Proposed Abstract Title

Using remote sensing data to assess salmon habitat status and trends in Puget Sound river deltas

Type of Presentation

Oral

Session Title

Linking Metrics to Climate Impact Pathways and Restoration Performance Monitoring across Puget Sound Floodplains and Estuaries

Location

2016SSEC

Description

Puget Sound Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Steelhead (O. mykiss), and Hood Canal summer chum (O. keta) are currently listed as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The National Marine Fisheries Service is required to evaluate their listing status and trends in habitat conditions every five years. However, consistent habitat monitoring programs have not been developed to evaluate the status and trends of habitats used by listed Puget Sound salmon populations. To address this need, the Northwest Fisheries Science Center has been developing a monitoring program to provide consistent status and trends data for key habitat environments utilized by salmon. River deltas are one such critical environment, as juvenile salmon utilize delta habitats for rearing and to complete the physiological adaptations necessary to transition to marine waters. These favorable habitats occur primarily along the margins of distributary channels and tidal channels in delta estuaries. Therefore, consistent delineations of tidal channel features can provide an indicator of habitat quantity (e.g., tide channel area and channel edge habitat length) and quality (e.g., channel network complexity and node density) that can be used to evaluate the status and trends of delta habitat essential to juvenile salmon. We have initiated a monitoring program to map tidal channel features throughout Puget Sound’s major river deltas using high resolution aerial imagery. We have completed preliminary delineations of tidal channel features using 2010 to 2011 aerial imagery, and are currently updating these delineations using 2013 imagery. Because tidal and wetlands are increasingly the focus of salmon habitat restoration, we anticipate that consistent mapping of tidal channel features over time will illustrate trends of delta habitat quantity and quality that can be used to inform status reviews and management strategies.

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Using remote sensing data to assess salmon habitat status and trends in Puget Sound river deltas

2016SSEC

Puget Sound Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Steelhead (O. mykiss), and Hood Canal summer chum (O. keta) are currently listed as “Threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The National Marine Fisheries Service is required to evaluate their listing status and trends in habitat conditions every five years. However, consistent habitat monitoring programs have not been developed to evaluate the status and trends of habitats used by listed Puget Sound salmon populations. To address this need, the Northwest Fisheries Science Center has been developing a monitoring program to provide consistent status and trends data for key habitat environments utilized by salmon. River deltas are one such critical environment, as juvenile salmon utilize delta habitats for rearing and to complete the physiological adaptations necessary to transition to marine waters. These favorable habitats occur primarily along the margins of distributary channels and tidal channels in delta estuaries. Therefore, consistent delineations of tidal channel features can provide an indicator of habitat quantity (e.g., tide channel area and channel edge habitat length) and quality (e.g., channel network complexity and node density) that can be used to evaluate the status and trends of delta habitat essential to juvenile salmon. We have initiated a monitoring program to map tidal channel features throughout Puget Sound’s major river deltas using high resolution aerial imagery. We have completed preliminary delineations of tidal channel features using 2010 to 2011 aerial imagery, and are currently updating these delineations using 2013 imagery. Because tidal and wetlands are increasingly the focus of salmon habitat restoration, we anticipate that consistent mapping of tidal channel features over time will illustrate trends of delta habitat quantity and quality that can be used to inform status reviews and management strategies.