Poster Session

The poster session will take place in the main lobby during the breaks on Wednesday January 24th and during the morning break on Thursday January 25th. 

Co-Author: Ryan Klett, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Abstract: The Okanogan Monitoring and Evaluation Program is nearing 20 years in existence. This poster will present an overview of the annual work we conduct to monitor habitat parameters for salmon and steelhead in the Okanogan River Basin.

Co-Authors: Brian Miller Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Abstract: The Okanogan Basin Monitoring and Evaluation Program has been around for 20 years and this poster provides an overview of the work we do annually to collect status and trend data for summer steelhead in the Okanogan River Basin.

Co-Authors: Matt Helstab, U.S. Forest Service, Greer Maier, GSRO, Phil Roni, Cramer Fish Sciences, Kai Ross, Cramer Fish Sciences, Colin Thorne, University of Nottingham, UK, Sean Welch, BPA

Abstract: Channel-floodplain disconnection and floodplain loss is widespread throughout the Columbia River Basin (CRB), both directly from conversion and indirectly from land management practices. Loss of floodplain connectivity has negatively affected aquatic, riparian, wetland, and floodplain habitats, and disrupted food webs and nutrient cycling, resulting in a loss of ecosystem function and a reduced capacity of the CRB to support viable populations of salmonids (Bellmore and Baxter 2014; Roni et al. 2019). The extent of floodplain loss in the Columbia River Basin has not been fully quantified. In order to understand the impact of floodplain loss and the potential for restoring these habitats, there is the need to develop a comprehensive approach to 1) map floodplain and valley floor extent throughout the basin, 2) identify isolated and disconnected floodplain, and 3) identify areas of future floodplain restoration. We were contracted by Bonneville Power Agency to work alongside the floodplain project team to develop a tool and data products to evaluate floodplain loss and to identify and prioritize restoration opportunities for all streams within the CRB in the United States. This poster reports the results of the first phase of this mapping, which focused on mapping valley floors and developing a framework for identifying floodplain habitat within those valleys. We conducted literature reviews and interviews, and reviewed over 16 approaches for mapping valley bottoms to select a protocol that would be feasible and of sufficient resolution to map all valley bottoms in the CRB. We leveraged these studies to develop an elevation-based method using an Inverse-Distance Weighted Relative Elevation Model method, that allowed us to use published and readily available USGS 10-m 3DEP Depth Elevation Models (DEM) and National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) stream networks and produced REMs and valley bottom polygons for the entire CRB. Across the CRB, we mapped over 275,446 km2 of valley bottom, classified as from – 10 – 20 m relative elevation (RE). The results of this mapping represent the first step of a multi-phase project, in which we will perform an accuracy assessment and use machine learning (e.g., random forest) models to further refine the valley bottom extent and classify floodplain habitat within that extent.

Co-Author: Hans Smith, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation

Abstract: Located at the downstream end of the most recent glaciation, the historically broad depositional floodplain in the Horseshoe Side Channel project reach provided extremely valuable spawning and rearing habitat for spring Chinook and steelhead. More recently, in the last 50-80 years, the project area has experienced substantial clearing and grading and the installation of levees resulting in channel straightening and downcutting, which in turn has reduced floodplain inundation and cutoff access to the valuable floodplain rearing habitats for juvenile salmonids. The 2015 Middle Twisp Reach Assessment helped identify this reach as a high priority for restoration, specifically targeting peripheral and transitional habitats. The Horseshoe Side Channel was constructed in 2018 as part of a multiphase effort within a 1-mile reach of the Twisp river. This project took place entirely on privately owned land, demonstrating a balance re-establishing floodplain habitats without increasing risk for adjacent infrastructure. Post-implementation monitoring has identified increasing pool and cover habitat caused by the racking of wood and beaver dams. Additional monitoring conducted by BPAs Action Effectiveness Monitoring (AEM) program has found increases in salmonid abundance in this completed side channel compared to the upstream control reach.

Co-Authors: C.J. Smith, USFWS, Rick Alford & Danielle Grundy, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation

Abstract: The Winthrop National Fish Hatchery (WNFH) summer steelhead conservation program functions as an integrated/conservation program with goals of increasing natural spawner abundance and distribution. Since 2008, WNFH transitioned from an Upper Columbia River Basin commingled hatchery origin brood source to a 100% locally-collected (Methow Subbasin) natural-origin broodstock. This step was critical to further integrate natural-origin and hatchery populations and maintain local stock structure within the Methow Subbasin. One measure of program success in the natural environment is an overlap in spawning distribution between natural and hatchery-origin adults. To assist with this effort, the Yakama Nation’s (YN) Spring Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Acclimation Project (under the Upper Columbia Production Projects) is designed to provide additional acclimation opportunities for existing spring Chinook and steelhead hatchery mitigation programs in the Wenatchee and Methow basins. Acclimation intends to imprint hatchery smolts to return to quality habitat rather than returning to sites near the hatchery which often have high densities of hatchery fish and reduced habitat quality. Remote acclimation of a portion of WNFH’s annual steelhead program may improve the efficacy of supplementation. Verification of improved spawning distribution for acclimated summer steelhead is challenging in that few, if any, post-spawn carcasses are recovered. Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags and instream antenna arrays can be used to document distribution of returning adults. The USFWS and YN are working together to increase the number of PIT tagged juveniles and detection sites in the Upper Methow Basin allowing for more precise escapement estimates.

Abstract: Fish passage assessments used by habitat practitioners typically consist of relatively simple field data collection and office approaches that use a single size class, species of fish, and flow level as benchmarks. More data intensive assessments are available using the USFS FishXing software program; however, the result lacks strong temporal resolution without running and cataloguing dozens of iterations for each assessment site. We present a method to evaluate month-wise passage probability for multiple salmonid age classes using basic survey data, a site-specific synthetic hydrograph and simple, explicit solutions for normal depth and velocity.

Co-Author: Margaret A. Malone, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University

Abstract: Fishes include some of the most threatened vertebrate species globally. As such, efforts to effectively conserve and manage fish populations and their habitats are vast. Many questions in fisheries management and conservation involve formulation of hypotheses that can be addressed with conceptual tools and theory from behavioral ecology. Such approaches are not commonly used to assess conservation strategies and conservation efficacy. Here, we present the tools from behavioral ecology that can connect questions relevant to managers and practitioners with behavioral theories and methodologies. Behaviors with useful tools include diet choice, patch use, habitat selection, movement, and social behaviors. In each case, theory approaches the ecological tradeoffs associated with a given behavioral trait through the lens of adaptations and fitness implications—the foundational principles of behavioral ecology. Here, we compile the conceptual and methodological approaches to assemble a toolkit through which fisheries managers may assess behaviors via novel study designs and/or new ways of interpreting commonly collected data. We then provide a prospectus for the development of these tools that will guide fisheries managers and conservation biologists in evaluating the effectiveness of their efforts.

Co-Author: Ryan Klett, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Abstract: From 2005 to 2022, our anadromous fisheries monitoring and evaluation program used Trimble Terrasync software and Trimble handheld GPS devices for our data collection and transfer. When Trimble announced they would be discontinuing support for Terrasync, we looked around for modern alternatives. Since our organization uses ESRI ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro for our mapping and GIS data needs, it made sense to explore ESRI applications for data collection. ESRI Field Maps is a map-centric data collection app that allows users to collect and edit data in the field. Creating a data collection form in Field Maps requires initial time investment, but it is easy to collect precise location and attribute data in the field whether online or offline once complete. We will discuss lessons learned testing Field Maps with different hand held devices and which devices fit our applications best.

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