The Salish Sea Marine Survival Project and Steelhead Research Planning

Michael Schmidt, Long Live the Kings

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Working with a multi-disciplinary group of scientists from over 20 federal and state agencies, tribes, and academia, with managers, and with funders from the public and private sectors, Long Live the Kings and the Pacific Salmon Foundation are facilitating the development of a joint United States and Canada research program, utilizing intellectual and capital resources from both countries to evaluate the causes of weak juvenile salmon and steelhead survival in the Salish Sea marine environment. Through the development of a comprehensive, ecosystem-based research framework; coordinated, standardized data collection; and improved information sharing, the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project will help managers better understand the relationship between juvenile salmon and the marine environment. In November 2012, we held a workshop with 90 participants to receive feedback from the broader scientific community regarding the critical elements of a U.S.-Canada Salish Sea marine survival research program. A second workshop to identify potential ecosystem indicators for adult return forecasting immediately followed, focusing on one management implication. The results and recommendations are available at: http://www.lltk.org/SSMSPworkshop. Scientists are using the workshop results to build upon the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s proposal to restore Strait of Georgia Chinook and coho production (2009) and the Puget Sound marine survival hypotheses and preliminary research recommendations report of the US Salish Sea Marine Survival Technical Team (2012). The near-term result will be a suite of research proposals for the Salish Sea, including a research plan specifically tailored for Puget Sound steelhead. This presentation will describe the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project research development process from its initiation to the present, with a focus on the effort to develop a marine survival study plan for Puget Sound steelhead.