Conference Call

September 15, 2021 Slides

Participants:

Denise Barnard, Mike Beakes, Tricia Bratcher, Oliver (Towns) Burgess, Erin Cain, Felipe Carrillo, Megan Cook, Matthew Dekar, Adam Duarte, Brian Ellrott, Sadie Gill, Chris Hammersmark, Jason Hassrick, Baker Holden, John Kelly, Morgan Kilgour, Dana Lee, Priscilla Liang, Duane Linander, Erin Lunda, Todd Manley, Keith Marine, Bryan Matthias, Erica Meyers, Kirk Nelson, James Pearson, Jim Peterson, Corey Phillis, Samuel Provins, Michael Prowatzke, Emanuel Rodriguez, Derek Rupert, Alicia Seesholtz, Kate Spear, Susan Strachan, Erin Strange, Mark Tompkins, Mike Urkov, Heidi Williams, Rod Wittler, Michael Wright

Meeting Summary

The September 15, 2021 SIT call expanded on the discussion from the August 25 SIT call regarding the newest model results and additional analyses to explore some of the differences. The new analyses examined why Strategy 4 performed differently for fall-run and why Strategy 10 performed differently for spring-run compared to the previous model version. The SIT will complete this discussion during the October meeting.

Matt Dekar (FWS) provided an update on the recently released Notice of Funding Opportunity for Central Valley Project Habitat and Facilities Improvements. Reclamation and the Service are providing financial assistance for projects that increase Chinook salmon and steelhead habitats in the Central Valley. Up to $40M in financial assistance is proposed each year for FY22, FY23, and FY24.

The Science Coordinator provided an overview of the topics of the October SIT meeting and will finalize the topics, speakers, and meeting timing soon. Any requests for new business topics should be sent to megan_cook@fws.gov.

Materials Available

The following materials related to updated model results and SIT meetings are available:

Slides from Sept 15 call – contains the additional analyses requested by the SIT during August meeting.

Slides from August 25 Call – include review of the development of the Near-term Restoration Strategy priorities, summary of the new model changes, and the results from the new model (including calibration, sensitivity analysis, and summary metrics from running original candidate strategies through the new model).

Model Results Workbooks contain the full results for fall, winter, and spring-run Chinook salmon using the updated decision support models in August 2021. The model results include natural production estimates, juvenile biomass estimates, viability estimates, utility scores, and relative loss scores. The summaries of these results were presented during the August 25 call.

New ShinyApp describing Model Results and SIT Candidate Restoration Strategies

Updated ShinyApp of Model Inputs

Note: if you missed the August 18 SIT Background Workshop, there are slides and notes posted.

Detailed Meeting Notes

Review updated model results and additional analyses

Summary of changes to Chinook Salmon DSMs

The following changes were proposed by the SIT and integrated into the 2021 version of the model that we are reviewing now.

  • Cyril Michel proposed changes to Juvenile Chinook salmon Sacramento River outmigrant survival and juvenile survival in the Delta
  • Habitat inputs were updated as follows:
    • Used new HSI-derived habitat to update Deer Creek habitat (previously WUA-derived)
    • QA/QC improvements of original habitat inputs
    • Cow Creek increased salmonid habitat extent to include North Cow Creek
    • Habitat availability scaling no longer needed
  • All updated habitat inputs can be viewed at https://flowwest.shinyapps.io/cvpia-model-inputs/

Process

  • Process this year: use revised model, recalibration, simulate 13 actions and no action, 20 years, review results, discussion.
  • Big Question to resolve by October: Do the new results fundamentally change the strategy? What needs to be included in SIT Adaptive Management Update?
  • New ShinyApp with updated model results and descriptions of candidate restoration strategies (two tabs at top) https://flowwest.shinyapps.io/DSM-results/

Summary of Takeaways from August SIT Call

  • Results largely similar between 2021 and 2019 models with some exceptions that warranted more exploration
  • SIT requested additional analyses:
    • Explore Strategy 4 (for fall-run) and Strategy 10 (for spring-run) and look at changes in timing of fish leaving
    • Look at prespawn mortality of spring-run in Butte and other tributaries.
    • Pull up response profile plots for days cross channel closed and see where these are changing and switching between different actions.

New analysis: explore Strategy 4 for fall-run

  • Fall-run production juvenile biomass utility results were similar between 2019 and 2021 except that Strategy 4 performed worse than the baseline/no action in 2021 while it had performed better than the baseline in 2019.
  • Helpful Reminders
    • Small, medium, and large fish do not leave unless habitat limited.
    • Habitat was scaled during 2019 calibration but was not required during 2021 calibration.
    • Floodplain habitat was updated in 2921, which updated the number of weeks inundated (on average fewer weeks of floodplain inundated in 2021 from Jan-April)
  • Compare timing of fall-run juveniles at Chipps Island
    • There were more medium fish migrating early in 2021 compared to 2021 for American, Butte, and Stanislaus rivers
    • There were more large fish migrating late in 2019 compared to 2021 for American, Butte, Mill, and Tuolumne
    • There were more very large fish migrating early in 2019 compared to 2021 (likely due to floodplain activation)
    • In 2021, there were more large fish migrating late in the American and Yuba in the baseline compared to Strategy 4 and there were more large fish migrating late in the Upper Sac in Strategy 4 compared to the baseline. However, the actual numbers were small compared to the total numbers of fish migrating.
    • In 2021, there were more very large fish migrating in the American, Feather, and Yuba in the baseline compared to Strategy 4 and there were more very large fish migrating in the Upper Sac in Strategy 4 compared to the baseline. This is likely due to the difference in the survival intercepts in 2021 (fish holding and rearing longer and then encountering lower survival terms when they migrate)
  • Mike Beakes: They leave at the end of year, they don’t get killed? Jim: They get killed if getting into water that is too warm
  • Largest fish get best habitat- grow out fast, get out in April due to floodplain inundation
  • Mike Beakes on Strategy 4 chart: bar means fish booted out? Jim: Yes
  • Brian Ellrott – model has a lot of fall run past Chipps in July and August which is not reality. Not sure if it is something that we need to adjust, but it is something he noticed. Was wondering if a new ruleset is needed for filling and leaving habitats.
    • Jim: Keep in mind that the habitat use and leaving rulesets that we don’t know if they reflect reality or not. Identified as key uncertainty in the model.
    • Mike Beakes – noted that we may want more rulesets for how fish fill and move to evaluate the effect of this ruleset in a sensitivity analysis.
    • Adam: late-fall model has three different rulesets but for the only runs, only have the one rule set each.

