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FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper Draft 8-4-09 C.26


Action Immediate Additional Actions: Life-cycle modeling support to BiOp
contingency planning

Lead Agency NOAA


Description: Current activities: The 2008 Biop used a combination of life-cycle modeling and
• Current passage modeling (COMPASS) to estimate how changes in life-stage specific survival
activities affect long term viability metrics (productivity, mean abundance and probability of
quasi-extinction). These analyses adequately expressed population viability and effects
• Proposed of hydropower system operations and configurations on smolt survival and alternative
enhanceme ocean/climatic scenarios.
nts
Proposed enhancements: However, as pointed out by Dr. Lubchenco’s workshop
with independent scientists, the existing models need to be expanded further to explicitly
evaluate a variety of other factors, described below. In addition, the expanded models
can be developed to estimate the likelihood that early-warning and contingency triggers
might be met under alternative scenarios of climate change and management strategies.

This will be accomplished in two ways: First, we will update the Interior Columbia
Technical Recovery Teams stochastic life-cycle models to incorporate most recent
population data (abundance of adults and juveniles, stage-specific survival, etc.) and
expand the number of populations considered where possible (Snake River
spring/summer Chinook; Snake River steelhead; Upper Columbia spring Chinook; and
Mid Columbia steelhead). We will also explore data availability and, to the extent
possible, develop data-supported models for populations within ESUs that have not been
modeled to date (Snake River fall Chinook; Snake River sockeye; and Upper Columbia
steelhead). Second, we will expand the current models to address:

• Climate –sensitivity of ESUs. Analyzing the potential effects of climate change


is a key element to the FCRPS Biological Opinion’s Adaptive Management Plan (Plan).
Ultimately, as part of the spatially explicit modeling discussed below, we want to identify
which ESUs are most sensitive to climate variability and which restoration actions are
most resilient to climate change. Results will be used to guide BiOp implementation
decisions and cost effectiveness.

•Climate - adaptive management. We will evaluate effects of climate variability and


change in the near (1-2 years) term by incorporating predicted climate conditions, such as
freshwater conditions (e.g., snow pack), mainstem conditions (flow and temperature),
and ocean conditions on survival through the life cycle. Outputs will inform the early
warning component of the Plan, as will our existing monitoring of marine ecosystem
productivity each year. Longer term effects of climate will be modeled based on model
studies of biological responses to projected changes in freshwater and marine climate
conditions from various scenarios (IPCC, NOAA, UW-CIG). Outputs will be considered
qualitatively in the context of the running 4-year averages in adult escapement “triggers”
in the Plan and used to further judge trend patterns.

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• Hatchery effects. A critical uncertainty is the effect of hatchery spawners on the


success of wild spawners, the impact of hatchery releases on wild populations, and
density-dependent effects of hatchery production on the productivity of wild fish. Each
of issues has been evaluated to some degree, and we will model the effects of hatcheries
on populations under various ocean productivity regimes and climate scenarios. This will
provide a sensitivity analysis of the potential role of hatchery production in recovery and
to possibly identify alternative production release timing strategies that increase survival
of wild fish and hatchery fish.

• Habitat actions and monitoring. The potential effects of habitat improvements


on population viability metrics will be incorporated into the life cycle models as the
information becomes available from Intensively Monitored Watersheds (IMW) and RME
activities. Results of analyses of key assumptions on how fish populations respond to
habitat alterations will be used to guide future RME and IMW activities, and used
qualitatively as part of the 2-year early warning and 4-year trigger components of the
Plan. The potential biological benefits and impacts of breaching the four lower Snake
River dams will be evaluated.

Spatially explicit modeling. As stated above, we will expand the number of populations
and ESUs considered in Leslie matrix models, as available data allow. This comparative
approach will allow us to more fully identify similarities and differences in how
populations respond to factors such as variability in freshwater and marine productivity,
differing levels of habitat restoration across watersheds, and influences of total hatchery
composition on the wild component of the ESU.

• Interspecific interactions. We will evaluate the availability of data on the effects


of other native species (competitors, piscivorous and avian predators, and prey), invasive
species (competitors, predators, or pathogens), or other salmon populations (i.e., tradeoffs
among ESUs) on target salmon populations. If sufficient data exist, we will evaluate the
potential effects through food web or bioenergetics models, or other analyses, to estimate
the magnitude of their impact.
Potential Through sensitivity analyses and other diagnostic approaches, the life-cycle modeling
Magnitude of will help to identify particular life stages that may be a bottleneck for specific
Biological populations to guide directed mitigation actions.
Benefit
Estimated Cost $ 400 K/year
Current Background: See current activities section, above.
Situation:
• Background Involved parties and agreements: A regional, collaborative process similar to that
• Involved used by the TRTs and to develop the COMPASS model will be used, which incorporated
parties and transparent and independent scientific peer review as a foundational component.
agreements
• Implementa Implementation potential: Our ability to build the models for new ESUs and expand
tion the existing and new models to address critical scientific uncertainties will vary
potential/ depending on the amount and quality of information being incorporated. Model
do- ability development and scenario analysis will continue to evolve and expand as new
information is found or gathered and incorporated into the models. Model development

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is a process and model outputs will be incorporated into management decisions as they
become available. Over time, outputs will be bounded by tighter confidence intervals
and less uncertainty.

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