200753800 - Predicting the future effects of climate-induced stream warming on spring Chinook salmon and their predators in the John Day River Basin

Sponsor: University of Washington

Short description: We propose an innovative modeling approach that integrates climate-change projections, riparian land-use scenarios, and stream temperature modeling, to predict potential impacts on Chinook salmon, smallmouth bass and northern pikeminnow.

Location: Columbia Plateau province, John Day subbasin

Budgets: FY08: $161,802 | FY09: $53,157

Primary species:
Anadromous: Chinook: Mid-Columbia River Spring ESU
Resident: Smallmouth Bass
Resident: Northern Pikeminnow


ObjectiveDescriptionSubbasin planStrategies
1. Forecasting future stream thermal regimes Combining a regional general circulation model, spatial distribution of riparian vegetation, and a stream temperature model, will provide novel insight into how riverine thermal regimes (i.e., magnitude, duration, frequency, and rate of change in water temperatures) are predicted to respond to future climate, streamflow, and riparian vegetation. We expect that water temperatures will increase in response to projected global warming, the magnitude of which will vary among the North and Middle Forks of the John Day River and differ seasonally and longitudinally within these sub-basins. Moreover, local-scale increases in water temperatures associated with climate change scenarios will be most pronounced in reaches of degraded riparian habitat with less shade, and least pronounced with intact riparian canopy cover. John Day See proposal for specific linkages and page references.
2. Modeling species responses to thermal regimes Mechanistic thermal niche models for each species will be coupled with projected stream temperature regimes to provide detailed predictions of changes in the distributions of Chinook salmon, smallmouth bass, and northern pikeminnow in the Upper John Day River Basin. We expect that thermal habitat suitability for different life-history stages of Chinook salmon will decrease in response a warmer climate. Spatial and seasonal availability of required thermal conditions for juvenile Chinook salmon will be defined by its age-specific thermal tolerances, including cold-water summer refugia for adults. The potential distribution of smallmouth bass and northern pikeminnow will likely increase in response to projected climate warming; the rate of spread and extent of range expansion will be directly related to thermal aspects of their life-histories. Climate-induced range expansion of smallmouth bass and northern pikeminnow may increase their spatial and temporal overlap with critical habitats of spring Chinook salmon, including rearing and migration habitat. John Day See proposal for specific linkages and page references.
3. Identify key areas for riparian restoration Alternative scenarios of future stream temperatures throughout the Upper John Day River will be simulated using projections of climate change and riparian land-use (i.e., projected future loss, protection opportunities using conservation easements, and restoration efforts according to the John Day Fish Habitat Enhancement Program and other riparian management plans). This will provide critical information for identifying intact riparian habitat that might mediating the effects of climate change by decreasing instream water temperatures, thus creating more habitat for salmon and less opportunity for smallmouth bass and northern pikeminnow to expand their range. Moreover, this information will feed directly into the development of management priorities for riparian restoration and conservation efforts (i.e., riparian fencing) aimed at maintaining coolwater habitat for salmon. John Day See proposal for specific linkages and page references.



  • ISRP: Innovative, Research-Oriented, Highly Justified
  • Council: Not fundable
  • BPA: Not fundable