Integrating Fish Physiology, Habitat and Climate Models to Design Aquatic Conservation Strategies
Time: 12:00-1:30 PM Mountain Time
Presenters: Alec Maule and Joe Benjamin, US Geological Survey, Columbia River Research Laboratory
Summary: Numerous fish species in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), including five iconic Pacific salmon species. These fish and other important fish species to the PNW need a variety of habitat types that include appropriate water temperatures, flows, food, and refuge from predators. Key to fish using these resources is the connectivity among habitats in which they use daily and seasonally, and among habitats used as they grow and mature.
Fish species such as fluvial bull trout, cutthroat trout, and mountain whitefish can move 50 km or more on a seasonal basis. Required habitat connectivity could be seriously threatened by changes in flow and temperature predicted with global climate change. In this Great Northern LCC supported project, the US Geological Survey and partners are studying the response of fish to restoration efforts and constructing a model relating stream habitat with fish population dynamics based on empirical data, including water temperature and flow, fish distribution and abundance, stream productivity, and measures of connectivity of habitats.
Our study in the Methow River watershed combines data on fish growth, distribution, and movement with information on foodweb, river flow, and water temperature to develop spatially-explicit bioenergetics models to assess effects of climate change on the resistance and persistence of salmonid populations. In this webinar, we will present a brief summary of our interdisciplinary studies and modeling of climate change in the Methow and other eastern Washington watersheds within the Great Northern LCC.