Science activities

Reset filters

65 records


















Records

Sort order
  • Title

    Directed Outflow Project

    Lead U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [USBR]
    Description The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) and California Department of Water Resources (DWR), along with collaborators, are continuing efforts to evaluate the hypothesized benefits of outflow and outflow alteration for Delta Smelt. The collective aim of these efforts is to better inform management actions that will bolster and stabilize the Delta Smelt population. The planned five-year Directed Outflow Project (DOP) seeks to assist in evaluating the overarching hypothesis that habitat quality and quantity is improved in the summer/fall when X2 is below 81 km and the LSZ occurs in Suisun Bay and Marsh, and this improvement in habitat conditions will translate into a greater catch density, health, and growth for Delta Smelt using this area
    Science topics Flows, Fish, Water management, Delta Smelt
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Delta Historical Ecology

    Lead San Francisco Estuary Institute [SFEI]
    Description The San Francisco Estuary Institute-Aquatic Science Center, in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Game, completed a historical ecology study of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The project improves understanding of what the Delta looked like and how it functioned prior to the significant modification that has occurred over the last 160 years.
    Science topics Historical ecology, Landscape change
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Delta Landscapes Primary Production Project

    Lead San Francisco Estuary Institute [SFEI]
    Description This project compares first-order estimates of primary production among five major groups of primary producers, historically and today, to better identify the potential food production of different habitat types, and inform restoration actions that could increase food availability for wildlife.
    Science topics Primary production, Phytoplankton, Emergent macrophytes, Epiphytic algae, SAV/FAV
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Landscape Visioning Pilot Application for Staten Island

    Lead San Francisco Estuary Institute [SFEI]
    Description A demonstration project to define possible future land use scenarios for Staten island (“visions”) and leverage existing tools/resources to analyze and compare these scenarios.
    Science topics Habitat restoration, Carbon storage
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Delta Regional Monitoring Program Mercury Monitoring

    Lead Delta Regional Monitoring Program [RMP]
    Description Mercury and Methylmercury in Fish and Water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
    Science topics Methylmercury, Restoration, Fish, Biosentinels, Water
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Soil type as a driver of agricultural climate change response in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

    Lead University of California - Berkeley [UC Berkeley]
    Description This study aims to improve understanding of the carbon, phosphorus, and nitrogen cycles in Delta soils, supporting adaptive management of agriculture in a changing climate
    Science topics Carbon, Agriculture, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Soil
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Operation Baseline Project 2B: Phytoplankton, CSU Maritime Academy

    Lead California State University [CSU]
    Description Quantify the link between wastewater nitrogen and phytoplankton biomass, compositions, and growth rates
    Science topics Nitrogen / ammonia, Floating aquatic vegetation, Submerged aquatic vegetation, Open water, Wetlands, Algae, Other discharge contaminants, Wastewater discharge, Water operations / exports, Food webs, Phytoplankton, Zooplankton
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Operation Baseline Project 2C: Zooplankton, Romberg Tiburon Center, SFSU

    Lead San Francisco State University [SFSU]
    Description Determine links between zooplankton growth and nutrient ssources (response of zooplankton to variations in nutrients, rates of primary production, and types of phytoplankton)
    Science topics Nitrogen / ammonia, Floating aquatic vegetation, Submerged aquatic vegetation, Open water, Wetlands, Algae, Other discharge contaminants, Wastewater discharge, Water operations / exports, Food webs, Phytoplankton, Zooplankton
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Habitat, hatcheries, and nonnative predators interact to affect juvenile salmon behavior and survival

    Lead University of California - Santa Cruz [UCSC]
    Description This study will explore predator prey interactions between hatchery and wild native juvenile salmon and nonnative bass on the Lower Mokelumne River.
    Science topics Fishing, Chinook Salmon
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Investigation of the resilience of the salt marsh harvest mouse and best management practices in response to climate change

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description The objectives of this study are to: Investigate the response of the salt marsh harvest mouse to several threats of climate change, including sea-level rise and extreme annual climate cycles. Develop best management practices for improving the resilience of the salt marsh harvest mouse to future climate change. Develop a reliable technique for remote detection of salt marsh harvest mouse.
    Science topics Climate change, Salt marsh harvest mouse, Saltwater / freshwater marshes
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Effects of copper exposure on the olfactory response of Delta smelt [Hypomesus transpacificus]: Investigating linkages between morphological and behavioral anti-predator response

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description This study aims to address the question of how contaminants— specifically copper—can affect the ability of Delta smelt to detect specific odorants and conduct essential behaviors.
    Science topics Copper, Delta Smelt, Toxicity
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Effect of temperature and salinity on physiological performance and growth of longfin smelt: Developing a captive culture for a threatened species in the Sacramento- San Joaquin Delta

    Lead University of California - Berkeley [UC Berkeley]
    Description This research project aims to elucidate the physiological requirements for survival and reproduction across the entire life history of longfin smelt (from egg to larvae to juvenile to reproducing adult).
    Science topics Delta Smelt, Longfin Smelt, Temperature, Salinity
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Do light, nutrient, and salinity interactions drive the “bad Suisun” phenomenon? A physiological assessment of biological hotspots in the San Francisco Bay-Delta

    Lead University of California - Santa Cruz [UCSC]
    Description This project will assess the physiological basis for reduced phytoplankton growth in Suisun, prior to the major upgrade at the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant that is responsible for 90% of the nitrogen released into the bay
    Science topics Ammonia, Flushing rates, Light, Pelagic fish, Phytoplankton, Open water, Water temperature, Wastewater discharge, Salinity
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Operation Baseline Project 2A1: USGS Pilot Studies

    Lead U.S. Geological Survey [USGS]
    Description Two pilot studies were funded to establish a baseline in open water and shallow wetland habitats prior to the WWTP upgrade. Study 1: Nutrient concentrations, transformation rates, and links to the foodweb. Study 2: Method to improve monitoring using fixed stations coupled with high-speed boat measurements
    Science topics Nitrogen / ammonia, Floating aquatic vegetation, Submerged aquatic vegetation, Open water, Wetlands, Algae, Other discharge contaminants, Wastewater discharge, Water operations / exports, Food webs, Phytoplankton, Zooplankton
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Operation Baseline Project 2A2: USGS Pilot Studies - Isotopes

    Lead U.S. Geological Survey [USGS]
    Description Evaluate the usefulness of stable isotopes to trace nutrients form effluent water
    Science topics Nitrogen / ammonia, Floating aquatic vegetation, Submerged aquatic vegetation, Open water, Wetlands, Algae, Other discharge contaminants, Wastewater discharge, Water operations / exports, Food webs, Phytoplankton, Zooplankton
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    The effects of early hypersaline acclimation due to climate change on the toxicity of pyrethroid, an insecticide, in salmonids.

