On September 12, 1996, the first and only amendment to the Northwest Power Act of 1980 was enacted by Congress. This legislation instructed the Council to take certain steps regarding the prioritization of projects funded by the Bonneville Power Administration in response to the Council's Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program. In the new Section (4)(h)(10)(D)(vi) of the Act, the Council was instructed to "consider the impact of ocean conditions on fish and wildlife populations" in making its recommendations to Bonneville regarding projects to be funded. Consideration of ocean conditions has its most direct impact on anadromous fish populations, such as salmon and steelhead. This paper suggests how the Council might respond to this legislation in regard to anadromous fish populations and provides background information on the relationship between conditions in the ocean and the Council?s program.
Understanding of how ocean conditions affect long- and short-term variation in salmon populations has increased over the last several years. We now have a greater appreciation for the impact of the ocean on salmon abundance and the degree of variation in the marine environment. As species and as groups of populations (metapopulations), salmon, under natural conditions, are sufficiently productive to cope with the mortality they experience during that portion of the life cycle that takes place in the ocean. They deal with environmental variation throughout their life cycle by having a broad array of biological characteristics within and between populations. This variation provides different options for salmon to deal with environmental variability.
In addition, while the ocean environment may be difficult or impossible to influence through the fish and wildlife program, actions can be taken to improve water quality and habitat in the estuary and near-shore environments. These transition zones are critical to young salmon?s survival.
Consequently, because the two primary ways fish and wildlife managers can influence salmon survival in the ocean are through preserving life-history diversity in salmon and improving estuarine and near-shore conditions, staff proposes to "consider the impact of ocean conditions on fish and wildlife populations" by:
- Evaluating the impact of projects, strategies and the fish and wildlife program on salmon productivity and diversity; and
- Evaluating the impact of projects, strategies and the fish and wildlife program on the conditions of estuarine and near-shore ocean habitats.
Consideration of ocean conditions in this context will have broad-reaching implications for the Council?s program.
How ocean conditions are taken into account is based on how we view the ocean and its relationship to freshwater areas and the ecosystem as a whole. In other words, the scientific perspective regarding ocean impacts is the basis for how the Council responds to the intent of the legislation. For this reason, this presentation of the options will be prefaced by a discussion of differing perceptions regarding ocean impacts and how recent improvements in scientific understanding of the ocean can inform the Council?s consideration of ocean conditions in reviewing funding proposals.
The different perspectives on the ocean environment and its relationship to the freshwater will be illustrated using the symbols in Figure 1. Each of the three frames in Figure 1 represents different ways of viewing the ocean and freshwater environments. In each frame, the box on the left represents the freshwater environment, while that on the right represents the marine environment. The horizontal arrows through the boxes illustrate movement of juvenile salmon during their life cycle, from the freshwater to the ocean. Vertical arrows on either the freshwater or marine box represent possible adjustments to affect the number of fish returning. These adjustments can be natural, in the form of year-to-year environmental variability, or human-caused, resulting from management actions to increase numbers of fish or other activities that reduce them.
As shown in Figure 1, there are three general ways in which oceans have been viewed over time. While no individual or entity necessarily ascribes fully to any of these views, elements of one or more of these views form the basis for many salmon management decisions in the Columbia River Basin. These different views have influenced our management of the river and freshwater environment in general:
A. One view is that the production of adult salmon can be determined and manipulated in direct proportion to number of juvenile fish supplied to the ocean. This is based on the assumption that the ocean is a relatively stable environment into which fish enter at a juvenile stage and emerge as mature adults. While acknowledging that a large part of the mortality that occurs over the course of the salmon life cycle takes place in the ocean, the implied assumption is that this mortality is relatively constant. As a result, salmon losses in the ocean can be replaced through an increase in biomass produced in freshwater. In this view, declines in salmon abundance are largely the result of deterioration of the freshwater environment as a result of development activities; the declines can be reversed by mitigation actions in freshwater. Because the ocean is viewed as a fixed environment, a relatively narrow range of biological diversity is required. Management can focus on increasing the number and survival of juvenile fish entering the ocean rather than on increasing or preserving biological diversity. Hatcheries, hydroelectric operations and harvest are managed to provide a standard "product", with limited impact on other uses of the river. Numbers of fish available for harvest or returning to the river can be increased by augmenting the number of juveniles released from hatcheries.
| ||Figure 1. Different perspectives on the relative impact of freshwater and ocean|
environments on salmon production.
This view is summarized in Frame A of Figure 1. The box depicting the freshwater environment flexes while the ocean environment is shown as a fixed black box. The flex in the freshwater environment occurs as a result of environmental variability and management actions such as increasing the number of fish released from hatcheries. The overall goal is a sustained high level of production that is largely independent of variation in ocean conditions.
B. Realization, over the last decade, of the variability in ocean survival of salmon has led to an alternative perspective that views the ocean as the ultimate governor of fish populations. In many ways, this is the opposite of the first view. In this view, environmental changes in the ocean control the number of fish, and the freshwater environment is reduced in importance (Figure 1, Frame B). Variations in ocean conditions occur over relatively short periods of a few years, for example El Ni? conditions, as well as over longer-term cycles measured in decades. Within any time period, geographic variation in conditions can be dramatic as well. Failure to observe simple cause and effect relationships between actions in freshwater and eventual returns of adult fish meant that the size of salmon runs was often attributed to fluctuations in ocean survival. Because many of the factors affecting mortality during the freshwater phase of the salmon cycle are under management control, compared to very few in the marine environment, the importance of mortality during their seawater residence had to be reevaluated. While freshwater actions may assist downstream migrants and returning adults, in this view, they are less important in the face of large and variable ocean mortalities. This has led to the view of the oceans as the ultimate controller of fish populations and the conclusion by some that actions in freshwater are relatively insignificant in the face of ocean mortality. With this view, if changes in the ocean climate dominate changes in salmon biomass, then actions to improve conditions in the river or its tributaries are relatively unimportant, particularly in years when ocean conditions are unfavorable.
