho salmon.

Objectives: 1) build and test life cycle models for three species, 2) incorporate various land use scenarios on freshwater habitat, 3) incorporate climate change scenarios on freshwater and marine habitats.

Project Team: The project team consists of Correigh Greene (NW Fisheries Science Center), Tim Beechie (NW Fisheries Science Center), Eric Beamer (Skagit River System Cooperative), John Paul Shanahan (Sauk/Suiattle Tribe), Ed Connor (Seattle City Light), Mara Zimmerman (WA Dept of Fish and Wildlife), and Noble Hendrix (R2 Consultants).

Expected Outcome: Projections of extinction risk and population levels under various land use and climate change scenarios.