    Lead University of California - Riverside [UC Riverside]
    Description Sea level rise and drought are expected to result in hypersaline waterways in the Delta. Endangered Chinook salmon and Steelhead trout go through smoltification to be able to live and mature in saline environments. However, with salinities and temperatures increasing in historically freshwater areas, these fish may be facing new stressors. Pesticide runoff into the Delta is common due to the urbanization and agriculture of many regions and can adversely affect fish. Additionally, previous research has shown that salinity exposure increases the toxicity of contaminants in anadromous fish, and it is had been demonstrated that bifenthrin, a common insecticide in the Bay, can have endocrine disrupting effects on juvenile salmonids. This project will examine the impacts of hypersaline conditions, various temperatures, and exposure to bifenthrin on the development and survival of juvenile Chinook salmon and Steelhead trout. Specifically, it will: Test the impacts of premature hypersaline acclimation and temperature on the survivial and smoltification process of a range of juvenile salmonids; Test the combined impacts of premature hypersaline acclimation, temperature, and bifenthrin exposure on smoltification, survival and behavior;and Predict the population level effects of drought and pesticide runoff on the health of endangered salmonids Additionally, this research will provide information to CA Department of Pesticide Regulation for potential pesticide management in the Delta, as well as to the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife for conservation practices of endangered juvenile salmonids in the Delta.
    Science topics Salinity
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Identifying the Causes of Feminization of Chinook Salmon in the Sacramento and San Joaquin River System

    Lead University of California - Berkeley [UC Berkeley]
    Description Purpose was to assess the potential importance of endocrine-disrupting chemical contaminants to salmon and other resident speices of waters that are discharged into the San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta.
    Science topics Chinook Salmon
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    How Abiotic Processes, Biotic Processes, and Their Interactions Sustain Habiata Charactersitics and Functions in River Channels and Their Floodplains: An Investigation of How a Reach of the Merced River Responds to Restoration

    Lead University of California - Santa Barbara [UCSB]
    Description The purpose of this project is to determine how river restoration affects the abundance and distribution of salmonid and non-salmonid fishes at critical life stages. The proposal involves field survey of hydraulics, sedimentation processes, channel changes, habitat conditions, invertebrate and fish communities and their interactions.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Review of Four Juvenile Salmon Coded Wire Tag Experiements Conducted in the Delta

    Lead U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS]
    Description The US Fish and Wildlife Service, Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office, has since the mid-1980s conducted several multi-year release-recovery experiments with coded-wire-tagged juvenile Chinook salmon. The objectives of the studies were (1) to estimate survival through the lower portions of the Sacramento and San Joaquin river systems, the California Delta, and (2) to quantify the factors affecting survival. Four of these studies, listed more or less by their historical start dates, are the Delta Cross Channel, Interior, Delta Action 8, and VAMP experiments.
    Science topics Chinook Salmon
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Predicting the Effects of Invasive Hydrozoa [Jellyfish] on Pelagic Organisms Under Changing Salinity and Temperature Regimes

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description The purpose of this project seeks to investigate the potential effects of jellyfish, a devising invader of some ecosystems, on the SFE ecosystem, to determine the key factors allowing successful establishment and spread of these species, and to predict future effects and spread of the invasions.
    Science topics Water temperature, Salinity, Pelagic fish, Jellyfish
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Quantitative Indicators and Life History Implications of Environmental Stress on Sturgeon

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description The purpose of this project is to analyze the effects of the pollutants on the overall fitness of different life stages of the green and white sturgeon. This research will significantly enhance our understanding of stressors on sturgeon and allow further development of life history models.
    Science topics Water temperature, Salinity, Pelagic fish, Methylmercury, Sturgeon
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Comparison of Nutrient Sources and Phytoplankton Growth and Species Composition in Two Rivers: Their Roles in Determining Productivity and Food Web Conditions in Suisun Bay and the Delta

    Lead San Francisco State University [SFSU]
    Description
    Science topics Phytoplankton, Pelagic fish, Nitrogen / ammonia
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    The Transport and Dispersion of Rafting Vegetation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

    Lead University of California - Berkeley [UC Berkeley]
    Description The purpose of this project is focused on developing a thorough, mechanistic understanding of how rafting vegetation, such as hyacinths or egeria, is transported in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. This research will be useful for future invasions, particularly because rafts of vegetation are known to be important transport mechanisms for many marine species.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Pilot Mark-Recapture Study to Estimate Delta Smelt Pre-Screen Loss and Salvage Efficiency

    Lead U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS]
    Description The purpose of this project is to perform a study to determine whether it is feasible to quantify entrainment losses of juvenile and adult delta smelt due to water exports. This information is critical to better understanding the movement of Delta smelt in the system.
    Science topics Delta Smelt
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Are Apparent Sex Reversed Chinook Salmon a Symptom of Genotoxicity?

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description Goal was to test the relative importance of chemical stressors on population viability and genetic diversity for fall-run Chinook salmon (in association with environmental contaminant exposure in the Central Valley delta).
    Science topics Chinook Salmon
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Impact of Urbanization on Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout, and Their Prey: a Case Study of the American River

    Lead University of California - Berkeley [UC Berkeley]
    Description The American River provides spawning/rearing habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead, yet passes through 30 miles of dense urban development. Urban runoff contains pyrethroid insecticides that cause the river to become toxic to standard testing species with every storm event. This study will go beyond observed toxicity, and address toxicity to chironomids, caddisflies, and mayflies, key diet components of juvenile fish in the river. A bioenergetic model will be used to evaluate effects of food web changes on young salmonids. Our key approach is the use of river-side systems with flowing river water that allow us to replicate realistic pesticide exposures, while controlling other variables. We will determine sensitivity to pyrethroids and fipronil of salmonid prey taxa, and expose them, as well as standard testing species, in the flow-through systems through six storm events. We will maintain experimental streams containing riverine benthic invertebrate communities, and measure response to the pyrethroid pulses. To supplement analyses of the indirect, food web-mediated effects, we will measure endocrine effects through vitellogenin induction in salmon and steelhead. Finally, one treatment includes river water from which organic contaminants have been removed by activated charcoal, to help establish cause of toxicity. The goal is to determine if known toxicity in the American River is a threat to benthic invertebrates and, through the food web, to salmon and steelhead.
    Science topics Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout, Above-highwater refugia, Other discharge contaminants, Food webs
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Habitat Values of Native SAV [Submerged Aquatic Vegetation] in the Low Salinity Zone of San Francisco Estuary

    Lead San Francisco State University [SFSU]
    Description We will investigate the importance of native submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in providing food web support for native fish species in the low salinity zone of the San Francisco Bay-Delta. These SAV beds, composed primarily of Stuckenia pectinata (sago pondweed), are an extensive feature along many of the islands in Suisun Bay and the west Delta, yet almost nothing is known of their seasonal or interannual patterns, their invertebrate communities, or how their physical structure or food resources influence use by native fishes. We hypothesize that the position of these beds in the shallow subtidal zone along the islands increases habitat options adjacent to wetlands and channels for numerous fish species, including species of concern such as delta smelt and chinook salmon. The objectives of this project are to: 1) characterize patterns in habitat structure, community composition, and productivity of SAV beds in four locations in Suisun Bay and the western Delta over a three year period (with comparisons to non-native Egeria densa beds), 2) document the epifaunal invertebrate community composition and abundance in the Stuckenia beds, 3) assess fish use of these beds through seining and acoustic monitoring of hatchery-tagged fish, 4) utilize stable isotope analyses to evaluate food web relationships within and among the beds, and 5) begin preliminary evaluation of the potential to restore native SAV to subsided lands in this region.
    Science topics Chinook Salmon, Green sturgeon, White Sturgeon, Sacramento Splittail, Delta Smelt, Steelhead Trout
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Physiological Mechanisms of Environmental tolerance in Delta Smelt [Hypomesus transpacificus]: From Molecules to Adverse Outcomes

