Conference Call

December 15, 2021 Slides

Meeting Summary

The Science Integration Team ended 2021 with a conference call on December 15. Cindy Meyer from the Bureau of Reclamation provided an overview of the Drought Toolkit, including a description of the Dry Team. The SIT reviewed the existing set of outstanding proposals for model changes. Corey Phillis and Mike Beakes provided an update on the Bioenergetics proposal and Mark Tompkins provided updates on the Operations/CalSim Updates proposal and the Habitat Decay proposal. Jim Peterson reviewed the existing SIT subgroups (monitoring, habitat, salmon demographics, food for fish, climate change) and encouraged SIT members to contact the Science Coordinator to join subgroups. Rod Wittler provided an update on the status of the Notice of Funding Opportunity and expected timeline of next steps. SIT members were asked to contact the Science Coordinator to present/schedule a relevant science or project presentation to the SIT in 2022.

Action Items

  1. Please contact to sign up for SIT Subgroups or to sign up to present a science talk or project update to the SIT during 2022.


Bernard Aguilar, Mike Beakes, Erica Bishop, Oliver Burgess, Erin Cain, Charles Chamberlain, Flora Cordoleani, Matthew Dekar, Adam Duarte, Brian Ellrott, Sadie Gill, Chris Hammersmark, John Hannon, Jason Hassrick, Rene Henery, John Kelly, Trevor Kumec, Priscilla Liang, Duane Linander, Melissa Lindaman, Erin Lunda, Todd Manley, Keith Marine, Bryan Matthias, Cynthia Meyer, Kirk Nelson, Jim Peterson, Corey Phillis, Regina Rieger, Emanuel Rodriguez, Ian Smith, Nicholas Som, Kate Spear, Erin Strange, Mark Tompkins, Mike Urkov, Rod Wittler, Michael Wright

Introductions / Agenda Review (Jim Peterson/USGS; 5 minutes)

Drought Toolkit Presentation–Cindy Meyer/USBR

  • Developed per the ROC
  • Provides a “playbook” for potential drought response actions to mitigate or avoid impacts
  • Living document: plan to update as necessary
  • Requires evaluation of each implemented action in the report: effective/not, see if there’s anything that can be done better

DRY Team (dry relief year team)–Cynthia Meyer/USBR

  • Development and evaluation of potential actions is a coordinated effort
    • Representatives from BOR, USFWS, NMFS, DWR, CDFW, State Board
    • Requested by the Water Operations Management Team
  • DRY Team provides updates:
    • Drought toolkit
    • Management teams (WOMT, LTO, etc)
    • Report (reporting requirement for any year drought actions are implemented)
  • Drought Action Template includes impact, category, description of action, intended effect, process for implementing, agency participation, communication plan, timeframe and milestones, evaluation criteria and reporting requirements, and other considerations (flow/non-flow)
  • Action Evaluation: Point of contact, dates implemented, water year, timeframe and milestones, intended effect, effects/outcomes, relation to other drought actions, data used for evaluation, other considerations, resources needed/used (amount of water/funding), recommendations for modifications, lessons learned, figures/tables


  • 2021 Drought and Dry Year Actions Report
  • Coordination with DWR Drought Contingency Plan and Reporting
  • Report coming out in January with drought contingency requirement


  • Jason Hassrick: Does DRY team meet when there’s a drought?
  • Not sure, developed this year (drought). In theory, WOMT group decides if there are drought conditions, DRY team meets. Envision having meetings in interim as new information is available, can keep updating so not caught behind if/when there is another drought

Drought Toolkit DWR Drought Contingency Plan

Current Proposals to Update / Change DSMs

  • Reminder: Outstanding Proposals
    • Habitat Change Through Time/Improving habitat estimates)
    • Bioenergetics/growth modeling
    • Changes to Flow inputs (CALSIM)
  • Climate Change
  • Others expected?

a) Bioenergetics Proposal Update (Corey Phillis/MWD; Mike Beakes/USBR; 15 minutes)

