|Independent ReviewApril 24, 2004Were Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) South of San Francisco Ever Native, Indigenous?
By V. W. KACZYNSKI, Ph.D., Certified Fisheries Scientist Emeritus
I was retained by the California Forestry Association to critically review a paper by H.T. McCrary entitled, Memorandum Concerning RECOVERY STRATEGY FOR CALIFORNIA COHO SALMON (CDFG, 2003) WITH REGARD TO COASTAL STREAMS SOUTH OF SAN FRANCISCO dated December 18, 2003, submitted to the California Fish and Game Commission. My terms of reference were to review the references cited in the document, to determine in my professional judgment if the results stated in the paper were consistent with the information presented in the cited references, and to determine in my professional judgment if the conclusions, arguments and recommendations were supported by the results presented in the paper and/or the cited documents. The McCrary memorandum basically presented a scientific hypothesis that coho salmon ( Oncorhynchus kisutch ) south of San Francisco Bay are not native (indigenous). My review concentrated on determining the veracity of the biological and distribution information presented in the memorandum. In effect, my critical review was a quality assurance review. I am not commenting on legal, social, or political issues. My background and qualifications are described in Appendix A.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Based on my review, I cannot find any scientific basis to reject McCrary’s findings and conclusion that coho salmon south of San Francisco Bay are not native fish. In fact the best available scientific information (his references plus some additional ones) supports his findings. The archeological references cited in McCrary for the absence of coho salmon bones in Native American refuse middens south of San Francisco present good prehistoric evidence that coho salmon were not indigenous to the south. In contrast, steelhead bones were found south of San Francisco and coho bones were found to the north in middens. Archeologists basically assume that animal hard part remains, such as fish bones, in the middens reflect food items and that Native Americans ate food items that were available locally. The absence of coho salmon bones in middens south of San Francisco presents evidence that supports a scientific hypothesis that coho salmon were prehistorically not present and therefore not indigenous to the south.
The earliest (late 1800s to turn-of-the-century) literature references to coho salmon presence and absence clearly list them as not occurring south of San Francisco. The best available scientific information reveals that coho salmon found south of San Francisco Bay apparently are the result of hatchery-stock plants beginning in 1906 (in cooperation with the United States Bureau of Fisheries) and continuing to recent times. The very early occurrence references and early stocking references were apparently missed by subsequent authors. Subsequent occurrence references in the literature for streams south of San Francisco were based on observations of adult coho salmon returning from these original stockings (e.g. the possible coho eggs taken at the Scott Creek egg taking station in 1908 resulting from fry plants in 1906, and the coho salmon reported in the San Lorenzo River in 1912 from fry stockings in 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909 and 1910), mistakes (occurrences in other waters or of other species), false assumptions, and then daisy-chain references to these observations and later observations of occurrence.
McCrary’s descriptions of harsh environmental conditions were substantiated in the references and suggest why coho salmon had not established permanent populations south of San Francisco, very harsh environmental resistance factors coupled to the life history of coho salmon. An application of the net replacement rate (freshwater and marine survival rates times fecundity), demonstrates that occasional stray startup year classes (propagules) would not persist.
PREHISTORICAL EVIDENCE – COHO SALMON WERE NOT INDIGENOUS SOUTH OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY.
Detailed archeological studies of Native American refuse middens south of San Francisco Bay have failed to find any coho salmon bones (Gobalet 1990, Gobalet and Jones 1995, Gobalet 2000, and Gobalet et al. 2003). Steelhead bones were found in middens north and south of the bay and coho salmon bones were found north of the bay (Follett 1975 and above). Tens-of-thousands of fish bones were found in the middens north and south of San Francisco. It is a basic archeological assumption, that the bones found in refuse middens were discarded food remains. Native Americans apparently ate coho salmon, steelhead and other fish north of San Francisco. They ate steelhead and other fish south of San Francisco but apparently not coho salmon. This archeological evidence strongly suggests that coho salmon were not native south of the bay in prehistoric times. The absence of coho salmon bones in the middens south of San Francisco Bay plus the presence of coho salmon bones to the north (and steelhead bones both north and south) is good evidence that supports a scientific hypothesis that coho salmon did not occur in streams south of San Francisco Bay.
EARLY PRESENCE/ABSENCE COHO SALMON LITERATURE – COHO SALMON WERE NOT FOUND SOUTH OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY.
