Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Pacific Salmon and Steelhead

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Managers seek information about populations most vulnerable to climate change to prioritize resources for climate adaptation efforts.

To address this need, NOAA, USGS, and university researchers conducted a climate vulnerability assessment for ESA-listed Pacific salmon and steelhead population units in the western United States. Units ranked most vulnerable were Chinook in the California Central Valley, coho in California and southern Oregon, sockeye in the Snake River Basin, and spring‑run Chinook in the interior Columbia and Willamette River Basins. Threats include projected increases in stream temperature, sea surface temperature, and ocean acidification. Migration barriers, habitat degradation, and hatchery influence have reduced the adaptive capacity of most steelhead and salmon populations, which is essential to mitigate for climate change. Authors identify the most vulnerable populations and life stages, and assess where life histories are most likely to change. Results provide a framework to support recovery planning for climate change impacts on West Coast salmon. 


Crozier, L.G., McClure, M.M., Beechie, T., Bograd, S.J., Boughton, D.A., Carr, M., Cooney, T.D., Dunham, J.B., Greene, C.M., Haltuch, M.A., Hazen, E.L., Holzer, D.M., Huff, D.D., Johnson, R.C., Jordan, C.E., Kaplan, I.C., Lindley, S.T., Mantua, N.J., Moyle, P.B., Myers, J.M., Nelson, M.W., Spence, B.C., Weitkamp, L.A., Williams, T.H., Willis-Norton, E., 2019, Climate vulnerability assessment for Pacific salmon and steelhead in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem: PLoS ONE,

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