Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office Webinar Series
Hosted by NCTC, the goal is to promote communication of applied skills and technologies for accomplishing the work of the USFWS FWC Offices focused on fish, mussels, crayfish, habitat and other aquatic resources. Presentations can be given independently or organized into subject-specific symposia. This series provides an additional communication outlet for any presentation, including existing conference presentations, for the benefit of continued learning and gaining resource contacts with wide geographic appeal. Examples may include invasive species management, stream survey techniques, novel fish-gear development, landscape management successes, concepts in modeling, etc..
Disclaimer: This webinar series is for educational purposes only. The opinions, ideas or data presented in this webinar series do not represent FWS policy or constitute endorsement by FWS. Some of the materials and images may be protected by copyright or may have been licenses to us by a third party and are restricted in their use. Mention of any product names, companies, Web links, textbooks, or other references does not imply Federal endorsement.
Details:In this webinar, the FWS Librarian will orient users with the resources provided by the Conservation Library, and provide training on how to perform effective literature searches across multiple platforms including the Conservation Library catalog, Web of Science, and other subscribed databases.
Details:Since 2015, the Colorado Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office has monitored populations of Rio Grande Suckers Catostomus plebeius and Rio Grande Chub Gila Pandora in two perennial ditches on Baca National Wildlife Refuge. Sampling efforts spanning 2015 to 2019 using minnow traps and electrofishing, captured fish to insert Passive Integrated Transponder tags (PIT tags). Antennas placed in various locations throughout the system detect PIT tags, providing data on fish movement, detection, and efficacy of fish passage structures, driving seasonal water management and fish passage decisions. By analyzing remote detection data, I expanded our understanding of detections in various ways which will help refine the most effective antenna placements and inform future sampling goals.
Presenters:Dana Shellhorn (Colorado FWCO) and Jason Marsh (Montana FWCO)
Details:Flow regimes are a key driver in the ecology of riverine systems world-wide and directly influence the habitats and behaviors of aquatic species. Streamflows provide biological cues and a template for habitats of aquatic organisms by influencing the wetted channel extent, the distribution of water depths and velocities and the interaction with substrate, vegetation and the adjacent bank. The distribution and spatial arrangement of hydraulic variables are dynamic and change with streamflow, a process inherent to free-flowing rivers that is, at times, overlooked when evaluating the effects of managed flow regimes on habitats available to aquatic organisms. This is exemplified by the increase in availability and spatial variation in Chinook Salmon spawning habitats associated with naturally ascending fall baseflows. We found this component of the natural hydrograph to provide a benefit across a range of channel forms and hydrologic regimes. Naturally ascending baseflows also provide ecological benefits during springtime and have been associated with providing additional habitat that temporally overlaps with fry emergence and times critical for development of juvenile salmonids. Streamflow variation induced by winter and spring storm events has also been associated with benefits to ecological processes. Juvenile Pacific Lamprey have a punctuated seaward migration with 90% of individuals outmigrating in a series of large schools. We found strong evidence these migration clusters are associated with rain events, a surrogate for streamflow, with over 90% of emigrants caught during an event and the two subsequent days. The importance of these peak streamflow events are also associated with fish disease management where peak streamflows have been associated with sediment transport, and the subsequent reduction in disease mortality risk for salmonids. These examples provide support for the application of new management tools to support species conservation, such as real-time streamflow management, that integrate elements of the natural flow regime into dam release strategies.
Presenters:Damon Goodman and Nicholas Som (Arcata FWCO)
Details:Air and water temperatures have increased by 2.3 °C in Maine/New Brunswick over the past 110 years (Cunjak et al. 2012) and mainstem river temperatures are now approaching lethal limits (33 °C at 10 min. (Elliot 1991)) for Endangered Atlantic Salmon in Maine’s Downeast Coastal Salmon Habitat Recovery Unit. MEFWCO has therefore initiated low cost but high precision thermal profile surveys similar to methods presented in Vaccaro and Maloy (2006) to locate and quantify cold water inputs. We are now able to protect and preserve these critical resources and are currently seeking to enhance significant cold water inputs via actions presented in Kurylyk et al. (2014). This webinar will describe and discuss MEFWCO’s sampling methodology using hand held GPS units and time synchronized Solinst Inc. data loggers. A novel approach to quantify cooling events will also be presented.
Presenters:Scott Craig (Maine Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office)
Details:I report results from a recent study investigating fish population trends in the Potomac River (Chesapeake Bay watershed). We evaluated temporal trends in abundance from data collected by Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 10 locations over 43 years (1975-2017). Increasing species were characterized by opportunistic life history strategies (i.e., small-bodied species with rapid maturity; e.g., banded killifish [Fundulus diaphanus]), whereas decreasing species were characterized by periodic or equilibrium strategies (i.e., large-bodied species that delay reproduction to invest in growth or parental care; e.g., smallmouth bass [Micropterus dolomieu]). Most increasing species are native to the study area and therefore probably do not indicate recent introductions. Results indicated that river flows during spawning have become less stable and less predictable over time, consistent with observed increases in spring peak-flows as well as predictions from land-use and climate change research.
