Nisqually Chinook Population Response to Large-Scale Estuary Restoration


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This is the presentation give by Christopher Ellings at the August 2011 Nisqually River Council meeting.

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  • FIGURE 2
  • NISQUALLYDELTARESTORATION.ORG – In addition to biophysical monitoring, we have also developed a Nisqually Delta Restoration website to provide up to date information about restoration and monitoring efforts . This page includes monitoring summaries, construction photos, 360 degree panoramic photographs of the restoration site and real time water level, quality, and weather data.
  • HISTORIC CHANNELS – This map shows the historic water channels in the Nisqually Delta based on the map I showed previously from 1878. The dike, shown here in yellow, disconnected the se channels and served as a barrier to fish and invertebrates, nutrient exchange, seed dispersal and sediment movement. Since the 1970s, the Refuge has managed the area as freshwater wetlands protecting it from industrialization. The quality of the habitat, however, had declined due to invasive plants, in particular Reed Canary Grass ( Phalaris arundinacea) which has been estimated to cover 40% of the site. By removing the dike, more than 21 miles of tidal sloughs and channels will be restored in the Nisqually Estuary and because so little salt marsh habitat remains in the region, this project will increase salt marsh in south Puget Sound by 50%. RESTORATION PLAN – This map shows more of the nuts and bolts of the restoration plan. The dikes highlighted in red are those that were removed, while the one in orange is the new exterior dike containing the area that is to remain a freshwater wetland. The dashed line represents the new trail and boardwalk that will eventually extend along McAllister Creek to the northern edge of the restoration area. Along with complete dike removal, there were also several channel reconnections made to facilitate the flow of water into historic channels. These are shown as yellow dots. From this map you can also see the Nisqually Tribe restoration sites to the east of the Nisqually River. The Tribe led the way for estuary restoration in this area and have already restored 140 acres within the Nisqually estuary. DIKE REMOVAL – Here is a photograph from the dike removal this summer. This shot was taken along the northern dike. The Sound is on your right to the north and the Refuge is to the left. I can tell you that trying to collect baseline monitoring data this summer while all this was going on was pretty exciting. Huge trucks full of dirt were driving everywhere, access was frequently blocked by excavators, and I literally had to turn around at times because the dike I used to drive on had been removed. LETTING THE TIDES IN – On September 23 th of this year, the first Puget Sound tides entered the Nisqually NWR site in over 100 years. This picture is of Steve Liske, the Ducks Unlimited engineer for the project, standing on the last piece of dike separating the Sound on the right, to the freshwater inside the restoration site on the left. When the tide was high enough, an excavator removed the sliver of land and we were able to witness the waters mix. PROJECT PARTNERS – First, I wanted to acknowledge our project partners. The Nisqually Delta is a dynamic region that has attracted many researchers and we are proud to be coordinating research with many of them. I’d specifically like to recognize our partnerships with the Nisqually NWR, Nisqually Indian Tribe, Ducks Unlimited, USGS Coastal Marine Geology, USGS Western Fisheries Research Center and the Nisqually River Foundation.
  • Nisqually Chinook Population Response to Large-Scale Estuary Restoration

