Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon

Committee on Review of Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Research and Restoration Plan for Salmon

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Polar Research Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon Committee on Review of Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Research and Restoration Plan for Salmon Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology Polar Research Board Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This project was supported by Contract No. IHP-03-093 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. Cover photo courtesy of Yukon Archives, Claude B. Tidd Collection. Library of Congress Control Number 2005924160 ISBN 0-309-09300-7 (hardback)—ISBN 0-309-54526-9 (pdf) Additional copies of this report are available from: The National Academies Press 500 Fifth Street, NW Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800-624-6242 202-334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon COMMITTEE ON REVIEW OF AYK (WESTERN ALASKA) RESEARCH AND RESTORATION PLAN FOR SALMON Members THOMAS ROYER (Chair), Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA LAMONT E. ALBERTSON, Wilderness Experiences, Aniak, AK ELIZABETH ANDREWS, Seattle, WA RONALD K. DEARBORN, Fairbanks, AK CRAIG FLEENER, Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, Fort Yukon, AK ROBERT HUGGETT, Michigan State University, East Lansing NICHOLAS HUGHES, University of Alaska Fairbanks CYNTHIA M. JONES, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA KATHERINE W. MYERS, University of Washington, Seattle ROSAMOND LEE NAYLOR, Stanford University, CA JENNIFER RUESINK, University of Washington, Seattle JAMES D. SCHUMACHER (TWO CROW), Two Crow Environmental, Inc., San Juan Island, WA ROY A. STEIN, Ohio State University, Columbus Staff DAVID POLICANSKY, Project Director SHELDON DROBOT, Project Officer (until November 2004) CAY BUTLER, Editor MIRSADA KARALIC-LONCAREVIC, Research Associate LEAH L. PROBST, Research Associate BRYAN SHIPLEY, Research Associate JOHN BROWN, Senior Program Assistant JORDAN CRAGO, Program Assistant SAMMY BARDLEY, Librarian Sponsor ALASKA STATE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY Members JONATHAN M. SAMET (Chair), The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD RAMÓN ALVAREZ, Environmental Defense, Austin, TX THOMAS BURKE, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD JUDITH C. CHOW, Desert Research Institute, Reno, NV RORY B. CONOLLY, CIIT Centers for Health Research, Research Triangle Park, NC COSTEL D. DENSON, University of Delaware, Newark E. DONALD ELLIOTT, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, Washington, DC CHRISTOPHER B. FIELD, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Stanford, CA SHERRI W. GOODMAN, Center for Naval Analyses, Alexandria, VA JUDITH A. GRAHAM, American Chemistry Council, Arlington, VA DANIEL S. GREENBAUM, Health Effects Institute, Cambridge, MA ROBERT HUGGETT, Michigan State University, East Lansing BARRY L. JOHNSON, Emory University, Atlanta, GA JAMES H. JOHNSON, Howard University, Washington, DC JUDITH L. MEYER, University of Georgia, Athens PATRICK Y. O’BRIEN, ChevronTexaco Energy Technology Company, Richmond, CA DOROTHY E. PATTON, International Life Sciences Institute, Washington, DC STEWARD T.A. PICKETT, Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, NY JOSEPH V. RODRICKS, ENVIRON Corporation, Arlington, VA ARMISTEAD G. RUSSELL, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta MITCHELL J. SMALL, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA LISA SPEER, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, NY KIMBERLY M. THOMPSON, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA G. DAVID TILMAN, University of Minnesota, St. Paul CHRIS G. WHIPPLE, ENVIRON Corporation, Emeryville, CA LAUREN A. ZEISE, California Environmental Protection Agency, Oakland Senior Staff JAMES J. REISA, Director DAVID J. POLICANSKY, Scholar RAYMOND A. WASSEL, Senior Program Officer for Environmental Sciences and Engineering KULBIR BAKSHI, Senior Program Officer for Toxicology EILEEN N. ABT, Senior Program Officer for Risk Analysis K. JOHN HOLMES, Senior Program Officer SUSAN N.J. MARTEL, Senior Program Officer SUZANNE VAN DRUNICK, Senior Program Officer ELLEN K. MANTUS, Senior Program Officer RUTH E. CROSSGROVE, Senior Editor