C. The first two ocean perspectives discussed above view the freshwater and marine environments as distinct and separable habitats. The perspectives differ in regard to the relative importance placed on either area. More recent thinking about ecosystems and their importance to species of interest, such as salmon, as well as a greater understanding of the ocean have led to a third view in which the ocean is seen as an integral ecosystem component. This view, which is referenced in the report of the Independent Scientific Group (Return to the River: Restoration of Salmonid Fishes in the Columbia River Ecosystem [ Williams, R.N., L.D. Calvin, C.C. Coutant, M.W. Erho, J.A. Lichatowich, W.J. Liss, W.E. McConnaha, P.R. Mundy, J.A. Stanford and R.R. Whitney, 1996. Return to the River: restoration of salmonid fishes in the Columbia River Ecosystem . Northwest Power Planning Council, Portland, OR, September 1996, NPPC 96-6] ) and elsewhere, is based on the understanding that the mortality and variability in ocean conditions is an inherent feature of the salmon ecosystem. The abundance of salmon reflects the overall condition of the entire ecosystem and variation in both the freshwater and marine environments (Figure 1, Frame C).
This third view of the ecosystem can be summarized in the following points:
- The ocean cannot be viewed as being unlimited. Ocean conditions and capacity do vary and can be limiting.
- Freshwater and marine environments are not independent. There is evidence that variation in the two environments are linked and that both are integral parts of the salmonid ecosystem.
- The estuary is an important bridge between these two portions of the ecosystem. Conditions in the estuary can be an important determinant of early ocean survival of salmon.
- Environmental variability is an inherent feature of the ecosystem of salmon. As a species, salmon accommodate this variability through a similar variety in physical and behavioral traits.
How the Council could take ocean conditions into account
These three different perspectives affect how management actions are shaped in freshwater, the estuary and the ocean. The shift of management focus toward the entire salmon ecosystem recognizes that even though the ocean is variable, management actions -- particularly those in freshwater systems -- are still relevant. Staff sees four major ways to reflect the impact of ocean conditions in salmon recovery actions:
- Take no new actions
- Modify actions in freshwater
- Take direct steps to enhance the marine environment
- Improve forecast and management ability.
1. Take no new actions
This alternative relates particularly to the first two views of the ocean presented above. The first view takes the position that, while a significant amount of mortality occurs in the ocean, these losses are relatively constant and freshwater actions have the most direct impact on salmon production. Under this view, the present management course is generally correct, and no change is needed to take ocean conditions into consideration. Proponents view the continued declines in fish runs to be the result, not so much of incorrect action, but of insufficient action in fresh water.
The second view of the ocean described above implies that additional action is futile in the face of depressed ocean conditions and consideration of ocean conditions is not justified. This view would ascribe much of the decline in salmon abundance, at least in recent years, to deterioration in the marine environment rather than human actions in the freshwater environment. In fact, some who hold this view argue that we are wasting effort and money because ocean conditions negate the effect of improvements in the freshwater environment.
The third view of the ocean suggests a number of ways that the Council might take ocean conditions into account in the design of the fish and wildlife program and in the evaluation of specific measures and projects. Under this view, the ocean is an integral part of an ecosystem within which salmon have evolved. Salmon possess traits and behaviors that have been selected to permit survival within this ecosystem. As a result, a major option for taking ocean conditions into account based on this view involves ensuring that the program and its strategies, measures and projects are designed and evaluated in regard to their potential to restrict or enhance the natural expression of biological diversity in salmon populations.
2. Modify actions in freshwater
This option, based on an ecosystem approach, proposes to manage freshwater actions to take advantage of the natural survival mechanisms that have evolved within salmon species in response to environmental variability. In ecological terms, fluctuations in ocean conditions are an integral component of the overall environmental variability encountered by salmon. As a result, this option involves fostering the natural expression of salmon life-history diversity and, ultimately, salmon production. To take ocean conditions into account could mean a conscientious effort to broaden the selection of salmon life-histories and traits through management actions. This would allow a natural suite of biological diversity to develop. In the face of environmental variability, there is advantage in having a diversity of biological characteristics to match environmental conditions. Not all populations of salmon will survive equally every years. Differences in survival will reflect differences in success of certain life-history characteristics in the face of variation in ocean conditions.
Outcomes of the interaction between salmon life histories and variable ocean conditions are illustrated in Figure 2. Potential life-history traits are shown as different shaped pieces that must fit the template that depicts environmental conditions encountered by salmon entering the ocean. Focusing biological solutions within a relatively narrow range in the face of a variable marine environment reduces the likelihood of a fit between life histories (shaped pieces in Figure 2) and the marine environment (template in Figure 2). Of the possible scenarios, those that involve limited salmon diversity are of grave concern. Production of a relatively narrow range of salmon life-histories is partially viable as long as the surviving traits fit existing conditions (as shown in Frame D). However, if environmental conditions change, the solution in Frame D will no longer work or will be less successful (Frame E).
