2020 Conference Program January 23rd

Click Here for full conference program in pdf

Click Here to view the full day of presentations on YouTube video

Links to individual presentation files are provided below under each speaker

7:00 – 10:00

Registration Open

7:00 – 8:00

MORNING SOCIAL –  Coffee and light breakfast items available

8:00-8:10

Welcoming Remarks

8:10-8:45

Keynote Speaker:

Messy Rivers are Healthy Rivers: The Role of Spatial Heterogeneity in Sustaining River Ecosystem Processes

Dr. Ellen Wohl/Colorado State University

Dr. Wohl is a native of Ohio. She received a Bachelor of Science in geology from Arizona State University and a PhD in geosciences from the University of Arizona. Dr. Wohl has been on the faculty at Colorado State University since 1989. Wohl has conducted fieldwork worldwide, and her research focuses on rivers, including the effects of beavers on river process and form. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America.

Abstract

Abstract: Perceptions of river health are strongly influenced by expectations regarding a natural river. Many observers expect clear water, a slightly sinuous river with pools and riffles, and some riparian trees. River health, however, is much more complicated and multifaceted. The physical appearance of a river, for example, depends strongly on geomorphic context and river history. I use mountainous headwater rivers in Colorado to examine the influence of physical complexity on river health. Complexity can be described with respect to the stream bed, banks, cross-sectional form, and planform of the river and floodplain. The configuration of each of these components of a riverine system has implications for habitat abundance and diversity, sensitivity and resilience of the river to natural and human-induced disturbances, retention of water, sediment and nutrients, and connectivity within the riverine system and between the river and adjacent uplands. Many types of resource use simplify rivers to the point that the river undergoes a metamorphosis, or a thorough, sustained change in channel form and function. Loss of beaver dams and channel-spanning logjams in mountainous headwater rivers in Colorado, for example, has resulted in metamorphosis of physically complex, anastomosing channels that were highly connected to adjacent floodplains. These rivers have assumed an alternate stable state as single-thread channels with limited retention and resilience. Effective, sustainable river restoration involves (i) characterizing the magnitude of different forms of physical complexity naturally present in a particular river segment, (ii) understanding the effects of physical complexity on river ecosystem function, and (iii) assessing the degree to which this level of physical complexity can be restored or mimicked. An important part of this process may be educating stakeholders regarding the importance of physical complexity – messiness – in healthy rivers.

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Presentation

WebEx Recording

WebEx (Will be presented on February 12, 2020 at Regional Technical Team Meeting)- email greer.maier@ucsrb.org for call-in information

WATERSHEDS

8:45-9:00

MBP Reboot: 10 Years of Partnering with Beavers for Watershed Restoration, What We’ve Learned & Where We’re Headed
Alexa Whipple/Methow Beaver Project

Abstract

Abstract: MBP takes the lessons learned from a decade of beaver relocation and watershed restoration and applies them to today’s pressing restoration questions including overall success of beaver relocations, current conditions, landscape priorities, coexistence with salmon, predictive modeling and future directions. Find out what all the “dam” fuss is about regarding the next generation of beaver mediated watershed conservation and restoration in the Pacific Northwest with the Methow Beaver Project.

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Presentation

9:00-9:15

Habitat changes at the watershed and subwatershed scale that impact salmonid survival in the Okanogan Subbasin
John Arterburn/Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Abstract


Co-Author: Ryan Klett, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Abstract: The Okanogan Basin Monitoring and Evaluation Program (OBMEP) is a multi-decadal program which monitors salmon and summer steelhead and their respective habitats at the current extent of anadromy in the upper Columbia River. OBMEP integrates habitat monitoring data with a habitat performance model and a status and trends reporting tool utilizing a hierarchical spatial structure that provides information at both the subwatershed (HUC6) and watershed scales (HUC4). We used this reporting platform and model to predict 2040 climate change scenario changes in terms of summer steelhead habitat-based VSP criteria under a predicted at the watershed scale and what our current 2018 scenario shows for this population. Before showing more detailed results related to recent dramatic changes in habitat type and quality and how these changes have specifically impaired summer steelhead in two Okanogan River subwatersheds both in terms of modeled results and photographs of the sampled sites.

