Science Inventory

Salmon recovery planning using the VELMA model


Mckane, Bob, A. Brookes, B. Barnhart, J. Halama, P. Pettus, Joe Ebersole, K. Djang, AND G. Blair. Salmon recovery planning using the VELMA model. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Seminar, Corvallis, OR, December 12, 2016.


This invited seminar for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) will provide an overview of EPA’s VELMA watershed simulator and its applications for identifying best management practices for restoring hydrological and ecological processes critical to salmon recovery in the Pacific Northwest. The ODFW extended this invitation to discuss the feasibility of using VELMA to help inform their salmon recovery efforts in tributaries to the Tillamook Bay National Estuary in the Oregon Coast Range ( This Abstract contributes to SHC 2.61(5b).


We developed a set of tools to provide decision support for community-based salmon recovery planning in Pacific Northwest watersheds. This seminar describes how these tools are being integrated and applied in collaboration with Puget Sound tribes and community stakeholders to address restoration of hydrological and ecological processes critical to salmon recovery, and more broadly, to the functioning of entire watersheds and the ecosystem services they provide. For ongoing case studies in Puget Sound and coastal Oregon watersheds, we are using a spatially-distributed watershed simulator – VELMA (Visualizing Ecosystem Land Management Assessments; Abdelnour et al. 2013) – to quantify long-term effects of alternative forest management and climate scenarios on key salmon habitat variables, including peak and low flows, in-stream wood, fine sediment in spawning beds, and riparian condition. Stream temperature is being simulated using Penumbra (Halama et al., in preparation), a new stream shade and temperature model that is being integrated with VELMA. VELMA/Penumbra stream habitat outputs are being used to drive the EDT (Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment; Blair et al. 2009) fish habitat model to simulate habitat potential and salmon population responses to the forest management and climate scenarios. A 3-D visualization tool (VISTAS; Cushing et al. 2009) is being used to summarize and communicate model outcomes in an intuitive way. An important goal of the case studies is to identify community-based best management practices for mitigating and adapting to projected changes in climate. For example, where and what kinds of in-stream, riparian and upland restoration practices will be most effective for improving cold water refuges, spawning and rearing habitat, and hydrologic flow regimes (higher summer flows and lower peak flows)? Model results are also being used to help address other stakeholder concerns, such as the establishment of a Nisqually Community Forest that sustainably supports forest-sector jobs, recreation and tourism.

Record Details:

Product Published Date: 12/12/2016
Record Last Revised: 01/24/2017
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 335155