Science is the foundation of understanding. The UCSRB works with both natural and social science to understand the biological, physical and societal implications of ongoing river restoration efforts. Through our science program, the UCSRB compiles information currently available, regularly reports on our progress to meeting established recovery goals, and responds to frequent requests for information. The science staff closely coordinate with the Regional Technical Team, providing a symbiotic approach to the planning and implementation science with the synthesized results of our progress. This adaptive approach to implementation is necessary for us to implement and adjust in our approach as we learn more about what the information is telling us: how effective the actions are, how the fish are responding, how close we getting to our goals. The science team also works very closely with the forest health effort to ensure that relevant and available technical information is influencing the conversation on how to proceed with forest restoration. Finally, much of this information is synthesized for use on or regional outreach materials.
The Science Program has three main focuses – Integrated Recovery Reporting, Science Outreach, and Science Coordination.
Greer Maier is the Science Program Manager.
Inherent in the creation of the Recovery Plan was the reliance on integration of actions across all sectors affecting salmon and steelhead (harvest, hatcheries, hydropower, and habitat), as well as integration of actions beyond the boundaries of the Upper Columbia region (e.g. lower Columbia, estuary, and ocean). While the Recovery Plan included specific actions for habitat as an attachment referred to as an “implementation schedule”, it also acknowledges that actions in freshwater tributary habitat are not likely to be enough to achieve recovery on their own and should not be the sole focus of recovery efforts. The range of improvements needed to achieve viable salmonid populations will require continued recovery actions across all H-sectors.
Integrated management of salmon and steelhead means coordinating decision-making to meet various recovery and legal objectives. Decisions about management programs tend to be made at higher levels, according to discipline, and in isolation from one another. The challenge is to work together to achieve recovery while honoring treaty and reserved rights, and meeting legal and regulatory requirements. etter alignment between the entities engaged in recovery goals and decision-making processes will improve our chances of meeting recovery goals and objectives while achieving sustainable, harvestable sport, commercial and cultural fisheries.
As one strategy for addressing the need for coordination and integration of efforts across management sectors, the UCSRB created an Integrated Recovery Program. The purpose of this program is to track and report information about the status of actions affecting salmon and steelhead recovery across management and geographic boundaries for the purpose of informing decision-making and management. This Habitat Report is part of a series of Integrated Recovery reports summarizing the major management programs and their reported outcomes related to listed Upper Columbia salmon and steelhead management and recovery. These reports are intended to help support “All- H” collaboration and can be used to a) to improve integrated decision-making; b) as a communication and outreach tool; c) as a means for identifying key uncertainties and gaps in knowledge and understanding; and d) as a means for better understanding progress toward integrated recovery. These reports are based on unbiased, scientific information and data compiled from a variety of sources working within each sector.
Completed Integrated Recovery Reports can be found here:
Integrated Recovery Reports
A primary goal of the Science Program is to make science more accessible. This effort includes coordinating with each of the monitoring programs , disseminating science, and providing technical support. Information and access to monitoring resources are provided to salmon recovery partners in the Upper Columbia on request and through various communication tools such as the UCSRB website and workshops and conferences. We continue to focus on summarizing and packaging information for project sponsors and stakeholders while supporting long-term efforts to develop regional models and decision support tools that will support this effort. In addition to communicating data, information, and resources the UCSRB is also responsible for maintenance, quality control, and technical assistance related to the Habitat Work Schedule project database, which tracks and documents habitat project information for outreach and reporting purposes on our progress toward recovery goals.
Research and monitoring in the Upper Columbia for salmonids has been on-going for over 60 years. In recent years, efforts to monitor and restore both fish and habitat have increased dramatically. Monitoring for hatchery programs have increased in scope and scale and information is collected on fish returning to (adults) and leaving (smolts) their natal subbasins in addition to other information such as life history characteristics. Today monitoring and research in the Upper Columbia region represents a significant investment. Through it’s Science Program, the UCSRB works with regional monitoring programs, the RTT’s Monitoring and Data Management Committee, and the partners to implement an agency-neutral, unbiased, locally-operated data management and analysis framework for fish and habitat. Through our efforts to coordinate and disseminate science we help support science in the region and ensure that information is useful and easily accessible.