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Welcome to the Salmon Monitoring Work Group

The Puget Sound Coordinated Ecosystem Monitoring program Launch Committee identified a Salmonid Work group as one of ten work groups that should be implemented as soon as possible.  The current Salmonid Work Group began in January 2011 and was funded by the USEPA and staffed and led by the National Marine Fisheries Service as a means to begin addressing the dashboard indicator for Chinook salmon and Partnership responsibilities for ESA listed species. 
Sub-Work Group on Population Monitoring Assessments
The Salmonid VSP Monitoring Sub-Work Group consists of a variety of individuals from various tribes and entities in Puget Sound and participants change depending upon what sub-region of the sound is being evaluated. The current effort, in cooperation with the Partnership, is designed to develop an assessment of ongoing salmon and steelhead population monitoring accuracy and precision, and how to improve data sharing and reporting for dashboard indicators for Chinook salmon, summer chum salmon, and steelhead trout.  The intent is to identify crucial monitoring gaps for VSP and hatchery effectiveness monitoring, prioritize those gaps, and to develop proposals for funding additional monitoring to fill those gaps. 
The assessment is being performed in five sub-regions of Puget Sound: Hood canal, Strait of Juan de Fuca, Georgia Strait, North Sound, and Central-South Sound.   The main participants include individuals from Skokomish Tribe, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Pt. No Point Treaty Council, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe; Lummi Nation; Nooksack Tribe, Swinomish Tribe, Upper Skagit Tribe, Sauk-Suiattle Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe, Tulalip Tribes, Muckleshoot Tribe; Suquamish Tribe; Puyallup Tribe of Indians; Nisqually Indian Tribe,  Squaxin Island tribe, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission; Long Live The Kings; Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group; Seattle City Light; National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Northwest Regional Office; Puget Sound Partnership, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Skagit Cooperative; National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Snohomish County, members of the Steelhead Technical Recovery Team (TRT); and the Puget Sound Recovery Implementation Team (RIT) for Chinook.
In this section you will find the results from the VSP assessment work conducted during 2011.  Results are summarized in three primary tables, organized by the five Puget Sound sub-regions, and by species.  The three tables are:
1) The VSP Assessment tables
2) VSP Summary Tables
3) Basinwide Prioritization Tables
These tables have been compiled for all five Puget Sound sub-regions.  The table structures and meta-data definitions are described below.  To access the tables for any of the sub-regions, watersheds, or species of interest to you, click on the links below:
HOOD CANAL (skokomish, etc.)
Chinook, Steelhead, Summer Chum:
GEORGIA STRAIT (nooksack, samish)
Chinook, Steelhead:
NORTH SOUND (skagit, stilliquamish, snohomish):
Chinook, Steelhead:

1) Viable Salmonid Populations (VSP) Monitoring Assessment Tables

The term VSP is derived from the guidance document produced by the National Marine Fisheries Service, (McElhany et al.2000[1]) and refers to four specific areas of life history information that must be known in order to determine the status of salmonids listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.   These are adult abundance, productivity, spatial distribution, and diversity.  The assessment tables are organized by species, then by Major Population Groups, and then by identified TRT populations.  Under each of the four VSP criteria there are a number of life history elements that address that component.  The Puget Sound Recovery Implementation Team (RIT) recently completed an analysis in terms of the Key Ecological Attributes (KEA) that describe the life history of a Chinook salmon and relate to the VSP criteria.  As a result you will see in the tables a series of questions designed to determine the status of knowledge concerning each of those KEAs.  NOAA’s “Guidance For Monitoring Recovery of Salmon and Steelhead” (Crawford, 2011) , and the Washington Forum on Monitoring adopted protocols are used as a standard with which to compare ongoing actions.

Metadata Description


Column Label

Description of the Content


MPG Population

Description of the TRT population within the identified MPG.  Describes return time and whether an indicator stock in the Pacific Salmon Treaty


Primary Indicator

Primary indicators are Adult Abundance, Adult Productivity, Juvenile Productivity, Spatial Distribution, and Species Diversity


KEA Monitoring Questions

Includes a variety of questions that address each of the key ecological attributes. It is not uncommon for some of these attributes to not be measured.  Some can be derived from other measurements.


