Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 87–100 | Cite as

Ecological risk assessment of multiple hatchery programs in the upper Columbia watershed using Delphi and modeling approaches

  • Todd N. Pearsons
  • Andrew R. Murdoch
  • Greg Mackey
  • Keely G. Murdoch
  • Tracy W. Hillman
  • Matthew R. Cooper
  • Joseph L. MIller


Ecological risks of Pacific salmon (spring, summer, and fall run Chinook, coho, and sockeye salmon) and steelhead trout hatchery programs operated between 2013 and 2023 in the Upper Columbia Watershed will be assessed using Delphi and modeling approaches. Committees composed of resource managers and public utility districts identified non-target taxa of concern (i.e., taxa that are not the target of supplementation), and acceptable hatchery impacts (i.e., change in population status) to those taxa. Biologists assembled information about hatchery programs, non-target taxa, and ecological interactions and this information will be provided to expert panelists in the Delphi process to facilitate assessment of risks and also used to populate the Predation, Competition, and Disease (PCD) Risk 1 model. Delphi panelists will independently estimate the proportion of a non-target taxa population that will be affected by each individual hatchery program. Estimates from each of the two approaches will be independently averaged, a measure of dispersion calculated (e.g., standard deviation), and subsequently compared to the acceptable hatchery impact levels that were determined previously by committees of resource managers and public utility districts. Measures of dispersion will be used to estimate the scientific uncertainty associated with risk estimates. Delphi and model results will be compared to evaluate the qualities of the two approaches. Furthermore, estimates of impacts from each hatchery program will be combined together to generate an estimate of cumulative impact to each non-target taxon.


Ecological risk Columbia River Hatchery Salmon Steelhead Competition Predation Disease Risk assessment Adaptive management 



We thank the members of the Wells Hatchery Committee, Rocky Reach Hatchery Committee, and Priest Rapids Coordinating Committees Hatchery Sub-Committee for their work on selection of NTTOC, containment objectives, and regional experts. We also thank the many local experts who helped with providing data and opinions about interactions. These experts included: John Arterburn, Charles Snow, John Crandall, Kirk Truscott, and David Hopkins. Ali Wick and Carmen Andonaegui were instrumental in helping facilitate discussions as well as recording and compiling information. Chad Herring created Fig. 1. Public Utility District Number 1 of Chelan County, Public Utility District Number 1 of Douglas County, and Public Utility District Number 2 of Grant County helped fund this effort.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd N. Pearsons
    • 1
  • Andrew R. Murdoch
    • 2
  • Greg Mackey
    • 3
  • Keely G. Murdoch
    • 4
  • Tracy W. Hillman
    • 5
  • Matthew R. Cooper
    • 6
  • Joseph L. MIller
    • 7
  1. 1.Public Utility District Number 2 of Grant CountyEphrataUSA
  2. 2.Washington Department of Fish and WildlifeOlympiaUSA
  3. 3.Public Utility District Number 1 of Douglas CountyEast WenatcheeUSA
  4. 4.Yakama NationToppenishUSA
  5. 5.BioAnalysts IncBoiseUSA
  6. 6.United States Fish and Wildlife Service MCRFROLeavenworthUSA
  7. 7.Public Utility District Number 1 of Chelan CountyWenatcheeUSA

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