The goal is to promote communication of applied skills and technologies for accomplishing the work of the USFWS FWC Offices focused on fish, mussels, crayfish, habitat and other aquatic resources.

Presentations can be given independently or organized into subject-specific symposia. This series provides an additional communication outlet for any presentation, including existing conference presentations, for the benefit of continued learning and gaining resource contacts with wide geographic appeal. Examples may include invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
management, stream survey techniques, novel fish-gear development, landscape management successes, concepts in modeling, etc..

Disclaimer: This webinar series is for educational purposes only. The opinions, ideas or data presented in this webinar series do not represent FWS policy or constitute endorsement by FWS. Some of the materials and images may be protected by copyright or may have been licenses to us by a third party and are restricted in their use. Mention of any product names, companies, Web links, textbooks, or other references does not imply Federal endorsement.

Advanced Literature Search with the FWS Conservation Library

Details: In this webinar, the FWS Librarian will orient users with the resources provided by the Conservation Library, and provide training on how to perform effective literature searches across multiple platforms including the Conservation Library catalog, Web of Science, and other subscribed databases.

Presenters: Megan Burdi (USFWS)

Recorded: February 11, 2021

Duration: 55 Minutes

Changing freshwater conditions and Alaska salmon / Exploring factors that influence Chinook Salmon productivity

Details: A primary focus of the Anchorage Fisheries Branch is to understand how Alaska’s rapidly changing climate will affect salmon habitat and the productivity of salmon populations. Focusing on south-central Alaska, I’ll highlight some past collaborative work that shows the diversity of the region’s streamflow and thermal regimes, estimates how they are changing, and gives examples of how salmon may be responding in terms of individual growth and population productivity. I’ll also introduce the Anchorage Fisheries Branch’s ongoing efforts to track and model stream temperatures and salmon habitat use across contrasting cool and warm watersheds, with the goal of comparing changes in the abundance and distribution of thermally suitable spawning and rearing habitat.

Presenters: Dan Rinella (Anchorage FWCO) and James Boersma (Kenai FWCO)

Recorded: 5/27/2021

Duration: 54 Minutes

Chasing Fish Using Remote Antenna Systems on Baca NWR and Introduction to Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) Arrays

Details: Since 2015, the Colorado Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office has monitored populations of Rio Grande Suckers Catostomus plebeius and Rio Grande Chub Gila Pandora in two perennial ditches on Baca National Wildlife Refuge. Sampling efforts spanning 2015 to 2019 using minnow traps and electrofishing, captured fish to insert Passive Integrated Transponder tags (PIT tags). Antennas placed in various locations throughout the system detect PIT tags, providing data on fish movement, detection, and efficacy of fish passage fish passage
Fish passage is the ability of fish or other aquatic species to move freely throughout their life to find food, reproduce, and complete their natural migration cycles. Millions of barriers to fish passage across the country are fragmenting habitat and leading to species declines. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Passage Program is working to reconnect watersheds to benefit both wildlife and people.

Learn more about fish passage
structures, driving seasonal water management and fish passage decisions. By analyzing remote detection data, I expanded our understanding of detections in various ways which will help refine the most effective antenna placements and inform future sampling goals.

Presenters: Dana Shellhorn (Colorado FWCO) and Jason Marsh (Montana FWCO)

Recorded: January 28, 2021

Duration: 84 Minutes

Exploring the Role of the Natural Hydrograph in Riverine Ecology

Details: Flow regimes are a key driver in the ecology of riverine systems world-wide and directly influence the habitats and behaviors of aquatic species. Streamflows provide biological cues and a template for habitats of aquatic organisms by influencing the wetted channel extent, the distribution of water depths and velocities and the interaction with substrate, vegetation and the adjacent bank. The distribution and spatial arrangement of hydraulic variables are dynamic and change with streamflow, a process inherent to free-flowing rivers that is, at times, overlooked when evaluating the effects of managed flow regimes on habitats available to aquatic organisms. This is exemplified by the increase in availability and spatial variation in Chinook Salmon spawning habitats associated with naturally ascending fall baseflows. We found this component of the natural hydrograph to provide a benefit across a range of channel forms and hydrologic regimes. Naturally ascending baseflows also provide ecological benefits during springtime and have been associated with providing additional habitat that temporally overlaps with fry emergence and times critical for development of juvenile salmonids. Streamflow variation induced by winter and spring storm events has also been associated with benefits to ecological processes. Juvenile Pacific Lamprey have a punctuated seaward migration with 90% of individuals outmigrating in a series of large schools. We found strong evidence these migration clusters are associated with rain events, a surrogate for streamflow, with over 90% of emigrants caught during an event and the two subsequent days. The importance of these peak streamflow events are also associated with fish disease management where peak streamflows have been associated with sediment transport, and the subsequent reduction in disease mortality risk for salmonids. These examples provide support for the application of new management tools to support species conservation, such as real-time streamflow management, that integrate elements of the natural flow regime into dam release strategies.