Policies and actions that address the freshwater phase of the salmon life cycle may be more successful over time if they address the variability of the ocean by minimizing their potential to restrict biological diversity. Actions that restrict diversity include focusing enhancement actions on restricted time periods (e.g., seasonal flow augmentation, spill, transportation and hatchery release schedules), selecting for particular physical characteristics of the fish (e.g., harvest and hatcheries), and reducing complexity of habitats (e.g., reduction of seasonal flows, channelization and other habitat modifications). Taking ocean conditions into account could mean altering some of these actions so that populations can diversify and develop a broad range of possible solutions to a diverse environment. This could mean evaluating the fish and wildlife program, strategies and actions in regard to their potential to restrict or enhance natural biodiversity.
Modifying actions and management strategies to foster development of a natural suite of life histories within Columbia River salmon will conflict with other uses of the river and involve potentially costly tradeoffs. Management of river operations in regard to fish passage, for example, have been designed to minimize conflicts with other uses. For many years, managers have sought to focus and manipulate salmon populations to take advantage of windows of opportunity when costs and conflicts are minimized. Allowing for a natural expression of life history diversity will significantly change this direction which will increase conflicts with other uses of the Columbia River.
Figure 2. Interaction between ocean conditions and salmon diversity.
3. Take direct steps to enhance the marine environment
It is often thought that ocean conditions are beyond the control of management actions and certainly outside the influence of actions funded under the Council?s program. Although there is evidence that human actions can affect ocean conditions through pollution or modification of food webs by harvest, these actions are largely outside the scope of the Council?s program. However, if, we focus on that portion of the marine environment that includes the estuary and near-shore plume at the mouth of the Columbia River, then there are important ways that the Council?s program can affect ocean conditions. These areas are important to salmon production, particularly because of their impact on survival of juvenile fish making the transition to the ocean environment. The impact of actions on these areas could be considered by the Council in the design of the program and evaluation of measures and actions as a way of taking ocean conditions into account.
The estuary and near-shore areas can be affected in two primary ways that are amenable to the Council?s program. The first way is by directly changing the quality and quantity of habitat in the estuary. The second way is through the modification of the estuary and Columbia River plume by means of upstream flow regulation and construction of dams. The river plume is the area of low salinity water that extends many miles into the ocean from the mouth of the river. Evidence suggests that the estuary and near-shore marine areas are critical determinants of the success of juvenile salmon entering the ocean.
Estuarine habitat is directly affected by pollution and by draining, diking and dredging of the estuary itself [ Thomas, D.W., 1983. Changes in the Columbia River estuary habitat types over the past century. Columbia River Estuary Development Program, ] . During this century, estuarine habitat has declined significantly as a result of these activities. This has likely decreased the food types and availability for juvenile salmon [ Simenstad, C.A., D.A. Jay and C.R. Sherwood, Eds. 1992. Impacts of watershed management on land-margin ecosystems: The Columbia River estuary . Watershed managment: balancing sustainability and envirnomental change, Springer-Verlag, New York, pp 266-306.] . Hatchery operations may also result in ecological imbalances, competitive interactions and competition for food and space by smolts during their estuarine and plume residence. The Council?s program contains few measures relating to the estuary. Taking ocean conditions into account could include increased emphasis on implementation of these measures and consideration of additional measures in future revisions of the program.
Development of the hydroelectric potential of the Columbia River has had important impacts on the estuary and near-shore marine areas [ Sherwood, C.R., D.A. Jay, R.B. Harvey, P. Hamilton and S.A. Simenstad, 1990. Historical change in the Columbia River estuary: an introduction to the estuary, a brief history and prior studies. Progress in Oceanography 25 : 1-13.] . Dams and their associated reservoirs act as settling ponds and decrease input of woody debris, sediment and other material to the estuary [ Simenstad et al., 1992 op. cit.] . Along with the direct impacts discussed above, these have changed the biological structure of the estuarine food web. Diminution of the spring freshet has reduced the volume of water contributing to the river plume in the spring and increased the volume in the winter. The result has been a marked change including a shift in the north-to-south orientation of the plume [ Ebbesmeyer, C.C. and W. Tangborn, 1992. Linkage of reservoir, coast and strait dynamics, 1936-1990: Columbia River Basin, Washington Coast, and Juan de Fuca Strait, p. 288-299 In Interdiciplinary Approaches in Hydrology and Hydrogeology. American Institute of Hydrology .] . While biological impacts of this change have not been studied, the low-salinity plume has been suggested to be a refuge for juvenile salmon from marine predators [ Pearcy, W.G., 1992. Ocean ecology of North Pacific Salmonids . University of Washington Press, Seattle, WA, pp 179.] . Based on these points, consideration of ocean conditions could include evaluation of flow regulation and river operations in regard to their impacts on the estuary and near-shore marine areas.
4. Improve environmental forecast and management ability
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of research programs aimed at understanding trends and cycles in physical and chemical interconnections that drive ecosystem and population change in the ocean. Many of these activities are summarized in the Appendix. These programs have generated time-series data that have been related to annual and decadal fluctuations of salmon populations. Relationships of this kind are being integrated into predictive models for hypothesis development, testing and extrapolation. There have also been technological improvements to predict the occurrence and strength of environmental phenomena, such as El Ni?. If current technology provides an adequate level of resolution for upcoming atmospheric and oceanic conditions, then future impacts on salmon populations can be modeled and, to some degree, predicted. Despite this rapid development of sophisticated technological resources and the availability of an immense amount of field- and satellite-based data, however, the accuracy and precision of these predictions still require much improvement before management decisions can be implemented according to forecasts of ocean conditions.