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description The proposed project directly addresses priority research detailed by the Delta Science Program to protect native fishes that depend on the Bay-Delta system focusing on adaptations to local habitats and physiological tolerances to key environmental stressors;in delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus). Temperature and salinity changes associated with anthropogenic climate change are likely to further exacerbate delta smelt population declines. We hypothesize that delta smelt tolerance to forecasted temperature rises and salinity intrusions into the Bay-Delta system can be assessed at a mechanistic level, and that acclimation thresholds can be established by means of genomic responses. This proposal builds upon successful development of a cDNA microarray for delta smelt containing approximately 2000 individual gene fragments, and the subsequent application of biomarkers for assessing the effects of chemical stressors on larval development with links to swimming behavior. We propose to develop a Next Generation oligonucleotide microarray in delta smelt, with ca. 15K genes, in order to assess mechanistic tolerance to changes in gemperature and salinity. Genomic studies will be conducted integrating effects on energetic activity and swimming performance studies, in an interdisciplinary approach that will permit the establishment of links between tolerance mechanisms and adverse outcomes.
    Science topics Delta Smelt, Water temperature, Salinity, Turbidity
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Nutritional Quality of Zooplankton as Prey for Fish in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Dalta

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description Primary consumers (zooplankton) are a critical trophic link for energy transfer to upper trophic levels and a key food source for threatened and endangered fish species in the Delta. The zooplankton community was shaped by large spatial and temporal changes in both abundances and species composition that affected quantity of zooplankton carbon. It is also expected that taxonomic shifts affected quality of zooplankton carbon for fish due to altering biomass transfer at the base of the food web that can profoundly influence nutritional quality and population dynamics at higher trophic levels. Yet the biochemical composition of plankton remains largely unstudied in this system despite the fact that the importance of zooplankton nutritional quality for fish is one potential major component for the long-term decline and more recent collapse of pelagic fish species. The proposed research aims to measure essential nutritional status (stoichiometry, fatty acids, sterols) for zooplankton taxa and will calculate food-quality indices for fish. On the basis of nutritional plankton and biomass values, spatial patterns as well as long-term and recent changes in plankton quality associated with compositional shifts will be estimated. We propose that through integrating plankton food-quality into the management and restoration plan for the Delta, the dynamics of the ecosystem can be viewed from a new perspective that has key implications for understanding the decline in pelagic organisms.
    Science topics Zooplankton
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Foodweb Support for the Threatened Delta Smelt and Other Estuarine Fishes in Suisun Bay and the Western Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

    Lead San Francisco State University [SFSU]
    Description The purpose of the project is to increase understanding of the foodweb supporting delta smelt and other estuarine species. This research is important because: 1) it could lead to increased foodweb support for the threatened delta smelt and 2) identify potential mechanisms underlying relationships of abundance or survival of some fish to freshwater flow.
    Science topics Delta Smelt
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Quantifying the contribution of tidal flow variation to survival of juvenile Chinook salmon

    Lead U.S. Geological Survey [USGS]
    Description The purpose of this project is to quantify how tides in the Delta influence survival of juvenile salmon. Juvenile salmon survival increases when there is more flow and the river is less tidally influenced. We hypothesize that the increase in survival is because of reduced travel times causing less exposure to predators. This project will test this hypothesis using multiple models including ones that can predict how management actions that modify tidal patterns affect juvenile salmon survival.
    Science topics Chinook Salmon
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Assessing Sediment Nutrient Storage and Release in the Delta: Linking Benthic Nutrient Cycling to Resotration, Aquatic Vegetation, Phytoplankton Productivity, and Harmful Algal Blooms

    Lead U.S. Geological Survey [USGS]
    Description Nutrients in sediment play a large role in influencing food webs, harmful algal blooms, aquatic vegetation, and drinking water quality. This study will investigate the amount, types, and dynamics of nutrients in Delta sediments. It will also examine sediment microbial communities that mediate these processes. Results of this study will help determine how the planned reduction in nutrient inputs to the Delta will effect sediment nutrients and microbial communities following the upgrade of the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment plant. Data will also inform how wetland restoration and invasive aquatic vegetation influence sediment nutrients and microbial communities. These data will contribute to improving computer models that inform large-scale nutrient management actions.
    Science topics Phytoplankton, Harmful algal blooms HAB, Aquatic vegetation, Benthic
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Resolving Contradictions in Foodweb Support for Native Pelagic Fishes

    Lead San Francisco State University [SFSU]
    Description Much research in the Delta has focused on foodweb dynamics, stimulated by evidence that low productivity of plankton is linked to declines in several fish species including the endangered delta smelt. Pseudodiaptomus forbesi is the most abundant copepod (small crustaceans) in the Delta in summer. It is an important food source for many fishes and makes up about half of the food of delta smelt. This study focuses on the feeding, reproduction, and growth of copepods as essential foodweb support for fishes. This work investigates four diverse habitats including two open-water channels and two shallow habitats. The researchers will measure copepods´ feeding rates on microscopic plants and animals, and relate feeding to their rates of growth and reproduction. Computer models will be used to estimate their movement and death rates. These results will show the sources of nutrition used for growth and reproduction of these key organisms. Results will inform how food webs respond to large scale changes in the Delta ecosystem, for example, restoration and the Sacramento wastewater treatment plant upgrade.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Recreational Hunting as an Ecosystem Service of Restoration in the Bay-Delta Watershed

    Lead Santa Clara University
    Description Ecological restoration in the Bay-Delta watershed provides increased access to hunting opportunities for recreational hunters in the region in addition to benefitting native flora and fauna. While increased hunting is not always considered an economic benefit, it is a dividend from investments in habitat restoration. This research will quantify in dollars the economic impact of restoring sites and opening them for hunting. The study will survey members of the public at restored sites in the Bay-Delta and Sacramento River regions that have resulted in new and/or improved hunting access. In addition to the economic analysis, the survey will shed light on two other issues: 1) whether there is a tradeoff among recreational usage, carbon storage, and habitat quality for restored sites, and 2) whether current users perceive an unmet need for recreational access in the region. These analyses will be useful in explaining multi-benefit restoration projects to stakeholders and policymakers, and informative to future decision-making.
    Science topics Hunting
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Impact of Temperature and Contaminants on Chinook Salmon Survival: A Multi-Stressor Approach

