Conference Call

April 13, 2022 Slides

Meeting Summary

During the SIT’s April 13, 2022 conference call, the Science Coordinator provided an update on the progress and timeline for addressing the SIT’s 2022 objectives. The SIT was reminded to contact the Science Coordinator with any additional proposal ideas by end of April. Erin Cain (FlowWest) provided an update on CVPIA data, covering how to access the data on Environmental Data Initiative (EDI) repository, an overview of the datasets online and the robust metadata they contain, and the upcoming datasets that will be online soon. The SIT also heard updates from subgroups. Flora Cordoleani (NOAA-NMFS and UC Santa Cruz) provided a science talk on the 3-year Butte sink and Sutter bypass salmonid growth study.

Detailed Meeting Notes


Bernard Aguilar, Mike Beakes, Erica Bishop, Erin Cain, Felipe Carrillo, Rebekah Casey, Charles Chamberlain, Megan Cook, Flora Cordoleani, John Dealy, Lauren Diaz, Jane Dolan, Adam Duarte, James Earley, Brian Ellrott, Sadie Gill, Aurelia Gonzalez, Chris Hammersmark, John Hannon, Brett Harvey, Jason Hassrick, James Hobbs, Baker Holden, Joshua Israel, John Kelly, Tricia Lee, Priscilla Liang, Erin Lunda, Amy Lyons, Bryan Matthias, Mike Memeo, Erica Meyers, Kirk Nelson, Jim Peterson, Corey Phillis, Dick Pool, Emanuel Rodriguez, Maddee Rubenson, Derek Rupert, Will Satterthwaite, Alicia Seesholtz, Gabriel Singer, Kate Spear, Ian Smith, Erin Strange, Mark Tompkins, Annalisa Tuel, Mike Urkov, Heidi Williams, Rod Wittler, Mike Wright

10:00 Welcome and Agenda Review

10:05 SIT 2022 Objectives - Progress and Timeline

  • Look Ahead to next NTRS
    • 2022: Identify and propose desired model changes, make progress on info needs, focus on monitoring data (Oct 2022)
    • Winter 20222023: Incorporate Chinook salmon model changes, recalibrate
    • Spring 2023: Revisit SDM objectives, candidate restoration strategies
    • Summer/Fall 2023: Develop new priority actions and info needs for Chinook salmon, steelhead, sturgeon
    • Early 2024: Finalize next Near-term Restoration Strategy (in time to inform next Funding Opportunity)
  • Objectives review - see slides for status updates and upcoming milestones
  • Contact Science Coordinator with any additional proposal ideas by end of the month

EDI Access & Updates presentation (Erin Cain, FlowWest)

  • Data Access: finding the EDI data portal
  • Finding CVPIA data on the portal- locate the search bar on EDI portal home page, search for “CVPIA”
  • Downloading data walkthrough
  • Viewing metadata
  • Sadie Gill: this link takes you to all the CVPIA data packages uploaded so far*&fl=id,packageid,title,author,organization,pubdate,coordinates&debug=false
  • Please reach out to Erin or Megan if you have any data to add
  • Heidi Williams: what is the representation of these vs things CVPIA has funded that are not up yet? Megan Cook: Focus on current and new projects. Heidi: is project funding included in the metadata? Erin: No, but agreement numbers and funding entities are. Rod: specific funding info is in the annual Obligation Plan.
  • Flora: one concern has been putting data on portal prior to publication. Megan/Rod: let’s convene a conversation to address that issue so that we can meet both CVPIA requirements and publishing requirements. Gabriel Singer: EDI has a feature to allow temporary embargo on data tables.

10:35 SIT Subgroup Updates

Climate Change Subgroup

  • Kickoff meeting 3/10/22
  • Discussed desired outcomes, overview of climate change modeling in CalSim
  • Next steps: schedule next meeting to review DSM flow
  • After next meeting, will have updates

Salmon Demographics Subgroup

  • Subgroup currently reviewing/commenting on compiled draft hypotheses
  • 53 meeting: Decide hypotheses to evaluate in the movement tool
  • 519 meeting: Review tool results, finalize list of hypotheses
  • June SIT reportout

Habitat Subgroup

  • Met 4/1/22
  • Good discussion and input from subgroup on spawning habitat decay
  • Highly unlikely that TSC will be able to acquire bathymetry between Clear Creek and Red Bluff this year due to drought conditions (low releases, unlikely to be able to collect that data); schedule for updated habitat estimates delayed by at least a year. Subgroup will discuss what can get done by October.
  • Fish food, inundation duration, and field validation in habitat inputs to be discussed at next habitat subgroup
  • Rod Wittler: We need to talk about what we can do in the subgroup right now
  • Jason Hassrick: does inundation duration cover ephemeral tribs? Mark Tompkins: subgroup looking into the ephemeral trib dataset (shared by Corey Phillis) and whether existing mainstem habitat inputs capture that or not. Jason: recently published paper that looks at mainstem Sac with same methods used for the ephemeral tribs that might be informative for how much mainstem habitat would be available

Steelhead PWT

  • Expected timing for input on draft steelhead monitoring plan for southern Sierra Nevada diversity group: early summer 2022