Several observers have suggested using forecast information as a way to manage releases of fish from hatcheries. Releases of fish, for example, could be timed to coincide with "optimal" conditions in the estuary if these conditions could be accurately anticipated. In this way, numbers of fish released could, presumably, be adjusted to accommodate annual variation in estuarine or ocean carrying capacity. This "predict-and-control" approach requires the ability to accurately predict future estuarine and oceanic conditions in sufficient time to adjust the release and migration time of fish from hatcheries that, in many cases, are several hundred miles from the estuary. In practical terms, neither this predictive capability, nor the management ability to correctly respond to a forecast are currently available. In summary, we see little opportunity in the near future for the manipulation of hatcheries based on the prediction of ocean conditions and also question the value of this practice to the enhancement of wild salmon. This approach is opposite to the one recommended above, which relies on the natural adaptive strategies that exist within salmon species.
Nonetheless, the ability to understand ocean conditions and forecast changes in the marine environment could assist the Council and the region by providing advanced notice of climatic changes. For example, low precipitation in the Cascade and Rocky mountains and resulting low river flows are associated with El Ni? conditions in the ocean. Advanced warning of the likelihood of a drought or lower than average precipitation has important implications for regional hydropower, fisheries and agricultural planning. Enhanced prediction capabilities and the knowledge of the relationship between ocean conditions and regional climates could provide an important management tool.
The material in the Appendix shows that there is a large amount of oceanographic and satellite-based information on the ocean and its relationship to salmon production. What is striking, however, is that this information is not being meaningfully incorporated into Columbia River salmon management. One way for the Council to take ocean conditions into account is to include measures and projects that would be aimed at facilitating the transfer of this information and knowledge to Columbia River management. This might include a synthesis of available information, as well as the use of the Internet, data bases or other means to consolidate and organize information as it becomes available from the various sources.
The points outlined above are the basis for an overall recommendation for Council consideration regarding how to approach the congressional charge. These staff recommendations are based on the third view of the ocean discussed above. The ocean is viewed as an integral part of the overall salmonid ecosystem that includes freshwater and marine areas. Salmon production is a function of the condition of the entire ecosystem. Variation in the environment including ocean conditions is a natural feature of the ecosystem to which salmon have adapted by developing a diverse array of biological traits or solutions. This view is consistent with the Return to the River report from the Independent Scientific Group and is supported by the general body of ecological literature.
Consistent with this, the staff recommends that the Council base its response to the legislative mandate to "consider the impact of ocean conditions on fish and wildlife populations" on two general principles:
1. Salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River accommodate ocean mortality and environmental variability through a sufficient level of productivity and a wide range of biological diversity. Management actions and projects can restrict biological diversity and lessen the ability of salmon and steelhead to withstand environmental fluctuations.
2. The Columbia River estuary and near-shore plume are important ecological features that have been, and continue to be, negatively impacted by upriver management actions and local habitat change.
Because most of the 1998 projects currently under review have already been designed and because of the relatively short time frame, there is limited opportunity to apply these principles to the 1998 projects on the basis of these principles. Below are a set of short term actions that can be used to begin the process of building these principles into the program, regional strategies and future projects. Greater opportunity is available in future years as proposers take the Council approach into consideration. Also, in the longer term, it is possible to evaluate the program itself and consider appropriate changes in any future amendment process. Ultimately, development of projects that reflect consideration of ocean conditions will depend on incorporating the above principles into the program and strategies (management practices).
The following is based on the principles recommended above and provides suggested directions for short-term and long-term actions. These actions are organized in regard to their application to the Council?s program, regional strategies and specific projects.
1. Short Term: Before September 16-17, 1997, when the Council makes its recommendation to Bonneville regarding Fiscal Year 1998 projects.
A. Programmatic. Staff recommends that measures currently in the program that particularly address biological diversity, the estuary and near-shore ocean plume be examined in regard to whether they have been fully implemented or addressed in the proposed projects. If implementation has not occurred, the Council could call for new projects to address these measures. Existing measures referring to the estuary could be evaluated and perhaps stressed in implementation, while the need for additional study or action in the estuary and near-shore ocean could be evaluated.
B. Strategic. Staff believes that analysis of regional management strategies in light of the two principles should be addressed as a long-term effort.
C. Project. Because of the novelty of the charge to consider ocean conditions in the Council?s review of projects, there is limited opportunity to apply the proposed principles in a meaningful and fair way for 1998 projects. Staff recommends the identification of a few selected projects that can serve as examples of potential project impacts on biological diversity, productivity or the estuary/plume. Discussion of these examples will provide grounds for comparisons and initiate the development of protocols for future project reviews.
D. Facilitate integration of information on the ocean environment into Columbia River management. Consideration of the impact of ocean conditions on fish and wildlife populations is not exclusive to the Council?s fish and wildlife program. Indeed, forecasting regional climatic trends and understanding their biological impacts is a major national and international research area. In the short term, the Council could identify some of the most significant existing efforts. This would provide an opportunity to extract relevant information of use to the Council and other regional parties, and identify possible sources for cost-sharing of research and monitoring activities.
2. Longer Term: After prioritization of Fiscal Year 1998 projects.
A. Programmatic. The two principles of the recommended approach have important implications for the Council?s fish and wildlife program. With the assistance of the Independent Scientific Advisory Board and the Independent Scientific Review Panel, the Council will be able to identify strengths and weaknesses of the program as it addresses the ocean environment. This will likely indicate strategies and measures within the program that should be examined as part of a general programmatic amendment process.