  • Collected data from unpublished work, still looking through (Tuolumne, Merced)- not many from Sac watershed basins
  • Data from Flora’s work (Feather, Sac River)
  • Database from 2017 study (Yolo Bypass estimates)
  • Quite a bit of data coming from floodplain
  • Had meeting a few weeks ago with FlowWest, compiling data/putting it into a nice format SIT can use

b) Changes to Flow Inputs (Mark Tompkins/FlowWest; 5 minutes)

  • 2 proposal updates: Proposal on updating flow inputs/operations out of CalSIM
  • Overview of Operations Proposal
    • Issue of Concern: Current DSM flow inputs do not reflect the most current set of operational rules
  • Proposed change: Use latest CALSIM model run that incorporates expected future operational rules
  • Rationale: Flow inputs affect habitat, temperature, survival, and growth
  • Timing: Next DSM update cycle
  • Reminders: DSM calibration will still use flows from CALSIM run that aligns with GrandTab data POR
  • Updating baseline flow inputs for forward simulations, not for comparison of operations
  • Additional Operations Considerations
  • “Gates Overtopped”: Sutter and Yolo Bypass inflows–will be updated with new CALSIM flows
  • “Prop Flow Natal”: Will be updated with new CALSIM flows
  • “Cross Channel Gates Days Closed”: Same representation as current DSM using 2009 CALSIM output

c) Habitat Decay Proposal (Mark Tompkins/FlowWest; 5 minutes)

  • Issue of Concern: current salmonid DSMs include a spawning habitat decay rate generated from a random uniform distribution that ranges from zero to a watershed-specific maximum value–therefore disconnected from hydrology/hydraulics
  • Proposed change: Replace the random distribution generated spawning decay rate with a site specific decay rate based on modeled sediment transport rates and tied to the flow inputs to the DSMs
  • Rationale: Dams change sediment supply -> spawning habitat dependent on sediment supply and transport -> we can model sediment transport - >spawning habitat decay should be a function of sediment transport
  • Timing: Next DSM update cycle (2022)
  • Proposed Approach: see slides


  • Nicholas Som: Are you going to penalize yourself if too many flow events in a month?
  • Charles Chamberlain: On Clear Creek, flashy system. Sediment transport flows happen in a matter of hours. Are those the inputs to this model/will they be accounted for if it’s a monthly timestep? Mark: Good and challenging question. Because CALSIM input is a monthly flow (using for forward-looking simulations). What’s being used for daily records, will pick hydrographs representative of monthly mean flow in the forward simulation from CALSIM. Won’t be perfect, but would give us at least similar hydrograph shapes.

Subgroups Focusing on DSM Development / Improvement in 2022 (Various; 20 minutes)

  • Subgroups arise from proposals, work on particular topic, anyone is welcome to be on any subgroup
  • Current subgroups: monitoring, habitat, salmon demographics, food for fish, climate change
  • Food for Fish model idea: combination of bioenergetics model and dilution model that would predict concentrations of prey in different locations based on some hydrologics that Brett and a few others were taking on. Food for fish data more coarse, not predicting dilution.
  • Contact Megan Cook, CC: Jim Peterson to join subgroups

NOFO Update (Rod Wittler/USBR; 5 minutes)

  • NOFO = Notice of Funding Opportunity
  • $120 million available over 3 years to NTRS priorities
  • 9/1/2021: 90 day, up to $10 million/application
  • Now going through initial screening of applications, forming application committee (some here may be invited)
  • Hopeful to rank and forward in February 2022
  • Once selections are made, will enter into agreements by 9/30/2022 for implementation in next fiscal year after that

Call for science/project presentations to SIT in 2022

  • Contact Megan to present/schedule a relevant science or project presentation to the SIT in 2022.

New Business / Updates from Outside Programs

  • Mike Urkov: Megan put up series of meeting invites for next year
  • Rod’s presentation on decision domain: effectiveness monitoring framework
  • Next call in meeting 1/12/2022, from 10am-12pm