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon POLAR RESEARCH BOARD Members ROBIN BELL (Chair), Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY MARY ALBERT, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH JAMES E. BERNER, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Anchorage DAVID BROMWICH, Ohio State University, Columbus CALVIN ROBERT CLAUER, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor JODY W. DEMING, University of Washington, Seattle GEORGE DENTON, University of Maine, Orono ANDREW G. FOUNTAIN, Portland State University, Portland, OR RICHARD GLENN, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Barrow, AK JACKIE GREBMEIER, University of Tennessee, Knoxville SVEN D. HAAKANSON, Altiiq Mueum Kodiak, Kodiak, AK LAWRENCE HAMILTON, University of New Hampshire, Durham LARRY HINZMAN, University of Alaska Fairbanks HENRY P. HUNTINGTON, Huntington Consulting, Eagle River, AK DAVID KARL, University of Hawaii, Honolulu W. BERRY LYONS, Ohio State University, Columbus STEPHANIE PFIRMAN, Barnard College, New York, NY DIANA HARRISON WALL, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO JOHN WALSH, University of Alaska Fairbanks JAMES WHITE, University of Colorado, Boulder WARREN M. ZAPOL, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston Ex-Officio MAHLON KENNICUTT, Texas A&M University, College Station PATRICK WEBBER, Michigan State University, East Lansing TERRY WILSON, Ohio State University, Columbus Staff CHRIS ELFRING, Director PAUL CUTLER, Director SHELDON DROBOT, Project Officer (until November 2004) RACHAEL SHIFLETT, Senior Program Assistant ANDREAS SOHRE, Financial Associate MARIA UHLE, Program Officer

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon OTHER REPORTS OF THE BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY Health Implications of Perchlorate Ingestion (2005) Air Quality Management in the United States (2004) Endangered and Threatened Species of the Platte River (2004) Atlantic Salmon in Maine (2004) Endangered and Threatened Fishes in the Klamath River Basin (2004) Cumulative Environmental Effects of Alaska North Slope Oil and Gas Development (2003) Estimating the Public Health Benefits of Proposed Air Pollution Regulations (2002) Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices (2002) The Airliner Cabin Environment and Health of Passengers and Crew (2002) Arsenic in Drinking Water: 2001 Update (2001) Evaluating Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Programs (2001) Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act (2001) A Risk-Management Strategy for PCB-Contaminated Sediments (2001) Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals (4 volumes, 2000-2004) Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury (2000) Strengthening Science at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2000) Scientific Frontiers in Developmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment (2000) Ecological Indicators for the Nation (2000) Waste Incineration and Public Health (1999) Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment (1999) Research Priorities for Airborne Particulate Matter (4 volumes, 1998-2004) The National Research Council’s Committee on Toxicology: The First 50 Years (1997) Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the Human Diet (1996) Upstream: Salmon and Society in the Pacific Northwest (1996) Science and the Endangered Species Act (1995) Wetlands: Characteristics and Boundaries (1995) Biologic Markers (5 volumes, 1989-1995) Review of EPA's Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (3 volumes, 1994-1995) Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment (1994) Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children (1993) Dolphins and the Tuna Industry (1992) Science and the National Parks (1992) Human Exposure Assessment for Airborne Pollutants (1991) Rethinking the Ozone Problem in Urban and Regional Air Pollution (1991) Decline of the Sea Turtles (1990) Copies of these reports may be ordered from the National Academies Press (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 www.nap.edu

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon Preface The Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) Sustainable Salmon Initiative (SSI) was created through a congressional appropriation in 2002 to develop and expand a research program to understand better the causes for the recent declines in salmon in western Alaska. To ensure that the appropriated funds will be spent wisely, an AYK Research and Restoration Plan needs to be developed. A National Research Council (NRC) committee was established to assist the AYK SSI in developing this plan. We (the NRC AYK committee) were not assigned the task of writing the plan, only to assist with the writing and then provide a review of that plan. The committee included experts within and outside of Alaska, whose areas of expertise ranged from fisheries management to genetics to physical oceanography. The committee began its work with visits to coastal communities along the Bering Sea in the fall of 2003 and winter of 2004. This fact-finding tour enabled committee members to interact with stakeholders and resource managers. From these discussions, it was clear that we were dealing not with an abstract issue but rather with a subject that was embedded in the fabric of the communities. Salmon are vital to the way of life in these communities because subsistence fishing is an important part of their survival and culture. The communities are concerned about the variability in salmon returns, and they want to help find solutions to this problem. While the variability of salmon returns along the coastal Bering Sea is the problem, there seem to be no obvious, quick, and easy corrective actions that can be taken. Opinions differ about whether the variability is