B. Strategic. Strategies refer to management practices or collections of related actions to achieve ecological objectives. Hatchery practices, juvenile fish bypass actions or techniques to improve habitat are examples of strategies that could be affected by the recommended principles. Over the next year, staff recommends a review of program strategies in regard to their impact on biological diversity and impact on the estuary and river plume. Such a review might examine, for example, how hatchery practices could facilitate development of a broader array of life histories. Similarly, strategies at the mainstem dams for fish passage could be examined in regard to their selection of life histories.
This review should, wherever possible, take advantage of existing or planned activities and groups. For example, if the Council elects to undertake a regional review of hatcheries, the question of impacts of hatchery practices on biological diversity could be asked. Similarly, the Technical Management Team (TMT), the System Configuration Team (SCT), the Dissolved Gas Team (DGT), and other existing groups could examine the impacts of mainstem passage actions on biological diversity and the estuary and river plume.
C. Projects. The long-term review of projects should include the entire collection of projects proposed for funding in any given fiscal year. This should include:
- Working with the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP), request project proposers to include specific information relating to the two principles of the Council?s approach at the time of project submission. Currently, the ISRP is developing guidelines to instruct proposers on the information to be submitted with a request for funding. These guidelines should emphasize the relevance of including elements that relate to the two general principles.
- Develop specific evaluation criteria for project review that relate to the proposed approach to the consideration of ocean conditions. Again, these criteria should be developed by the ISRP and the Peer Review Groups and communicated to all potential project proposers at the time of proposal solicitation.
D. Facilitate integration of information on the ocean environment into Columbia River management. Staff believes there is a need to integrate current scientific knowledge regarding biological impacts of ocean conditions with the regional fish and wildlife planning and management. Therefore, we recommend an intensification of the activities initiated in the short-term.
The Appendix briefly outlines a few multidisciplinary studies on the Columbia River estuary, near-shore and ocean areas. For the most part, this information remains untapped by regional decision bodies. In the long-term, staff recommends the Council make use of information from these, and other, activities in policy planning. It would be productive to establish contacts with other programs and entities participating in ocean studies. Awareness of existing studies and programs will illustrate what is being done and what is not. This will help the Council and the region avoid redundant research, identify priorities and decide on pending proposals or request new ones to attain a balanced salmon restoration program.
Appendix: Survey of Ocean and Climatic Programs in the Pacific Northwest
The influence of ocean climate variability on salmon populations, traditionally hampered by a lack of data on distributions and environments, has become an open and exciting field. The advent of modern electronic instrumentation since the 1960s expanded significantly the capabilities of oceanographic and atmospheric observations. Technological advances in remote sensors and microelectronics brought the ability to achieve an explosive sampling of ocean conditions and ecosystems over multiple scales of space and time (Frye et al., 1991). Developments in computers were essential to this change, as we are now capable of assimilating and processing much larger collections of real-time data.
A parallel development occurred with the improvement of computer models to analyze and synthesize this data. Models are simplified descriptions of a system or process which help us conceptualize, integrate and generalize scientific knowledge. Although models are designed to improve our scientific understanding of a given aspect of the real world, these tools can also be applicable to management questions (Simpson, 1994). For the purposes of salmon management, access to accurate predictions to forecast the onset of major climatological events, for example, is of outmost importance (Hsieh, 1991; Pulwarty and Redmond, 1997). Resource managers in the Columbia River Basin, in particular, and the Pacific coast of North America, in general, are concerned with anticipating ocean and atmospheric conditions and determining the dynamics of the water cycle in order to manage their coastal space and resources (Redmond and Koch, 1991).
Walters and Collie (1988), however, contend that improvements in predictions are less important than progress in monitoring and feedback strategies. Despite recent technological advances, models and environmental sensors still offer some limitations. For this reason, it is important to establish communication between forecasters and the user community. While forecasters need to provide better answers to applied questions, the managers need to understand limitations of climatic forecasts and how to interpret results. In general, two factors may be responsible for the disconnect between policy needs and scientific knowledge. First, access to research results may be slow or have limited circulation. Second, even when managers become aware of promising research efforts, competing hypotheses and statistical relationships support conflicting explanations. The end result is a critical time lag between scientific advances and their conversion into findings relevant to policy makers.
A number of multidisciplinary efforts have been launched in recent years to understand the forces driving environmental variability in the northeastern Pacific Ocean and how these affects ecosystem productivity. Information from these programs provides managers with a more complete view of the dynamics of marine ecosystems and how these affect fish and other organisms. Additionally, these programs can detect natural or human-induced changes and warn of events with biological, energy and agricultural repercussions for the basin. The following list of oceanic, near-shore and estuarine studies is not intended to be exhaustive. Instead, it provides a sample of some relevant programs and products available to resource managers. These efforts differ substantially in their goals, methodology, participating entities and financial resources. Also, these studies vary in their duration and the temporal and spatial scales of the processes considered:
The U.S. Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (U.S. GLOBEC) is a research program organized by oceanographers and fisheries scientists of the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Coastal Ocean Program (COP) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) divisions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The program has a goal of understanding how physical processes influence marine ecosystems, to predict the response of the ecosystem to climate change. The program proposes to accomplish this through: 1) field studies in several ocean ecosystem types; 2) models of the biological and physical systems, particularly focusing on the mechanistic coupling of the biology and physics; 3) improved technologies to sample the ocean environment, but more importantly, by encouraging wider application of existing, underutilized technologies to sample the ocean; and 4) examination of data sets, to guide future sampling programs and to document past ocean variability. The U.S. GLOBEC is initiating a major six to eight year program in the Northeast Pacific to examine the linkages among climate change, ocean physics and marine animal populations, with emphasis on nearshore planktonic species, juvenile salmon in the coastal zone, and the species that prey upon salmon. The anticipated funding for the initial activities in this study is approximately $2.5 million per year, for up to three years. More information can also be obtained by contacting Harold P. Batchelder, U.S. GLOBEC Scientific Coordination Office, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140, phone: (510) 642-7452, fax: (510) 643-6264.
The Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystem Regional Study (PNCERS) is a joint interdisciplinary effort of the Oregon Coastal Management Program, the Oregon and Washington Sea Grant Programs, and the National Marine Fisheries Service Northwest Fisheries Science Center. This program is expected to last five years and spend a total of about $5 to $6 million. The goal of the PNCERS program is to improve the understanding of natural variability and anthropogenic factors on coastal ecosystems that support Pacific salmon, and to translate that understanding into improved management of resources and activities that affect coastal ecosystems. The program's conceptual model relates broad-scale shifts in oceanic and atmospheric conditions and the effects of human activities to changes in regional coastal ecosystems and resources, and ultimately, uses. The program seeks to understand: 1) the variability in coastal ecosystem processes in the nearshore ocean and continental shelf, estuaries, and coastal streams; 2) how these processes fluctuate naturally over various time scales; 3) how human activities effect them; 4) how social and economic reliance on them are affected by these changes; and 5) how natural resources can be better managed given improved information on the above. The program will fund one integrated, interdisciplinary, multi-year project beginning September 1997. For more PNCERS information contact the PNCERS program coordinator, Greg McMurray, PNCERS Program Office, Department of Environmental Quality, 811 SW Sixth Avenue, Portland, OR 97204-1390, phone: (503) 229-6978, fax: (503) 229-6124.
The Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere Program (TOGA) is a major component of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP), developed from 1985 through 1994. TOGA was aimed specifically at the prediction of climate phenomena on time scales of months to years, and to improve the understanding of short-term climatic fluctuations, such as the El Ni?/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The specific goals and scientific objectives of TOGA were to: 1) gain a description of the tropical oceans and the global atmosphere to determine the extent to which the system is predictable and to understand the mechanisms and processes underlying its predictability; 2) study the feasibility of modeling the ocean-atmosphere system to predict its variation; and 3) provide the scientific background for designing an observation and data transmission system for operational prediction. To achieve the TOGA goals, a strategy of large-scale, long-term monitoring of the upper ocean and the atmosphere, intensive and very specific process-oriented studies, and modeling were conducted through a series of national, multinational and international efforts. More information on TOGA can be accessed at http://www.cms.udel.edu, or by contacting the Ocean Information Center, Graduate College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware, 700 Pilotown Road, Lewes, DE 19958, phone: (302) 645-4278, fax: (302) 645-4007.
The Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CLIVAR), launched to build on the successes of the TOGA program, is co-sponsored by the World Climate Research Program, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). The task for this new fifteen year (1995-2010) interdisciplinary research program is to study climate variability and predictability and the response of the climate system to human actions. Goals within CLIVAR are to: 1) describe and understand the physical processes responsible for climate variability and predictability on seasonal, interannual, decadal, and centennial time-scales. This would occur through the collection and analysis of data and the development of models of the climate system; 2) study seasonal-to-interannual climate variability and predictability of the global ocean-atmosphere-land system; 3) study decadal-to centennial climate variability and predictability, and 4) model and detect human-caused climate change. Additional details are available from Michael Coughlan, director, International CLIVAR Project Office, c/o Max-Planck-Institut fur Meteorologie, Bundesstrasse 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany, phone: 49-40-41173-412, fax: 49-40-41173-413.
The Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean (TAO) Array consists of approximately 70 moored ocean buoys spanning the equatorial Pacific, transmitting air temperature, relative humidity, surface winds, sea surface temperatures and subsurface temperatures down to a depth of 500 meters, via NOAA polar-orbiting satellites. The buoy data are downloaded nightly, processed, quality controlled, and made available to the international scientific community. These buoys provide climate researchers, weather prediction centers and scientists around the world with real-time data from the tropical Pacific. These oceanographic and surface meteorological variables are critical for improved detection, understanding and prediction of seasonal-to-interannual climate variations originating in the tropics, most notably those related to El Ni?/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events. The TAO Array was developed under auspices of the recently completed 10-year (1985-1994) international TOGA Program and is a major component of the global climate monitoring system. The implementation of the TAO Array was completed during December 1994, and supported by an international consortium between the United States, France, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The TAO Project Office is located at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, phone: (206) 526-6890, fax (206) 526-6744.
The EPIC System provides data archival, retrieval, display and analysis procedures for oceanographic data. EPIC was developed at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) to manage the large numbers of oceanographic data sets collected as part of NOAA climate study programs, such as TOGA in earlier years, and CLIVAR and others more recently. At present, PMEL maintains approximately 100,000 individual data sets in the EPIC data base. Portions of the data are freely available outside PMEL via the World Wide Web. More information about EPIC can be obtained from Donald Denbo, at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, phone: (206) 526-4487.
The Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST) is a Council of Governments that includes the local counties, cities, and port districts surrounding the Columbia River Estuary in Oregon and Washington. Initially formed in 1974, CREST is a regional organization providing a forum to identify and discuss issues regarding the Columbia River estuary; to monitor and comment on governmental activities related to the development and management of the estuary; and to improve communication and cooperation between member governments. The initial purpose of CREST was to gather scientific background material and produce a management plan for the estuary. The data originally gathered resulted in the 1977 publication, Columbia River Estuary Inventory of Physical, Biological, and Cultural Characteristics. The Inventory was used to develop the Columbia River Estuary Regional Management Plan in 1979 which was adopted in the local comprehensive plans and shoreline master programs in the early 1980s. Based on data needs identified during the development of the Inventory, Congress authorized and funded the Columbia River Estuary Data Development Program (CREDDP), which provided a wealth of information that is still heavily used by the local governments in resource planning, as well as by state and federal agencies. More information about CREST is available from Kathy Taylor, Executive Director, 750 Commercial Street, Room 205, Astoria, OR 97103, Phone (503) 325-0435, Fax: (503) 325-0459.