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Presentation

9:15-9:30

An investigation of stream habitat survey techniques utilizing orthophotography and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) derived digital surface models captured via unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
Ryan Klett/Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Abstract


Co-Authors: John Arterburn/Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation

Abstract: Utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) to capture and describe stream habitat features offers promise to increase the efficiency, accuracy and consistency of existing survey methods. We evaluated the use of UAV captured orthophotography and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) digital surface models (DSM) to supplement and/or replace traditional stream survey methods on a moderately complex 2 km reach of the Similkameen River, WA. We found that habitat features including channel bathymetry and canopy structure were apparent in the DSM and successfully captured and utilized high resolution (2.5cm pixel) orthophotography. Results from this investigation suggest that supplementing habitat surveys with a UAV component is appropriate and beneficial in some circumstances, but that several limitations to full implementation exist.

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Presentation

9:30-9:45

Q&A

9:45-10:15

BREAK and POSTER SESSION

HABITAT

10:15-10:45

Plenary Talk: Disturbance: hitting the habitat reset button
Rebecca Flitcroft/U.S. Forest Service PNW Research Station

Bio

Bio: Rebecca Flitcroft’s current research focuses is on climate change effects on salmonid habitats in watersheds draining the Oregon Coast Range; analysis of dendritic stream systems; communicating science to non-experts and working with grass-roots watershed councils; and modeling salmon habitat and fire probabilities under different land management scenarios using Bayesian networks.

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Abstract


Abstract: Fishes native to the Pacific Northwest are adapted to natural disturbance regimes that create dynamic habitat patterns over space and time. Mechanisms for natural disturbance are integral to natural processes through periodic inputs of organic and inorganic material into the aquatic ecosystem. This includes naturally occurring wildfire under historic wildfire return intervals and intensities. Landslides are another important disturbance mechanism that contribute sediment and wood to stream channels. A variety of adaptive strategies from movement, shifts in life stage development timelines, and use of alternative habitats allowed many native fishes to thrive under dynamic landscape conditions. Human land use, particularly long-term fire suppression and road building, has altered disturbance regimes and the mechanisms for sediment delivery to streams. Land management has often included the installation of barriers to fish movement and migration, thereby compromising one of the strongest adaptive behaviors of highly migratory fishes. Restoration that enhances adaptive behaviors of fishes and rejuvenates habitats are likely to be most effective in enhancing population-scale recovery of native fishes. Such work allows for the expression of life history behaviors in native fishes coincident with higher functioning ecosystems.

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Presentation

10:45-11:00

Synthesizing stream temperature research for managing thermal habitats for Pacific salmon
Aimee Fullerton/NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Abstract


Co-Authors: Christian Torgersen/US Geological Survey Cascadia Station, Ashley Steel/University of Washington, Statistics

Abstract: Spatiotemporal variability is prevalent in natural thermal regimes, and Pacific salmon and steelhead are adapted to these diverse thermal landscapes. Projections about suitable thermal habitats in the future suggest negative responses by salmon to continued changes in land use and climate. Water temperature is generally expected to increase and summer flows will likely decrease, but there is uncertainty about the spatial organization and magnitude of these changes and how they will influence salmon and their management. Current approaches for understanding and predicting thermal diversity in rivers require multiple data types and methods. We introduce a stream temperature handbook that can be used by practitioners to navigate the wide array of data and models available for addressing management questions about thermal regimes in rivers. We synthesize advances, insights, and ecological application of empirical monitoring (temporal patterns from in-situ sensors and spatial patterns from remote sensing) and modeling (statistical and process-based approaches that integrate space and time). We illustrate some ways that salmon may respond to existing and future thermal landscapes using species- and life stage-specific thermal facets and by considering connectivity among thermally suitable habitats. We also describe results from individual-based modeling that explicitly incorporates fish movement and integrates thermal exposure and other stressors across life stages to evaluate effects of land use and climate scenarios on growth and survival. We draw examples from our work in watersheds throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Wenatchee River Basin, that were made possible by partnerships that have leveraged resources and expertise.

