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

Vermont Project


Connecticut River Migratory Fish

August 2002 - June 2018


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • Vermont Fish and Wildlife
  • National Marine Fisheries Service
  • Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • NMFS

Recently much of the popular science literature has focused on the concept of climate change. Thus far, there have been some very simple predictions on how climate change will affect temperature, especially in more northern latitudes. As ectotherms, fish are affected directly by any changes in temperature, which can range from altering foraging, reproduction, metabolism, migration timing, etc. In the Connecticut River, anadromous fish (e.g., Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), American shad (Alosa sapidissima), sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)) are predicted to change migration patterns in relation to climate change. The life cycle complexity of migratory species introduces several unknowns regarding the transitions from freshwater to marine and back, and from tributary to mainstem in some species. The changing thermal regime will be accompanied by changes in discharge as a component of the altered water cycle. Predictions of changes in shorter-term weather patterns include more severe events; e.g., a tornado occurred in Vermont on May 9, 2009 and Hurricane Irene caused major damage in Vermont tributaries in August 2011. This backdrop provides an opportunity to expand on our previous modeling of Atlantic salmon migration in the Connecticut River. We explored how temperature, discharge, and the indirect effects of dams (by creating delays in migration) were related to survival of Atlantic salmon smolts. We worked in this area for several years using data from previous monitoring and research. The final phase of our efforts was to model juvenile American shad migration in response to changing environmental conditions.

Research Publications Publication Date
Marschall, E.A., M.E. Mather, D.L. Parrish, G. Allison, and J. McMenemy. Migration delays caused by anthropogenic barriers: modeling dams, temperature, and success of migrating salmon smolts. Ecological Applications 21: 3014-3031. 2011-12-31
Marschall, E.A., D.C. Glover, M.E. Mather, and D.L. Parrish. 2020. Modeling larval American Shad recruitment in a large river. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 40: in press. DOI: 10.1002/nafm.10460 | Abstract 2020-05-31
Presentations Presentation Date
Mather, M.E., E.A. Marschall*, and D.L. Parrish. Predicting interactive effects of climate change and dams on success of downstream-migrating salmon. Fish and Climate Change, The Fisheries Society of the British Isles Annual Symposium, Belfast, UK, 26-30 July 2010. *Presenter 2010-07-26
Marschall, E. A., D. C. Glover, M. E. Mather, and D. L. Parrish. Modeling the effects of climate change on larval cohort success in anadromous fish populations in the mainstem of a large river. 4th Mississippi-Yangtze River Symposium, Chongqing, China, 17 October 2018. 2018-10-17
Parrish, D.L., E.A. Marschall, and Martha E. Mather. Modeling fish migration in the Connecticut River, USA. Japanese Society of Fisheries Science. 2016-03-29
Mather, M. E., E. A. Marschall, D. L. Parrish, G. Allison, J. McMenemy. 2009 River discharge, temperature, dams, and the timing of downstream migration of Atlantic salmon smolts: a modeling approach. Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Research Forum, Hadley, MA, February, 2009. 2009-02-11
Marschall, E.A., M.E. Mather, D.L. Parrish, and G.W. Allison. River discharge, river temperature, dams, and the timing of downstream migration of Atlantic salmon smolts: a modeling approach. 137th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, San Francisco, CA, 2-6 September 2007. (Invited symposium presentation.) 2007-09-05
Parrish, D.L. Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River. 38th Annual Meeting of the Atlantic International Chapter (American Fisheries Society), Averill, Vermont, 23-25 September 2012. Keynote address. 2012-09-24
Parrish, D.L. October 2001. Global climate change and Atlantic salmon. Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center Annual Meeting 2001-10-12