What do forests have to do with salmon?

One of our goals at ABR is to provide objective, reliable data and reports for agencies and land managers about the status of natural resources under their purview. In a report prepared for Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission (CRITFC), ABR’s landscape ecologists mapped existing vegetation and possible future vegetation scenarios in riparian areas of the upper Grande Ronde watershed in northeastern Oregon. The maps were a key input into a model of stream water temperature used by CRITFC to predict the effectiveness of riparian restoration on reducing stream temperature in the face of changing climate.

The results of the modeling exercise, reported by CRITFC in the latest volume of Journal of Environmental Management, indicate that riparian forest and stream channel restoration combined have the potential to reduce peak summer water temperatures by ~6.5 °C in the Upper Grande Ronde River over the next several decades, translating to significant increases in Chinook salmon abundance over time. An essay by ABR landscape ecologist Dr. Aaron Wells explores the ecological linkages between salmon and forests addressed in the recent CRITFC publication: Salmon in the Trees: Thinking like a forest to offset climate change impacts on fish.

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