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Presentation

11:00-11:15

Wenatchee Basin Thermal Refuge Assessment
Adrienne Roumasset/Chelan County Natural Resources Department

Abstract


Co-Authors: Lucius Cadwell/Cramer Sciences

Abstract: Chelan County Natural Resources Department (CCNRD) is in the final stages of compiling a Thermal Refuge Assessment, which will include location and restoration recommendations for thermal anomalies that are potential thermal refuge (now or future) for ESA-listed salmonid species. Assessment reaches are spring Chinook major spawning areas that are listed for temperature impairments, which includes a total of 50 river miles in the Upper Wenatchee basin. Field work was completed by CCNRD staff and included cold spot checking using a quick response thermometer, continuous longitudinal temperature profiles, and fixed temperature loggers. Cold spots were areas with at least a 1.5°C temperature differentials. Habitat measurements were collected on each confirmed cold spot and included two-dimensional plume size. Staff used Thermal Infrared (TIR) imagery from 2001 –2003, stream network data, and aerial imagery to help locate spots, but found several “surprises” that were not indicated on any prior data set. Results include continuous temperature profiles on 95% of surveyed reaches, location and habitat data for 21 cold seeps and 17 cold tributary confluences. “Winter” Thermal Infrared (TIR) imagery was also collected on a total of 3 river km of the Entiat and Upper Wenatchee rivers in early March 2018. This method presented several problems and as a result many lessons were learned. CCNRD is working with Cramer Sciences, LLC to develop recommended actions. The assessment (spring 2020) will include an online, public data portal that will feature location, information and recommended actions for all cold spots with associated habitat data, temperature information, and recommended actions in addition to a written Assessment. The project is a partnership between Chelan County, the UCSRB, Washington State RCO, and the Washington Department of Ecology and is one of the region’s first step to restoration planning explicitly targeted at increasing the capacity of thermal refuge areas.

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Presentation

11:15-11:30

Q&A

11:30-12:00

Plenary Talk: Art over Acronyms: Using visuals for effective science communication
Maisie Richards/Inter-Fluve

Bio

Bio: Maise works for Inter-Fluve as a fluvial geomorphologist and illustrator.  She specializes in summarizing complex concepts into bite-sized graphics and illustrations that can communicate process to wide-ranging audiences.

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Abstract

Abstract: River systems are complex. As we work to increase our understanding of these systems, improve our designs, and challenge our assumptions, we often struggle to find ways to communicate to people with differing experiences and backgrounds. It may feel as though the more we learn, the harder it is to describe our thought process to people who don’t live and breathe rivers, but who nonetheless are key partners in restoration. Furthermore, within our discipline, our terminology gets increasingly specific and riddled with jargon. This language can exclude audiences that are crucial to include in the conversation.
Visual communication– a tradition well practiced by the original riverkeepers of the Columbia– can provide language that spans multiple disciplines, and includes rather than excludes. With approximately 65% of the population being visual learners, our work in river restoration needs to be effectively translated into the visual language. This can come in many forms including conceptual renderings, process diagrams and graphically facilitated conversations.
With the effectiveness and sustainability of our projects directly dependent on the willingness of landowners and stakeholders, strong visual communication can be the key to welcoming people to the conversation and increasing understanding. During this talk Maisie Richards, fluvial geomorphologist and illustrator, will demonstrate static examples of visual communication–such as concept renderings and process diagrams– and dynamic tools such as graphic recording. Attendees will leave this talk with tangible ideas for how to use visual language to improve communication and foster project involvement.