    1. 1. Nisqually Chinook Population Response to Large-Scale Estuary Restoration
    2. 2. <ul><li>Salmon Recovery and Conservation Drives Delta Restoration </li></ul>Completed Pilot Project 9 Acres 1996 Phase 1 31 Acres 2002 Phase 2 100 Acres 2006 Refuge Restoration >700 Acres
    3. 3. Ecosystem, Diagnostic, and Treatment Model used to formulate Chinook Recovery Habitat Action Plan <ul><li>EDT model runs estimate a doubling of natural origin Chinook with large scale estuary restoration </li></ul><ul><li>What are the interacting linkages behind the modeled impact? </li></ul>With more of this more of these survive to become
    4. 4. Simplistic linear model to describe Chinook-Estuary interaction: Channel formation, vegetation colonization, invertebrate community structure, etc. Chinook life history diversity, abundance, and productivity Density dependent effects Harvest, Puget Sound conditions, ocean conditions, etc. Chinook require space (of appropriate temp, D.O., salinity, etc.) and food in order to grow Estuary restoration will increase space and food Increased space and food will increase growth Increased growth will increase smolt to adult survival Chinook estuary residency and growth is directly related to smolt to adult survival
    5. 5. Fish Ecology Research Summary <ul><li>Delta-wide scale </li></ul><ul><li>Spatial and temporal distribution of fish populations across habitat zones </li></ul><ul><li>Feeding behavior of Chinook across habitat zones within the delta </li></ul><ul><li>Otolith analysis to determine life-history diversity, residency, and growth of juvenile Chinook in delta </li></ul><ul><li>Trend monitoring </li></ul>From 2004-2010 we completed over 1500 Beach Seine sets, spread out over 8 habitat zones
    6. 6. New for 2010 Lampara Net Fish distribution and abundance at shallow water ‘offshore’ habitat features (eelgrass beds, mudflats, and subtidal benches.
    7. 8. Unmarked (a.k.a. ‘wild’) Chinook
    8. 18. Hypothesis #1: Chinook will distribute more evenly across EEM with increased connectivity following restoration. Beach Seine Habitat Zones Estuary Emergent Marsh (EEM) Freshwater Delta Flats Nearshore Forested Riverine Tidal (FRT) Emergent Forested Transition (EFT) Nearshore
    9. 19. Relative Abundance and Timing of Primary Fish Species Captured in the Nisqually Estuary
    10. 20. Juvenile Chinook Population Baseline Estuary Growth, Residency, and Life History Diversity <ul><li>(work conducted by Kim Larsen and Angie Lind-Null, USGS) </li></ul><ul><li>Naturally Spawned Chinook </li></ul><ul><li>Average Growth: 0.57 mm/day </li></ul><ul><li>Average Estuary Residency: </li></ul><ul><li>16 days, range 10 – 35 days </li></ul><ul><li>Delta Check (DC) observed </li></ul><ul><li>in late May-early June </li></ul><ul><li>Hatchery Chinook </li></ul><ul><li>Average Growth: 0.59 mm/day </li></ul><ul><li>Average Estuary Residency: </li></ul><ul><li>9 days, range 4 – 20 days </li></ul><ul><li>DC observed mid to late May </li></ul>Angie Lind-Null & Kim Larsen, USGS DC
    11. 21. Residence = 30 days post emergence (E) Average MIW = 2.92 microns Residence = 9 days Average MIW = 3.48 microns Residence = 12 days Average MIW = 3.04 microns
    12. 22. Hypothesis #2: Average Growth Rate Should Increase following Restoration of Delta Hypothesis #3: Average Residence Time should Increase following Restoration of Delta
    13. 23. <ul><li>Blind Channel Slough ‘site-specific’ scale </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunity to access restored and reference sloughs determined by monitoring fish temporal distribution and abundance </li></ul><ul><li>Site specific capacity of sloughs measured by determining prey resource availability </li></ul><ul><li>Realized function of sloughs measured by examining the feeding behavior of target fish (hatchery and unmarked Chinook) </li></ul>
    14. 24. Fyke trap catch tests opportunity Fallout traps and other invertebrate sampling techniques assess site capacity Chinook diet analysis used to assess realized function
    15. 25. Fyke Trap Sites Phase II Control Animal Madrone
    16. 26. 2010 Fyke Trap Species Composition
    17. 27. 2010 Natural and Hatchery Chinook Catch from Madrone (Refuge Restoration) and Animal Sloughs 2011 Natural and Hatchery Chinook Catch from Madrone (Refuge Restoration) and Animal Sloughs
    18. 28. Post-Restoration Invertebrate Composition and Abundance: Capacity Assessment Phase 1 2004 and 2005 Chinook Diet Composition Post-Restoration Chinook Salmon Diet Composition: Realized Function Assessment Phase 1 2005 Fallout Trap Composition The Phase 1 sampled invertebrate community composition is 68% similar to the unmarked Chinook diet composition and 88% similar to the hatchery Chinook diet composition. 2007: Phase 2 diets 10-20% similar to fallout catch 2008: Phase 2 diets 20-72% similar to fallout catch
    19. 29. Chinook Population Response Hypotheses Chinook require space (of appropriate temp, D.O., salinity, etc.) and food in order to grow Estuary restoration will increase space and food Increased space and food will increase growth Increased growth will increase smolt to adult survival Chinook estuary residency and growth is directly related to smolt to adult survival Before restoration the Nisqually estuary did not have adequate space or food for optimum growth of Chinook (Capacity Constraint). Post-restoration Nisqually delta rearing Chinook will reside longer and grow larger than the pre-restoration delta rearing Chinook (Capacity Constraint Lifted). Alternatively: A greater proportion of Nisqually Chinook will adopt a delta rearing life history and they will have similar residency and growth as the pre-restoration delta rearing Chinook. Requires long-term monitoring of smolt to adult survival in conjunction with estuary residency and growth measurements…….
    20. 30.
    21. 31. Project Partners and Collaborators <ul><li>Funded by EPA, ESRP, FWS and Students in Support of Native American Relations </li></ul><ul><li>USGS Western Ecological Research Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>J. Y. Takekawa (Project Principal Investigator), I. Woo (Project Coordinator), J. Shinn, A. Naljahih, H. Vaska, S. Bishop, J. Felis, B. Perry, L. Smith, W. Chan, E. Flynn, TESC Graduate Students (L. Belleveau & H. Allgood), UW Tacoma Intern (H. Minnella), Nicholls State University Intern (J. Bell) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>J. Takekawa, D. Roster, J. Barham,M. Bailey and Refuge Volunteers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nisqually Indian Tribe </li></ul><ul><ul><li>J. Dorner, F. Leischner, E. Perez J. Cutler and S. Hodgson </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Nisqually River Foundation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>M. Holt, C. Iverson, A. David and W. Duval </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ducks Unlimited </li></ul><ul><ul><li>D. Golner, S. Liske and P. Schulte </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Avian Design </li></ul><ul><ul><li>C. Fox </li></ul></ul><ul><li>USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>G. Guntenspergen, J. Lynch and J. Olker </li></ul></ul><ul><li>USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Geology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E. Grossman, P. Swarzenski, R. Kayen and D. Finlayson </li></ul></ul><ul><li>USGS Western Fisheries Research Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>S. Rubin, K. Larsen and A. Lind-Null </li></ul></ul><ul><li>USGS Washington Water Science Center </li></ul><ul><ul><li>R. Dinicola, C. Curran </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife </li></ul><ul><ul><li>M. Hayes </li></ul></ul>