Inland Planning for Salmon

Planning—Inland Planning for Salmon

Summary: Connections between inland and ocean ecosystems are embodied by the life cycle and geographic distribution of salmon. These anadromous species depend on inland freshwater streams and rivers for spawning, but they also depend on the ocean for their adult existence. Natural resource managers in the Pacific Northwest have spent a lot of time and resources managing and restoring inland habitat for salmon in order to preserve, recover, and enhance salmon populations. Today’s managers must examine how climate change will affect inland salmon habitats, and identify how to adapt restoration and management practices accordingly.

Concepts to teach:

Goals:

  1. Climate change causes reduced summer stream flow, increased winter peak flow and increased stream temperatures in Pacific Northwest freshwater ecosystems.
  2. These characteristics negatively impact salmon.
  3. To promote resilient salmon ecosystems, managers identify include climate change impacts into habitat restoration actions

Standards: NGSS Performance Expectations

  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Identify effects of climate change that negatively impact salmon freshwater ecosystems
  2. Identify habitat restoration actions that may address climate change impacts on salmon freshwater ecosystems

Activity Links and Resources:

  • Review the Salmon Studies topic guide in Module One
  • Readings:
    • Restoring salmon in a changing climate—PowerPoint slides from the January 2013 WRIA Climate Change Workshop
    • Salmon Research and Climate Change—from USFWS, describes how “in the Pacific Northwest, the effects of climate change will probably alter the timing of stream flows, reduce summer flows, increase stream temperatures, raise sea level, and change shorelines and ocean current patterns. A critical challenge …is to increase our understanding of how climate affects ecosystems that support salmon and to develop long-term strategies for maintaining ecological health.”
    • A. Card, 2014 FishSens magazine articleSalmon shift migration timing to cope with a changing climate
  • See the Citizen Biomonitoring topic guide in Module Two—Explore local water quality and determine to what degree the habitat is suitable for salmon

Assessment:

  • Assign students to prepare a report based on their readings and/or field data to address one or more of the following topics:
    • What climate change effects are likely to impact salmon in freshwater areas? (Ex. reduced summer stream flows, increased peak flows, increased stream temperatures, etc)
    • Describe a habitat restoration action that would improve population resilience (Ex. preserving shade trees in riparian areas, restoring floodplains to increase habitat diversity, etc)
    • What do local water quality data indicate about the suitability of local freshwater salmon habitat?