Presenters: Damon Goodman and Nicholas Som (Arcata FWCO)

Recorded: February 25, 2021

Duration: 70 Minutes

Fish population trends and life history theory: evidence for changing flows in the Potomac River

Details: I report results from a recent study investigating fish population trends in the Potomac River (Chesapeake Bay watershed). We evaluated temporal trends in abundance from data collected by Maryland Department of Natural Resources at 10 locations over 43 years (1975-2017). Increasing species were characterized by opportunistic life history strategies (i.e., small-bodied species with rapid maturity; e.g., banded killifish [Fundulus diaphanus]), whereas decreasing species were characterized by periodic or equilibrium strategies (i.e., large-bodied species that delay reproduction to invest in growth or parental care; e.g., smallmouth bass [Micropterus dolomieu]). Most increasing species are native to the study area and therefore probably do not indicate recent introductions. Results indicated that river flows during spawning have become less stable and less predictable over time, consistent with observed increases in spring peak-flows as well as predictions from land-use and climate change climate change
Climate change includes both global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns. Though there have been previous periods of climatic change, since the mid-20th century humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

Learn more about climate change

Presenters: Dr. Nathaniel Hitt (USGS)

Recorded: June 11, 2020

Duration: 46 minutes

Resources: Journal Article

Forecasting Spring Chinook Salmon Adult Returns Within a Management Decision Context

Details: Fishery managers are often faced with making decisions under uncertainty. Pre-season adult return forecasts are used by managers to set harvest levels and hatchery broodstock broodstock
The reproductively mature adults in a population that breed (or spawn) and produce more individuals (offspring or progeny).

Learn more about broodstock
collection plans, however forecast models often have wide prediction intervals around the forecast, indicating a high level of uncertainty. We used a retrospective analysis approach to assess different forecast models for hatchery and wild Spring Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) returns to the Deschutes River, OR. Within the Deschutes River basin, Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery produces Spring Chinook Salmon for Tribal harvest and distribution to tribal members of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, as well as contribution to sport harvest opportunities. Based on our retrospective analysis, the four “best” performing models for hatchery and wild returns are used to produce annual pre-season forecasts. Using these forecasts, managers then set harvest levels and broodstock collection plans that they feel will best meet their multiple objectives. Given the low predictive performance that even the best performing forecast models exhibit, we are starting to develop additional tools to assist managers in their decision-making.

Presenters: David Hand (USFWS)

Recorded: November 5, 2020

Duration: 65 minutes

Helping Partners to Manage Alligator Gar and Their Habitats: Application of Landscape HSI Tools

Details: This presentation describes how FAC set out to develop useful landscape products that give managers the tools that identify habitat restoration opportunities that improve sustainability of alligator gar populations. One of the most important life history requirements is suitable spawning habitat. That habitat has been greatly diminished over much of the species range. The HSI tools that were developed at the Baton Rouge FWCO specifically to address the management need to identify the most effective places to restore that habitat. We work directly with National Fish Hatcheries and state managers for much of this work, but also connect broadly to the management community through the Southern Division American Fisheries Society Alligator Gar Technical Committee. Although the technical application of spatial data is innovative and important, the development of data products like these are often developed without sufficient attention to management utility. The presentation briefly covers the technical work, but focuses more on the attention to making science applicable to management. We present three real-world examples of how these products have been put into practice and will hear directly from the managers that benefit from these products.