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon caused by changes in stock recruitment, fishing, or ecosystem influences, or possibly a combination of them. The geographical scope of the problem is enormous: salmon habitat ranges from freshwater streams to the deep central North Pacific Ocean. Both long-term (decades and longer) and short-term (storm events) factors appear to influence various portions of the ecosystem. Thus, a holistic approach is likely to be the best way to address this problem rather than trying to identify a single cause in space and time. The challenge is to persevere until our knowledge of salmon variability improves our ability to accurately forecast future salmon returns. This assumes that the ecosystem has some degree of predictable variability. Without improved understanding of this variability and appropriate management actions, there is a risk that salmon stocks in the region could be severely depleted. A positive circumstance is that many other ocean-observing programs have begun or will be initiated in the near future that will inform the AYK salmon program, so needed research can seek support from a variety of relevant programs. We thank all the members of the communities of Bethel, St. Mary’s, Aniak, Nome, Unalakleet, and surrounding villages who met with us and provided testimony. They presented valuable information and ideas. We thank the host communities for their hospitality and willingness to share their food with us. Of course, we greatly appreciated the salmon that they provided. We thank the members of the NRC staff for their assistance. David Policansky, NRC Project Director, guided our efforts and provided valuable insights on Alaska, its salmon, and the NRC processes. John Brown made sure that we all had a place to sleep and food to eat, as well as other logistics that we required. The varied airport transits will be long remembered. Leah Probst organized the meetings and was invaluable in the preparation of this report. I thank the members of the committee for their unselfishness in donating their time to this project. They were willing to travel great distances and to work long hours to produce this document. I look forward to our continued teamwork in reviewing the AYK SSI Research and Restoration Plan. Thomas Royer Chair, Committee on Review of AYK (Western Alaska) Research and Restoration Plan for Salmon

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon Acknowledgments REVIEWERS This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council (NRC) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Milo Adkison, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fisheries Division Patricia Cochran, Alaska Native Science Commission Lewis S. Incze, Bioscience Research Institute, University of Southern Maine Irv Kornfield, University of Maine Molly McCammon, Alaska Ocean Observing System Robert T. Paine, University of Washington Jay Stinson, Kodiak, AK Robert Wolfe, San Marcos, CA Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the re-

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon port before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Ed Houde, University of Maryland, Solomons, MD. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. SITE VISITS The committee visited several sites during its meetings and is grateful to the many people who provided information, shared their facilities, provided hospitality, and provided valuable information there. See Appendix B for summaries of these site visits.

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon Contents     SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   15      Background,   15      Stakeholder Groups and the AYK Sustainable Salmon Initiative,   17      The Present Study,   18      Subsistence,   19      Fishing in the Region,   20      Understanding the Ecosystems of Salmon,   21      Report Organization,   21 2   SALMON LIFE HISTORY AND BACKGROUND   23      Life Histories of Salmon Species in the AYK Region,   23      Recent Variations in Runs and Catches,   34 3   HISTORICAL AND RECENT ARCTIC-YUKON-KUSKOKWIM RESEARCH   38      Influence and Consequences of Changes in the Physical Environment,   38      Population Structure and Life Cycle of AYK Salmon,   54      Ecological Interactions of AYK Salmon,   61      Human Dimensions,   85      Legal and Policy Considerations,   118      Restoration,   120

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon      Incorporating Traditional Knowledge and Community Input into Research,   125 4   FOUNDATIONS FOR A RESTORATION AND RESEARCH PLAN   131      Essential Components for the AYK SSI Science Plan,   131      Development of Research Frameworks,   132      Summary of Research Questions,   145      Restoration,   146      Implementation,   147 5   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   162      Conclusions,   162      Recommendations,   163     REFERENCES   166 APPENDIX A   Chronology of State and Federal Subsistence Management   198 APPENDIX B   Visits and Meetings of the NRC Committee   204

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Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon Developing a Research and Restoration Plan for Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (Western Alaska) Salmon

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