Coho salmon populations were not found south of San Francisco prior to hatchery fry stockings beginning in 1906 when 50,000 silver (coho) salmon eggs were taken by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries in Washington State and sent to the Brookdale Hatchery on the San Lorenzo River in 1906. All relevant early coho salmon distribution literature found and reviewed stated that coho salmon were only found north of San Francisco (Jordan and Gilbert 1876, Hallock 1877, Jordan et al. 1882, Jordan 1892a, Jordan 1892b, Jordan 1894, Jordan and Evermann 1896, Jordan and Evermann 1902 and 1904, Jordan 1904a, Jordan 1904b, Jordan and Evermann 1905, Jordan 1907, Snyder 1908).
There is evidence in the literature that actual stream surveys were made in this early historical period. A footnote in Snyder (1908) states, “During June and July 1897, a party consisting of Dr. Gilbert, A.G. Maddren, G.B. Culver and J.O. Snyder explored the region south of the Rogue river.” That survey concentrated on fluvial (stream) fish. Shebley (1922) stated, “In 1880, at the time Dr. Jordan made his survey of our coast fisheries . Other surveys occurred in 1889 to 1892, 1904, and 1908.” Shebley and Gillis (1911) noted that F.A. Shebley made field surveys of local Santa Cruz County streams to locate the Brookdale Hatchery and the Scott Creek egg taking station. Leinald (1906) reported that Shebley made stream surveys in Santa Cruz County to locate fry release sites from the Brookdale Hatchery. Streig (1991) stated that in 1902 Santa Cruz County hired F.A. Shebley and Dr. C.H. Gilbert as a consultant to locate the hatchery site. The Brookdale site was chosen on the San Lorenzo River. The broodstock selected was steelhead and the Scotts Creek site was chosen for egg taking because it was a small creek (easy to collect adults) and that it had a good run of steelhead. No mention was made of coho salmon. Apparently, coho salmon were not found during these early surveys.
The first apparent record of adult coho salmon stream occurrence south of San Francisco may be the 1908 egg take at the Scott Creek egg taking station reported by Streig (1991) and repeated by others. This would correspond to some portion of the coho salmon fry from the Brookdale Hatchery being planted in 1906 in Scott Creek (or straying from the plant in the San Lorenzo River) and returning as adults in 1908. The number of eggs reported taken is highly suspect and this information cannot be verified. A sporting journal letter by “A.P.B.” dated 1909 stated: “The silver-sided salmon have been hatched at the Brookdale hatchery and much is expected from this fine fish. The first planting in this state [coho fry in spring 1906 returning as adults in 1908] was made in the San Lorenzo River and a number [of adults] have been taken this fall [1909 from the 1907 fry outplanting] making a run up that stream.” Newbert et al. (1913) stated, “. they may frequent many other of the coast streams as far south as Monterey Bay.” Snyder (1914) stated, “Silver salmon were said to have been observed in the San Lorenzo River at Santa Cruz.” The possible 1908 egg take and literature statements appear to indicate that coho salmon had been established in at least Santa Cruz County by that time.
The early presence/absence literature provides independent evidence that supports the scientific hypothesis that coho salmon are not native, not indigenous, to streams south of San Francisco.
SUBSEQUENT PRESENCE/ABSENCE LITERATURE – DOES NOT DEMONSTRATE THAT COHO SALMON SOUTH OF SAN FRANCISCO ARE NATIVE.
Subsequent literature on the distribution of coho salmon south of San Francisco was either apparently mistaken (i.e. occurrence records were for another species or location) or conjectural (i.e. Lucoff 1980), or did not differentiate the origin of the fish (at the time presence only was important; hatchery and native origin were not important), or were daisy-chain references to the above situations. The McCrary memorandum has a good discussion, table and diagram that illustrate the problems of differentiating between possible native and hatchery origin coho salmon via more recent literature references. His analysis and conclusion are supported by the referenced articles.
HATCHERY PLANT LITERATURE – FIRST COHO SALMON SOUTH OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY WERE HATCHERY PLANTS.
The Santa Cruz County Brookdale Hatchery was started first as a steelhead hatchery in 1905 (Shebley and Gillis 1911, Shebley 1922, Streig 1991). I could find no mention in the literature of any intent to originally hatch coho salmon eggs, only steelhead and trout (and then chinook salmon) eggs. Bowers (1907) reported that in 1906, 50,000 silver salmon eggs were delivered to the Santa Cruz County hatchery [from a federal hatchery, the Baker Lake Hatchery in Washington State]. Bowers (1909, 1910, and 1911) reported additional federal coho salmon egg deliveries to the Brookdale Hatchery. The U.S. Bureau of Fisheries coho salmon egg deliveries were:
||100,000 and 100,000 (double entry)
These would be eyed eggs as the more delicate earlier green eggs would have died from the shock of movement. Bowers (1913) reported that 2,289,900 silver salmon eggs were delivered to California in 1911. The delivery to Brookdale was not broken out. Shebley and Gillis (1911) and Shebley (1922) stated that fry hatched at Brookdale were distributed in streams in Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Monterey Counties.