Presenters: Glenn Constant and Kayla Kimmel (Baton Rouge FWCO); Robby Maxwell and Raynie Harlan (Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries); Eric Brinkman (Arkansas Game and Fish Commission)

Recorded: November 19, 2020

Duration: 52 Minutes

Invasive Carp Population Modeling and Telemetry to Support an Adaptive Management Framework

Details: The Water Resources Reform Act of 2014 prioritized Invasive carp control efforts in the Mississippi River basin calling for the use best practices such as implementation of the adaptive management framework. Despite improvements in invasive carp control efforts, such as increased harvest efficiency and development of fish movement deterrents, there remains a need to reduce risk at specific target areas by identifying the most effective control strategies. To address this need we worked with partners to develop a spatially explicit forward simulation model that includes key assumptions and predictions, which form the basis for further learning and decision making via adaptive management. In this USFWS FWCO seminar, we present a brief model summary, major findings from Illinois River populations and their influence on management decisions, and summarize ongoing efforts to understand Invasive carp movement patterns, which was identified as a key source of model uncertainty.

Knowledge of the migratory patterns and habitat preferences of invasive carps is key for assessing populations and developing long-term control strategies for these species throughout their introduced ranges. Acoustic telemetry networks arranged throughout the Illinois, Ohio, and Upper Mississippi River basins have been providing movement data on invasive carp and sympatric native species for over a decade. Recent technological advances, such as real-time telemetry units and cloud-based databases and data reporting apps, have driven innovations that have enhanced our capacities to support carp removal efforts and the design and installation of experimental deterrence systems. In this seminar, we will present a summary of the previous and current telemetry projects and their roles in informing mass removal efforts and the design and implementation of new deterrence technology.

Presenters: Jahn Kallis (Columbia Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office) and Mark Fritts (La Crosse Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office)

Recorded: July 29, 2021

Duration: 62 Minutes

Locating and Quantifying Cold Water Refugia for Salmonids in Maine

Details: Air and water temperatures have increased by 2.3 °C in Maine/New Brunswick over the past 110 years (Cunjak et al. 2012) and mainstem river temperatures are now approaching lethal limits (33 °C at 10 min. (Elliot 1991)) for Endangered Atlantic Salmon in Maine’s Downeast Coastal Salmon Habitat Recovery Unit. MEFWCO has therefore initiated low cost but high precision thermal profile surveys similar to methods presented in Vaccaro and Maloy (2006) to locate and quantify cold water inputs. We are now able to protect and preserve these critical resources and are currently seeking to enhance significant cold water inputs via actions presented in Kurylyk et al. (2014). This webinar will describe and discuss MEFWCO’s sampling methodology using hand held GPS units and time synchronized Solinst Inc. data loggers. A novel approach to quantify cooling events will also be presented.

Presenters: Scott Craig (Maine Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office)

Recorded: December 17, 2020

Duration: 63 Minutes

Overview of the Great Lakes coded-wire tagging and recovery program as a tool to inform fisheries management

Details: Millions of salmonines are annually stocked in the Great Lakes to support and diversify fisheries, and restore native fish populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began coded-wire tagging (CWT) and adipose-fin clipping all lake trout stocked into Lakes Michigan and Huron in 2010, and Chinook salmon and steelhead in 2011 and 2017, respectively, in partnership with states and tribes. Collectively, these three species form the backbone of the sport fishery, and support treaty fisheries as well. This program was designed to help address critical management questions regarding the survival, movement, and wild recruitment of these important species, and has since broadened to include questions related to diet and the natal origin of wild salmon. This two-part presentation will provide an overview of the Great Lakes coded-wire tagging and recovery program’s purpose and operations, as well as examples of how the results have helped fisheries management by enhancing and informing population models, evaluating rehabilitation efforts, influencing stocking decisions, and informing stakeholders.

Presenters: Chuck Bronte (Green Bay FWCO) and Matt Kornis (Green Bay FWCO)

Recorded: 3/25/21

Duration: 89 Minutes

Standardized Fishing with Electrical Fields

Details: The modern idea of standardized electrofishing began with Larry Kolz’ concept of maximum power transfer from water to fish. It is based on water conductivity effects on this power transfer. It is not intuitive for fisheries biologists, and several biologists do not use the Power Transfer Theory or Model because they aren’t familiar with the concept or because they lack the electrical metering required. The purpose of this presentation is to demystify standardized electrofishing by explaining electrical fields. The field size is what is being standardized across water conductivity.

