Preventing Loss of Ecosystem Services Provided by Chinook Salmon in California

This project will use a WEAP application linked to a model of salmon life cycles to investigate what management options are open to manage spring run Chinook salmon and what the implications for the total ecosystem would be if this pinnacle species is lost.

Chinook Salmon are the pinnacle species in the California’s riverine aquatic ecosystems. Historically these large fish spawned in most of the rivers and streams which flowed into the Pacific north of Monterey Bay.

Based on hydrologic and climatic conditions, individual streams accommodated genetically different salmon populations, or runs. The enormous amount of hydrologic manipulation in California over the course of over a century has lead to the decline of several of these runs, none more so than the Spring Run.

Spring run salmon return from the ocean in March and April when the rivers are high and the water cold. They then swim up to deep pools where they hold over the hot Summer months before they spawn when the water cools in October or November.

The extent of the spring run in California has been reduced to only a few streams, and these are at grave risk due to climate change.

Relevant publications
Escobar, M.I. and Purkey, D. (2008). Analytical Framework for Building Climate Change Resilience into Spring-Run Chinook Salmon Protection and Recovery Strategies. Spring-run Chinook Salmon Symposium. Lodi, CA, USA, July 10-12.

Yates, D., Galbraith, H., Purkey, D., Huber-Lee, A., Sieber, J., West, J., Herrod-Julius, S. and Joyce, B., (2008). "Climate warming, water storage, and Chinook salmon in California’s Sacramento Valley." Climatic Change, doi:10.1007/s10584-008-9427-8


Partners: University of California, Davis