Description of Current Monitoring and Data Quality

Detailed description of the current field monitoring practices including frequency, extrapolation values and formulas used to calculate abundance, productivity, etc.  Description of any hatchery programs that might affect VSP determinations.


Data Improvement Actions Needed

A description of measures that could be taken to improve current precision, accuracy, and otherwise improve the value of the information or needed study to determine effectiveness of hatchery management actions that affect VSP


Proposed New Monitoring

Any proposals that would like to be pursued to enhance the knowledge about the VSP status of the population, MPG


2) MPG Monitoring Evaluation Summary Sheets

In order to more easily evaluate the critical gaps in monitoring for each TRT population within an MPG, a Monitoring Evaluation Summary Sheet has been developed that shows a color coded score for each of the KEA attributes for the TRT population and a total score.  This is followed by a description of the key gap or gaps, current fund sources for ongoing monitoring and any proposals for increased monitoring together with its relative priority to other gaps in the MPG.

Metadata Description


Column Label

Description of the Content


MPG Population

Description of the TRT population within the identified MPG. 


KEA Question Score

Each KEA has a possible score dependent upon how well monitoring is being accomplished.  Refer to the Scoring Table for specific information.  Each score is color coded green, yellow, or blue based on quality of monitoring.


Total KEA Monitoring Score

A total of 120 points is possible if all monitoring components are done in a manner consistent with NOAA monitoring guidance. The total score is also color coded based on relative performance green, yellow, or blue.


Highest Priority Data Improvement Actions Needed

Description of the monitoring gap or need and why it is important or how it will Improve monitoring. 


Key Funding Sources

A description of the funding sources being utilized to maintain current monitoring levels and which monitoring resources are at risk.


Proposed Projects

Specific proposals that should be funded with an estimate of ongoing and one-time costs

KEA Monitoring Scoring table


3) Basinwide Prioritization Tables

These tables were developed to help answer where the various monitoring activities are occurring in the MPG and which populations are most likely to be used for monitoring hatchery effectiveness, habitat effectiveness and fish in and fish out.  Following is the metadata table for the Basinwide Prioritization tables.        

Metadata Description


Column Label

Description of the Content



Description of the TRT ESU and species addressed.



Description of the MPG within the ESU being described,



Description of the TRT population addressed in the MPG.


Fish-In and Fish-Out?


Does the population have monitoring of both adult spawners and outmigrant juveniles?


Existing Key TRT data set for analyses (e.g., matrix modeling)

Important data sets used in life-cycle modeling, or data sets that are candidates for use in life-cycle monitoring.


Opportunity contributing to habitat effectiveness monitoring

Monitoring is in place and a large scale habitat improvement plan and represents an opportunity to provide IMW-quality effectiveness monitoring.   This does not preclude other populations being identified for restoration actions and effectiveness monitoring in the future.


Opportunity as reference stream for habitat

Opportunity for these populations to remain untreated for control/comparative purposes.



Recovery Plan Scenario


Based on TRT rule set, describes the target status to meet recovery scenarios.  Presumes higher intensity of monitoring would be required for "must have" populations.


VSP Data Gap

HIGH DEF. = lacks population-level VSP monitoring

MOD. DEF = lacks population-level VSP monitoring but has possibility of  index-derived estimates

LOW DEF = has population-level VSP monitoring


What are the deficiencies in the current methods and data to assess viability.  Where are biggest opportunities to improve the quality of population-scale monitoring information.  Prioritized abundance and productivity information, although noted spatial structure/diversity opportunities where they existed based on site-specific considerations  


Hatchery Program (Supplementation?)

Reflect opportunities to assess the effectiveness of supplementation (recommended for treatment and/or reference populations, or candidate for relative reproductive success study)


HSRG recommended hatchery monitoring?

Explicit HSRG, or needed to fulfill monitoring for specified actions


Opportunities for hatchery effectiveness monitoring

Additional opportunities (monitoring for safety-net programs, monitoring of augmentation programs, density-dependent effect, etc.)              Explicit HSRG, or needed to fulfill monitoring for specified actions


[1] McElhany, P., M.H. Ruckelshaus, M.J. Ford, T.C. Wainright and E.P. Bkorkstedt. 2000. Viable salmonid populations and the recovery of evolutionarily significant units [Report]/NW Fisheries Science Center. Seattle, WA. NOAA Fisheries Service.  NOAA Tech Memo NMFS-NWFSC-42.