Connecting Headwaters with Mainstem Rivers, Enabling Fish Movement, and Restoring Watershed Function

Connectivity to facilitate fish movements need a wholistic approach to ensure life history requirements for fish are met. Climate change especially can present challenging conditions considering fish may need access to a variety of habitat types to adapt. We invite case studies, and other perspectives with a watershed basis for restoring connectivity and watershed function. Submissions may include solutions or problems, challenges related to data collection and modelling, land management and uses, human wellbeing, endangered species recovery, and restoration techniques to name a few.

Organizer: Sharmila Jepsen, Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior, [email protected]

Co-organizer: Daniel Dauwalter

Supported by: Bureau of Land Management; Trout Unlimited

Connecting Knowledges to Assess and Monitor Aquatic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Change

On a rapidly warming planet, ecosystems are changing and aquatic species are responding by shifting ranges, phenology, and biological processes. These changes impact the people who depend on these resources to support their families, cultures, and lifeways. Considering all knowledges is essential to effectively assess and monitor these changes, and to connect the information to inform appropriate action. Supporting this, the participation and leadership of Indigenous communities in research and monitoring is growing. There is also increased effort in developing meaningful partnerships to address shared priorities and related heightened interest in bridging Indigenous and Western science-based knowledges. Here, we focus information sharing around three themes: 1) lessons learned from building productive collaborations that connect all knowledges; 2) supporting Indigenous leadership in research and monitoring of biodiversity or ecosystem change; and 3) advancing advice regarding the sharing of all knowledge to guide management and conservation decisions and actions.

Organizer: Karen Dunmall, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, [email protected]

Co-organizers: JD Storr, Joseph Langan

Supported by: Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Aklavik Hunters and Trappers Committee, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Connectivity Considerations for the Conservation of Fishes in Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Ecological connectivity is a complex concept that links habitats across space and time and has important implications for the management and conservation of fishes. In the Anthropocene, humans have drastically altered both landscapes and seascapes, resulting in changes in ecological connectivity for both marine and freshwater systems. In many cases, movements of organisms, energy, genes, and nutrients are disrupted or blocked entirely as an unintended consequence of anthropogenic activities. The full implications of reduced connectivity at the population- and ecosystem-level are yet to be understood, hindering effective conservation. This session will include presentations that consider fish connectivity in both marine and freshwater environments: exploring impacts and mitigation strategies, and highlighting the use of connectivity data as a conservation tool. We are particularly interested in case studies that employ a knowledge co-production approach as a means to generate actionable research.


Co-Produced Fisheries Science and Management in the Gulf of Mexico

In the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the knowledge, expertise, and active engagement of fishermen has improved scientific understanding and successful management of the region’s diverse fisheries. This session will highlight the historic and current landscape of collaborative science in the Gulf of Mexico and involve a panel of scientists and anglers. A series of lightning talks and panel will discuss angler-based tagging programs, such as Tag Alabama, which involves more than 200 recreational and for-hire anglers tagging more than 11,000 fish to understand population dynamics and movement, co-produced research that integrates social science with field-based surveys to characterize shore-based fishing outcomes and angler satisfaction, and collaborative hatchery programs that leverage fishing tournaments for broodstock collection, among others. Panelists will also discuss key motivations and barriers to collaborative science, challenges of integrating co-produced data into current fisheries assessments, as well as potential opportunities for greater co-management in fisheries.

Organizer: Steven Scyphers, University of South Alabama, [email protected]

Co-organizer: Sean Powers

Supported by: University of South Alabama Stokes School of Marine & Environmental Sciences 

Co-production of Integrated Ecosystem-based Science for Management Decisions

There is a nationwide push for more holistic, ecosystem approaches to managing natural resources under changing conditions. For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Integrated Ecosystem Assessments (IEA) provide an approach that integrates multiple components of an ecosystem, including human dimensions, directly into the decision-making process of resource managers. IEA teams have included Indigenous and local ecological knowledge in the IEA process through co-production, from scoping to conceptual modeling, to help managers balance trade-offs and make decisions for over a decade.

Climate change, cross-jurisdictional issues (transboundary management; species distribution shifts, etc.), and impacts/tradeoffs of ocean industries like offshore wind and aquaculture, are making resource management increasingly complex. This session invites examples of the development of fisheries and ecosystem science and approaches to fisheries and ecosystem management, like IEAs, that involve the use of co-production or co-development to bring a diversity of perspectives to the table.

