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Landscape and Climate Adaptation Planning for the Mashel Watershed
Blair, G., S. Hodgson, J. Hall, Bob Mckane, B. Barnhart, J. Halama, P. Pettus, A. Brookes, AND Joe Ebersole. Landscape and Climate Adaptation Planning for the Mashel Watershed. Salmon Recovery Conference, Wenatchee, WA, April 25 - 27, 2017.
Scientists, policy makers, and others interested in salmon recovery will have a new decision support tool for salmon recovery planning. Forest stand age and distribution has a significant on salmon habitat quality. VELMA and EDT provide a way to quantify the effects of alternative forest management decisions on salmon habitat and population viability. This abstract contributes to SHC 2.61.5b.
Salmon are important to the economic, social, cultural, and aesthetic values of the people in the Nisqually River. The Mashel watershed is important to recovery of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and winter steelhead (O. mykiss), and long-term sustainability of coho salmon (O. kisutch) in the Nisqually basin. The Mashel is the second largest Nisqually subwatershed by area (84 square miles) and is the largest tributary by flow accessible to salmonids. It is mostly forested, a combination of regularly harvested state and private timberlands. The watershed and salmonids utilizing the Mashel are particularly vulnerable to changes in seasonal precipitation and temperature because of its hydrologic flashiness, low summer flows and potential for sediment transport.We analyzed fish habitat potential under alternative forest management and climate scenarios using a linked modeling framework. The modeling framework includes a spatially-distributed watershed simulator (VELMA - Visualizing Ecosystem Land Management Assessments). VELMA quantifies effects of forest management and climate scenarios on key flow variables affecting salmon habitat. Spatially distributed output from VELMA was input to the Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment (EDT) fish habitat model to evaluate salmonid habitat potential and population responses.We show how historic timber harvest is still affecting salmonid habitat potential and how a community forest based management plan could be more protective and supportive of salmon recovery than current commercially driven forest management. Future climate presents additional challenges for salmonid recovery planning. We show how impacts of future climate on flow can be alleviated by alternative forest management and instream habitat restoration (active and passive restoration). The Nisqually Indian Tribe is using these results to incorporate climate change adaptation planning into ongoing salmonid recovery planning.
Record Details:Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Organization:U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY
WESTERN ECOLOGY DIVISION
FRESHWATER ECOLOGY BRANCH