    Lead National Marine Fisheries Service [NMFS]
    Description The decline of native salmon species has resulted in their protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act. Disease and predation are primary drivers of mortality as salmon migrate. Multiple stressors, such as exposure to contaminants and elevated temperature, can impact rates of disease and predation of salmon as they migrate to the ocean. This study examines how contaminant exposures at different temperatures affects salmon health. Specifically, the study investigates the sensitivity of salmon to a contaminant mixture of bifenthrin (a pyrethoid pesticide) and triclosan (an antibacterial added to personal care products). Both contaminants can alter fish swimming behavior and critical physiological functions. Similarly, temperature stress can impact fish physiology and behavior, as well as exacerbate the adverse effects of contaminants.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    An Evaluation of Sublethal and Latent Pyrethroid Toxicity Across a Salinity Gradient in Two Delta Fish Species

    Lead Oregon State University
    Description Pyrethroids are a type of insecticide frequently detected in the San Francisco Bay and Delta (SFBD). They are highly toxic to fishes and may contribute to their decline. The Central Valley Water Resources Control Board has adopted regulations for many pyrethroids. These concentration goals for Delta surface waters are quite stringent. However, they do not take into account non-lethal effects in fishes, particularly during the early life stages and at the salinity conditions we see in the SFBD. Understanding non-lethal effects in fish is vital to influencing population health. This study investigates pyrethroid toxicity on Delta smelt and Inland Silverside embryos, while accounting for changing SFBD salinity and other factors such as sediment. Results will inform the development of pesticide regulation criteria and control efforts, furthering the protection of SFBD fishes.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Changes in Organic Carbon and Food Resources in Response to Historical Events in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: A Synthesis Project

    Lead Virginia Institute of Marine Science
    Description Recent management strategies in the Delta rely on habitat restoration and water quality improvement to restore ecosystem function. However, current monitoring programs have been limited in their ability to measure ecosystem functions such as food webs. This study explores changes to the sources, quantity, and quality of organic carbon that support the Delta food web. Data from fifteen sites selected to represent the dominant sub-habitats in the Delta will identify the available food resources. The project examines how food resources are affected by wastewater treatment and habitat restoration. Information about organic carbon in the historic and current Delta will aid in establishing realistic goals and targets for ongoing and future restoration efforts in the Delta.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Integrated Science and Management of Nutrient, Salt, and Mercury Export from San Joaquin River Wetland Tributaries to the Delta

    Lead University of California - Merced [UC Merced]
    Description Mercury, salinity, and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are major contaminants of concern and are an understudied source of water quality impairment to the Delta. This study will (1) examine seasonal variation and transfer of salt, nutrients, and mercury out of managed wetlands;(2) establish and verify whether other routinely monitored water components can serve as reliable alternatives (proxies) for detecting mercury and nutrients;(3) integrate monitoring data and proxy relationships to estimate levels of contaminants;and (4) develop science-based strategies for adaptive co-management of salt, nutrients, and mercury from seasonal wetlands to improve water quality in the Delta. Outcomes from this study will provide improved best practices and guidelines for management of salt, nutrients, and mercury in wetlands. Results will also address key knowledge gaps identified in the Delta Nutrient Research Plan and provide support for the Delta Mercury Control Plan.
    Science topics Nutrients, Salinity, Hg and methyl mercury
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Consequences of Phragmites invasion for community function in Suisun Marsh

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description This project aims to quantify the impacts of common reed (Phragmites) invasion on community structure and ecosystem function during early stages of tidal restoration in wetlands. The study will focus on the Tule Red Tidal Restoration site in Suisun Marsh. The research aims to produce a conceptual model that will describe habitat structure, invertebrate communities, and predator use of wetlands affected by Phragmites invasion. The conceptual model resulting from this study will guide future predictions of wetland response to invasion and to develop mitigation strategies. Data collected will also support food web models and the understanding of invasive plants as stressors, as well as foster translational science to the management community.
    Science topics Invasive / non native species
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Risk of fish predation within and across tidal wetland complexes

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description This study focuses on understanding how restored tidal wetlands with different physical configurations function as refuge and rearing habitat for fishes, including native and imperiled species such as delta smelt and juvenile Chinook salmon. This research will assess the spatial distribution of predation risk as it varies within and across tidal wetlands. The proposed research will generate a statistical model that helps predict predation outcomes from various restored tidal wetland designs and channel configurations. This will be a powerful tool for managers to forecast how proposed habitat restoration or water management actions may impact native fish populations.
    Science topics Tidal wetlands
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Phytoplankton and cyanobacteria growth and response to stressors

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description Pesticide and nutrient inputs from human activities are present in the Sacramenot-San Joaquin Bay-Delta, but the impact of these stressors together on algae is not well known. This research will examine the impacts of herbicides and nutrients on the growth and stress responses of phytoplankton and cyanobacteria present in the San Francisco Estuary. The algae in the delta are diverse with critical ecological effects, ranging from toxin-producing cyanobacteria that form hazardous algal blooms to benthic diatoms and green algae that make up the bulk of the aquatic food web. Contaminants and herbicides can cause changes in algae cellular health which may impact population growth. Understanding algal sub-lethal stress responses will improve our understanding of stressors on the bay-delta food web and bloom formation.
    Science topics Phytoplankton, Cyanobacteria
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Wetland carbon sequestration and impacts of climate change

    Lead California State University [CSU]
    Description This project aims to improve understanding of atmospheric and hydrologic carbon fluxes in a restored tidal salt marsh in the South San Francisco Bay. I will use soil chambers to measure how much carbon dioxide and methane is taken in and emitted from the marsh. The project will also examine how spatial variability in marsh surface cover impact these exchanges. Shahan will use the data collected in this study to create a biogeochemical model that estimates the carbon budgets of wetlands in the Bay-Delta. A complete carbon budget will illuminate relationships between carbon fluxes and environmental variables. This information can support more informed management of wetlands, as well as allow researchers and decision makers to more effectively plan wetland restoration to be effective in managing carbon fluxes in the face of possible impacts due to climate change.
    Science topics Wetlands
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Environmental geochemistry and tidal wetland support of pelagic food webs

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description This project aims to characterize and quantify where detrital material (decaying plant matter) originates within wetlands, the composition of that material, and how export of detrital particles occurs. This project will combine powerful characterization tools and techniques that scale from molecules to ecosystems to assess spatial and temporal trends in particle sources, species and composition. Because restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta will fundamentally alter particle distribution and food availability for aquatic organisms, this study will inform habitat restoration efforts and the revival of native fish populations. The tools developed and adapted for this project may inform management response during extreme conditions and climate events by helping to identify areas that may act as refugia for species.
    Science topics Wetlands
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    The effect of temperature on predation of juvenile salmonids

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description This study will investigate fish swim performance in response to temperature, using salmon and two of its known predators: largemouth bass and Sacramento pikeminnow. The researcher will assess swim performance metrics and predation risk inside and outside the ideal thermal range of each species to determine if a temperature advantage predicts salmon survival in predation scenarios. This project’s results will provide a mechanistic understanding of how temperature stress may influence mortality risk of juvenile Chinook salmon through predation, which will offer a more holistic perspective on the management of this species
    Science topics Temperature
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Understanding the Scale and Mechanisms of Connectivity between Splittail Populations and the Implications for Management