El Ni?/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Watch Advisories are prepared and issued monthly since 1982 by the National Weather Service (NWS) of NOAA. This service includes analyses of coastal ocean mean sea surface temperatures (SST), deviations of SST from normal, information on ocean currents, thermocline structure, and other conditions as available. This product is available from the Climate Prediction Center, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, NOAA/National Weather Service, World Weather Building, Washington, DC 20233, Phone: (301) 763-8227.
The Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP) is a cooperative interagency and state/federal effort initiated by NOAA?s Coastal Ocean Program (COP) to detect coastal upland and wetland land cover and submersed vegetation and to monitor change in the coastal regions of the United States. During 1996, C-CAP was transferred from COP to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The project utilizes digital remote sensor data togehter with global positioning and geographic information system (GIS) technology to monitor changes in coastal habitats. C-CAP spatial information will be input to conceptual and predictive models to support coastal resource policy planning and analysis. No single federal or state organization will collect all the information residing in the C-CAP database. Instead, regional inventories will be completed by regional experts following C-CAP guidelines. In the Northwest region, C-CAP entered into a cooperative project with CREST, NMFS and the State of Washington to perform a land cover classification and change detection analysis for the Columbia River coastal drainage area from Willapa Bay (WA) south to Tillamook Bay (OR). Wetland habitat important to salmon was a focus of the project, which has resulted in habitat classification for resource managers and regulatory agencies in the region. More information is available from NOAA Coastal Ocean Program Office, NCOP, 1315 East-West Highway, SSMC3, Room 9608, Silver Spring, MD 20910, phone: (301) 713-3338.
The Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP) Program is a broad-based U.S. program in coastal oceanography that is funded by the National Science Foundation?s (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences, NOAA and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). This inter-disciplinary effort aims to provide a quantitative understanding of the processes that control the transport, transformation and fate of biological, geological and chemical material on the continental margins. CoOP's goal in studying the California Current System of the Northeast Pacific is to understand the processes that contribute to cross-shelf transports where the circulation is strongly wind-driven. Copies of relevant CoOP documents and information are available from: The CoOP Office, Horn Point Laboratory, University of Maryland, P.O. Box 775, Cambridge, MD 21613, Phone: (410) 221-8416, Fax: (410) 221-8490.
The Climate Variability, Impacts and Response Strategies Project is funded by NOAA?s Office of Global Programs and is located in the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Oceans at the University of Washington. The project has a three-year life span, beginning July 1, 1995. The core issue of this effort relates to how climate variability and change affect biogeochemical (natural and managed) systems and socioeconomic/political systems. Climate variability, in this case, refers to changes in average weather conditions prevailing over the Pacific Northwest on time scales from one month to millennia. However, particular attention is on seasonal/interannual, interdecadal and decadal time scales, which are connected to the ability of society to develop appropriate response strategies. The project stresses two areas: 1) the application of climate forecasting techniques to the Pacific Northwest, based on an improved understanding of the El Ni?/Southern Oscillation phenomenon; and 2) an assessment of the sensitivity and vulnerability of the region to climate variability and change. The Pacific Northwest, in this context, is defined as the Columbia River Basin. More information is available from Nathan Mantua, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, JISAO, University of Washington, Box 354235, Seattle WA 98195-4235, phone: (206) 616-5347, fax: (206) 616-5775.
The Lower Columbia River Bi-State Water Quality Program is a six-year public-private partnership formed in 1990 and jointly administered by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Washington State Department of Ecology. The Program developed a plan to characterize water quality in the lower Columbia River, identify water quality problems, determine whether beneficial uses of the river are impaired, and develop solutions to problems identified in the stretch of the river between Bonneville Dam and the Pacific Ocean. The Bi-State Program was formed by the legislatures of Washington and Oregon and is paid for by citizens of those states, the pulp and paper industry and public ports. The study was conducted by private contractors and state and federal agencies that compiled a Final Integrated Technical Report in 1996. More information can be obtained from Bill Young, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division, 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204, phone: (503) 229-6766, fax: (503) 229-6124.
The National Estuary Program (NEP) was established in 1987 by Congress to identify nationally significant estuaries that are threatened by overuse, development and pollution. The goal of the program is to facilitate the development of local management plans that will improve and protect the water quality and ecological integrity of these environments. The Lower Columbia River was entered into the NEP in July 1995, under the joint administration of the states of Oregon and Washington and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Inclusion of the lower Columbia under the NEP follows the recommendations produced by the Bi-State Water Quality Program. There are four phases to an NEP designation: 1) convening the Management Conference to develop a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP); 2) characterizing the estuary and defining priority problems; 3) developing the CCMP; and 4) monitoring CCMP implementation. Completion of the CCMP for the Lower Columbia River Estuary is schedule for May 1999. More information can be obtained from Bill Young, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Water Quality Division, 811 SW Sixth Ave., Portland, OR 97204, phone: (503) 229-6766, fax: (503) 229-6124.
