The Pacific Salmon Conservation Assessment (PSCA)
Focusing on Salmon Strongholds
The Conservation Science team at the Wild Salmon Center is developing a geographic database, the Pacific Conservation Science Assessment (PSCA) that covers the whole range of wild Pacific Salmon. With data ranging from salmon abundance estimates to land cover type, this database provide a slew of opportunities to conduct range-wide analysis for conservation planning, prioritizing, and assessments. The primary goal in developing the PSCA database is to guide proactive international salmon conservation.
The PSCA database uses Watershed units based on the USGS HYDRO 1k global dataset of topographically derived drainage basins. Using the HYDRO 1k dataset provides a consistent comparison between river systems and watersheds. For each watershed unit, data is available for six species of Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) – Chinook, Chum, Pink, Steelhead, Sockeye, and Coho.
PSCA can be used for a large range of applications – from simple distribution mapping to complex analyses on identifying basins with the highest conservation value. The geographic database has information for each watershed unit that includes biological, habitat, and administrative data.
The Wild Salmon Center has conducted analysis using the database - a range-wide prioritization based on a measure of conservation value that included abundance, life history diversity, land cover/ land-use and dams. The analysis and results are published in Conservation Biology – a copy of the paper can be found here...
The development of the PSCA database started in 2005 with extensive research and data compilation within the Conservation Science Team of the Wild Salmon Center. Expert review workshops were held to identify river systems that had high diversity, abundance, healthy habitat, and low hatchery impacts to compare with the database. Participants were representatives from: Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, LGL Consulting, Nature Conservancy Canada, BC Ministry of Water, Land, and Air Protection, USGS, National Marine Fisheries Service, KamchatNIRO, TINRO-Khabarovsk, TINRO, Interdepartmental Ichthyologic Commission, Russian Academy of Sciences, US Forest Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, University of Washington, University of Montana, Ecotrust, Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission, and Bonneville Power Administration.
For more information, documentation and data download, click here.
The PSCA dataset represents a synthesis of the best available data and salmon abundance models as of 2007. These data should be used at the scale of the range of Pacific Salmon. This database has been formally assessed for its accuracy. Based upon expert opinion and validation with the literature, the PSCA database accurately represents broad, range-wide patterns of salmon abundance and diversity. Much of the data, particularly in the Russian Far East, is based upon modeling. Refer to Pinsky et al (2009) for a complete summary of methods and data quality.
Pinsky, M. L., D. Springmeyer, M. Goslin, and X. Augerot. 2009. Range-wide prioritization of catchments for Pacific salmon conservation. Conservation Biology 23(3): 680-691.
The PSCA database provides a consistent format for comparing salmon watersheds across the range of wild Pacific salmon. The database offers a geo-referenced watershed dataset and twenty tables that all join on a common primary key attribute. The tables include information on abundance, distribution, diversity, run-timings, land cover/land-use, dams, hatcheries, data sources, drainages, administrative categories, and ESU’s. The goal of developing the database was to support a WSC assessment to prioritize salmon watersheds across the North Pacific, but the compilation of information at the scale can support a large variety of applications.
PSCA is derived from HYDRO 1k dataset which is based on a one-kilometer resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM). “HYDRO1k is a geographic database developed to provide comprehensive and consistent global coverage of topographically derived data sets, including streams, drainage basins and ancillary layers derived from the USGS' 30 arc-second digital elevation model of the world (GTOPO30). HYDRO1k provides a suite of geo-referenced data sets, both raster and vector, which will be of value for all users who need to organize, evaluate, or process hydrologic information on a continental scale (USGS).” Modifications were made to the original HYDRO 1k dataset to create the watersheds feature class.
Call for help:
The salmon abundance estimates in the PSCA database are derived from agency assessment data. Agency data is not available for all watersheds and sometimes where it is available, the estimate’s area of inference did not always match the scale of the HYDRO 1k units. This situation requires that we extrapolate, expand, or allocate abundance numbers to fit within our watershed units. Using models to estimate abundance are prone to error; therefore as new information becomes available we will update the database. To obtain information contained in the database, please click here.
We are calling on you to help us keep the PSCA database up-to-date! If you have information relative to a geographic region or salmon species that can contribute to the PSCA database please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.