Organizer: Corinne Burns, Leading Solutions LLC in support of NOAA Fisheries, [email protected]

Co-organizers: Stephanie A Oakes, Mark Monaco, Kelly Montenero, Jamison Gove, Kirsten Leong, Elliott Hazen, Willem Klajbor, Jameal Samhouri

Supported by: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (IEA) Program and Affiliates

Creative Communications To Raise Awareness and Appreciation for All The Fish

This symposium is inspired by the continued need to raise awareness about and appreciation for all the fish. Since people act on behalf of what they care about, we are hosting this session to congregate and celebrate creative and novel communication and public engagement approaches that are: changing perceptions about and behavior towards underappreciated native fishes and their habitats; fostering opportunities for traditional and non-traditional audiences to make fish an essential part of their daily routines and lives; facilitating public dialogue with a broader cross-section of society about the importance of native fishes to human wellbeing; and elevating diverse voices to inspire these connections to and respect for native fishes. Traditional talks and non-traditional presentation formats (e.g. live demos) are welcome.

Organizer: Katrina Liebich, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, [email protected]

Dam Removal and Ecological Transformation on the Klamath River

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval to remove four dams on the Lower Klamath River in November 2022 marked a historic milestone for U.S. environmental conservation. Scheduled for completion in fall 2024, this project represents the largest dam removal effort in U.S. history, ensuring uninterrupted flow along the river for hundreds of miles. This symposium delves into the past, present, and future dynamics of the Klamath River ecosystem, focusing on dam removal. It covers the history, stakeholder engagement strategies, engineering challenges, current ecosystem status, fish populations, restoration plans, and future projections.

Organizer: Summer Burdick, USGS, [email protected]

Co-organizers: Russell Perry, John Plumb, Mike Belchik, Barry McCovey

Supported by: Yurok Tribe, USGS, USFWS

Data-Driven, Community-Guided: The Future of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management

Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management (EBFM) considers interacting physical, biological, economic, and social processes within an ecosystem and aims to manage an integrated system that optimizes sustainable yields. EBFM is a more holistic management approach than single species management and may be particularly important in the face of climate change. Some progress towards EBFM has been driven by government mandates and stakeholder initiatives.  Successful applications of EBFM are data-driven and result from iterative communication with stakeholders and managers. Movement towards EBFM can necessitate the inclusion of data and stakeholder groups not traditionally included in the management process. This creates challenges and opportunities for cooperative management.  The purpose of this symposium is to highlight work being done in the field of EBFM and to identify common threads in successful co-production of sustainable solutions. We invite talks on any facet of EBFM research or its application in management.

Organizer: Lauran Brewster, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth SMAST, [email protected]

Co-organizers: Maxwell Grezlik, Howard Townsend

Supported by: American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists

Decision Analysis to Include Social and Ecological Values in Fisheries Decisions

Making decisions for fisheries conservation and management requires consideration of multiple, potentially competing objectives, accounting for and potentially reducing uncertainty that might hinder the decision, and using the best available science. Decision analysis (i.e., structured decision making and adaptive management) provides a framework for decision makers to work with stakeholders and rightsholders to collaboratively define a decision problem, identify their values and objectives, determine a potential list of actions to implement, predict the effect of actions on the suite of objectives, and evaluate the tradeoffs and risks associated with implementing particular actions. The purpose of this session is to bring together researchers and managers who are conducting decision analysis for fisheries problems to share their case studies, discuss methodological advances and needs, and describe opportunities for further inclusion of a diversity of values and knowledge systems.

Organizer: Kelly Robinson, USGS, Georgia Coop Unit, UGA, [email protected]

Co-organizer: Shane Flinn

Ecosystem Modeling Approaches to Threatened and Endangered Fish Management

The variety of ecosystem modeling tools available to guide conservation and recovery efforts of at-risk, threatened, and endangered aquatic species is continually expanding. Current modeling approaches include a wide range of complexity, for example: matrix population models; multi-species population dynamics models; state-space models; agent/individual-based models; Bayesian belief networks; ensemble models; and end-to-end ecosystem modeling. From the fisheries perspective, multi-species, systems, and ecosystems models may include fish species as well asinvertebrate prey and terrestrial predators. With expanding computing technology, neural networks, and artificial intelligence, those same models are becoming even more effective as predictive tools that can help guide managers responsible for conservation and recovery efforts. The primary goal of this symposium is to provide an opportunity for practitioners from the various areas of ecosystem modeling to present their approaches to each other, to potential users, future practitioners, and managers looking for potential ways to better support their management decisions.

Organizer: Mark Wildhaber, USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center, [email protected]

Co-organizers: Nicholas Green, Michael Colvin

Supported by: U.S. Geological Survey