    Lead U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [USBR]
    Description Our proposal seeks to add four elements, telemetry, genetics, physiology, and modeling, to an existing research effort on splittail. The study addresses the hypothesis that there is no difference in population dynamics between the two distinct splittail populations. To address this hypothesis we are conducting a collaborative, interdisciplinary study that includes an intensive field effort combined with state-of-the-art laboratory tools that can determine the natal origins, historical habitat use, feeding, and general health of adult splittail. With this proposal we seek to leverage additional funds that were not previously available to add the four new elements. The telemetry component will take advantage of the expansive existing array of receivers deployed in the estuary to evaluate the movements and migration of splittail. The genetic component will provide a precise means to assign individuals to their respective population, determine sex ratios, and to estimate the effective size of the populations. The physiology component will determine if the newly discovered Petaluma/Napa population of splittail exhibits different requirements and tolerances than the Central Valley population. The modeling component will apply the cumulative information gained by the overall study to evaluate the sensitivity of splittail persistence to demographic variability in population dynamics. This work will directly address the Priority Research Topics presented in the PSP.
    Science topics Sacramento Splittail
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Survivial and Migratory Pattern of Central Valley Juvenile Salmonids

    Lead University of California - Davis [UC Davis]
    Description The purpose of this project is to determine the survival and movement patterns of late-fall Chinook salmon smolts and steelhead smolts as they migrate downstream. This information is important to better understand how salmon move through the system.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Understanding the Effects Of Nutrient Forms, Nutrient Ratios and Light Availability on the Lower Food Web of the Delta

    Lead University of Maryland - Center for Environmental Science
    Description This proposed study addresses how changes in nutrient form, ratio and loading (water quality) affect the lower pelagic food web that ultimately determines the quality and quantity of food for Delta fishes. Shifts in algal composition and food availability have been implicated in fish decline, but identifying the changes at the base of the food web that are linked to changes in nutrients has been difficult because of the complexity of factors contributing to stress on the food web. Nutrients may shape community composition in complex ways;they do not have to be limiting to be important drivers of plankton communities. Elevated nutrients, particularly chemically reduced forms of nitrogen (N), may be inhibitory rather than stimulatory. We hypothesize that when NO3- is proportionately abundant relative to NH4+ (and the N:P ratio is suitable), diatoms will dominate, but when NH4+ is proportionately abundant, cyanobacteria or flagellates will dominate. Reduced light availability will lead to communities with higher bacterial abundance, and/or higher proportions of flagellates able to alter their nutrition towards mixotrophy. This proposal will directly test these relationships by conducting experimental manipulations with different ambient communities from different sites and seasons. Data will be interpreted with respect to the long-term trends reported for the Bay Delta and supplied as an integrated product for management efforts concerned with water quality and fisheries.
    Science topics Nutrients, Food webs
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    The Role of Microcystis Blooms in the Delta Foodweb: A Functional Approach

    Lead San Francisco State University [SFSU]
    Description We propose a collaborative investigation of blooms of the toxic, cyanobacteria Microcystis in the San Francisco Estuary Delta including how blooms develop, identification of toxic species and strains, controls on toxin production, and foodweb effects. The research will address Delta Science Program Priority Research Topic 2 and Research Topic 5 in the CALFED-funded analysis of ammonium issues in the Estuary. The appearance of Microcystis in the Delta was coincident with the POD, suggesting a link. The spatial and temporal scales of Microcystis blooms was identified with their environmental covariates but a mechanistic analysis of the conditions that distinguish bloom periods and locations, which are critical for ecosystem modeling and management, are still lacking. Our objectives are to determine: 1- the biotic and abiotic factors controlling Microcystis bloom formation and toxin production;2- how Microcystis strains and microbial associations influence toxicity;3- the role of Microcystis in the Delta pelagic food web and its effect on the POD through zooplankton grazing. Our 3-year work plan comprises 2 years of laboratory and field work (contrasting bloom and non bloom locations). Experiments will be conducted to determine mechanisms driving observed in situ patterns. We will synthesize the results and clarify the environmental-bloom-food web effects in a useable format for management efforts aimed towards water supply, fisheries and recreational use of the Delta.
    Science topics Harmful algal blooms HAB
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Phytoplankton Communities in the San Francisco Estuary: Monitoring and Management using a Submersible Spectrofluorometer

    Lead California Department of Water Resource [DWR]
    Description The purpose of this project is to evaluate a new submersible spectrofluorometer, the bbe FluoroProbe, for phytoplankton monitoring and management in the SFE. Secondly, this project seeks to investigate high-frequency patterns in spatial phytoplankton group distributions among Delta habitats and along gradients from the western Delta and northern San Francisco Bay.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Biomass and Toxicity of a Newly Established Bloom of the Cyanobacteria Microcystis aeruginosa and its Potential Impact on Beneficial Use in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

    Lead California Department of Water Resource [DWR]
    Description Monitoring and simple analysis of the extent of this cyanobacteria in the Delta, and preliminary exploration of the impacts of cystins on drinking water quality, and human and wildlife health.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Fish Diet and Condition

    Lead California Department of Fish and Wildlife [CDFW]
    Description Description The Diet and Condition study has provided information on the food habits of pelagic fishes in the estuary since 2005. We focus on the temporal and spatial differences in diet composition and feeding success of Delta Smelt, Striped Bass, Threadfin Shad, Longfin Smelt, Mississippi Silversides, and American Shad. Need Data from this project has been used to inform the Fall Low Salinity Habitat Program (FLaSH), Directed Outflow Project (DOP), and Management, Analysis and Synthesis Team reports, as well as life history models used for the conservation of fish and their habitats. Understanding what prey are utilized for food in the context of available prey, with the associated body-condition of fish, helps clarify the existence and timing of food limitation for young pelagic fish in the estuary. This work began as part of the Pelagic Organism Decline investigations and continued as a contributor to FLaSH investigations during which we in collaborated with the Fish Health Monitoring Project. Recently staff completed Longfin Smelt diet investigations as part element #296 (Longfin Smelt Investigations – in response to a litigation agreement) that will also contribute to the Longfin Smelt Conceptual Model and Synthesis effort (element #320). Finally, we will process Delta Smelt diets from investigations prompted by the Delta Smelt Resilience Strategy, and as part of the DOP. Objectives 1. What are the diets of pelagic fishes (especially Delta Smelt and Longfin Smelt) in the estuary and do they vary regionally or temporally? 2. Is there evidence of reduced feeding success spatially or temporally in the estuary? 3. Is feeding success associated with changes in relative weight or condition of fish? 4. Is there seasonal and regional overlap of diets between species (with a focus on age-0 Delta Smelt, Longfin Smelt, Striped Bass, Prickly Sculpin, Pacific Herring, and Threadfin Shad)?
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Aquatic Habitat Sampling Platform: Standardized Fish Community Sampling Across Habitat Types