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Presentation

12:00 – 1:00

Lunch (on you own)

FLOODPLAINS

1:00 – 1:30

Plenary Talk: Floodplains in the Foodscape: Physical Process to Productivity
Carson Jeffres/UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences

Bio

Bio:Carson Jeffres’ research interest is how native fish utilize and benefit from restored habitats.
His research focuses on how physical processes within a watershed create ecologically important conditions favorable to a productive food web and include sampling water quality, hydrologic conditions, primary producers (plants), invertebrates, and fish.
This whole system approach has been valuable in determining limiting factors and prioritizing restoration actions for the recovery of threatened salmonid populations.
He is currently working on the floodplains of the Central Valley looking at detritial food webs and salmon growth. On the floodplains, he has been investigating the use of isotopes as environmental fingerprints to determine successful life history strategies and habitats. Out of the Central Valley he has been working in the spring-fed systems of the Southern Cascades. Here he has been studying the population structure and system-wide movement of rainbow trout in response to the 2012-15 drought and following high water years of 2016 and 2017. 

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Abstract


Abstract: Floodplains are ephemerally flooded habitats that function neither solely as lentic or lotic habitats, but have process of each that result in exceptionally productive food webs. The seasonal flood pulse in western North American generally coincides with outmigration of juvenile salmonids from upstream spawning and rearing habitats and can provide significant food resources for rapid growth rates prior to entering downstream estuary and marine environments. During flood events, riverine waters slowly flow across the landscape and allow for increased water substrate interaction, facilitating decomposition of terrestrial material. As terrestrial material decomposes, it fuels a heterotrophic food web that results in prolific zooplankton production. In addition to the heterotrophic pathway, the slowed water drops sediment and clears, thus resulting in in-situ autotrophic production through phytoplankton and algae. With parallel productive pathways of carbon sourcing, there is ample carbon to support prolific production of large bodied zooplankton and invertebrates which provide food resources for juvenile salmonids. The ephemeral nature of floodplain habitats allows for large bodied cladocerans such as Daphnia pulex to flourish. Under a permanently wetted environment such as lakes, permanent residents would graze the large bodied zooplankton and ultimately select for smaller bodied zooplankton. But the ephemeral nature of floodplains does not allow for permanent top-down grazing pressure and allows for the seasonal resource pulse that juvenile salmonids are able to utilize. Floodplains, as all habitats for juvenile salmon, are critical to maintaining salmon populations. Understanding how floodplains fit into the salmon foodscape in a river network can help guide management of imperiled salmon populations.

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Presentation

1:30 – 1:45

Estimating the benefits of widespread floodplain reconnection for riverine habitat in the Columbia River basin
Morgan Bond/NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Abstract


Co-Authors: Tyler Nodine/UC Berkeley, Tim Beechie/NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Rich Zabel/NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Abstract: A primary step in understanding the rearing or spawning capacity of streams is estimating the quantity and quality of riverine habitat across the landscape. Estimating large-scale stream habitat is a challenge because although stream network models exist for the CRB (e.g. the National Hydrography Dataset), these models do not quantify the amount or diversity of habitats used by salmonids. Using satellite imagery, we measured mainstem and side channel habitats at 2093 CRB stream reaches to construct random forest models of habitat based on geomorphic and regional characteristics. We then predicted mainstem and side channel habitats at all reaches throughout the CRB. Connected floodplain width was the most important factor for determining side channel presence, and was predicted by the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) land cover. We estimated a current CRB-wide decrease in side channel habitat area of 26% from historical conditions. Using NLCD data to estimate floodplain lost from anthropogenic activities, we found that reconnection of historical floodplains currently used for agriculture (cropland, rangeland) could increase side channel habitat by 25%. In addition, we used spring Chinook parr densities to estimate rearing capacity. Increasing active channel width in areas currently limited by agriculture could increase CRB-wide rearing capacity by 9% over current estimates. However, the benefit of floodplain reconnection varies greatly by sub-basin, with natural confinement limiting floodplains in many regions, while others have potential for substantial habitat increases if released from artificial confinement. Finally, we found that while some streams had extensive historical floodplains, much of the beneficial side-channel habitat could be created with reclamation of a fraction of the historical width.

