In-Person Meeting

June 24, 2019 Slides



Jim Peterson, Cesar Blanco, Rod Wittler, Mike Urkov, Sadie Gill, Mark Tompkins, Mandy Banet, Mike Memeo, Mike Beakes, Erin Cain, JD Wikert, John Hannon, Lori Smith, Michael Prowatzke, Tanya Sheya, Felipe Carillo, Robyn Bilski, Tricia Bratcher, Brett Harvey

By phone:

Mike Berry, Bruce McGlaughlin, Chris Hammersmark, Page Vick, Erica Meyers, John Kelly, Rene Henry

Status of interim Science Coordinator (Cesar/Rod)

  • Two potential candidates. Working out dates for availability - earliest looks like mid-July.

Update on habitat decay proposal (Rod)

  • Talked with Hammersmark about providing decay information for the American River. Rod would like agency info on decay for Clear Creek, Stanislaus River.
  • Information should include amount of gravel / habitat added, area before and area after addition,
  • JD said Rocko Brown at Cramer Fish Sciences should have information for the Merced from AFRP funded project.

Monitoring Sac River Habitat Projects

  • Presentation:
  • This is one of John Hannon’s CVPIA charters from last year. Types of data being collected from project funded by many agencies
  • 5 year study - side channel work in upper Sacramento.
  • Lake California example
  • Bi-weekly snorkel surveys
  • Target flows: ~4000, ~6000, and ~10000 cfs
  • Macrohabitat mapping - suitable satisfies depth or velocity criteria, optimal satisfies both depth and velocity criteria. Limited suitability at ~10000 cfs Upcoming studies - growth and survival in enclosures, macroinvertebrate drift sampling, seining to figure out fish species average size, condition, food
  • Need to make sure monitoring is connected to SIT and vice versa
  • Difficulty in discerning Suitable and Used Habitat versus just Suitable
  • Originally some trepidation in whether side-channel habitat was being used. Currently trying to develop pre-project data before projects implemented.
  • Hoping recent wet years will produce more fish to observe
  • Last ten years, focus of building new rearing habitat was Yolo Bypass and Delta. Now looking to focus on habitat in upper Sacramento.
  • Any plans for mark recapture studies? Big effect on model. Need to get to better estimates of survival.
  • Been considered, but did not make the final cut.
  • Moke example with seining, waiting for vegetation to mature, but recently found mostly small fish.
  • Need to improve estimates of existing habitat in the model. How can this monitoring effort help improve confidence in the habitat estimates.
  • Would be helpful to track usable area at different flows.
  • Comparison of how fish are preferentially using habitat.
  • Would it be possible to compare to RST?
  • Currently monitoring control sites
  • Could run pit tag studies. Sites are amenable to pit tag studies.
  • Also using seining data
  • How to better communicate monitoring needs, particularly for SIT-identified data needs (like survival)
  • Questions / suggestions:

Can you get an in-river estimate adjacent to restored areas to help quantify entrainment of fish into restored habitat? Could use seine data that is happening in habitats and mainstem at same time. Could also use RBDD RST data that is near some of the restoration study sites. Could you extend habitat suitability mapping into estimates of suitable area at different flows provided by restored habitat?

  • Yes - they will develop this.

Update on Calibration (Jim)

  • Calibration has been difficult
  • Lower-mid sac had a very low survival rate (3%)
  • Weird water diversions in Jan-Feb-Mar, turned out to be a water balance question.
  • Should be resolved in two weeks

State of Estimates of Current Habitat Availability and Updates (Mark)

