|North Pacific Rim Salmon Project
Rim Project is currently in limbo as to it's future direction. Funding has run
out for project staff. Work is continuing on writing the project's final report
which should go to press sometime in September. It is the hope of the Pacific
Rim Project staff that the information system created by the project will
continue to be an evolving information system that will serve as a framework for
understanding the vast ecosystem of Pacific salmon. Toward this end, the
following is a brief overview of the Pacific Rim Project to provide interested
people with a better understanding of the goals, methods, and assembled
resources of the Pacific Rim Project. Please keep in mind that this site was
hurriedly put together and that it will be updated/improved as time permits.
Comments/questions may be sent to Jeff Rodgers.
Dan Bottom, project
leader. Jeff Rodgers, assistant project leader. Xan Augerot, graduate student
(PhD. candidate). Cathy Dey and Cathy Baldwin, research assistants.
The North Pacific
Rim Salmon Project was a three year, $250,000 project funded by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency through a cooperative agreement with Oregon
State University's Center for Analysis of Environmental Change (CAEC). At the
time of project inception Member institutions of CAEC include Oregon State
University, U.S. Forest Service PNW Research Station, EPA Environmental Research
Laboratory (Corvallis), and Battelle-Pacific Northwest Laboratories. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
donated time and salary for the project leader on half-time basis. Other
project staff were ODFW employees f unded through an interagency agreement. The
project also has involved a number of Russian
colleagues who have synthesized information on the status and inland
distribution of salmon stocks in the Russian Far East.
The goal of the
Salmon Conservation Strategies Project is to develop tools for evaluating
conservation alternatives for Pacific salmon and their ecosystems. The general
approach involves the use of a Geographic Information Sy stem to integrate
existing data on the (1)distribution and status of Pacific salmonid stocks
throughout their range; (2) terrestrial and freshwater landscapes that support
salmonid freshwater existence; (3) oceanic ecosystems that support salmonid
adult populations; (4) atmospheric systems that shape climatic patterns of
salmonid habitats; and (5) social and political systems that regulate, influence
and consume these resources.
On the Asian continent, chum
salmon delineate the southern extent of anadromous salmon, occurring as far
south as Kyushu Island, Japan. Chinook salmon delineate the northeastern extent
of anadromous salmon in North America, with a small number being reported in the
Coppermine River of the Canadian Arctic. Pink salmon delineate the northwestern
extent of anadromous salmon on the Asian continent, occurring as far northwest
as the Lena River. Steelhead de lineate the southern extent in North America,
historically occurring as far south as Mexico.
To delineate the
major watersheds that support Pacific salmon and as a way of organizing the
multitude of information that is available at different scales across the
Pacific Rim salmon ecosystem, we developed a prototype templ ate of salmon
biogeographic zones. This required a GIS coverage of rivers spanning the entire
north Pacific Rim. The best dataset we could find came from ESRI's Digital Chart
of the World (DCW). The DCW generally depicts streams down to 5th order.
The first step in delineating the
prototype zones was to digitize river systems that flowed either into the Arctic
or Pacific oceans. The second step was to
digitize the large river systems such as the Lena, Amur, and Anadyr Rivers in
Asia, and the MacKenzie, Yukon, Columbia, and Sacramento Rivers in North
America, or rivers with unique physical, climatological, or biological
characteristics such as the Uda River in Russia or the Umpqua River in Oregon.
The next step was to identify and digitize groups of rivers that flowed into
similar nearshore ocean environments or that where identified as having similar
stock characteristics. The result is a map which currently has 109 zones delineated. Note that these zones are
subject to change as more information becomes available.
In general, the terrestrial domain inhabited by
North American anadromous salmon is more mountainous than that inhabited by
During the last glacial maximum (~15,000 - 20,000 years ago), ocean temperatures
were generally colder off of the southern Asian zones than they are today.
In general the ocean is
colder off the southern Asian zones today than for zones at similar latitudes in
Siberia's reputation is
justly deserved. Because of continental influences, most of the Asian zones are
much colder during the winter than zones at similar latitudes in North America.
Partially because of
the longer growing season due to it's maritime climate, zones in the Pacific
Northwest of North America have much higher vegetation productivity than the
rest of the North Pacific Rim.
differ markedly between North American and Asian zones. Summer monsoons result
in heavy precipitation in southern Asian zones, whereas North American zones at
similar latitude are relatively dry during the summer.
As a result of the different
climatic regimes, the southern Asian zones have peak discharges in the summer,
similar to the more northerly zones in North America (zones in white are zones
for which we currently h ave no hydrograph information in our database).
result of the differences between the two continents, we see latitudinal
differences in the relative distribution and abundance of anadromous salmon.
Highlighted are the zones that contain chum, masu, and pink salmon. While a
lot of this map is driven by the occurrence of masu salmon, it does serve as a
useful illustration that, in general, pink and chum salmon are found in much
higher abundance in the southern Asian zones than in zones at a similar latitude
in North America.
Harvest data can be used as another surrogate for
relative species abundance. We've compiled a rim-wide database of salmon harvest
by species spanning from 1920 to 1991. Shown are the broad areas for which we
can associate harvest data over the 70 years of record. Even at this coarse
resolution, we can begin to get a better indication of the relative abundances
of the species as we move around the rim.
Increased concern about the
viability of populations has stimulated a number of formal status reviews for
regions of the Pacific Rim. While we have (or at least think we have) good
information about the status of Pacific Northwest stocks, our understanding of
the status of stocks decreases with increasing latitude. The information we do
have for North America shows strong latitudinal trends in extinction.
In an effort to improve our understanding of the status of Asian stocks of
Pacific salmon, we worked with fisheries biologists in Vladivostok to conduct a
comprehensive status review for Primorsky
Krai, in the Russian Far East. This survey showed that fall chum salmon have
disappeared from much of their historic
range in tributaries of the Ussuri River, and that these inland stocks are at a
high risk of extinction.
Not surprisingly, the
latitudinal gradient of peril to salmon stocks is directly related to the
latitudinal gradient of human development such as the urbanization of land and the presence of dams. As human population increases in northern
latitudes, we predict increasing losses of salmon stocks around the Pacific Rim.