SFEWS Vol. 20, Issue 2 | June 2022
Climate Change Impacts on San Francisco Estuary Aquatic Ecosystems: A Review
Climate change is intensifying the effects of multiple interacting stressors on aquatic ecosystems, particularly in estuaries. In the San Francisco Estuary, signals of climate change are apparent in the long-term monitoring record. Here we synthesize current and potential future climate change effects on three main ecosystems (floodplain, tidal marsh, and open water) in the upper estuary and two representative native fishes that commonly occur in these ecosystems (anadromous Chinook Salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha and estuarine resident Sacramento Splittail, Pogonichthys macrolepidotus).
Considerations for the Development of a Juvenile Production Estimate for Central Valley Spring-Run Chinook Salmon
Effective species management depends on accurate estimates of population size. There are, however, no estimates of annual juvenile production for Central Valley spring-run Chinook Salmon (“spring run”), a highly imperiled species in California, making it difficult to evaluate population status and effectively manage key issues such as entrainment of this species at water diversions. In recognition of this critical information gap, we initiated an effort to develop a juvenile production estimate (JPE) for spring run, defined here as an annual forecast of the number of juvenile Central Valley spring-run Chinook Salmon that enter the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (“Delta”) from the Sacramento Valley.
Machine Learning Forecasts to Reduce Risk of Entrainment Loss of Endangered Salmonids at Large-Scale Water Diversions in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, California
Incidental entrainment of fishes at large-scale state and federal water diversion facilities in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California, can trigger protective management actions when limits imposed by environmental regulations are approached or exceeded. These actions can result in substantial economic costs, and likewise they can affect the status of vulnerable species. Here, we examine data relevant to water management actions during January–June; the period when juvenile salmonids are present in the Delta.
Gill Net Selectivity for Fifteen Fish Species of the Upper San Francisco Estuary
Gill-net size selectivity for 15 fish species occurring in the upper San Francisco Estuary was estimated from a data set compiled from multiple studies which together contained 7,096 individual fish observations from 882 gill net sets. The gill nets considered in this study closely resembled the American Fisheries Society’s recommended standardized experimental gill nets for sampling inland waters. Relationships between gill-net mesh sizes and the sizes for each fish species retained in them were estimated indirectly using generalized linear modeling and maximum likelihood.
Nutrient and Trace Element Contributions from Drained Islands in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, California
Inventorying nutrient and trace element sources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (the Delta) is critical to understanding how changes—including alterations to point source inputs such as upgrades to the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (SRWTP) and landscape-scale changes related to wetland restoration—may alter the Delta’s water quality. While island drains are a ubiquitous feature of the Delta, limited data exist to evaluate island drainage mass fluxes in this system. To better constrain inputs from island drains, we measured monthly discharge along with nutrient and trace element concentrations in island drainage on three Delta islands and surrounding rivers from June 2017 to September 2018.
Volume 12, Issue 2, 2014
Abstracts are not presented with Editorials. --SFEWS Editors
Policy and Program Analysis
Examining the Causes and Consequences of Hybridization During Chinook Salmon Reintroductions: Using the San Joaquin River as a Restoration Case Study of Management Options
Successful salmonid restoration efforts depend upon an understanding of the evolutionary processes that historically shaped population diversity, as well as the realities of currently available, altered river systems. Habitat alterations over the past century have dramatically changed the ecological forces that shaped salmonid speciation and evolution, bringing formerly separate and distinct populations into contact and in some cases leading to hybridization. Hybridization can threaten the genetic diversity within salmonid species and may affect the outcomes of restoration efforts. Here we use the San Joaquin River Restoration as a case study to discuss some of the genetic challenges of Chinook salmon restoration in a newly reopened habitat. We discuss a range of genetic management strategies—from passive reintroduction to tightly managed, active reintroduction—and the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
Impounded Marshes on Subsided Islands: Simulated Vertical Accretion, Processes, and Effects, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, CA USA
There is substantial interest in stopping and reversing the effects of subsidence in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Delta) where organic soils predominate. Also, the passage of California Assembly Bill 32 in 2006 created the potential to trade credits for carbon sequestered in wetlands on subsided Delta islands. The primary purpose of the work described here was to estimate future vertical accretion and understand processes that affect vertical accretion and carbon sequestration in impounded marshes on subsided Delta islands. Using a cohort-accounting model, we simulated vertical accretion from 4,700 calibrated years before present (BP) at a wetland area located within Franks Tract State Recreation Area (lat 38.059, long −121.611, hereafter, “Franks Wetland”)—a small, relatively undisturbed marsh island—and at the Twitchell Island subsidence-reversal demonstration project since 1997. We used physical and chemical data collected during the study as well as literature values for model inputs. Model results compared favorably with measured rates of vertical accretion, mass of carbon sequestered, bulk density and organic matter content.