The startup of the Scott Creek egg taking station is not as clear. Streig (1991) stated that it was built the same time as the Brookdale Hatchery (1904) and began operations in 1905, the same as the hatchery. Shebley and Gillis (1911) implied it may have started as early as 1905, the same as the Brookdale Hatchery. Shebley (1922) stated it started in 1912 which appears to indicate the start of the joint venture between the California Fish Commission and Santa Cruz County. Streig (1991) reported coho salmon eggs being taken at the station in 1908 [apparently from the initial coho fry released from the Brookdale Hatchery in 1906, Baker Lake Washington stock]. The egg station was initially planned for just steelhead trout as coho salmon were not present. The fact that no coho salmon eggs were taken prior to 1908 is relevant in this regard. In 1913-1914, 25,000 silver salmon fry were distributed and in 1915, 1,517,000 silver salmon fry were distributed (apparently to the above counties, Shebley (1922). Bryant (1994) summarized coho salmon hatchery planting in Santa Cruz County from 1909 to 1993 but missed the earlier stocking records. Bryant (ibid) stated that from 1909 to 1941, almost two million hatchery coho salmon from various Pacific Coast watersheds were known to have been planted in Santa Cruz County streams. From 1915 to 1939, Scott Creek was stocked with 387,413 coho salmon fry, and over 10,000 coho salmon juveniles (smolts) in 1967-1968 (ibid). Waddell Creek was stocked with approximately 116,000 coho fry from1913 to 1933, and over 10,000 coho smolts in 1966 and an unknown number in 1970 (ibid). The later stockings came from Darrah Springs (Shasta County), Noyo River and Trinity River stocks (ibid). The San Lorenzo River was stocked with 577,440 coho salmon from 1915-1941, and an unknown number from 1957 to 1993 (ibid). The Brookdale Hatchery and the Scott Creek egg taking station subsequently drew on these non-native stocks for their broodstock.
SOFT LITERATURE PROVIDES ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE THAT COHO SALMON WERE NOT PRESENT IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY AND PROVIDES ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON EARLY COHO SALMON HATCHERY EFFORTS.
The soft literature (newspaper and sporting journal articles) helps illuminate possible presence/absence of coho salmon in Santa Cruz County and the early coho salmon hatchery efforts at the Brookdale Hatchery. A Santa Cruz County newspaper article (December 16, 1905) titled “Our County Fish Hatchery” stated that the county hatchery “. was placed on a practical working basis early in the present year 1905.” The hatchery would hatch eggs from king salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout, and eastern brook trout. Then the article stated that “Superintendent Frank Shebley. expects to receive a nearly equal lot (to chinook salmon eggs – several hundred thousand) silver salmon eggs from the U.S. Government hatchery in the state of Washington. It is believed if raised and planted here they will frequent our streams and thus give us another valuable game fish.” Here is complimentary evidence that coho salmon were not present in at least Santa Cruz County in 1905.
An article in the “Mountain Echo” (January 27, 1906) stated, “Superintendent Shebley, of the Brookdale fish hatchery, has received word that a half-million silver salmon eggs will be shipped to him about the 1 st of February from the Government Hatchery in the state of Washington.” He was wrong on the number as it would be 50,000 eggs. The “Santa Cruz Morning Sentinel” (March 7, 1906) stated, “Dr Shebley has 50,000 silver salmon eggs from Baker Lake Washington which will be hatched out in a short while. Mr. Shebley said that it would be a good idea to get eggs from dog salmon which run up Scott’s Creek and hatch out a quantity. The dog salmon come up the creek in the fall, after waiting in the lagoon for the fall rains to come down and raise the water.” This was a noteworthy report. Dog salmon along with steelhead were available for eggs in Scott Creek in 1906. If coho salmon were also present, wouldn’t Shebley (and the Federal Government) have used this local source for coho salmon eggs instead of going to the trouble and expense of importing coho salmon eggs from Washington State? Shebley only would have needed about 20 female coho salmon to yield 50,000 eggs. This strongly suggests that coho salmon were not present in Scott Creek in 1906, reinforcing the early presence/absence literature discussed above. And the article confirms the receipt of the 50,000 silver salmon from the federal Baker Lake Hatchery in Washington State.