The Columbia River Channel Improvement Study is a five year study initiated by the Portland District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and sponsored by the seven lower Columbia River ports. On the Columbia, the study area extends from the mouth of the river upstream to the Interstate 5 bridge. The study is evaluating the possibility of dredging the current federal navigation channel. Numerous potential disposal and/or environmental mitigation sites have been identified as part of this analysis. A Dredged Material Management Study (DMMS) is underway in conjunction with the Improvement Study. The total combined cost for these two studies, for the 1994-1999 period, is $9.6 million. Non-federal cost share requirements are 50 percent of the feasibility study and 25 percent of potential construction costs. A generalized list of ecosystem restoration opportunities in connection with these studies has been generated by federal, state, and private interest groups through participation in roundtable discussions. Further information is available from Laura Hicks, project manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, CENPP-PM, P.O. Box 2946, Portland, OR 97208, phone: (503) 326-6136, fax: (503) 326-6106.
The Anadromous Fish Evaluation Program (AFEP), sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, North Pacific Division, funds a number of projects addressing estuarine and oceanic conditions. Information on projects under this program may be obtained from Rudd Turner, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Resources Division, P.O. Box 2870, 220 NW Eight Ave., Portland, OR 97208, phone: (503) 808-3864, fax: (503) 808-3866. The projects listed below are some examples within the AFEP effort:
Avian predation on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River estuary (funding shared with Bonneville, project code: OTS-P-98-1 (formerly CTPS-97(1)-1), contractor: Oregon state University (OSU), duration: 1997-1998);
Evaluation of transportation of juvenile fish downstream of Skamania light buoy (project code: MPE-W-92-1 (formerly MPE-92-1), contractor: NMFS, duration:1992-2006);
Evaluation of transported fish compared to inriver migrating fish (project code: MPE-W-95-1 (formerly MPE-95-1), contractor: NMFS, duration: 1995-2003)
Evaluation of survival rates of inriver or transported PIT-tagged juvenile salmonids in the estuary (project code: MPE-W-95-2 (formerly MPE-95-2), contractor: OSU/University of Idaho (UI)/U.S. Geological Survey-Biological Resources Division (USGS-BRD), duration: 1995-1999);
Evaluation of procedures for collection, transportation, downstream passage, post-release survival of outmigrating salmonids (project code: MPE-W-95-3 (formerly MPE-95-3), contractor: OSU/UI/USGS-BRD, duration: 1995-2000);
Evaluation of migration and survival of juvenile salmonids following transportation (project code: MPE-W-97-4 (formerly MPE-W-95-3B), contractor: OSU, duration: 1997-2000).
The Fish and Wildlife Program of the Bonneville Power Administration has also funded estuary-related studies. For more information contact Bob Lohn, Director of Fish and Wildlife, Bonneville Power Administration, phone (503) 230-4748, fax (503) 230-4563.
Avian predation on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River Basin (project code: 5505900, proposer: Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission/OSU, duration: 1997-2000);
Evaluation of carrying capacity (project code: 9301200, contractor: Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, duration: 1995-1996);
Columbia River terminal fisheries research (project code: 9306000, contractor: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife/Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, duration: 1993-2003);
Research Plan: Effects of the ocean environment on the survival of Columbia River juvenile salmonids (project code: 8815900, contractor: National Marine Fisheries Service, duration: 1988-1989).
Recently, several additional areas of research, monitoring and evaluation have been identified within the scope of the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program and submitted for funding consideration under Bonneville?s Fish and Wildlife Program:
Estuary, physical and biological condition (proposal 5516800); Estuary, predator/prey interaction (proposal 5516900);Marine mammals in the Lower Columbia River, estuary and nearshore ocean (proposal 5517100); Estuary, physical and biological conditions (proposal 5517200); Estuary smolt condition (proposal 5517300); Opportunities of expansion of terminal fisheries in the Columbia River Basin (proposal 5518700); Relation of plume/nearshore conditions to smolt distribution and growth (proposal 5517400); Early ocean survival and predator abundance (proposal 5517500); Early ocean survival and alternative prey (proposal 5517600); Interannual effects of marine conditions on distribution, growth and abundance (proposal 5517700); Food limitation and density dependent growth of salmon in the ocean (proposal 5517800);Estimation of ocean effects (S.P. Cramer & Associates, Inc.); Estuary and ocean environment (Public Power Council); andEstuarine and early ocean survival of juvenile salmonids (National Marine Fisheries Service).
Dolph, J., D. Marks, and G.A. King. 1992. Sensitivity of the regional water balance in the Columbia River Basin to climate variability: Application of a spatially distributed water balance model. In: Watershed Management: Balancing Sustainability and Environmental Change (R.J. Naiman, ed.), Chapter 8: 233-265, Springer-Verlag, New York.
Frye, D.E., W. Brechner Owens, and J.R. Valdes. 1991. Ocean data telemetry: New methods for real-time ocean observation. Oceanus, 34 (1): 46-52.
Hsieh, W.W., W.G. Lee, and L.A. Mysak. 1991. Using a numerical model of the Northeast Pacific Ocean to study the interannual variability of the Fraser River Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 48: 623-630.
Pulwarty, R.S. and K.T. Redmond. 1997. Climate and salmon restoration in the Columbia River Basin: The role and usability of seasonal forecasts. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78 (3): 1-17.
Redmond, K.T. and R.W. Koch. 1991. Surface climate and streamflow variability in the western United States and their relationship to large-scale circulation indices. Water Resour. Res., 27: 2381-2399.
Simpson, J.J. 1994. Remote sensing in fisheries: A tool for better management in the utilization of a renewable resource. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 51: 743-771.
Walters, C.J. and J.S. Collie. 1988. Is research on environmental factors useful to fisheries management? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 45: 1848-1854.