  • Plans to improve habitat estimates in the future
  • Stanislaus sites are not included in the Cramer habitat estimates
  • Instream habitat estimates mostly from USFWS / District studies ranging from 1979 to 2015. Wide range of accuracy
  • How to systematically update the estimates?
  • Zach Leady / USBR how to identify seasonally inundated areas
  • Floodplain inundation easier place to start
  • Instream needs higher resolution
  • Identify where inputs are sensitive to habitat estimates
  • Data needs LiDAR, bathymetry
  • Should past projects be run in to habitats?
  • Which projects have come on line since
  • Record keeping of past projects has not been great
  • Lodi has post-project discs and as-builts
  • Northern Sacramento watersheds have been working with Mark Gard to update suitable habitat as projects gets implemented. This has been ongoing for 7-8 years and information is provided in annual reports at
  • JD (and others) are interested in two types of updates to habitat inputs. One is just updating whatever general flow:suitable area data is available with known habitat restoration additions since the general data was developed. The other is updating the general habitat information for the entire watershed. Should be built into reporting schedule
  • Could we standardize DEM as builts?
  • FlowWest to look at modeling information?
  • Flow to suitability curves for pre-project and as-built
  • Instead of “monitoring” should we be looking at “data needs” in call for charters?
  • Projects currently on hiatus, data needs could be built into existing charters to standardize data sharing 2019
  • What to do with data now?
  • We could come back to SIT with summary of status of habitat estimates
  • Can bring summaries to watershed expert outreach
  • Objective for watershed outreach: FlowWest create priority list of habitat inputs (age, quality, expected geomorphic change since data developed, importance with respect to DSM sensitivity, etc.).
  • Rod suggested a conceptual model that incorporates habitat decay. Habitat “evolution” has been focusing on spawning habitat, rearing habitat has been more difficult.
  • FlowWest develop guidelines for project proposers / implementers to report information back to CVPIA on new habitat created.
  • Sub-group led by Sadie an Mark T: Chris Hammersmark, Robyn Bilski, JD Wikert, Hammersmark. Charge is to draft directions for standardization of data requests from charters proposing to create new habitat.
  • Mike Urkov to cross-walk age of habitat estimate against recent projects
  • Definition of maintenance for spawning habitat? B13 authority on American, yes. Non-CVP stream, probably not.
  • Importance of habitat decay function?
  • Decay is variable. Side channels were sometimes filled in from dredging. Some filled in as river moved. Feather river example side channel was built two years ago, then needed to be re-built after high flows.
  • Different projects are different, depending on what process they are replacing
  • Definition of project maintenance could be useful to get better estimates of habitat.
  • Maintenance costs could be substantial
  • Two groups (1) Habitat Decay to (2) Guidelines for Data Acquisition from Charters

Review Feedback from SIT for Developing a Strategy

  • Presentation
  • Candidate strategies to develop policy plots
  • Simulations to develop patterns. Areas to focus and complete projects in specific areas
  • Likely to group tributaries into similar categories. Policy groups for collections of streams
  • Optimal policy is dependant on objectives, run sizes, goals, habitat estimates, etc.
  • How to determine management actions available? Basically improve habitat (spawning, rearing, floodplain), or survival.
  • Food as an action would need to be developed
  • How to present to management?
  • Need to build trust in optimization.
  • Optimization will choose greatest gains, so may need constraints to keep other goals (like spatial diversity). Tompkins provided initial habitat creation limits of 2X existing instream suitable area and 10X suitable existing floodplain area.
  • Strategies can be reviewed for practicality / reality. Model output becomes the starting point for discussion with decision-makers
  • This will represent a large change in how decision-makers have worked in the past.
  • Use existing watershed experts data or request new data? Yes. Both to understand the best data possible for model inputs and build trust in model outputs.
  • Interpretation of model outputs for management will be important.
  • CPAR may present constraints to how many projects are possible. Recommendation will be as a set of actions to achieve a particular result
  • Policy plots likely to come after the watershed expert outreach efforts
  • Changes / Improvements to the model may be available to the model prior to developments of policy plots
  • Need to define metrics and groupings of streams in order to set up optimization
  • Do we need to have separate round to describe results to management and customers? Interim stakeholder / management meetings will likely be needed.
  • Clarity and a way to describe results, and keep findings / results from feeling like a black box result. Return on investment is a key consideration for the power users. Understanding of constraints would also be useful.
  • Would be nice to know what the Power Users would like to know.
  • Need to pay attention to maintaining credibility with regard to representing decisions and model output.
  • Bruce convinced this direction is worthwhile and offers to help present information back to Power Users.
  • Updated list of projects could be different than CPAR. Should compare CPAR results to model output.
  • CPAR implies that there is an end point. How might the model be used to define an endpoint
  • How to define the end-state. What is the time frame?
  • Should define the signal that indicates the strategy is working.
  • Stream groupings (1) regulated tribs; (2) unregulated tribs; (3) bypasses; (4) mainstem sections
  • What’s the difference between restraining inputs? Or splicing results?
  • Species populating the watersheds makes a difference
  • Geographic suggestion: Westside tribs; Clear + Upper Sac; Eastside Tribs (Cow to Butte); Feather to American; Cosumnes to Calaveras; Stanislaus to Merced; Mainstem + Bypasses.
  • Some concern about all watersheds being special in their own way.
  • Adaptive stochastic dynamic programming could be used if it comes to that.
  • History suggests that concentrating efforts in limited watersheds has been successful, but spreading investments has not.
  • Current approach is likely to result in concentration in systems
  • Concern about lumping Bear River with Feather / Yuba / American.
  • Geographic circle makes sense.
  • Geographic diversity is one of the SIT’s objectives. Could make sense to direct actions across geographic locations.
  • Location of watershed relative to the Delta is important.
  • Action: Go with suggestion of geographic distinctions
  • Where you are located, and how consistent the habitat is maintained through the system.