New analysis: explore Strategy 10 for spring-run

  • Spring-run production juvenile biomass utility results were similar between 2019 and 2021 except that Strategy 10 performed worse than the baseline/no action in 2021 while it had performed better than the baseline in 2019.
  • Compare timing of spring-run juveniles at Chipps Island
    • There were more large fish migrating later in Battle and Butte and fewer migrating later in Clear and Mill in 2019 compared to 2021
    • There were more very large fish migrating earlier for multiple tribs in 2019 compared to 2021. Likely due to greater weeks floodplain inundation in 2019 (growing faster and leaving earlier)
    • There were more large fish migrating in May in Butte, Battle, and Clear in Baseline compared to Strategy 10 in 2021. May be because they rear longer due to habitat improvements and new Delta survival model.
    • There were more very large fish migrating in Battle, Butte, Clear, Feather, Yuba in Baseline compared to Strategy 10 and there were more very large fish migrating in Deer, Mill in Strategy 10 compared to Baseline. Likely due to rearing longer due to habitat improvements but then dying at a greater rate in Apr-May due to higher temps.

Bottom line

Seemingly small changes cascade, we need to get better data for calibrations

Prespawn survival of spring-run

  • Morgan noted that Butte Creek prespawn survival is not 0 this year. But is concerned we have estimates for areas we don’t have data for. Adam asked her for the data so we can refit the models and do a better job of estimating prespawn mortality.
  • Corey noted that the prespawn mortality has sample bias because sometimes there are not enough fish to sample prespawn mortality. He would like to see the distribution of prespawn mortality across iterations/years of simulation. Jim: we can create a figure that includes min and max values over 20-year period and include in notes with this meeting’s slides.
  • Tricia Bratcher: some streams have video, can use for looking at prespawn survival. Suggested Matt Johnson as contact for Antelope, Mill, Deer, and Doug Killam for Upper Sac, Cottonwood, and Battle

Candidate Restoration Strategies

  • Strategies 5-7 were among the best for both the 2019 and 2021 model runs
  • Strategy 10 performed well in 2019
  • Strategies 9 and 11 performed well in 2021

Reminder of SIT Criteria for developing priorities

  • Connectivity
  • Spatial diversity
  • Natural productivity
  • Supported by model outputs (this is just one of 5 criteria)
  • Runs benefiting

Sensitivity Analysis

  • NTRS Priority Information Needs for Chinook Salmon: demographic information, improved habitat estimates, juvenile production estimates, maintain long-term data on adult escapement and pre-spawn mortality
  • Jason Hassrick: wanted to know what outmigration survival wasn’t in the new sensitivity analysis – because that is Cyril Michel’s new submodel, it was looked at, but was not influential.
  • Cross-channel gate analysis - the response profiles showed that cross-channel gate showed up in the sensitivity analysis because it caused the top strategy to change multiple times for the different Chinook runs. A SIT proposal is in development to update various operational items, and cross-channel gate is one of the things to be updated (proposal will be presented during Oct meeting).

Continue discussion of overall strategy and priorities– All

  • Will continue this discussion during October meeting

CVPIA Funding process update – Matt Dekar, Rod Wittler

  • Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): Central Valley Project Habitat and Facility Improvements: Reclamation and the Service are providing financial assistance (Grants or Cooperative Agreements) for projects that increase Chinook salmon and steelhead habitats in the Central Valley.
  • The NOFO implements the collaborative planning efforts for salmonids in the LTO and the NTRS restoration priorities of CVPIA.
  • Up to $40 million in financial assistance is proposed each fiscal year (FY) 22, 23, & 24.
  • Maximum per application is $10 million
  • See slides for additional detail
  • Please contact Matt Dekar or Rod Wittler with any questions

October SIT Meeting Agenda Overview – Megan Cook

  • Exact timing, topics, and speakers to be confirmed (within next week or so). The meeting does conflict with the floodplain symposium - please let the Science Coordinator know if you have a conflict but would still like to provide input at the SIT meeting.
  • Priority 1: complete discussion on model updates, strategy, and SIT input on potential changes to priorities. Will make sure to have good synthesis of updated model results and previous discussion to kick this off
  • Updated SIT Guidance, Proposal Templates
  • Subgroup updates (salmon demographics, predator contact points, habitat updates)
  • SIT Proposals (operations, bioenergetics)
  • SIT feedback on trawl efficiency project analyses
  • Update on O. mykiss DSM
  • CVPIA Funding Update
  • SIT 2022 Schedule