SFEWS Vol. 20, Issue 1 | March 2021
#CentralValley #ChinookSalmon #otolithchemistry #Steelhead #monitoring #surveys #catchability #detectionefficiency #DeltaSmelt #supplementation #Ich #pathogens #organiccarbon #stablecarbon #nitrogen #inputs #YubaRiver #watersheds
Variation in Juvenile Salmon Growth Opportunities Across a Shifting Habitat Mosaic
Coleman et al. found that juvenile Chinook Salmon grew faster in the Delta in some years (2016), but slower in the Delta during drought conditions (2014 to 2015). Habitat that featured faster growth rates varied within and among years, suggesting the importance of maintaining a habitat mosaic for juvenile salmonids, particularly in a dynamic environment such as the California Central Valley.
Counting the Parts to Understand the Whole: Rethinking Monitoring of Steelhead in California’s Central Valley
Eschenroeder et al. argue that a reallocation of monitoring resources to better understand the interaction between resident and anadromous Steelhead would provide better data to estimate the vital rates needed to evaluate the effects of recovery actions.
Relative Bias in Catch Among Long-Term Fish Monitoring Surveys Within the San Francisco Estuary
Huntsman et al. assessed relative catchability differences among four long-term fish monitoring surveys from the San Francisco Estuary. Their results demonstrate that catchability is a source of bias among monitoring efforts within the San Francisco Estuary, and assuming equal catchability among surveys, species, and size classes could result in significant bias when describing spatio-temporal patterns in catch if ignored.
Investigation of Molecular Pathogen Screening Assays for Use in Delta Smelt
Gille et al. conducted a pilot study that applied molecular assays originally developed in salmonids to assess the presence of a wide variety of pathogens in the gill tissue of cultured and wild Delta Smelt—as well as cultured fish—deployed in enclosures in the estuary. Although disease is not an overt cause of population decline of Delta Smelt in the San Francisco Estuary, comprehensive pathogen presence and prevalence data are lacking, and unintended transmission of pathogens can have devastating effects on populations already at-risk or on the natural ecosystem at large. Their results corroborate previous work that cultured Delta Smelt do not appear to present a high risk for pathogen transmission during population supplementation or reintroduction.
Multi-Biomarker Analysis for Identifying Organic Matter Sources in Small Mountainous River Watersheds: A Case Study of the Yuba River Watershed
Pondell and Canuel's study focused on identifying the composition of watershed-derived organic matter (OM). To better understand inputs to inland waters and improve distinguish between terrigenous and aquatic sources in downstream systems, such as estuaries and coasts, they surveyed OM sources from the Yuba River watershed in northern California to identify specific biomarkers that represent aquatic and terrigenous OM sources. Results demonstrate the utility of multi-biomarker studies for distinguishing between OM from different sources and land uses, offering new insights for biogeochemical studies in aquatic systems.
Volume 4, Issue 1, 2006
CalJep is a spatially enabled database that reconciles or cross-walks the two prominent electronic plant distribution lists for California: CalFlora and Jepson. We intersected the distribution information from the two data sources to create a refined spatial distribution repository that can be used to examine patterns of plant diversity, distribution ranges of individual plant species or infrataxa, or vegetation associations. These data will allow scientists and resource managers to examine potential range maps for non-native plants, create range maps for plant species of restoration interest, and corroborate lines of evidence for determining appropriate management and conservation activities. We present here a detailed description of the methods used to create the CalJep geodatabase, data rendered from its creation, and a discussion of its applicability to a wide range of biogeographical and ecological questions, including restoration planning and adaptive management for the Bay-Delta ecosystem. CalJep records 7,887 plant species, subspecies, and varieties mapped onto 228 ecological subunits with corresponding distributional information for vascular plant species at varying levels of confidence. Information derived from this geodatabase is inherently as accurate as the digital floras used to create it; hence, its utility is best realized when implemented at the regional or statewide scale. CalJep provides a previously unavailable service to vegetation science in California and to resource managers operating within the Bay-Delta ecosystem.
Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus Transmission and Disease among Juvenile Chinook Salmon Exposed in Culture Compared to Environmentally Relevant Conditions
The dynamics of IHNV infection and disease were followed in a juvenile Chinook salmon population both during hatchery rearing and for two weeks post-release. Cumulative weekly mortality increased from 0.03%–3.5% as the prevalence of viral infection increased from 2%–22% over the same four-week period. The majority of the infected salmon was asymptomatic. Salmon demonstrating clinical signs of infection shed 1000 pfu mL-1 of virus into the water during a 1 min observation period and had a mean concentration of 106 pfu mL-1 in their mucus. The high virus concentration detected in mucus suggests that it could act as an avenue of transmission in high density situations where dominance behavior results in nipping. Infected smolts that had migrated 295 km down river were collected at least two weeks after their release. The majority of the virus positive smolts was asymptomatic. A series of transmission experiments was conducted using oral application of the virus to simulate nipping, brief low dose waterborne challenges, and cohabitation with different ratios of infected to naïve fish. These studies showed that asymptomatic infections will occur when a salmon is exposed for as little as 1 min to >102 pfu mL-1, yet progression to clinical disease is infrequent unless the challenge dose is >104 pfu mL-1. Asymptomatic infections were detected up to 39 d post-challenge. No virus was detected by tissue culture in natural Chinook juveniles cohabitated with experimentally IHNV-infected hatchery Chinook at ratios of 1:1, 1:10, and 1:20 for either 5 min or 24 h. Horizontal transmission of the Sacramento River strain of IHNV from infected juvenile hatchery fish to wild cohorts would appear to be a low ecological risk. The study results demonstrate key differences between IHNV infections as present in a hatchery and the natural environment. These differences should be considered during risk assessments of the impact of IHNV infections on wild salmon and trout populations.
Effective conservation and recovery planning for Central Valley steelhead requires an understanding of historical population structure. We describe the historical structure of the Central Valley steelhead evolutionarily significant unit using a multi-phase modeling approach. In the first phase, we identify stream reaches possibly suitable for steelhead spawning and rearing using a habitat model based on environmental envelopes (stream discharge, gradient, and temperature) that takes a digital elevation model and climate data as inputs. We identified 151 patches of potentially suitable habitat with more than 10 km of stream habitat, with a total of 25,500 km of suitable habitat. We then measured the distances among habitat patches, and clustered together patches within 35 km of each other into 81 distinct habitat patches. Groups of fish using these 81 patches are hypothesized to be (or to have been) independent populations for recovery planning purposes. Consideration of climate and elevation differences among the 81 habitat areas suggests that there are at least four major subdivisions within the Central Valley steelhead ESU that correspond to geographic regions defined by the Sacramento River basin, Suisun Bay area tributaries, San Joaquin tributaries draining the Sierra Nevada, and lower-elevation streams draining to the Buena Vista and Tulare basins, upstream of the San Joaquin River. Of these, it appears that the Sacramento River basin was the main source of steelhead production. Presently, impassable dams block access to 80% of historically available habitat, and block access to all historical spawning habitat for about 38% of the historical populations of steelhead.
A two-dimensional, depth-averaged kinetic model of copper cycling was developed for the San Francisco Bay estuary. Adsorption and desorption reaction rate constants were determined from experimental sorption experiments. To calibrate the model, processes related to aqueous speciation were included. The model was used to predict spatial and seasonal trends in the adsorption and desorption of copper. Model predictions show that copper is continually being re-partitioned between sediment and water. Re-partitioning is prevalent near tributary and anthropogenic sources. It also occurs between segments of the bay, in response to differences in salinity and the availability of organic ligands dissolved in the water. In areas of restricted circulation such as the South Bay, copper adsorbed onto settling particles during wet season storm events acts as a source to the water column during the dry season. The relative contribution of resuspended benthic sediment to dissolved copper concentrations is highly variable in the bay. In the North Bay, dissolved copper is principally introduced from the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta. In the South and lower South bays, desorption from sediment during the dry season may contribute as much as 20% of the total mass input of dissolved copper. Improvement of water quality can be achieved by reducing loads; however, changes are predicted to take years.