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Presentation

1:45 – 2:00

The Long Road to Stage 0 
Johan Hogervorst/U.S. Forest Service Willamette National Forest

Abstract


Abstract: River restoration has traditionally focused on maintaining sediment transport through a comparatively stable, single-thread channel connected to its floodplain during relatively infrequent flows. One of the common success criteria for a single-thread channel was, and remains, avoidance of aggradation and degradation through time. More recently, there has been recognition by the scientific community that increased floodplain connectivity is correlated to increased habitat complexity through fully integrated wetland-floodplain-channel systems; however, this level of connectivity is also associated with aggrading, depositional environments. Stage 0 (Cluer and Thorne, 2013) is a concept that recognizes the importance of the fundamental depositional processes that create and maintain alluvial valleys. Many depositional valleys have been converted into efficient transport reaches, either through incision or direct channel confinement. Restoring to a Stage 0 condition is becoming a more common goal, although there are numerous pathways to achieve this goal that are driven by site constraints, level of degradation, budget, time, and patience. This talk will recount the evolution of restoration techniques in the Pacific Northwest, and describe how a group of restoration practitioners made the slow transition from designing and implementing single-thread transport channels to construction of multi-thread depositional reaches.

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Presentation

2:00 – 2:15

Advances in monitoring floodplain restoration projects: what has changed in the last twenty years and how should monitor future projects
Phil Roni/Cramer Fish Sciences

Abstract


Co-Authors: Jason Hall and D. Arterburn/Cramer Fish Sciences

Abstract: Floodplains are some of the most ecologically important and human impacted habitats throughout the world. Large efforts are underway not only in the Upper Columbia, but in North America, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere to restore floodplain habitats to increase fish and aquatic biota and restore ecological diversity. The scale, number, and complexity of floodplain restoration projects has increased dramatically in the last 20 year as has the need for rigorous monitoring and evaluation to demonstrate effectiveness and guide future efforts. Moreover, technological advances in remote sensing, genetics, and fish marking have been evolving rapidly and there is need to update guidance on the best methods for monitoring physical and biological response to floodplain restoration. A comprehensive review of the restoration literature located 180 papers that specifically examined the effectiveness of various floodplain restoration techniques; most of these papers were published in the last 20 years. The various methods historically and currently used to evaluate the physical (channel and floodplain morphology, sediment, flow, temperature, and nutrients), and biological (fish, invertebrates, and aquatic and riparian plants) effectiveness of floodplain restoration were reviewed and used to provide recommendations for future monitoring. For each major physical and biological monitoring method, we discuss their importance, how they have historically been used to evaluate floodplain restoration, newer methodologies, and limitations or advantages of different methodologies and approaches. We then discuss monitoring the effectiveness of small (2 km of main channel length) floodplain projects, with recommendations for various study designs, parameters, and monitoring methodologies. Finally, we present specific examples from ongoing monitoring in the Upper Columbia and elsewhere in the Columbia Basin.

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Presentation

2:15 – 2:30

Q&A

2:30 – 3:00

BREAK

RESTORATION & PRIORITIZATION

3:00 – 3:30

Plenary Talk: The restoration intensity continuum: can the water do the work, or do we need the big yellow machines?
Warren Colyer/Trout Unlimited

Bio:


Warren Colyer works on watershed-scale restoration projects that benefit rivers and trout in several western states, and he is based in Missoula, MT. Warren is especially interested in native fish conservation, research, and the implications of climate change for native trout and their habitats.

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Abstract


Abstract: The practice of restoring rivers and streams has evolved much in recent decades. Trout Unlimited has evolved, as well, from volunteers spending weekends rolling rocks into their favorite streams to increase cover for trout, to over 200 professional staff developing, designing and implementing watershed-scale projects to restore hydrologic and fluvial processes in streams and rivers across the country. Our members are still the engine that drives the organization, but now they are complemented by a staff of professional project managers, engineers, ecologists, and water quality and instream flow specialists. Together with partners we raise millions of dollars, volunteer thousands of hours, and restore hundreds of stream miles every year. In this presentation we will describe some of the tools we use, from the passive restoration projects that change land use, to low-intensity “hand-tool” projects that encourage beaver activity and increase instream wood, to massive construction projects that rebuild valley bottoms. The specific restoration approach is dictated by both ecological objectives and project-specific constraints, but the common thread among them is a focus on restoring the natural processes that build and maintain healthy habitat to support trout and salmon.