“The Mountain Echo” (March 24, 1906) reported that Superintendent Shebley was in the process of hatching 50,000 silver salmon eggs that were received from the federal Baker Lake Hatchery in Washington. The article stated, “if they thrive here as hoped they will provide a valuable addition to the piscatorial tribe of our Santa Cruz waters. Here is complimentary evidence that coho salmon were not native to the streams of Santa Cruz County.
Welch (editor “Forest and Stream Journal”, July 13, 1907) reported that, “During 1906 Mr. Shebley hatched and liberated in the streams of the county upward of . 50,000 silver salmon [fry]. The hatching of the silver salmon is an experiment that is being considered by Mr. Shebley in connection with the United States Fish Commission, with the hope of introducing into the streams of the county a new species of fish . The silver salmon . return to the streams of the county to spawn thusadding a new species of both game and food fish to the already well supplied waters of [Monterey] bay.” Emphasis added. Here is additional complimentary evidence that coho salmon were not native to the streams feeding Monterey Bay.
COHO HATCHERY PLANTS WERE FROM MANY SOURCES – THE COHO SALMON PRESENT IN WADDELL AND SCOTT CREEKS TODAY ARE NOT NATIVE FISH. THEY ARE ANALOGOUS TO TRANSPLANTED GREAT LAKES COHO SALMON.
The earliest coho salmon fry planted in Santa Cruz County streams and then nearby county streams came from coho salmon eggs supplied from the federal Baker Lake Hatchery in Washington State (see above Bowers references). Bryant (1994, apparently from Streig 1991) summarized hatchery stocking in Santa Cruz County from 1909 to 1993. Some two million hatchery coho salmon were planted in county streams (ibid). Baker et al. (1998) summarized the history of coho salmon plants in San Mateo and Santa Cruz County streams from 1909 through 1997. Adjacent county streams (Santa Clara, and Monterey Counties) were also stocked from fry hatched out at the Brookdale Hatchery (for example see Stone et al. 1910). The coho salmon stocks used in the plants came from:
Baker Lake Washington, Scott Creek Egg Taking Station (apparently starting in 1909 from Baker Lake stock), Mount Shasta Hatchery, Scott Creek (from the above three sources and then from multiple sources), Eel River, Prairie Creek, Alsea River Oregon, Noyo River, Klaskanine River Oregon, Green River Washington, Ten Mile River (Oregon?), University of Washington, Cowlitz River Washington, Klamath River, Davenport Creek, Toutle River Washington, Oregon Aquaculture, Russian River, San Lorenzo River (from multiple sources), plus miscellaneous and unknown sources (Baker et al. 1998).
In addition, a private salmon ranching venture (Pacific Marine Enterprises) began operating on Waddell Creek in 1969 using coho salmon stocks primarily from the Noyo and Trinity River Hatcheries (R. Haas personal communication, 2004). Coho salmon were reared and released as smolts and some as accelerated yearlings. Haas stated that few strays escaped the trap to spawn upstream in Waddell Creek but that straying to other streams was very common. Haas reported that he had to hold the adult coho females on a photoperiod simulating the mid-Oregon coast; otherwise the females could not be successfully spawned. The operation was moved to Davenport Landing Creek in 1971 and continued operations there for several years. The Davenport Landing operation primarily used University of Washington coho (and chinook) as their brood stock. Straying from that facility was also very common, similar to the high rate of straying by Oregon Aquaculture coho salmon observed in central Oregon coastal streams (ibid).
Streig (1991, and 1993 as reported in Bryant 1994) described the history of coho salmon hatchery efforts in the area (but missed the earliest efforts before 1909). In 1976, the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project (MBSTP) was started in cooperation with California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). From 1976 to 1979 stocks were imported from the Mad River and Warm Springs Fish Hatcheries and reared in net pens and apparently released in Monterey Bay. Any adult coho not harvested must have ascended tributary streams to the bay and spawned. In 1982, the Big Creek Hatchery was rebuilt on a tributary of the Scott River. This hatchery used Scott Creek and San Lorenzo River stocks (which were an amalgam of non-native stocks as discussed above). MBSTP and CDFG reared and released over 1.1 million steelhead and coho salmon from 1976 to 1992. As an example, 1,870 juvenile coho salmon were released into “various local streams” including Scott and Waddell Creeks. As of June 1992, MBSTP was rearing 16,540 coho fry. “When adult coho salmon return to Scott Creek and the San Lorenzo River, the MBSTP traps the entire run, spawns artificially, and releases smolts to help augment natural production.” (ibid) The MBSTP hatchery program continues to the present.