    Lead U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [USBR]
    Description Description The Aquatic Habitat Sampling Platform (AHSP) is an integrated aquatic species and habitat sampling system that can effectively monitor aquatic organisms and reveal habitat associations while having minimal or no “take” of sensitive species. Further development and deployment of the AHSP will expand data collection to shallow and off-channel habitat, while offering the capability to transition to deeper and open water habitats, providing reliable sampling efficiency estimates (e.g., probability fish detection) and “catch” per unit effort (i.e., number of individual species per volume of water sampled) and improving our knowledge about populations, habitat associations and major stressors of key organisms within the San Francisco Estuary (Estuary). Need Within the Estuary, numerous monitoring techniques are used. However, monitoring weaknesses for determining fish status and trends include: 1) restricted locations available for some techniques;2) limited ability to simultaneously assess zooplankton and fish larvae;and 3) difficulty in estimating fish population size due to lack of gear efficiency information (Honey et al. 2004). Furthermore, past attempts at integrated abundance indices from more than one sampling method have had limited success. Although there continues to be considerable collaborative monitoring and research devoted to understanding Central Valley fish species, coordination among activities has been difficult. Other issues include permitting take of listed species and time-consuming monitoring with extended periods of down time due to sample post-processing of fish and invertebrate species. Identification of key microhabitats for each lifestage and attributes and linking associated physical parameters such as habitat features (e.g., depth, structure, channel type) and water quality is needed. Objectives • Test AHSP operation within the Estuary while providing information highly relevant to pressing Delta management issues (IEP 2016); • Provide detailed information on distribution and approximate abundance of adult Delta Smelt within identified habitat types (Biological Opinion on the Long-Term Operational Criteria and Plan for coordination of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project;https://www.fws.gov/sfbaydelta/documents/SWPCVP_OPs_BO_12-15_final_OCR.pdf);and • Assess habitat associations and diurnal behavior of Delta Smelt and other fishes (Durand 2015).
    Science topics Delta Smelt
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Central Valley Salmonid Coordinated Genetic Monitoring [Year 4]

    Lead U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [USBR]
    Description Description This work will include tasks to rapidly identify winter-run Chinook juvenile salmon at the CVP/SWP salvage facilities, process juvenile salmonid tissues from various CVPIA and IEP fish monitoring stations, and support coordination of genetic monitoring across the CVP and SJRRP programs. PIs: Josh Israel (USBR);Scott Blankenship (Cramer Fish Science);Ken Bannister (USFWS);John Carlos Garza (NOAA-Fisheries);Brett Harvey (DWR);Noble Hendrix (QEDA);Rachel Johnson (NOAA-Fisheries);Mariah Meek (UC Davis);Kevin Reece (DWR) Need This study is needed due to the limited accuracy of Lenght at Date stock identification. Inaccurate identification of Chinook salmon is problematic because it compromises the management value of data collected from standard monitoring programs. This project will improve the science and management value of the Central Valley salmon monitoring network, supported through IEP and Central Valley Project Improvement Act (CVPIA) monitoring stations, by accurately determining stock identification of multiple Chinook salmon stocks across their distribution. Classification tables will be developed to characterize monthly and seasonal accuracy between length-at-date and genetic race assignment at IEP and BiOp monitoring locations. This multi-year dataset will be used to evaluate the likelihood of accurate assignment and potential biophysical explanatory variables influencing genetic accuracy. Objectives Improve accuracy of CVPIA and IEP monitoring programs by providing genetic stock identification information for tissues collected from Red Bluff, Knights Landing, DJFMP, salvage facilities and San Joaquin River fish monitoring stations. Samples will be collected from all four runs of Chinook salmon based on length-at-date (i.e., samples will be collected from Chinook of various sizes throughout the sampling period).
    Science topics Chinook Salmon
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Enhanced Acoustic Tagging, Analysis, and Real-Time Monitoring

    Lead National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]
    Description Description This project tracks the movement and survival of wild and hatchery juvenile Chinook salmon with a large acoustic receiver network (JSATS), including real-time receivers, and the development of real-time metrics and retrospective modeling of juvenile salmon migration data. Need There is a well-documented need for improved detection and associated modeling of salmon migration and survival in the Central Valley. Understanding salmon survival and movement dynamics in the Delta and its tributaries is critical to the operation of state and federal water projects, recovery of ESA-listed species, and sport and commercial fisheries management. Objectives • Maintain 20 real-time JSATS receivers: will provide information on migrating salmon smolt location and timing of Delta entry and exist, which is key for informing time-sensitive decisions • Deployment of autonomous JSATS receiver array: this will provide fine-scale reach-specific survival and movement rates • Development of new metrics for the real-time data: this will inform key management relevant questions, such how many fish are entrained at critical junctions • Development of real-time website to convey movement and survival rates of acoustic tagged juvenile salmonids at various real-time locations in the Sacramento River and Delta.
    Science topics Salmon migration
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gate Study

    Lead California Department of Water Resource [DWR]
    Description Description Suisun Bay and Marsh are a key part of the habitat for Delta Smelt, but during drier periods such as summer, Delta Smelt may be at least partially excluded from Suisun Marsh due to high salinities. The purpose of this proposal is to provide scientific support a management action for Smelt, operation of the Suisun Marsh Salinity Control Gates (SMSCG). This facility is currently to tidally pump water into the Marsh to improve fall and winter habitat conditions for waterfowl, but could also provide a tool to manage aquatic habitat for Delta Smelt in other periods. Specifically, by using the SMSCG to direct more fresh water in Suisun Marsh, our prediction is that reduced salinities will improve habitat conditions for Delta Smelt in the region. Need The status of Delta Smelt is dire. As part of the Resources Agency's Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategy, in August 2018 we conducted pilot operations of the SMSCG to support Delta Smelt , with promising results. Based on this early success, we expect that the SMSCG will be used as a seasonal tool to support Delta Smelt in summer-fall in coming years as part of the coming FWS Biological Opinion and DFW ITP. Neither has been completed, but SMSCG operations for fish are expected to be required in each. Hence, the proposed study is intended to provide a scientific evaluation and guidance for an expected SMSCG action in 2020. Objectives The primary objective of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of the SMSCG action. Questions to be addressed include: • Did the action improve habitat conditions for Delta Smelt in the Suisun Region? • Does the Suisun Region typically have better habitat and food web conditions than the upstream River Region? • Do Delta Smelt respond favorably to the SMSCG flow action? • Does operation of the SMSCG affect other fishes and clams?
    Science topics Salinity
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Physiological and Behavioral Effects of Domestication on Delta Smelt

