Conference Call

May 11, 2022 Slides

Meeting Summary

During the SIT’s May 11, 2022, conference call, Jim Peterson provided an overview of the structured decision-making direction for the remainder of the year. This includes the development of framework to incorporate monitoring data, renewed emphasis on subgroup working time, and an adjustment to the SIT call schedule. The Science Coordinator provided an overview of the NTRS Info Needs Gap Analysis process and the input being requested by Reclamation and the Service. The sturgeon expert input meeting will be May 20, 12-1:30pm, and the steelhead expert input meeting will be May 24, 12-1:30pm (invites are posted on the SIT website; contact Megan to be added directly). The Science Coordinator also reviewed the timeline for SIT proposals and the list of proposals in development. Patti Wohner (Oregon State University) provided a science talk on a case study for optimizing river flows for juvenile Chinook salmon survival, where she illustrated how estimates derived from monitoring data can be used to inform water management and as a basis for adaptively managing flows.

Detailed Meeting Notes


Bernard Aguilar, Mike Beakes, Thad Bettner, Robyn Bilski, Dennis Blakeman, Tricia Bratcher, Paul Cadrett, Erin Cain, Felipe Carrillo, Rebekah Casey, Heather Casillas, Eric Chapman, Robert Chase, Dennis Cocherell, Megan Cook, Flora Cordoleani, John Dealy, Lauren Diaz, Jane Dolan, Peter Dudley, James Earley, Brian Ellrott, Erin Ferguson, Sadie Gill, Pascale Goertler, Aurelia Gonzalez, Harmony Gugino, Chris Hammersmark, Doug Hampton, John Hannon, Brett Harvey, Jason Hassrick, Colby Hause, Rene Henery, James Hobbs, Sheena Holley, Joshua Israel, Jeff Jenkins, Myfanwy Johnston, John Kelly, Doug Killam, Priscilla Liang, Erin Lunda, Daniel Martinez, Keith Marine, Zoltan Matica, Bryan Matthias, Erica Meyers, Cyril Michel, Kirk Nelson, Oshun O’Rourke, Christina Parker, Jim Peterson, Corey Phillis, Bill Poytress, Michael Prowatzke, Emanuel Rodriguez, Maddee Rubenson, Derek Rupert, Will Satterthwaite, Alicia Seesholtz, Bjarni Serup, Gabriel Singer, Dylan Stompe, Mark Tompkins, Annalisa Tuel, Mike Urkov, John Wikert, Heidi Williams, Natasha Wingerter, Rod Wittler, Patti Wohner, Mike Wright, Steve Zeug

10:00 Welcome/Agenda Review (Megan Cook)

10:05 SIT Structured Decision-Making Direction for the remainder of the year (Jim Peterson, Adam Duarte)

  • Goal: Initiate development of framework for incorporating monitoring data - project-specific, tributary or basin-wide, and calibration data

Objectives for Upcoming Months

  • June objective: allow more time and flexibility for subgroups to make greater progress in time for Sept 16 proposal deadline
  • July objective: initiate discussion on how the SIT would like to use monitoring data to evaluate annual progress and assess the success of restoration projects
  • August objectives: 1. Evaluate and discuss candidate annual progress metrics and revise if necessary, 2. Update SIT on revised inputs and subgroup progress
  • September objective: allow more time and flexibility for subgroups to make greater progress toward their objectives in time for October SIT meeting
  • October objectives: 1. SIT will provide input to Science Coordinator on pending proposals, 2. Update SIT revised monitoring metrics, 3. Review NTRS and improvements to DSM and inputs, 4. Update SIT on sturgeon and steelhead DSM inputs
  • November objective: Preview adaptive management update and SIT provides input to the SC
  • December objective: allow more time for SIT members to review adaptive management update and provide written feedback

Updated SIT Schedule

  • June: No SIT meeting; time reserved for SIT Subgroups
  • July 13: SIT Teams Meeting 10am-12pm
  • Aug 10: SIT Teams Meeting 10am-12pm
  • Sept: No SIT Meeting; time reserved for SIT Subgroups
  • Oct 12: Full-day in-person SIT meeting (pending logistics)
  • Nov 9: SIT Teams Meeting 10am-12pm
  • Dec: No SIT Meeting; time reserved to review FY22 Adaptive Management Update


  • Rod Wittler: Regarding October meeting, if that is in person, Rod is setting up logistics for that, curious about people’s feelings about an in-person meeting. Looking into the Cottage Way cafeteria conference rooms so no security. Looking into COVID-policies. Right now there are no restrictions for in-person meetings from Reclamation. If anyone has issues or feedback on this, please let Rod/Megan know.

  • Rod Wittler: Points about getting results from monitoring that will feed into next revisions of NTRS is important, want to emphasize USBR’s interest in “effectiveness monitoring”- “effectiveness” = increase/decrease in successful transition from one life stage to the next, in line with how the model works. Strong interest in how successful the on-the-ground efforts are in getting more fish transitioned to the next life stage regardless of their physical location in the system.

  • Jim Peterson: That’s our objective, thinking about the project and basin/tributary-wide scale. Can look at how it might match, particularly projects that have been completed on Clear Creek the last decade or so.

  • Rod Wittler: Any examples of current monitoring that fits into this idea of “effectiveness monitoring?” Jim Peterson: Can do this via monitoring subgroup and submit to SIT for their discussion, and improvements of what the subgroup comes up with.