Thus it is not surprising that Bryant (1994) concluded from genetic allozyme analysis, life history characteristics, and behavior that the Waddell and Scott Creek coho salmon populations were not distinct from coho salmon populations from the north. Anderson (1995) concluded that gene flow among California coho populations (including Waddell and Scott Creek) was high. It had to be considering the multiple stock plants that occurred. Bryant (1994) stated, “. majority of coho salmon streams in California have been planted with coho stocks from outside their native watersheds.” The coho plantings in Santa Cruz and adjoining Counties were not unique. Ricker (1972) stated that early fish researchers regarded a salmon species as genetic equivalents everywhere. Phenotypic differences seemed to relate to local environmental influences (and they often do to some degree). Ricker (ibid) stated, “one fish was as good as another” and eggs were moved from hatchery to hatchery and fry from stream to stream. Streams in California received frequent out-of-basin coho salmon transfers. Brown et al. (1994) concluded that plants from Oregon and Washington caused the swamping and homogenization of native California gene pools. They quoted “For example, Bartley et al. (1992) noted that, of the two southernmost runs of coho salmon, Waddell Creek fish had the highest level of heterozygosity for any California coho salmon population, presumably as the result of interbreeding with imported stocks.” High heterozygosity within a population means that it has had much gene exchange with other populations, high genetic diversity, which is just opposite of what one would expect if the population was isolated. Brown and Moyle (1991) stated, “Long run coho salmon stocks [in California] are now dominated by hatchery production, except in the Eel River.” And they noted that a number of exotic stocks have been introduced into Waddell Creek. So Waddell Creek, Scott Creek, San Lorenzo River, and nearby streams all had a long history of out-of -basin hatchery plants.
In addition to the long history of non-native coho salmon hatchery plants into Santa Cruz County streams, the effect of stray rates from stream to stream on genetics needs to be considered. Shapovalov and Taft (1954) estimated that 15% of marked Waddell Creek coho salmon strayed to Scott Creek, and that 27% of marked Scott Creek coho salmon strayed to Waddell Creek. Bryant (1994) noted that several tagged coho salmon from Waddell Creek strayed to the Noyo River (322 kilometers north) and several strayed to the San Lorenzo River (south 24 kilometers). Bryant (ibid) considered the Shapovalov and Taft (ibid) stray rates as minimums and stated that they were probably actually higher. If the only recapture location on Scott Creek was the Egg Taking Station, the Waddell Creek stray rate into Scott Creek was probably significantly higher. These stray rates are not atypical for coho salmon (well within the reported straying ranges, Bryant 1994). CDFG (2002) reported stray rates of zero to 67% for hatchery plants in California. Because the MBSTP coho salmon program is still ongoing and using exotic brood stocks, the effect of straying into Scott and Waddell Creek coho genes needs to be evaluated.
STRAY RATE IMPACT – IS SIGNIFICANT.
The following stray effect analysis uses a stray rate of 20% (roughly half of the 15 and 27% stray rates found by Shapovalov and Taft 1954 and easy to calculate; probably low) and coho salmon outplants from the MBSTP/CDFG hatchery into the San Lorenzo River or Scott Creek (Streig 1993 as reported by Bryant 1994). A 3 percent marine survival estimate is used which is reasonable for the time period (Kaczynski 1998):
(a) Released into Scott Creek.
(b) Strayed into Waddell Creek at a 27% stray rate per Shapovalov and Taft (1954).
The above estimates indicate that the genetic straying effect is significant. Because the MBSTP/CDFG hatchery outplant program is ongoing, the significant genetic straying effect is ongoing.
WHY DIDN’T COHO SALMON ESTABLISH PERSISTING NATIVE POPULATIONS SOUTH OF SAN FRANCISCO?
Undoubtedly stray coho salmon from coastal streams north of San Francisco from time to time entered central California streams and possibly spawned. Late fall/early winter rains are needed to raise stream flows and allow salmonids to enter streams in the region. Seasonal late rain plus the photoperiod at this latitude may have made successful spawning of coho salmon from the north problematic (Haas personal communication). The migration/stray distance is not unreasonable (Bryant 1994). Perhaps a localized, small in number, single year class of coho salmon would result from such occasional strays. If they did, they apparently did not persist. Why? McCrary’s memorandum addressed this reasonably well but the discussion can be expanded. First, such stray colonizations were probably rare, low in number and spotty in time and location. These factors alone make persistent colonization unpredictable and unlikely (Mac Arthur and Wilson 1967). Next, as Anderson (1995) and Smith (1992 to 2002) pointed out, the environmental stream conditions are marginal, harsh and extreme for coho salmon. Juvenile coho salmon in the region appear to be at the mercy of their physical stream environment. The geology of the Santa Cruz Mountains is apparently complex and the parent materials are highly erodible sandstones, mudstones and granite (Spittler 1998, Baker et al. 1998). Sediments delivered to streams from these materials have a high percent of fine silts and sands. Such fine material clogs up the interstices of spawning gravels. These fine materials slow down the in-gravel flow of water and lower the interstitial dissolved oxygen level. These conditions result in a lowered egg and alevin incubation survival compared to more favorable, open gravels. And these fine materials tend to compact the spawning gravels making spawning redd digging by female coho salmon more difficult.
