Response for project 200301000: Historic Hab Food Web Link Sal

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

We would like to renew project 2003-010-00 for FY 2006. The budget approved by the council is consistent with expectations and needs to complete this work.

Accomplishments since the last review

Produce Annual ReportCompleted annual report for 2003-04.
Develop RM&E Methods and DesignsTechniques developed for reconstructing historic and contemporary estuarine life histories of juvenile salmon from the microchemistry of scales and otoliths
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Datadigitized and georeferenced 1/3 of historic (1850-1910) hydrographic survey data sheets for the estuary
Manage/Maintain DatabaseSimulation database developed for 2002 to calibrate 3-D circulation model for evaluating historic change in habitat opportunity for salmon
Analyze/Interpret DataTo assess food-web changes, analyzed C and N isotopic signatures for 50 salmon and 69 organic matter sources from 2003. Processed 2002-03 intestinal parasite samples for salmon habitat-associations & trophic pathways. Analyzed historic tidal records

Year 3 of this 3-year study begins June 1.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Produce Annual ReportProduce annual report
Produce/Submit Scientific Findings ReportProduce/submit scientific reports on effects of estuarine habitat change on salmon and management implications
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataComplete historic bathymetric/topographic model and extend tidal and habitat change analyses in the upper estuary
Analyze/Interpret DataFinalize stable isotope analyses of prey resources and juvenile salmon. Link changes in habitat opportunity to change in historic food webs and salmon life histories. Use modeling to evaluate salmonid responses to flow and habitat restoration scenarios.

Expanded description: Reconstruct the historic extent of estuarine and tidal floodplain habitats (Columbia River mouth to Bonneville Dam) and historic changes in climate, river flow, and sediment transport. Work in 2006 will complete the historic bathymetric/topographic model for the estuary and extend tidal and habitat change analyses in the upper estuary. Through simulation modeling evaluate effects of cumulative change in bathymetry and flow on habitat opportunity for juvenile salmon. In 2006 we will link simulated changes in habitat opportunity to historic food web and life history changes (described below). Evaluate effects of habitat change and flow regulation on historic and contemporary estuarine food webs that support juvenile salmon. In 2006 we will finalize stable isotope analyses of historic and contemporary prey resources and for tissue samples of juvenile salmon of known life history. Evaluate the implications of historic habitat change for flow management and habitat restoration in the estuary. In 2006 we will use simulation modeling to examine salmonid responses to selected flow management and habitat restoration scenarios.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

This project is consistent with and implements estuarine strategies E.S4, E.S5 (Regional plan pages 6-27 and 6-28; Estuary/lower Mainstem subbasin plan page A-245,) and measure E.M3 (regional plan p. 6-28; subbasin plan page A-246). These strategies and measures relate to Physical Objectives for salmonids Sa.PO.1 and Sa.PO.7 (Estuary/lower Mainstem subbasin plan, pages A-223 and A-224). Actions in this subbasin affect survival of all salmonids throughout the Columbia River Basin (Estuary/lower mainstem subbasin plan, p. A-223; Management plan supplement, p. 1-1). This project is aimed at understanding effects of historic habitat and food-web changes in the estuary to support estuarine protection and restoration measures. It addresses information needs in the Management Plan Supplement for understanding (a) habitat-forming processes in support of strategy 1 (pages 2.2 to 2.6); (b) the importance of wetland habitats and macrodetrital food chains for salmon in support of strategy 2 (pages 2-6 to 2-10); and (c) fish-habitat relationships and historic habitat conditions needed to implement the Supporting Strategy (Manage Uncertainty) and to develop restoration objectives (pages 2-15 to 2-17).

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

This project accomplishes priority work by providing understanding of estuarine processes, salmonid habitat needs, and interactions. Lack of understanding in each of these areas has been identified as an overall constraint to plan implementation (Management Plan Supplement, p. 2-1). Specifically, this research addresses many of the critical uncertainties listed for the Mainstem/Estuary (numbers 11, 15, 18, 19, 21, regional plan page 7-29) and for Hydropower (number 2, regional plan page 7-29) that undermine effective recovery plan implementation (Estuary/lower Mainstem subbasin plan, section 5.10, pages A-262 and A-263). It also implements three of the four priority “next steps” identified in the Management Plan Supplement (p. 5-2). By providing information needed to support estuarine habitat protection and restoration, this research potentially benefits all anadromous salmonids in the Basin as well as hundreds of other species that use this unique environment (Management Plan Supplement, p. 1-1).

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