Sefsgrads Fish and Wildlife Ecology Seminar – Monday 2/11/19 3pm

Correigh Greene (Research Biologist, NOAA NWFS) will be presenting Monday (2/11/19) from 3-4 pm in the Physics and Astronomy Tower, Room C520.

Title: How science can inform habitat restoration for a threatened species: a case study of Chinook salmon in the Skagit River, WA

Species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) often face multiple threats, some of which are broadly covered under critical habitat designations. However, critical habitat designations focus on protecting existing habitat. Effective habitat conservation depends on not only maintaining adequate habitat protection but also restoration of habitats limiting key life stages. Which habitats deserve the most attention, what types of actions are likely to be most beneficial, and are these actions resilient to emerging extrinsic factors such as climate change? These questions require effective population ecology studies to address.

In this talk, I highlight how applied ecological research has been used to address habitat restoration actions for Chinook salmon, an anadromous species that is ESA-listed in many rivers of Puget Sound and other regions. Chinook salmon use multiple habitats during their migration to and from the ocean, complicating determination of habitat-based limiting factors and the most effective restoration opportunities. I focus on the Skagit River as a case study where multiple monitoring and model-based efforts have been used to better understand fish-habitat relationships in order to establish a sound foundation for habitat restoration. The recovery plan for Skagit River Chinook salmon calls out numerous recovery actions including habitat restoration, in recognition of threats at multiple life stages. Following the creation of the recovery plan, collaborations among state, federal, and tribal scientists have addressed several questions to better implement habitat restoration: 1) What habitats have exhibited the greatest loss and are currently limiting juvenile Chinook populations? 2) What habitat restoration actions are most effective at facilitating extended residence by juvenile Chinook? 3) Has habitat restoration resulted in demonstrative benefits to the population? 4) Are habitat restoration actions resilient to climate impacts?

These efforts point to the need for synthetic work combining population modeling and long-term population monitoring of listed species. Determining resilient habitat restoration strategies will remain a scientific and political challenge as extrinsic factors like climate change continue to play out, but better science can reduce the risk of misplaced recovery efforts.

Zoom Meeting information:

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Upcoming FWE seminars:

Date Speaker
Monday’s 3-4 pm
1/7/19 Scott Pearson
1/14/19 Eric Regehr
1/28/19 Tom Quinn/Aaron Wirsing
2/4/19 John Marzluff
2/11/19 Correigh Greene
2/25/19 Tasha Gownaris
3/4/19 Neala Kendall
3/11/19 Peter Mahoney

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