The latitude results in summer stream temperatures warmer than those of more northern waters where persisting populations of coho salmon are found. Briggs (1999) had relevant comments on the declining stream flows that are resulting from maturing forests. Put simply, as the forests mature the surface area of the leaves and needles grows proportionately. More leaf and needle surface area results in a higher evapotranspiration rate. A higher evapotranspiration rate results in less ground water runoff into streams. Less stream flow results in reduced surface area for stream habitats, shallower pools, less pool volumes, and warmer stream temperatures. Juvenile coho salmon are associated with stream pools especially deep pools. If the county streams pre-European development were heavily forested with mature trees, the implication is that stream flows were quite low. Climatic changes periodically result in decade-scale warm and dry conditions. Severe droughts have not been uncommon in these warm, dry periods. Droughts further lower streamflows and raise stream temperatures. Warm air temperatures raise stream temperatures. Brown and Moyle (1991) pointed out the severe effects that droughts have had on coho salmon populations in California and in Santa Cruz County. The drought impacts on coho salmon were increasingly harsh to the south.
Smith (1992 to 2002) reported the combined harsh effects that droughts and floods have had on the coho salmon in Scott and Waddell Creeks. Santa Cruz County has low relative annual rainfall and higher relative peak storm events than counties to the north . This combination leads to warmer summer and fall stream temperatures, low summer and fall stream flows, and flashier winter floods (Baker et al. 1998 and a series of letter reports by Smith from 1992 to 2002). High floods tend to wash out spawning gravel deposits killing any incubating eggs and alevins. Anderson (1995) noted that Scott and Waddell Creeks tended to have highly mobile sediment bedloads. Floods also stress and sometimes directly kill juvenile coho salmon, especially overwintering fry.
Shapovalov and Taft (1954) described the distinct three year life cycle of coastal coho salmon in Waddell Creek and the resultant three distinct year classes. This situation can result in the loss of year classes when environmental conditions are severe and can eventually lead to the loss of local coho populations. Smith (ibid) has described this situation for Scott and Waddell Creek coho salmon in the last several years. The implication is that such losses may well have occurred in the past.
Kaczynski (1998) described the linked inland climate/California Current decade-scale relationship. He showed that when climate conditions inland are warm and dry, the California Current is warm with poor biological productivity and increased predators not normally encountered by juvenile coho salmon. The warm California Current conditions result in significantly lowered coho salmon marine survival, as low as 0.5 to 1% in the early to mid 1990-era (Kaczynski 1998, Welch et al. 2000). Kaczynski (1994), using the net replacement method (Birch 1948, Caughley 1967), demonstrated that at least 2.7% marine survival is needed for coho salmon to maintain on-going population persistence assuming 3% freshwater survival egg to smolt and 1,250 female eggs per female. Three percent freshwater survival was the average found in 5 streams studied in western Oregon and Washington and 1,250 female eggs per female is the Oregon coast average (ODFW 1982). Sandercock (1991) reported a 1 to 2% egg to smolt survival in British Columbia and a cline in fecundity from north to south: larger females with more eggs to the north and smaller females with fewer eggs to the south. Given the harsh freshwater conditions found in Santa Cruz County streams, a 1% freshwater survival from egg to smolt is not unreasonable. Survival could easily be lower per the conditions described by Smith (1992 to 2002). Shapovalov and Taft (1954) gave a formula to calculate the expected coho eggs per females at various sizes. Using an observed average length of 63.8 centimeters in Waddell Creek, the average eggs per female would be 2,336 and this is consistent with the trend described by Sandercock (ibid). Using 1,168 female eggs per female, 1% freshwater survival would require at least an 8.6% marine survival for year class persistence (a one-to-one net replacement rate). 0.5 percent freshwater survival would require 17.1% marine survival to maintain persistence (a value never seen). The median coho salmon marine survival estimate for the cool productive 1960 to 1980 time period in the California Current was 7.2%. The range was 4.4% to 12.7% (Kaczynski 1998). These data indicate that during a cool, productive California Current cycle, occasional, stray coho salmon propagules would have a net replacement rate of less than one (declining) in over half the years at 1% freshwater survival. They would have severe numerical declines when freshwater survival was only 0.5%. And these data also help explain the progressive depletion of coho year classes observed by Shapovalov and Taft (1954) during their study following heavy hatchery plants in the years immediately before their study. The low freshwater survival rates caused by harsh freshwater conditions could not be overcome by high enough marine survival rates. So the Waddell Creek coho salmon population went steadily downwards and the same would happen to any stray local propagule year class. Local long term population persistence would be problematic to very unlikely during good, cool California Current conditions.