From 4,700 to model-estimated 350 years BP, the simulated rate of vertical accretion at Franks Wetland averaged about 0.12 cm yr-1, which is within the range of rates in tidal wetlands worldwide. Our model results indicate that large sediment inputs during the last 150 to 200 years resulted in a higher accretion rate of 0.3 cm yr -1. On Twitchell Island, greater organic inputs resulted in average vertical accretion rates as high as 9.2 cm yr -1. Future simulations indicate that the managed impounded marsh will accrete highly organic material at rates of about 3 cm yr -1. Model results coupled with GIS analysis indicate that large areas of the periphery of the Delta, if impounded and converted to freshwater marsh, could be restored to tidal elevations within 50 to 100 years. Most of the central Delta would require 50 to 250 years to be restored to projected mean sea level. A large portion of the western Delta could be restored to mean sea level within 50 to 150 years (large areas on Sherman, Jersey, and Bethel islands, and small areas on Bradford, Twitchell, and Brannan islands, and Webb Tract). We estimated that long-term carbon sequestration rates for impounded marshes such as the Twitchell Island demonstration ponds will range from 12 to 15 metric tons carbon ha-1 yr-1. Creation of impounded marshes on Delta islands can substantially benefit levee stability as demonstrated by cumulative force and hydraulic gradient calculations.
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Distribution and Invasion Potential of Limonium ramosissimum subsp. provinciale in San Francisco Estuary Salt Marshes
Non-native sea lavenders (Limonium spp.) are invasive in salt marshes of southern California and were first documented in the San Francisco Estuary (the estuary) in 2007. In this study, we mapped distributions of L. ramosissimum subsp. provinciale (LIRA) and L. duriusculum within the estuary and investigated how the invasion potential of the more common species, LIRA, varies with elevation and edaphic conditions. We contacted colleagues and conducted field searches to find and then map sea lavender populations. In addition, we measured LIRA’s elevational range at three salt marshes. Across this range we measured (1) soil properties: salinity, moisture, bulk density, and texture; and (2) indicators of invasion potential: LIRA size, seed production, percent cover, spread (over 1 year), recruitment, and competition with native halophytes (over 6 months). We found LIRA in 15,144 m2 of upper salt marsh habitat in central and south San Francisco bays and L. duriusculum in 511 m2 in Richardson and San Pablo bays. LIRA was distributed from mean high water (MHW) to 0.42 m above mean higher high water (MHHW). In both spring and summer, soil moisture and salinity were lowest at higher elevations within LIRA’s range, which corresponded with greater rosette size, inflorescence and seed production (up to 17,400 seeds per plant), percent cover, and recruitment. LIRA cover increased on average by 11% in 1 year across marshes and elevations. Cover of the native halophytes Salicornia pacifica, Jaumea carnosa, and Distichlis spicata declined significantly at all elevations if LIRA were present in plots (over a 6-month, fall–winter period). Results suggest LIRA’s invasion potential is highest above MHHW where salinity and moisture are lower, but that LIRA competes with native plants from MHW to above MHHW. We recommend removal efforts with emphasis on the salt marsh-terrestrial ecotone where LIRA seed output is highest.
- 2 supplemental PDFs