    Lead California Department of Water Resource [DWR]
    Description Description Due to the continued population decline of Delta Smelt and the threat of extinction, conservation efforts may include future supplementation practices using the refuge population of Delta Smelt at the Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory (FCCL) in Byron, CA to assist in maintaining the wild population. Prior to any supplementation planning, it is first critical to determine if Delta Smelt with varying levels of domestication indices (i.e. level of hatchery ancestry) respond differently, both physiologically and behaviorally, to various habitat conditions. This project aims to provide a better understanding of the effects of domestication on captive Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) by assessing the refuge population at the FCCL. Three studies will be conducted exploring if domestication index (i.e. the level of hatchery ancestry) affects the physiological and behavioral performance of Delta Smelt in response to physical handling and climate change stressors. Need Physiological and behavioral changes of hatchery fish due to domestication could lead to unintended detrimental effects in the wild;therefore, research characterizing the alterations of hatchery Delta Smelt across levels of domestication indices are warranted to understand the effects of captivity and how they might shape future supplementation and conservation strategies. For example, identification of differences among groups of Delta Smelt with varied domestication index may create the need for domestication management and the implementation of altered hatchery practices. This project will provide relevant and timely information for conservation managers and adaptive restoration strategies and dovetail with the recommendations from the 2017 Delta Smelt Supplementation Workshop. As such, this study is included in the supplementation studies work plan which came out of that workshop. Specifically, this project fits within two topics in the IEP Science Strategy: Effects of Climate Change and Extreme Events and Restoring Native Species and Communities. Objectives 1. To characterize domestication effects on hatchery Delta Smelt by synthesizing existing/historical datasets on growth and reproduction of fish at the FCCL since the start of the hatchery program. 2. To identify the impacts of domestication index on the physiological stress response of Delta Smelt following handling stress. 3. To determine the effects of domestication index on individual and group swimming behavior, responses to predation, and responses within the context of climate change factors including warming and increased salinity.
    Science topics Delta Smelt
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Developing an eDNA metabarcoding protocol to improve fish and mussel monitoring in the San Francisco Estuary

    Lead National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]
    Description Description We propose to develop an eDNA metabarcoding protocol to complement existing IEP monitoring surveys and assess the effects of management activities such as habitat restoration or flow alteration. We will develop a reference sequence database for native and invasive fish, mussels, and other macroinvertebrates present in the San Francisco Estuary (SFE). We will optimize a molecular and computational pipeline for metabarcoding and ground truth the method against three SFE monitoring efforts, each using different sampling gear. We will investigate the relationship between eDNA sequence read count and fish biomass or abundance (EDSM survey). Finally, we will determine the ability of metabarcoding to detect fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages across large and small spatial scales and over time. Need Our overarching goal is to develop a non-invasive, low cost monitoring tool that can be used in conjunction with existing IEP monitoring programs or used alone to assess biological community composition at locations of interest in the SFE. This proposal is related to the 2020 – 2024 IEP Science Strategy by creating a new monitoring tool that can assist in two main areas: 1) Restoring Bay-Delta native fishes and community interactions and 2) assessing effects of flow alteration on Bay-delta aquatic resources. Broadly, this study will inform management decisions by supporting and augmenting existing monitoring surveys in the SFE. It will also lead to a richer and more complete understanding of SFE ecology. This study is not explicitly required by law or agreement, and to our knowledge is neither a recommended action nor a result from an IEP review or synthesis effort. Objectives Objective 1: Develop robust molecular methods and a computational pipeline for detection of SFE fish and macroinvertebrates by eDNA metabarcoding of water samples. Objective 2: Compare eDNA metabarcoding head-to-head with existing and historical monitoring data from three ongoing ecological surveys using diverse conventional sampling gear and evaluate accuracy of fish abundance and biomass estimates from eDNA metabarcoding data. Objective 3: Evaluate factors that influence eDNA detection of species of interest (e.g. rare or invasive species) and suites of species (e.g. benthic fishes and invertebrates) on two spatial scales, within and between habitats, along with temporal variation.
    Science topics Fish
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Predation Dynamics Across Reach-Specific Gradients in Juvenile Salmon Survival

    Lead U.S. Geological Survey [USGS]
    Description Description The overarching goal of this project is to determine if predation by piscivorous fishes is an important explanatory driver of survival of juvenile Chinook Salmon emigrating through the north Delta. To achieve this goal, we seek to determine if variation in reach-specific characteristics of predation dynamics covary with survival of acoustictagged juvenile Chinook Salmon collected during the study period. This will be accomplished by comparing reach-specific characteristics of the piscivore community and its observed and modeled consumption of juvenile Chinook Salmon across a range of environmental conditions. Need This is not a mandated study but it addresses an important research need. Objectives • How does the piscivore community (species composition, size structure, and abundance) vary across specific migratory pathways (river reaches) in the North Delta? • To what extent do environmental conditions (e.g., water temperature, turbidity, and discharge) control the consumption of juvenile Chinook Salmon? • Do characteristics of the predator community explain variation in survival of acoustic tagged salmon collected during the study period?
    Science topics Predation
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Directed Field Collections

    Lead California Department of Fish and Wildlife [CDFW]
    Description Description The Direct Field Collections element (-089) provides funding support for expanded field collections, allowing CDFW to provide other, IEP-approved researchers access to research-capable boats and experienced operators, and thus the ability to safely sample the upper San Francisco Estuary. This element most recently facilitated investigations associated with the Fall Low Salinity Habitat (FLaSH) project and the Directed Outflow Project (DOP). Need This element allows CDFW and thus IEP to provide boat and operator time to assist collaborating researchers leading approved IEP projects with “on-the-water” sampling. There is no mandate for this element. Objectives To provide CDFW operational flexibility to assist collaborating researchers leading approved IEP projects with access to CDFW boat operators and boats to complete "onthe-water" sampling.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    North Delta Flow Action: Role of Improved Yolo Bypass Flows on Delta Food Web Dynamics

    Lead California Department of Water Resource [DWR]
    Description Description In a collaborative effort between CA Department of Water Resources, US Bureau of Reclamation, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, United States Geological Survey, San Francisco State University, and UC Davis, this study will investigate the role of augmented summer and fall flows in the Yolo Bypass and North Delta areas on lower trophic food web dynamics and the benefits to listed fish species. Using both continuous and discrete sampling approaches, this study will relate hydrologic patterns to chlorophyll-a, nutrients and primary productivity, plankton densities and composition (phytoplankton and zooplankton), contaminant concentrations, as well as water quality parameters such as electrical conductivity, turbidity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen. In addition, caged hatchery Delta Smelt will be monitored to determine the effects of the managed flow action and increased food web productivity on fish survival, growth, and behavior. Need Due to the food-limited nature of the San Francisco Estuary, it is critical to understand mechanisms that result in successful food web productivity including phytoplankton blooms. Food limitation is one of the primary hypothesized causes of the Pelagic Organism Decline. In 2011 and 2012 there was evidence that a moderate Yolo Bypass flow pulse during fall agricultural drainage periods was followed by phytoplankton blooms in the lower Sacramento River. Managed flow actions in the following years showed an increase in food web productivity could be repeated;however, results varied across years and flow actions indicating more research is warranted to understand correlations between flow and abiotic conditions, and the biological response of the food web. The increases of summer/fall flows in North Delta, has been considered a management strategy as part of complying with USFWS Delta Smelt Biological Opinion Action 4. The augmentation of flows through the Yolo Bypass/North Delta is also included as one of several Delta Smelt Resiliency Strategies by Natural Resources Agency. Objectives • Determine if managed flow actions through the Yolo Bypass stimulate increased primary productivity locally and downstream, and if it is repeatable. • Characterize how nutrients, chlorophyll and plankton (composition and density) in the Toe Drain, Cache Slough Complex, and lower Sacramento River change in response to flow pulses. • Determine if nutrient subsidies of the source water and downstream are limited by abiotic and biotic factors. • Characterize spatial differences and transport of pesticide contaminants in the Yolo Bypass in response to the flow actions. • Determine survival, growth and behavior of caged hatchery Delta Smelt before and after the flow action in the Yolo Bypass.
    Science topics Flows, Water management
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Estimating Abundance of Juvenile Winter-run Chinook Salmon Entering and Exiting the Delta [SAIL]

