The Projects that ISEMP and CHaMP work on are diverse, ranging from the development of complex life cycle and geospatial models to the generation of standard status and trend estimates for habitat and fish populations.  Here is a snapshot of what we work on and how we do it.

Tributary Action Effectiveness - Intensively Monitored Watersheds

Reconnecting tributaries in the Lemhi (ID)

The Lemhi River Chinook salmon and steelhead have been in decline in the Lemhi River for decades.  Restoration projects in the subbasin focus on providing flow and ensuring access to juvenile and migrating fish. Projects are also designed to improve local habitat conditions, including riparian conditions to lower temperatures, decrease substrate, and increasing off-channel habitat.

Partnering with Beaver in Bridge Creek (OR)

Beaver Dam Analogs (BDAs) are being installed to mimic and encourage dam building activities of beaver.  Phase I of treatment installments occurred in 2009 and post-restoration monitoring has shown improvements in in-channel condition and the productivity of steelhead.

Increasing habitat complexity in the mainstem Entiat (WA)

The lower 26 miles of the Entiat River is part of an Intensively Monitored Watershed designed to evaluate the effects of restoration actions designed to increase instream complexity through the addition of wood or rock and the removal of levees.  Implementation of restoration actions are coordinated to occur in specifc areas of the river in specific years, with the next round of treatments scheduled for 2016-2017.

Habitat Status and Trends

Estimating Gross Primary Productivity

Estimates of gross primary productivity (GPP) can describe the productive potential of watersheds, which is an important component of fish habitat.  EcoLogical Research (ELR) and South Fork Research, Inc. (SFR) are currently working with NOAA to develop a spatially-explicit GPP model for watershed within the Columbia River Basin.

Ecohydraulic Models (HSI and FIS)

Ecohydraulic models can be used to identify areas where specific types of restoration will likely be the most cost-effective. Extrapolation of these reach-scale estimates to the network scale will help determine the most cost-effective restoration actions and where to apply them. This approach can be used in life-cycle assessments of salmonid populations following restoration efforts.

Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT)

Utah State University collaborated with ISEMP to develop a spatially explicit network model called the Beaver Restoration Assessment Tool (BRAT) to help assess the potential for using beaver as a stream conservation and restoration agent at the watershed scale.

Net Rate of Energy Intake (NREI)

In ISEMP and CHaMP, we developed a monitoring protocol that allows for the use of net rate of energy intake (NREI). The NREI model uses a foraging model that incorporates depth, velocity and prey abundance (drifting invertebrates) to predict prey encounter rates, capture success, and consumption rates at locations throughout the modeled hydraulic environment of a reach.

Developing a regional habitat monitoring program

In 2011, ISEMP launched an instream tributary habitat monitoring program,  the Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program (CHaMP; BPA Project No. 2011-006-00), to focus on ESA-listed steelhead and Chinook in the interior Columbia River Basin. CHaMP employs a standardized approach to field sampling, survey, data management, and analysis methods in order to capture habitat characteristics important to fish, in a consistent and geo-spatially precise manner. Sampling is targeted at interior Columbia River Basin watersheds that had limited habitat monitoring in place to inform management questions about ESA-listed populations.

Estimating Habitat Capacity using Quantile Regression Forest Models

We are using a quantile regression forest to capture non-linear relationships between fish and habitat.  This approach generates estimates of parr carrying capacity as a function of several potential limiting factors for a range of subbasins within the interior Columbia basin.  Site-scale habitat data, including large woody debris, pool frequency, depth, substrate and flow metrics) are matched with fish abundance for the same site and year and a random forest model is used to predict a site-scale carrying capacity.

Bathymetric LiDAR, Lemhi River

Topobathymetric light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data were collected along the Lemhi River using Experimental Advanced Airborne Research LiDAR-B (EARRL-B). EARRL-B is the latest generation of EARRL LiDAR systems developed by NASA and the USGS (McKean et al. 2008, 2014). Data were recorded over three days of flight, focusing on in-channel and floodplain habitat.

Population Scale Estimates of CHaMP Habitat Metrics

The Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program collects habitat metric data using a survey design that can help inform whether metric variation is due to temporal factors, such as year, or spatial factors, such as site or watershed.

Quantifying Geomorphic Changes over Time

The Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program (CHaMP) uses the Geomorphic Change Detection (GCD) tools to generate a suite of metrics that quantify changes to the bed topography of surveyed sites during the monitoring period.

Extending capacity estimates across large spatial scales

To support the generation of continuous estimates and map generation of selected CHaMP metrics, we’re generating empirical models relating CHaMP metrics to globally available attributes.  Globally available attributes are independent variables that are known or derived at all points along stream networks of interest, and include attributes from a variety of sources.

Fish Status and Trends

Bioenergetics Model

The ISEMP bioenergetics model is used in conjunction with temperature data and models to support growth-survival based inputs to ISEMP life cycle models.  The model has been written in the free, open-source R programming language, which is designed specifically for statistical computing and graphics.

Building Life Cycle Models

Life cycle models (LCMs) provide a useful framework for leveraging the fish population and habitat monitoring data collected by CHaMP and ISEMP, as well as other BPA-funded RM&E projects. It is a flexible population model framework capable of incorporating life-stage specific demographics, movement dynamics, fish-habitat relationships, and various restoration scenarios.  The ISEMP life cycle model is an extension of the life stage specific Beverton-Holt model (Moussalli and Hilborn 1986) modified to explicitly link survival to habitat attributes (Sharma et al. 2005).  We are currently building chinook LCMs in the Lemhi and Entiat and a steelhead model in the Middle Fork John Day.

Instream PIT Tage Detection Systems (IPTDS)

Instream PIT Tag Detection Systems (IPTDS) provide a powerful tool for estimating escapement for spring/summer Chinook salmon and steelhead. ISEMP has been integral to the support and development of IPTDS infrastructure throughout the interior Columbia River Basin for many years. Currently, ISEMP operates 67 IPTDS distributed across the Snake River (32), upper Columbia River (29), and John Day River (6).

Estimating Total Adult Escapement at Lower Granite Dam

  • Lower Granite Dam run reconstruction
  • Estimating total adult Steelhead and Chinook escapement

Geomorphic Context

Defining River Character, Behavior, Condition and Recovery Potential.

Geomorphic Reach Typing and Condition Assessments are being used to examine river character, behavior, condition, and recovery potential of river networks within the Interior Columbia River Basin and parts of the western United States.

Geomorphic Features of River Networks

We’re developing a suite of tools to delineate, measure, and explore geomorphic features of river networks, including valley bottoms, riparian condition and  confinement.

High resolution topographic data (LiDAR)

ISEMP uses LiDAR data to support projects requiring high-resolution topographic data to detection change.

Other Monitoring Projects

Developing Monitoring Designs

Spatially balanced survey designs  (GRTS)

Historic ISEMP Monitoring Data

Download ISEMP fish, habitat and sedimetndata (2004-2009) and temperature data (10985-2010 from the STEM databank)