Symposia List

We have organized several exciting and informative symposia for our meeting this year and we encourage you to submit your abstracts associated with any one of our session topics. See symposia list and descriptions below:

Symposium: Methods for communicating results, probability, risk, and uncertainty to managers and the general public

Chair: Ann-Marie Huang, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

The general public does not think of probability in the same way as people with a technical background. If they did, casinos would not be so plentiful. This symposia will be a venue for people to share methods used for communicating results to people making decisions and/or feeding into the decision making process – both methods that worked (and why) and that didn’t work (and why). Methods can include, but are not limited to: choice of language, figures, and/or meeting process.

Symposium:  The future of Bull Trout populations and management in British Columbia and Washington

Chair: Nikolaus Gantner (FLNRORD) and Shawna Warehime Co-Chair (Eastern Washington University)

Environmental and anthropogenic stressors pose threats to Bull Trout Salvelinus confluentus populations in both British Columbia and Washington. Climate change is one major stressor, as water temperature is often the most important environmental parameter delineating the distribution of Bull Trout. In addition, land use practices, such as hydroelectric dams, forestry practices, and fisheries management practices can further affect Bull Trout populations directly and indirectly.

Bull Trout are federally listed with some level of conservation concern throughout their range. If the species is to thrive, it is necessary to examine causes for decline and evaluate pathways to recovery in the face of existing and emerging threats. This includes studying recovery initiatives currently underway as well as emerging technologies and policies. For example, applications such as the Cold-Water Climate Shield model by the U.S. Forest Service Research and Development Branch and the advances in the utility of environmental DNA have been successfully employed to identify shifts in stream water temperatures and subsequent effects on salmonids, including Bull Trout. The promising method of environmental DNA appears to provide an alternative to traditional approaches.

This symposium is welcoming submissions from academia, government agencies, and the private sector on both sides of the border to share lessons learned and success stories from the past, as well as to jointly discuss future strategies to assess and manage Bull Trout populations. Submissions as platform presentations and poster presentations are welcome and a wrap-up panel discussion may be held to conclude the symposium. A summary report may be written with contributions from all participants.

Symposium: River connectivity: Technical, cultural and biological aspects of fish passage and reintroduction

Chair: Andy Peters, Pacific Netting Products

Fish passage and river connectivity barriers could be considered to be anything that hinders any life stage of fish and other aquatic organisms, energy and inert matter from moving through a waterway. Physical barriers include dams and deteriorating culverts. Environmental and biological barriers include water velocity, water temperature, quality, an increase in number of predators and deterioration of upstream habitat. Cultural barriers are comprised of the attitudes, customs and practices of people and industry. Technical barriers involve a lack of supporting or facilitating technologies, materials, engineering and know-how to address or implement solutions.

Restoring connectivity will increase habitat diversity, population resilience and restore important cultural and societal customs. While most barriers have the same general impact on fish—blocking migrations, the interactions of these barriers are complex and interdependent. Restoration of connectivity of freshwater habitats throughout the historic range of anadromous fish requires a coordinated approach.

In this symposium speakers will discuss various barriers and / or the methodologies to overcome them. Speakers will include those from industry, community, designers and developers of the passage systems, biologists and engineers responsible for designing and conducting evaluation study plans, researchers responsible for evaluating performance and project owners/operators. Presentations will include case-studies and lessons learned from other river connectivity projects.

This symposium will help attendees understand the complex and interdependent nature of fish passage and river connectivity barriers and how site specific, coordinated approaches can restore connectivity.

Symposium: Hatchery reform progress and innovation

Chair: Todd Pearsons, Grant County Public Utility District

Hatchery reform recommendations of salmon and steelhead hatcheries in Washington and the Columbia Basin were made by the Hatchery Scientific Review Group some time ago.  The intent of those recommendations was to align hatchery practices with hatchery goals.  Although it is premature to evaluate the biological performances of some of the reform recommendations, the progress towards implementation of the recommendations can be evaluated.  This symposium will emphasize progress towards achieving hatchery reform, and more specifically, targets of an index of domestication selection (i.e., Proportionate Natural Influence) and stray rates.  Furthermore, additional concepts and refinements of hatchery reform and unconventional uses of hatcheries will also be explored.  The talks in this symposium will provide examples of: 1) how reform recommendations are being implemented, 2) how well hatcheries are achieving recommendations, 3) if available, how reforms have changed biological performance, and 4) alternative concepts for hatchery reform and innovation.

Symposium: Okanagan salmon restoration

Chair: Chad Fuller, Okanagan Nation Alliance

Topics for our symposium will cover habitat, hydro, hatchery, health, and harvest.

Symposium: Sockeye Salmon in the Pacific Northwest

Chair: Jeff Fryer, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

The location of this year’s Washington-British Columbia AFS meeting, Kelowna, sits near the divide between two great Sockeye Salmon rivers; the Columbia and the Fraser. Fraser River Sockeye runs prior to the early 1900’s were immense; the size of historic Columbia River runs are less well-documented, but were certainly in the millions. Both runs trended steeply downward in the first half of the 20th century due to dams blocking most rearing lakes in the Columbia River and a landslide partially blocking the Fraser River in 1913. More recently, the 20th century, historic abundance with record low runs occurring in the past 20 years but also a near record high in the Fraser of nearly 30 million in 2010 and over 600,000 returning to the Columbia River in 2014, primarily to the Okanagan Basin. These runs are important to fisheries in both basins, thus considerable resources have been expended on managing and seeking to improve these runs. With these runs being at the southern end of their range and high temperatures being associated with large die-offs on the upstream migration in recent years, these stocks are highly vulnerable to climate change. These stocks are also located in areas with rapidly growing human populations and their associated impacts on watersheds. This symposium will focus on impacts on salmon imposed by climate change and human population and what management actions are, or can be, taken to offset these. While this symposium is expected to focus on the Fraser and Columbia rivers, submissions from other basins in the Pacific Northwest are also welcome.