The combination of periodic, decade-scale linked warm and dry inland climate and warm unproductive California Current conditions, plus the hydrologic tendency to have seasonal floods, would give double to triple stress to any occasional coho stray year class (temporarily) occupying a local stream. Under such stressful conditions, persistence would be nearly impossible. Using 1,168 female eggs per female, a 1% marine survival rate (as seen in warm, unproductive California Current cycles) coupled to a 1% freshwater survival rate would result in a net replacement rate of 0.117 (declining by about 88% per year class cycle). A 0.5% marine survival rate coupled with a 0.5% freshwater survival rate would result in a net replacement rate of 0.029 (declining by about 97% per year class cycle). Natural extinction would occur in these situations fairly quickly as a replacement rate of 1 is necessary for persistence.
The best scientific information supports the conclusion that the climatic and geological conditions south of San Francisco do not favor the existence of a viable indigenous coho population. Natural environmental resistances were so harsh that occasional, small, localized, single year class propagules (strays) of coho salmon were lost. They could not naturally persist for long. Hatchery derived populations (from plants since 1906) have suffered the same fate. These observations compliment the hypothesis that coho salmon were not native (indigenous) south of San Francisco.
SUMMARY CONCLUSION – ALL SANTA CRUZ COUNTY COHO SALMON WERE AND ARE TRANSPLANTED, NON-NATIVE POPULATIONS.
Taken together, the archeological evidence, the harsh extreme local environmental conditions, the early presence/absence literature, the long history of non-native coho salmon hatchery plants, the ongoing hatchery programs, the genetic straying effect, and the consideration of marine survival rates, I conclude that the past and present coho salmon populations in Santa Cruz County were and are not native. This is the same conclusion reached by McCrary in his memorandum. In fact, the coho salmon south of San Francisco should be treated as transplanted coho salmon directly analogous to Great Lakes coho salmon.
The best available scientific information indicates that a wild-spawning coho salmon population would not persist for any extended time period in the region. Efforts to establish a wild-spawning coho population would be wasted. If desired, a hatchery-based coho salmon population could probably be maintained based on the results of past hatchery plants and programs. The MBSTP/CDFG program could be expanded. And during good cool California Current cycles, a reasonable hatchery-based fishery could probably be achieved and managed. During warm and dry climate cycles, any hatchery program would need to be conservatively managed to minimize potential negative interactions with native steelhead in area streams and minimize competition with wild coho stocks for limited food resources in the California Current.
V.W. Kaczynski is a senior fisheries scientist. He has an M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University and received his B.S. from SUNY College at Buffalo.
In 1989, Dr. Kaczynski formed his own firm to evaluate and help solve fisheries and water quality problems. Prior to this, Dr. Kaczynski was firm-wide Director of Environmental Sciences for CH2M-Hill and President of Beak Consultants Inc. He is a recognized expert in the interpretation of water quality, salmon habitat requirements, and the design of scientific studies in problem applications. He has 35 years of experience in the Pacific Northwest beginning with his research on the early life history of coho, pink and chum salmon while an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington.
Dr. Kaczynski is currently the project manager of instream and riparian habitat survey projects for the Oregon Forest Industries Council. Over 4,000 miles of habitats have been quantitatively evaluated in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Hundreds of industry-sponsored watershed and stream enhancement projects have been completed or are underway as part of this program. These projects are done in cooperation with ODFW. He recently helped Simpson Timber Company in starting up a similar project for 400 stream miles in southwest Washington State. He consults with several timber companies on practices to protect and enhance salmon habitats in California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska. Dr. Kaczynski assisted the Washington Forest Protection Association in reviewing the technical veracity of the stream protection rules in the recent (1999) “Forest and Fish” agreement, and similarly assisted OFIC in reviewing the Oregon Department of Forestry’s 1994 stream protection rules. He recently served on the Alaska Department of Natural Resources technical committee that evaluated the Alaska Forest Practices Act and Regulations in terms of adequacy to protect salmon habitat.
