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Title: Contrast of degraded and restored stream habitat using an individual-based salmon model

Author: Railsback, S. F.; Gard, M.; Harvey, Bret; White, Jason; Zimmerman, J.K.H.;

Date: 2013

Source: North American Journal of Fisheries Management

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Stream habitat restoration projects are popular, but can be expensive and difficult to evaluate. We describe inSALMO, an individual-based model designed to predict habitat effects on freshwater life stages (spawning through juvenile out-migration) of salmon. We applied inSALMO to Clear Creek, California, simulating the production of total and large (>5 cm FL) Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha out-migrants at a degraded and a restored site. The calibrated model reproduced observed redd locations and out-migrant timing and size. In simulations, the restored site had a much higher production of fry that established and grew before out-migration; it provided higher survival and positive growth due to moderate velocities, shallow depths, and cover for feeding and hiding. The restored site did not producemore total out-migrants because at both sites spawning gravel was sufficient and the vast majority of fry moved downstream soon after emergence. Simulations indicated that at both sites increasing food and cover availability could further increase production of large, but not total, out-migrants; spawning gravel, temperature, and flow appear nearly optimal already. Further gravel addition was predicted to increase total fry production but have little or even a negative effect on production of large out-migrants, illustrating that actions benefitting one life stage can negatively affect others. The model predicted that further enhancements (e.g., in cover availability) would be more beneficial at the restored site than at the degraded site. Restoration efforts may be most effective when concentrated in “hot spots” with good habitat for growth and predator avoidance as well as for spawning. Contradicting the traditional notion of “limiting factors,” the model indicated that several factors each have strong effects. The model provided more understanding of restoration effects than would field studies alone and could be useful for designing projects to meet specific restoration objectives.

Keywords: salmonids, habitat restoration, individual-based model

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Railsback, S. F.; Gard, M.; Harvey, B. C.; White, J. L.; Zimmerman, J.K.H. 2013. Contrast of degraded and restored stream habitat using an individual-based salmon model. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 33: 384-399. doi: 10.1080/02755947.2013.765527


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