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Overview and progress of the pallid sturgeon assessment framework redesign process

November 14, 2018

The Pallid Sturgeon Population Assessment Program (PSPAP) was initiated in 2003, and full implementation began in 2006, to monitor the trend of Scaphirhynchus albus (pallid sturgeon) and native fish communities in the Upper and Lower Missouri River Basins. The original PSPAP (v. 1.0) was a catch-effort based monitoring program where population abundance and trend were monitored using a relative index, catch per unit effort. In 2013, the Missouri River Recovery Program (MRRP), led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), began a reassessment of science and monitoring approaches to support a new river management plan. The need to redesign the PSPAP was triggered by the recognition that the PSPAP v. 1.0 would not be optimally effective in contributing information needed to make decisions about the pallid sturgeon fundamental management objective—to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of the pallid sturgeon from USACE actions in the Missouri River—identified in the Missouri River Science and Adaptive Management Plan. The fundamental management objective includes two management subobjectives: (1) increase pallid sturgeon recruitment to age 1 and (2) maintain or increase numbers of pallid sturgeon as an interim measure until sufficient and sustained natural recruitment occurs. These two management subobjectives motivated the development of two fundamental information objectives for PSPAP v. 2.0: (1) to provide information needed to quantify recruitment to age 1 and (2) to quantify pallid sturgeon population abundance and trend. The charge to the authors of this report was to develop an approach to monitoring the pallid sturgeon population in the Missouri River that would contribute information toward gauging overall performance of management actions to achieve the fundamental objectives of the MRRP and to potentially improve understanding of linkages from the management activities to population responses. We used transparent and robust processes to identify alternative monitoring designs that meet the fundamental objectives for managing pallid sturgeon in the MRRP, with a focus on simulation models to evaluate the performance of varying monitoring. This report documents the process of comparing potential alternative monitoring design abilities to provide decision-relevant information for management of the species. The process includes  evaluation of information content and attendant uncertainties and considers tradeoffs in types of information valued by stakeholders. The anticipated end product of this process will be synthesized in a decision-support tool that can be used to facilitate learning and iterative revisions of the monitoring roadmap.

Publication Year 2018
Title Overview and progress of the pallid sturgeon assessment framework redesign process
DOI 10.3133/ofr20181166
Authors Michael E. Colvin, Sara Reynolds, Robert B. Jacobson, Landon L. Pierce, Kirk D. Steffensen, Timothy L. Welker
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2018-1166
Index ID ofr20181166
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center