Projected impacts of climate change on salmon habitat restoration

James Battin, Matthew W. Wiley, Mary H. Ruckelshaus, Richard N. Palmer, Elizabeth Korb, Krista K. Bartz, and Hiroo Imaki. 2007. PNAS 104(16):6720-6725.

Battin et al developed a model of future Chinook salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest by coupling data on land use changes and river restoration, climate predictions, hydrology and salmon population dynamics. They found that effects of climate change will be felt most in high-elevation streams. The authors noted these areas are already protected and considered pristine, and without potential for restoration. Instead they suggest directing restoration toward lower-elevation areas to help shift salmon populations to lower-elevation streams.

We’d talked earlier in the class about how the location of restoration projects is often as important as the restoration practices implemented. By having a goal of salmon conservation, rather than just habitat creation, this paper is able to make a compelling argument about why we consider where restoration practices are located in light of global change. I am a little confused about why restoration efforts could not be aimed at alleviating the changes to high-elevation streams. Is it that these lands are protected and so management interventions are illegal, or is that there aren’t restoration practices that would make a difference to these areas?

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