Presenters: Dr. Jan Dean (Dean Electrofishing)

Recorded: July 28, 2020

Duration: 63 Minutes

Structured Decision Making for Habitat Restoration - Assessing Landscape Needs and Implementation to Achieve Population Success

Details: The geographic area of responsibility for the Green Bay FWCO Habitat Program encompasses the entire Lake Michigan basin. The aim of our program is to restore quality aquatic habitat, protect aquatic species, mitigate non-climate stressors exacerbated by climate change, and manage ecosystems by pro-actively considering climate change impacts across the basin. When faced with problem of how to balance largescale landscape needs with local population goals and implement on the ground projects to achieve both, we used structured decision making to help us identify where and how to direct our work to have the greatest impact. Through this process, we devised a strategic habitat plan to prioritize our work and incorporate multiple competing priorities including species and population needs, partner and stakeholder interests, and climate impacts. In this presentation, we provide a brief overview of our strategic habitat plan development and examples of how we are implementing our restoration program at the landscape (Lake Michigan Basin), watershed (HUC 8) and local (project) levels to help us achieve resiliency and population success.

Presenters: Dr. Jessica Collier (USFWS)

Recorded: August 27, 2020

Duration: 61 Minutes

Use of age structured models to diagnose overfishing and identify fish management options

Details: Dr. Mike Allen presents some results and examples of use of population modeling for diagnosing overfishing, and for potential to overfish invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

Learn more about invasive species
(lionfish, carp, etc.). Basics of modeling will be presented with spreadsheet examples that can be shared after the seminar to diagnose recruitment and growth overfishing.

Presenters: Dr. Mike Allen (University of Florida)

Recorded: June 25, 2020

Duration: 60 Minutes

Using Technology to Enumerate Lamprey Passage

Details: In 2018 CRFWCO was tasked with installing and monitoring a lamprey passage system at Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery. We designed a custom IR camera to effectively monitor them while now disturbing their passage. This presentation highlights a bit about their life history, the specific challenge we were presented with, and the camera system that we designed.

Presenters: Rikeem Sholes (Columbia River FWCO)

Recorded: 4/29/2021

Duration: 35 Minutes

Using Technology to Improve Habitat Mapping and Suitability Modeling In Small Rivers and Streams

Details: Fundamental to effective fisheries management is understanding the distribution and quality of habitat available to your target species. Unfortunately, collecting high-quality habitat data is expensive, time-consuming, and rarely gathered at a scale appropriate to address the life history events of most fish and aquatic species. Additionally, many aquatic species have unique habitat characteristics that may be poorly captured in general survey protocols necessitating additional habitat surveys as management needs change. The High Definition Stream Survey (HDSS) system was designed to rapidly collect a broad suite of georeferenced instream and stream corridor data over miles of rivers or streams in single day. The field data is classified using a flexible, user-driven method that allows the field data to be appropriately applied to different species or management goals. The classified data then flows easily into powerful suitability models that support informative maps, graphics, and statistics. The results are suitable to be used in decision support tools or for strategic planning. Additionally, archived field data is easily reanalyzed to support other stream related activities such as permitting, compliance, watershed planning, impact assessments, and predictive modeling giving you an excellent way to increase collaborations, decrease costs, and improve conservation outcomes.

Presenters: James Parham and Dane Shuman (Trutta Environmental Solutions)

Recorded: July 9, 2020

Duration: 61 Minutes

Yukon River Subsistence Salm Fisheries Management, Assessment and Collaboration

Details: Look into the management of the Yukon River fisheries with a reflection on the historical and cultural influences. The Fairbanks FWCO staff cooperate with state tribal and local partners to balance the management of Yukon River salmon in relation to the US-Canada Treaty objectives. The Yukon River management process has broad applicability to other FWCOs in working with Native American organizations and state agencies on fishery management.

Presenters: Gerald Maschmann, Jan Conitz and Matt Keyse (USFWS)

Recorded: September 24, 2020

Duration: 52 Minutes