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Monday, February 6 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Technical Session. Stream Science to Action: A Decision-Support Tool for Salmonid Thermal Habitat Management Amidst Climate Change

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AUTHORS: Andrew K. Carlson, Michigan State University, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; T. Douglas Beard, Jr., National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey; Dana M. Infante, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; William W. Taylor, Michigan State University, Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

ABSTRACT: The sustainability of coldwater stream fisheries is increasingly influenced by climate change as warmer air temperatures threaten coldwater-adapted organisms and their habitats. Future climate change is predicted to increase air temperatures and water temperatures and alter the thermal habitat suitability of streams for growth, reproduction, and survival of coldwater fishes. Species such as brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), brown trout (Salmo trutta), and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are predicted to be particularly sensitive to climate change in the State of Michigan, USA. Hence, there is a need for new management approaches that promote thermally resilient stream ecosystems that can sustain their temperature regimes and salmonid populations amidst climate warming. Fisheries professionals in Michigan are responding to this need by designing a statewide fisheries management plan for inland, stream-dwelling brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. At this opportune time for management-oriented research, we are developing a map-based decision-support tool to assist fisheries professionals in planning management programs that promote thermally resilient streams and salmonid populations. Because thermal habitat management necessitates consideration of the diverse factors influencing streams, the tool integrates resource availability (e.g., money, time, personnel) with information on stream-specific thermal regimes (e.g., current and projected future temperatures), hydrology (e.g., groundwater/surface water contribution), and biological conditions (e.g., riparian and watershed land cover). The decision-support tool will be delivered to fisheries professionals in Michigan via a user-friendly online map interface that synthesizes resource availability with thermal, hydrological, and biological conditions to provide recommendations for sustaining salmonid thermal habitats and recreational fisheries. Our work contributes to the nascent field of fisheries decision-support, illustrating how fisheries professionals can use collaboration and co-production to facilitate complex, multidimensional decision-making amidst climate change. 

Monday February 6, 2017 1:20pm - 1:40pm CST
Grand Ballroom D