10:35 NTRS Info Needs Gap Analysis – Process, Timeline, Q&A (Megan Cook, Jim Peterson)

  • Expert input requested: draft gap analysis, additional details on the data being collected, affirm which info needs are being met (in whole or in part) by existing efforts, identify where the gaps remain in addressing the info needs, and provide input on what it would take to address the remaining info needs, including technical practicability
  • Steelhead meeting: May 24, 12-1:30pm
  • Sturgeon meeting: May 20, 12-1:30pm


  • Flora Cordoleani: Why were Chinook dropped from the list? Had 3 species, now just steelhead and sturgeon. Megan Cook: Greater need in this short time period on making progress on the steelhead and sturgeon models so that we can develop restoration priorities in the next Near-term Restoration Strategy. Rod Wittler: Already made progress on Chinook demographics, moving ahead with this. Same with habitat subgroup with progress on pursuing those info needs. Want to turn focus on steelhead and sturgeon now.

10:50 Summarize all outstanding SIT Proposals (new, in progress) and timeline (Megan Cook)

Proposal Timeline

  • Proposal ideas/drafts submitted
  • Subgroups will continue to work
  • Final written proposals due September 16
  • Proposals will be distributed to SIT prior to Oct meeting
  • Proposal discussions and SIT input during October 12 SIT meeting

Accepted Proposals

  • Updated flow inputs (Mark Tompkins)
  • Bioenergetics (Corey Phillis, Mike Beakes)

Proposals in Development

  • Update juvenile movement rulesets
  • Spawning habitat decay
  • Climate Change
  • Adding San Joaquin River spring-run Chinook salmon
  • Tentative: Adding Yuba spring-run Chinook salmon
  • Tentative: Food for Fish
  • Tentative: Updates to Clear Creek Inputs

Look Ahead to Development of Next NTRS

  • 2022: focus on monitoring data, make progress on info needs, identify and propose model changes (Oct 2022)
  • Winter 2022 / 2023: Incorporate Chinook salmon model changes, recalibrate
  • Spring 2023: Continue monitoring metrics development, revisit SDM objectives, candidate restoration strategies
  • Summer/Fall 2023: Develop new priority actions and info needs for Chinook salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon
  • Early 2024: Finalize next NTRS


  • Brian Ellrott: For the Yuba proposal, the general idea here is that the Yubal spring-run model can be improved and updated, right now I don’t see myself getting to that before the deadline. If anyone can help move it forward, please reach out

  • Rene Henry: In addition to the habitat subgroup, also updating the way that we calculate floodplain habitat. Making some improvements to that this round. Mark Tompkins: The latest charter has inundation component for the habitat, on agenda for next subgroup discussion- hasn’t been completed though.

  • Rene Henry: For Food for Fish, will put a proposal together regardless, will come up with something, not sure what yet.

  • Rod Wittler: Still not clear on what we mean when we talk about deadlines- September/October? What do we need to have done by the deadline? Work/proposal is due?

  • Megan Cook: By October, work needs to be done so whatever is the outcome of proposed change is ready to be put into the model. September is the last date for proposals the SIT hasn’t seen yet.

  • Brian Ellrott: At least for Chinook, where we have restoration priorities from current NTRS, for the next one, is there any carry-over from current strategy/priorities or are we starting fresh?

  • Megan Cook: Yes, vision for next one is to revisit objectives given what we’ve learned, any updates/other things the SIT wants to consider? Kind of a reboot. End result may have similar priorities, but will go back to the beginning to make sure we’re good with future decisions.

  • Rod Wittler: One comment- next NTRS won’t be any different from the first if we don’t realize monitoring data that changes our minds. That’s why this monitoring that Jim was talking about in FY 2022 is so important.

11:05 Science Talk: “Optimizing river flows for juvenile Chinook salmon survival: a case study” (Patti Wohner, Oregon State University).

  • See slides
  • Here, we illustrate how estimates derived from monitoring data can be used to inform water management and as a basis for adaptively managing flows. Specifically, we conducted a meta-analysis of Chinook salmon smolt survival and routing estimates through the south Delta. We then used the resulting parameter estimates to develop a survival and routing simulation model to estimate optimal flows for the San Joaquin River during smolt outmigration from February–May.


  • Cyril Michel: One thing that is the next frontier for the work in Sac River and your work is that pulse flows can trigger fish to migrate, feedback cycle when you try to schedule optimal pulse flows, create more fish moving through.

  • Doug Hampton: Ag barriers?

  • Patti Wohner: Input in optimization model (turn on/off), directly informed by survival studies, can look at the differences in survival by different types of water optimizations. One of the cool things about model is looking at different scenarios. Currently we don’t have ag barriers in the model, but could be something that is added, especially if there are studies.

  • Keith Marine: Consideration of these fishes (FCS) physiological states and transitions during the March and April will be important when exporting with pulse flows to “force or encourage early emigration” to not complicate with parr-smolt reversions, based on my early 90’s research on temperature mediated effects on smolt physiology.

  • Dennis E Cocherell: Spring-run tend to hold with flow vs fall run that tend to move downstream with a flow pulse

  • Megan Cook: one of the original reasons to bring this up was to get SIT thinking about this use in our context. Elaborate on that? Jim: can use decision analytic approaches tied directly to the animal, like pulse flows and how they affect fish behavior and then how fish behavior gets fish out. So with this year and thinking about the low flows – is getting fish out the best thing to do? Other uses for DSMs that can be done and things can be modified in DSM so better address some of these questions. Food for thought.

  • JD: this paper focuses on smolt size piece; more work needed on fry size emigration.

12:00 Adjourn (likely early)