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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Considerations for the Development of a Juvenile Production Estimate for Central Valley Spring-Run Chinook Salmon


Effective species management depends on accurate estimates of population size. There are, however, no estimates of annual juvenile production for Central Valley spring-run Chinook Salmon (“spring run”), a highly imperiled species in California, making it difficult to evaluate population status and effectively manage key issues such as entrainment of this species at water diversions. In recognition of this critical information gap, we initiated an effort to develop a juvenile production estimate (JPE) for spring run, defined here as an annual forecast of the number of juvenile Central Valley spring-run Chinook Salmon that enter the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (“Delta”) from the Sacramento Valley. This metric would allow for a more robust scientific assessment of the population, which is needed to effectively manage water to reduce effects on spring run, a key condition of state permit requirements. To help guide this effort, we organized a workshop for stake-holders, managers, and scientists to review some of the key aspects of spring-run biology, examine the management and conservation importance of a JPE, identify knowledge gaps, introduce new tools, and discuss alternative approaches to forecasting the number of spring run emigrating from the Sacramento River drainage and into the Delta. This paper summarizes the spring-run biology, monitoring, and emergent methods for assessment considered at the workshop, as well as the guiding concepts identified by workshop participants necessary to develop a JPE for spring-run Chinook Salmon.

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