    Lead U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS]
    Description Description This is a continuation of a five year project funded by CDWR and CDFW and the Central Valley Project Improvement Act in 2017. The objective of the project is to improve estimates of population abundances for fall, winter and spring run juvenile Chinook Salmon at Sacramento and Chipps Island by improving efficiency estimates using data from releases of coded wire tags (CWT), acoustic tags (AT), and by genetically sampling the trawl catch in 2018. The project will (1) develop statistical models for estimating trawl efficiencies using 2016-2018 data for paired AT-CWT releases of winter run and fall-run Chinook Salmon;(2) use 2018 genetic sampling of trawl catch in combination with efficiency estimates to estimate population abundances of fall, spring and winter run at Sacramento and Chipps Island in 2018;(3) implement trawl efficiency studies for multiple salmon runs in 2018 informed by the 2016 and 2017 results and in coordination with hatcheries for inclusion of AT fish with existing CWT releases;and (4) combine trawl efficiencies with genetic samples of trawl catch to provide estimates of fall, spring and winter-run salmon abundance (with estimated precision) entering and exiting the Delta in 2018. Need There is growing appreciation that a salmon monitoring network that could quantitative estimates of abundance is desirable to improve our knowledge and resolution of life stage success and movement across the landscape (Salmon SAIL conceptual models 2016). Objectives (1) Estimate the population-level status and trends for winter run;and status of spring and fall run;(2) evaluate production estimates for juvenile winter-run Chinook Salmon entering the Delta used in water project take development;(3) provide estimates of winter and fall run-specific freshwater cohort strength to support ocean harvest management decisions;(4) establish a time series of winter, spring and fall run-specific production estimates at key locations for incorporation into life cycle models.
    Science topics Chinook Salmon
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring [EDSM]

    Lead U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS]
    Description Description The Enhanced Delta Smelt Monitoring (EDSM) program is a year-round monitoring program comprised of multiple crews trawling concurrently at multiple sites in predefined strata within the San Francisco Estuary. Post-larval Delta Smelt are targeted approximately April through June using 20mm trawling gear, and Kodiak trawling gear is employed the remainder of the year. Gear efficiency experiments and shallow water sampling elements are incorporated when possible. Need The declining Delta Smelt population has highlighted the need to keep improving the array of information that supports our understanding of the factors affecting Delta Smelt population dynamics and management decisions to minimize adverse effects of water operations on the population. EDSM has biological significance and potential conservation benefit by providing data to resource managers on nearly all life stages of endangered Delta Smelt and near-real-time data on the juvenile and adult life stages. EDSM data is provided to the Smelt Working Group and other managers in near realtime to help inform management decisions during the entrainment season. Objectives • To estimate the total abundance of Delta Smelt, along with standard errors or confidence intervals, on a weekly to bi-weekly basis for various life stages (postlarvae, juveniles, sub-adults, adults) throughout the year; • To estimate the spatial distribution of Delta Smelt at a management relevant temporal and spatial resolution;and • To provide data that support management decisions and address scientific questions to further understanding of sampling efficiency, drivers of Delta Smelt population patterns, and other conservation and management-relevant topics.
    Science topics Delta Smelt
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Effect of Outflow Alteration upon Delta Smelt Habitat, Condition and Survival

    Lead U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [USBR]
    Description Description The Directed Outflow Project (DOP) is a continuing collaborative effort among a dozen state, federal and non-governmental groups. The DOP will employ a focused spatial and temporal approach to evaluate mechanistic hypotheses directly related to the rationales provided for the summer Delta outflow action and Yolo Bypass Toe Drain action to benefit Delta Smelt, with direct relevance to the fall outflow action. Paired data collections (same location and time) of abiotic and biotic habitat constituents to test specific hypotheses will assist in avoiding prior shortcomings of using data collected for different studies/hypotheses and/or across variable spatial/temporal scales (as discussed in MAST [2015] and elsewhere). Sampling will occur during the Delta Smelt juvenile rearing-stage, a period known to be associated with the location of the low salinity zone (LSZ). Results should strengthen our understanding of the mechanisms and drivers impacting Delta Smelt vital rates and associated habitat features with a focus on outflow conditions. Results should assist in evaluating the benefit and feasibility of future flow augmentation actions for managers and decision makers. Results from this and other related studies will inform evaluations on which particular outflow-related action or group of actions provides the most benefit for Delta Smelt. Need Requests and plans for water management actions related to augmentation of Delta outflow have proceeded and are expected to proceed in the future. However, there is uncertainty and disagreement regarding the mechanistic relationship of Delta outflow during the rearing period to Delta Smelt vital rates and habitat, and the hypothesized benefit of outflow alteration for Delta Smelt. Delta outflow has experienced reductions in recent years, coinciding with the collapse of the Delta Smelt. Reduced outflow has been linked to reductions in habitat suitability in Suisun Bay and Marsh and movement of the LSZ to the Confluence of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River where little connection to shallow open water habitats exists. Objectives The DOP’s main objective will be to evaluate the hypothesized benefit of outflow alteration for Delta Smelt and its habitat in coordination with all stakeholder groups. The following process and product related sub-objectives will facilitate progression toward this evaluation objective. • Test mechanistic hypotheses addressing the rationale behind outflow-based actions to benefit Delta Smelt. • Concurrently sample fish and measure abiotic/biotic habitat conditions at each randomly selected location along the salinity and habitat gradient of the north to western Delta along the Sacramento River during the summer and fall.
    Science topics Delta Smelt
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Extracting Better Information from Long-Term Monitoring Data: Estimating Occupancy and Abundance of Near-Shore Fishes in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

    Lead U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [USFWS]
    Description Description The purpose of this study is to expand IEP monitoring and inference to other dominant near-shore, littoral habitats not sampled by beach seines through the use of boat electrofishing. To accomplish this we will sample key littoral fish species across various near-shore habitats in order to determine how best to estimate abundance, occupancy, capture probabilities, and related environmental drivers. Need Expanding DJFMP sampling to other habitats throughout the Delta will allow our program to detect and monitor fishes and ecological trends through time, alleviating a recognized data gap. Current sampling relies on data collected through non-random fixed point sampling of unobstructed habitats, which limits the utility of our data to inform management decision. Objectives • Design boat electrofishing survey methods to expand DJFMP’s monitoring into habitats and locations not sampled by beach seining. • Design and develop field and data analysis methods for estimating capture probability and abundance using boat electrofishing techniques. • Predict spatio-temporal distribution of habitats occupied by key littoral species.
    Science topics Habitat
    Updated April 29, 2022
  • Title

    Food Temperature Optimization Model for CVP

    Lead U.S. Bureau of Reclamation [USBR]
    Description This study aims to improve understanding of how nutrient and zooplankton exports from CVP reservoirs impact downstream food web productivity.
    Science topics None specified
    Updated April 29, 2022