Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Alaska
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Alaska Project

Assessing the Resilience of Southeast Alaskan Salmon to Shifting Temperature and Discharge Regimes Using a Life-Cycle Perspective Coupled with Community-Based Monitoring

February 2018 - December 2021


Participating Agencies

  • Alaska Sea Grant

Salmon that spawn and rear in southeast Alaska (SEAK) forest streams are critically important to the region’s economic vitality and cultural identity. Environmental changes that compromise the ability of these streams to support salmon could have dramatic consequences for the region. In particular, there is concern that climate change could undermine the capacity of SEAK streams to support productive fisheries via alterations to water temperature and flow regimes via impacts on multiple freshwater life stages. Although life-cycle models that track salmon growth and survival across life stages have been developed for many at-risk populations throughout the southern range of salmon there have been limited efforts to expand this approach northward to Alaska. This project is a collaboration among the University of Alaska Fairbanks, U.S. Forest Service, and the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition. Results of our life cycle modeling for pink, chum, and coho salmon will increase the shared body of knowledge of Alaska watershed ecosystems and enhance community resilience. By presenting user-friendly versions of life-cycle models and model results to southeast Alaska community members and project partners, the project will enhance communities’ capacity to prepare for and adapt to environmental change by: 1) sharing knowledge of which systems are likely at-risk to help communities decide whether and how to mitigate and/or adapt to changes to local salmon resources; 2) training communities to use and adapt the life cycle models themselves, while continuing to serve as a resource for communities using the models; and 3) supporting community adaptation planning efforts via a climate scenarios planning session.

Research Publications Publication Date
Sergeant, C.J., Falke, J.A., Bellmore, J.R., Bellmore, R.A., and R.L. Crumley. 2020. A classification of streamflow patterns across the coastal Gulf of Alaska. Water Resources Research. e2019WR026127. February 2020