ACTION: Geographic suggestion: Westside tribs; Clear + Upper Sac; Eastside Tribs (Cow to Butte); Feather to American; Cosumnes to Calaveras; Stanislaus to Merced; Mainstem + Bypasses.**

SIT Feedback to Restoration Strategies using Optimal State Dependent Policies

  • Presentation
  • How to score strategies?
  • Concern about how to handle doubling goal. Should action stop after hitting doubling goal?
  • Consideration of concentration on completing doubling goal efforts where possible
  • Concern about hatchery effects
  • What are the systems close to doubling goals?
  • Moke is close to doubling
  • Chinprod is not using coded wire tag. Model uses most current coded wire tag info.
  • Can see immediate results with hatchery interactions.
  • How to weight the three scoring functions? Depends on shape of the relationship.
  • Focusing on best valley-wide result regardless of where individual project
  • Size of watershed will matter on how we go forward.
  • Strategy of focusing on an individual watershed large versus small.
  • Idea of doubling goals - focus on low-hanging fruit
  • Moving ball closer to reducing financial obligation. How to define the end point?
  • No agreement on how to handle doubling goal

SIT Feedback to Restoration Strategies using Optimal State Dependent Policies (continued)

  • Suggestion: limit doubling to one “low-hanging” target; then distribute the rest to production.
  • Alternatively could check to see if the “low-hanging” is a real issue, then identify constraint if necessary
  • Concern: Cosumnes could be identified, which is not likely realistic restoration target.
  • Model will output data to be interpreted. If the first target is not realistic, then the group could recommend the next target on the list. Would also relate to multi-species benefits
  • What about per unit effort limits? Will we develop a learning tool to move lessons from one watershed to another. Concerned about credibility.
  • How to compare net result of Central Valley wide results? Total improvement? Or small watershed? Value of spring run versus fall run?

ACTION: First: optimize on valley wide production, then compare to “low hanging” constraint of one watershed close to doubling at a time.**

Finalize SIT’s approach to a strategy (All)

  • Presentation
  • What objectives to focus on?
  • Options A-D (See presentation)
  • Adam and Jim suggest use a single metric. Easier to interpret. Maximize adult equivalents.
  • What is the effect on spatial diversity?
  • Additional information will be available for interpretation.
  • Multiple objectives can be difficult to interpret - especially when optimizing.

Action: Single metric: maximize adult equivalents

Evaluating Hydrologic Regimes (JD)

  • How to quantify benefits of functional flows
  • How strong are the flow-habitat relationships?
  • What could be done to develop automated flow shaping
  • Data dependant. Stan, Moke, Tuolumne, Sac, Deer, some others pretty good. Small upper Sac tribs not so much
  • Hope to transition current model and relationships to daily flow management
  • Could be valuable to use as a first cut tool.
  • Cold water management in Tuolumne (degree days or similar)
  • Build tool / functionality that allows exploration of fish result (habitat, survival, growth, other?) sensitivity to hydrograph changes at a sub-monthly time step. (would occur after numerical model is complete)

Discuss the use of the S3 model (Stream Salmonid Simulator) in the Central Valley (John Plumb and Russ Perry)

  • Presentation
  • Contracted by USBR to apply S3, looking for advice for where to apply S3
  • Model could be used to evaluate habitat changes
  • Asking for advice on where to apply model
  • Potential Central Valley rivers
  • Fish growth working well in the model
  • Calibration held some components fixed
  • Simulated sizes matching observed sizes fairly well
  • S3 can be adjusted to account for tributary contributions
  • American River looks promising. Could tie directly into STARS delta model

New Business

  • Jim / Adam contract valid through September. USFWS looking to extend
  • Is there an updated schedule of what we need to do and when
  • Draft schedule before we meet with water / power users / watershed experts / management
  • Would help explain what we are doing. Translating from technical jargon to simple english may be challenging
  • Pre-staging sub group would also be helpful (Heather / Rod / Cesar / Jim / Mike / Sadie / Adam)
  • Started strategy builder, incorporating unit effort. How could that be incorporated into current effort. Bogged down on strategy naming and assumptions about how much could be completed per year (or five year increment). Would want to match constraints of optimization.
  • Need to make people more comfortable with generic project costs
  • Sadie to head up a meeting to re-think unit effort estimates. Will schedule for later this week.**
  • Mike Wright and Kirk have delivered their temperature preliminary findings. It reports water temperature based on air temperature and river distance. Did not find significant correlation with flow.
  • Constituencies not being represented at the SIT? Should we be expanding participation? How can we get people engaged back in the process.
  • Brett Harvey’s report is available.

Next meeting

  • July 10, 10:00 am Conference Call?