Sturgeon PWT

  • PWT members, please reply at earliest convenience to the request to update the sturgeon project inventory

11:00 Science Talk: “Evaluating the role(s) of the Butte sink and Sutter Bypass for Central Valley juvenile salmonid populations” [update on 3-year study]– Flora Cordoleani (NOAA-NMFS and UC Santa Cruz)

  • Implemented and deployed fish cage along Sac basin over 3 years, 5 regions, 4 habitat types
  • Cages: 5 individually PIT tagged salmon per cage
  • From February to March/April of 2019, 2020, and 2021
  • 3-year comparison of water quality, zooplankton composition, salmon diet, cage fish growth


  • Water quality comparison: More variable and higher water temperature in off-channel habitats. More diurnal dissolved oxygen variation in off-channel habitats. Similar conditions in 2019 vs increased water residence time in off-channel habitats in 2020 and 2021 (Butte Creek canal receives input from off-channel habitats)
  • Food web productivity comparison: Increased productivity in off-channel and Canal habitats. Importance of both autotrophic and heterotrophic (detrital) foodweb paths.
  • Zooplankton composition comparison: More homogenous communities in the wet year (2019). In low flow 2020 and 2021, more distinction between habitat type communities.
  • Salmon diet comparison: Similar diet within each habitat type across all years.
  • Fish growth comparison: Off-channel wetland = fastest growth rates & channel sites = lowest growth rates across all years. The gap between the fastest and slowest growing sites was smaller under wet conditions (2019) than dry conditions (2020 and 2021). Largest growth rate reaching 1 mm/day and 0.22 g/day (lower than Yolo bypass growth results).
  • Wild vs caged fish growth comparison: Cage and wild fish in a Butte Sink wetland had similar growth trajectory. Butte Creek can produce large size juvenile by April but not the lower Sacramento River.


  • Different patterns of water quality, food resources, and juvenile Chinook Salmon growth observed between channel and off-channel habitats in all years. However, the signal was more distinct in the dry years due to larger differences in water residence time in off-channel habitats compared to the 2019 homogenized conditions.
  • Butte Sink wetland benefits were observed for Butte Creek chinook even in critically dry years. Benefits also observed through downstream food subsidies in the Butte Creek channel.
  • The Butte Sink and Sutter Bypass off-channel habitats provide high quality rearing conditions for all runs (including endangered winter-run) of Chinook, as well as steelhead coming from the Sacramento River, if they can access those habitats through weir overtopping events.

2022 Sampling and Analysis

  • Comparison of wild vs caged juvenile fish growth (otolith microchemistry): 19 wild, 30 caged fish from 2019
  • Movement and floodplain habitat use of Butte Creek spring-run Chinook Salmon from Phoenix cohort (otoliths and eyeballs isotope analysis)

Project Deliverables

  • Cordoleani F., Holmes E.J., Bell-Tilcock M.B., Johnson R.C., Jeffres C.A. (2022). Variability in foodscapes and fish growth across a habitat mosaic: Implications for management and ecosystem restoration. Ecological Indicators. 136(8):108681.
  • Cordoleani F., Holmes E.J., Bell-Tilcock M.B., Johnson R.C., Jeffres C.A. (2022). Evaluating the role(s) of the Butte sink and Sutter Bypass for Butte Creek spring-run Chinook Salmon and other Central Valley juvenile salmonid populations – a three-year study comparison. CVPIA Report. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.32217.60005 (available on ResearchGate)
  • (feedback welcome)


  • Rod Wittler: Question for Jim - how/what of Flora’s work can we utilize in the DSMs? Megan: data being used in the bioenergetics modeling by Corey Phillis and Mike Beakes. Jim: raises relevant question of whether we are capturing the benefit of floodplains correctly - Flora found different food benefit from stagnant wetlands compared to flow through wetlands. Rod: Mike Beakes, Ian Smith, and Rod should look at implications for Food For Fish. Let’s get together and discuss.
  • Flora: the system is inundated via management actions in some areas (for ducks, which is why can access wetlands in Butte sink even in dry years), and seasonal flooding can also occur. There are not many passage or stranding issues (lots of work in previous years to improve those issues).
  • Charlie Chamberlain: perhaps “turnover rate” (or residence time) would be an important metric to include along with inundation duration
  • Jim Earley: one of the key take home messages from this work has been that our previous treatment of Sutter bypass as overall “floodplain” habitat actually confers different benefits depending on the actual conditions. Raises question about if food subsidies of such high benefit, how do we get food subsidies into the river rather than getting fish into into the canals that may not have access back out
  • Derek Rupert: Have you linked any work to Army Corps wetland guidelines? Flora: Not familiar with USACE wetland guidelines.

11:30 New Business (email with topics)

  • Mike Beakes: Proposing idea for developing standardized protocols via SIT subgroups- tied with tiered monitoring levels, next step for moving forward, how we collect data to tiered approach, posting on EDI. Folks welcome to email Megan with reactions to idea or desire to help with effort. We will plan a more in-depth discussion at the next SIT meeting.

12:00 Adjourn

  • Next meeting May 11, 2022