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Presentation

3:30 – 3:45

Methow Subbasin Habitat Effectiveness Monitoring
Mackenzie Butler/Inter-Fluve

Abstract

Co-Authors: Mitch Mumma, US Bureau of Reclamation Jeff McLaughlin, US Bureau of Reclamation Gardner Johnston, Inter-Fluve Tracy Hillman, BioAnalysts

Abstract:The recent Methow Subbasin Habitat Effectiveness Monitoring Report (2019) summarizes the research, monitoring, and evaluation (RM&E) activities associated with tributary habitat improvements supporting salmon and steelhead in the Methow Basin that are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Numerous entities have implemented a host of aquatic habitat enhancement actions in the Methow Subbasin over the past two decades. These actions span a wide range of types, intensities, and sizes, and have resulted in a range of ecological responses. This talk will begin with a brief summary of the ESA-listed salmon and trout status and trends monitoring in the Methow, especially as they relate to the effectiveness of habitat enhancement actions in improving fish population performance, and discuss relevant key findings summarized from action effectiveness monitoring, scientific studies and ecological models conducted in the Subbasin. The talk will conclude with lessons learned and recommendations to natural resource managers, including suggestions for future enhancement actions and prioritizations, pre-project assessments, and research and monitoring methods in the Subbasin. While this work is based on specific research in the Methow, these lessons learned and recommendations are relevant to future monitoring and enhancement action development efforts in other Upper Columbia watersheds.

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Presentation

3:45 – 4:00

Closing the loop: applications of life cycle models for evaluating management questions
Jeff Jorgensen/NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Abstract


Abstract: Across the Pacific Northwest, information has been and continues to be collected on salmonids, their habitats, and environmental conditions. This information comes from experimental and observational field studies of fishes and their habitats, fish tagging and tag detections, laboratory investigations, remotely-sensed data, and from ocean surveys. And, existing and emerging techniques allow us to quantify changes to habitats through sophisticated climate and hydrology modeling. Life cycle models are a useful framework to ‘close the loop’ by integrating information about fish and their freshwater and marine habitats. They provide a method to estimate effects from changing climate conditions, to evaluate restoration strategies, and to explore potential effects from management alternatives. For example, we have used life cycle models of Upper Willamette River Basin populations to assess potential effects of climate and evaluated the importance of habitat above flood control projects. In the Chehalis basin, we used detailed habitat modeling to compare restoration strategy alternatives. In the Upper Columbia, the Wenatchee River Basin spring Chinook salmon life cycle model has been used to evaluate possible alternatives for BPA targeted solicitation, for informing the Biological Opinion, and its associated EIS. These and other examples have shown the value of this tool to inform management questions.

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Presentation

4:00 – 4:15

Finding Focus in Shared Science: How new information is informing the future of salmon recovery in the Upper Columbia
Greer Maier/Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board

Abstract

Co-Author: Tracy Tillman/BioAnalysts and RTT

Abstract: Over the past 20 years the UCSRB has worked to put science on the ground in the Upper Columbia. Recently, this effort has led to the completion of comprehensive reports on Habitat (2014), Hatcheries (2017), Hydropower (2019), and Harvest (expected early 2020). At the same time, data and information being collected on the ground has been put to use prioritizing habitat restoration and protection actions. These efforts, alongside the robust RM&E programs being supported and implemented by local and regional partners are setting the stage for the next 10 years of recovery efforts. The Upper Columbia can be seen as a model for how good data and good collaboration between scientists, managers, and practitioners can work to frame the future for salmon recovery. The challenge will be how to use this information and the power of our partnerships to frame and facilitate the conversations that are necessary to truly achieve the recovery goals we have set out for the region.

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Presentation

4:15 -4:30

Q&A

4:30

Closing Remarks