On 14 December 2012 Sierra Echo Franks successfully defended her Master of Natural Resources capstone project, Forecasting the Most Likely Status of Wild Salmon in the Central Valley of California in 2100.
I was a member of her committee.
The figure is from her report.
She polled 26 experts (out of 33 contacted) and asked them these seven questions:
1) Given current policies and trajectories, what is the most likely status of wild salmon in the Central Valley in 2100?
2) What would it take (be specific) to restore and sustain significant, sustainable (a third of historical) runs of wild salmon in the Central Valley through 2100?
3) What, exactly, does society need to do to change the downward trajectory and restore runs to significant, sustainable levels?
4) Is it possible to restore wild salmon in the CV while supplemental stocking from hatcheries continues?
5) Is it possible (realistically) to restore wild salmon in the CV while still harvesting adults?
6) How likely, in your opinion, is society to reverse these major policy drivers relative to wild salmon? This is not what anyone hopes will happen, but is your best guess.
7) Are current and likely planned recovery efforts likely to make much difference in the grand scheme of things?
The key results from the responses:
- Any action that will have a significantly positive effect on the recovery of wild salmon will be costly and politically controversial.
- Dramatic changes in hatchery practices would be needed to restore and sustain wild salmon in the Central Valley; about half the respondents concluded that supplemental stocking would need to be terminated.
- Respondents were skeptical about whether commercial harvest could continue without hindering recovery of wild salmon.
- Respondents believed that society is unlikely to make the necessary policy shifts to restore wild salmon in the Central Valley.
- Interviewees were of the opinion that current and likely planned recovery efforts would not positively influence the overall, long-term trajectory of wild salmon in the Central Valley.
- By 2100 experts collectively concluded that wild salmon in the Central Valley of California would be few if any if the current trend continues.
Here is her entire project:
Not very optimistic, but you can judge for yourself.
“No extinction comes in one fell swoop; instead, it occurs when the web of supporting relationships unravels.” - Salmonid Restoration Federation Plenary Talks, 2012 (from Franks' paper)