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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Integration of Transport, Survival, and Sampling Efficiency in a Model of South Delta Entrainment


A Bayesian hierarchical model that integrated information about state and observation processes was used to estimate the number of adult Delta Smelt entrained into the southern Sacramento−San Joaquin Delta during water export operations by the California State Water Project and the Central Valley Project. The model hierarchy accounted for dynamic processes of transport, survival, sampling efficiency, and observation. Water export, mark−recapture, and fish facility count data informed each process. Model diagnostics and simulation testing indicated a good fit of the model, and that parameters were jointly estimable in the Bayesian hierarchical model framework. The model was limited, however, by sparse data to estimate survival and State Water Project sampling efficiency. Total December to March entrainment of adult Delta Smelt ranged from an estimated 142,488 fish in 2000 to 53 fish in 2014, and the efficiency of louvers used to divert entrained fish to fish facilities appeared to decline at high and low primary intake channel velocities. Though applied to Delta Smelt, the hierarchical modeling framework was sufficiently flexible to estimate the entrainment of other pelagic species.


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