He was the project manager and senior author of the Klamath Basin Fisheries Resource Plan for the US Department of Interior (BIA). This was a large project that evaluated causes for salmon declines in the California Trinity and Klamath Rivers, agency coordination, and development of a 20 year action plan which became Federal law with funding. He was the senior author of a similar study and report which evaluated salmon problems in Oregon and the junior author for similar study and report in Washington. Dr. Kaczynski has reviewed and formally commented on all endangered salmon species listing and critical habitat proposals by the NMFS (for the Northwest Forestry Association).
Dr. Kaczynski was a senior consultant to several Yakima River irrigation districts. He conducted a historical review of salmon use in the Yakima Basin and land and water development. Water quality and flow constraints were identified and the abundance and distribution of spring chinook salmon were determined. For the Bureau of Reclamation (under U.S. District Court Order, after expert witness testimony offering an alternative for spilling stored irrigation water to protect chinook salmon spawning redds – nests), he conducted winter flow redd surveys and designed and implemented low angled berms to maintain water flow through the redds previously threatened by reduced river flows for irrigation storage. For the Sunnyside Irrigation District, he recommended fish ladder modification on the Yakima River at their diversion dam which subsequently aided fish passage and solved an agency problem. For the Glen Colusa Irrigation District, he studied Sacramento River flow, secondary channel flows, juvenile salmon downstream migration patterns, and fish screen and fish bypass problems at a very large irrigation diversion structure. He made recommendations for river elevation changes, side channel changes, and screen house and fish bypass exit locations to enhance juvenile salmon survival past the diversion intake. Recently he reviewed and commented on the NMFS steelhead draft jeopardy decision for the Bureau of Reclamations Umatilla Project (for the Westside Irrigation District). The draft jeopardy decision has been withdrawn. He has reviewed and inspected Umatilla River and McKay Creek flows and salmon and steelhead stream habitats relative to flows. He also reviewed and commented on various Bureau reports on the Umatilla system.
Dr. Kaczynski has considerable fish bioengineering experience including the conceptual design and/or final engineering design review of the McCall, Sawtooth, and Cabinet Gorge salmon hatcheries and related capture and release facilities in Idaho; the Tulalip, Rocky Reach Annex, Turtle Rock Island, and Priest Rapid salmon hatcheries in Washington; and the Springfield and Coos Bay salmon hatcheries in Oregon. He was responsible for the conceptual design of the right bank fish ladder and fish counting station modifications and the fish bypass system at the new hydroelectric unit in the right bank fish ladder attraction flow at The Dalles Dam, Columbia River. He evaluated fish screens and river currents at a pulp mill in Longview, Washington and was the senior fisheries scientist on the Electric Power Research Institute project which evaluated downstream juvenile migrant fish protection technologies for hydroelectric projects.
He was the project manager of environmental baseline studies for the Boardman coal-fired and Pebble Springs nuclear power plants along the Columbia River and for intake water siting locations. He supervised the Trojan nuclear power plant baseline preoperational environmental studies and developed the long term monitoring program. He was a senior fisheries scientist for fisheries tasks for siting a hog-fueled power plant in the upper Columbia River and for aluminum plants in western and central Oregon and in South Carolina.
Professional organizations with which Dr. Kaczynski is affiliated include the American Fisheries Society (Certified Fisheries Scientist Emeritus), American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, New York Academy of Sciences, and Sigma Xi.
He is the past president of the Bioengineering Section and Portland Chapter of the American Fisheries Society; past member environmental concerns, membership, and resolution committees. Financial chairman of the AFS Bioengineering symposium (Portland, Oregon 1988). Co-chair of the 10 th International Stream Habitat Improvement Workshop (Corvallis, Oregon 1996). Advisor to the College of Forestry and past advisor to the Department of Fish and Wildlife at Oregon State University. Advisor to the environmental technician program at Mount Hood Community College. Technical advisor to Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Tualatin Basin 303-d water quality assessment. Past president and past trustee of the Portland Community College Foundation. Advisor to several local watershed councils.
He is the author of publications on the early marine life history of pink and chum salmon, marine survival of coho salmon, stream habitat surveys and their use in designing stream enhancements, watershed and stream evaluation and planning, catastrophic wildfires in the Columbia Basin and their impacts on salmon, alternative strategies for mid-Columbia River salmon production, salmon hatchery design, parasite effects on bluefish, population ecology of freshwater shrimp, siting of large industrial plants, effects of secondary treated pulp mill effluent on Wisconsin River fish, utilization of spent geothermal fluids to create waterfowl wetlands, use of wetlands to polish treated industrial wastewater, environmental standards for the Mexican pulp and paper industry, and ethics in fisheries biology.
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