Copper River Intrinsic Potential Modeling
Holistic landscape or ecosystem management requires information on habitat condition across large scales. However, comprehensive environmental surveys are often impractical and expensive to carry out, particularly in places such as Alaska, where many areas are remote. Coarse-scale habitat modeling is therefore a useful method in describing large landscapes, and can provide the information necessary for monitoring and planning.
- One page paper
- Interim Report
- IP Modeling in Hokkaido.
- Application of IP modeling in Oregon North Coast.
Intrinsic potential (IP) modeling was first developed in Oregon to model habitat suitable for coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) along the central coast (Burnett et al., 2007). Similar index curves have been used for the last 30 years in developing relationships between salmon species and habitat characteristics (Raleigh and Miller, 1986). The key characteristic of IP modeling is the recognition that aquatic habitat is strongly influenced by the persistent geomorphic structure of the watershed. Furthermore, IP models assume that salmon species and populations have evolved and adapted to their environment within this template, and have developed relationships with finer-scale expressions of the large geomorphic structure.
Persistent geomorphic landscape characteristics that could be estimated or measured using remotely sensed data or Digital Elevation Models (DEMS) are chosen as model parameters. Use of these persistent features, unlike more transient features such as presence of large woody debris or land cover, allow the modeler to predict habitat suitability across large landscapes, regardless of current or future land use/land cover changes. IP modeling has been used to estimate historic distributions of coho and Chinook (O. tshawystcha) salmon in Oregon and northern California to prioritize areas for salmonid conservation and restoration efforts, and in the Pacific Northwest, Japan and Taiwan to assess potential land management impacts on salmon populations (Sheer at al., 2009).
In order to better understand Chinook distributions and habitat use in this complex system, we utilized existing radio telemetry data, as well as field survey data, to develop a preliminary IP habitat model for Chinook salmon juveniles in two major tributaries of the Copper River. These models will direct survey efforts for the State’s Anadromous Waters Catalog, and will help organizations interested in conservation or restoration identify important existing habitat areas, or habitat that is highly suitable for salmon, but has been impacted by culverts or other development.
- Ecotrust Copper River Program
- NetMap Community Watershed Assessment Tool
- PNAMP Intrinsic Potential Synthesis