Details:Fishery managers are often faced with making decisions under uncertainty. Pre-season adult return forecasts are used by managers to set harvest levels and hatchery broodstock collection plans, however forecast models often have wide prediction intervals around the forecast, indicating a high level of uncertainty. We used a retrospective analysis approach to assess different forecast models for hatchery and wild Spring Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) returns to the Deschutes River, OR. Within the Deschutes River basin, Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery produces Spring Chinook Salmon for Tribal harvest and distribution to tribal members of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, as well as contribution to sport harvest opportunities. Based on our retrospective analysis, the four “best” performing models for hatchery and wild returns are used to produce annual pre-season forecasts. Using these forecasts, managers then set harvest levels and broodstock collection plans that they feel will best meet their multiple objectives. Given the low predictive performance that even the best performing forecast models exhibit, we are starting to develop additional tools to assist managers in their decision-making.
Details:This presentation describes how FAC set out to develop useful landscape products that give managers the tools that identify habitat restoration opportunities that improve sustainability of alligator gar populations. One of the most important life history requirements is suitable spawning habitat. That habitat has been greatly diminished over much of the species range. The HSI tools that were developed at the Baton Rouge FWCO specifically to address the management need to identify the most effective places to restore that habitat. We work directly with National Fish Hatcheries and state managers for much of this work, but also connect broadly to the management community through the Southern Division American Fisheries Society Alligator Gar Technical Committee. Although the technical application of spatial data is innovative and important, the development of data products like these are often developed without sufficient attention to management utility. The presentation briefly covers the technical work, but focuses more on the attention to making science applicable to management. We present three real-world examples of how these products have been put into practice and will hear directly from the managers that benefit from these products.
Presenters:Glenn Constant and Kayla Kimmel (Baton Rouge FWCO); Robby Maxwell and Raynie Harlan (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries); Eric Brinkman (Arkansas Game and Fish Commission)
Details:The modern idea of standardized electrofishing began with Larry Kolz’ concept of maximum power transfer from water to fish. It is based on water conductivity effects on this power transfer. It is not intuitive for fisheries biologists, and several biologists do not use the Power Transfer Theory or Model because they aren’t familiar with the concept or because they lack the electrical metering required. The purpose of this presentation is to demystify standardized electrofishing by explaining electrical fields. The field size is what is being standardized across water conductivity.
Details:The geographic area of responsibility for the Green Bay FWCO Habitat Program encompasses the entire Lake Michigan basin. The aim of our program is to restore quality aquatic habitat, protect aquatic species, mitigate non-climate stressors exacerbated by climate change, and manage ecosystems by pro-actively considering climate change impacts across the basin. When faced with problem of how to balance largescale landscape needs with local population goals and implement on the ground projects to achieve both, we used structured decision making to help us identify where and how to direct our work to have the greatest impact. Through this process, we devised a strategic habitat plan to prioritize our work and incorporate multiple competing priorities including species and population needs, partner and stakeholder interests, and climate impacts. In this presentation, we provide a brief overview of our strategic habitat plan development and examples of how we are implementing our restoration program at the landscape (Lake Michigan Basin), watershed (HUC 8) and local (project) levels to help us achieve resiliency and population success.
Details:Dr. Mike Allen presents some results and examples of use of population modeling for diagnosing overfishing, and for potential to overfish invasive species (lionfish, carp, etc.). Basics of modeling will be presented with spreadsheet examples that can be shared after the seminar to diagnose recruitment and growth overfishing.
Details:Fundamental to effective fisheries management is understanding the distribution and quality of habitat available to your target species. Unfortunately, collecting high-quality habitat data is expensive, time-consuming, and rarely gathered at a scale appropriate to address the life history events of most fish and aquatic species. Additionally, many aquatic species have unique habitat characteristics that may be poorly captured in general survey protocols necessitating additional habitat surveys as management needs change. The High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) system was designed to rapidly collect a broad suite of georeferenced instream and stream corridor data over miles of rivers or streams in single day. The field data is classified using a flexible, user-driven method that allows the field data to be appropriately applied to different species or management goals. The classified data then flows easily into powerful suitability models that support informative maps, graphics, and statistics. The results are suitable to be used in decision support tools or for strategic planning. Additionally, archived field data is easily reanalyzed to support other stream related activities such as permitting, compliance, watershed planning, impact assessments, and predictive modeling giving you an excellent way to increase collaborations, decrease costs, and improve conservation outcomes.
Presenters:James Parham and Dane Shuman (Trutta Environmental Solutions)
Details:Look into the management of the Yukon River fisheries with a reflection on the historical and cultural influences. The Fairbanks FWCO staff cooperate with state tribal and local partners to balance the management of Yukon River salmon in relation to the US-Canada Treaty objectives. The Yukon River management process has broad applicability to other FWCOs in working with Native American organizations and state agencies on fishery management.
Presenters:Gerald Maschmann, Jan Conitz and Matt Keyse (USFWS)