SASAP Round 2

SASAP Working Groups compile and analyze available data and information to provide new insights into Alaska’s salmon systems and their relationships with salmon people through a collaborative, science-based and adaptive assessment process. Projects undertaken will be implemented in two overlapping rounds of research.

Round 2 – Five synthesis working groups are focusing on research questions that provide insight into the pressures on salmon and salmon communities as well as options for response to those pressures.

We have attempted to strike a balance between breadth and depth of the analysis by focusing our work at the scale of 11 major regions: Southeast Alaska, Prince William Sound (including Copper River), Cook Inlet, Bristol Bay, Kodiak, Chignik, Alaska Peninsula/Aleutian Islands, Kuskokwim, Yukon, Norton Sound & Kotzebue, and Arctic coastal areas.

Group 1: Consistency, Causes, and Consequences of Declining Size and Age of Alaskan Salmon

Principal Investigators: Eric P. PalkovacsUniversity of California Santa Cruz Department of Ecology and Evolution Biology; Peter Westley, University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; Bert LewisAlaska Department of Fish and Game Division of Commercial Fisheries; Marissa L. BaskettUniversity of California Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy; Stephanie M. Carlson, University of California Berkeley Environmental Science, Policy, and Management; Andrew P. HendryMcGill University Redpath Museum and Department of Biology

Team Members: Gale Vick, Tanana Chiefs Conference; Holly Kindsvter, Rutgers University; John Reynolds, Simon Fraser University; Katie Kobayashi, University of California Santa Cruz Department of Ecology and Evolution Biology; Krista Oke, McGill University; Madeline Jovanovich, University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences; Neala Kendall, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Steve Munch, NOAA Fisheries; Michael Springborn, University of California Davis; Curry Cunningham, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center


The aims of this working group are to examine the consistency, causes, and consequences of declining sizes and age in five species of Pacific salmon. Specifically, we will ask:

  • Consistency: How consistent are changes in size and age across species, regions, and populations?
  • Causes: How are changes in size and age related to variation in potential drivers, including fisheries, climate change, and density dependence at sea?
  • Consequences: What are the consequences of age and size declines for the ecological, economic, and cultural value of salmon?

Group 2: Well-Being and Alaska Salmon Systems

Lead: Dr. Rachel DonkerslootAlaska Marine Conservation Council Working Waterfronts Program Director; Co-Lead: Jessica C. BlackUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development and Tribal Management; Co-Lead: Dr. Courtney CarothersSchool of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences Associate Professor

Team Members/Advisors: Caroline BrownAlaska Department of Fish and Game; Patricia Clay NOAA Fisheries; Ann Fienup-RiordonCalista Elders Council; Sara Jo Breslow, Center for Creative Conservation; Carlos Garcia-QuijanoUniversity of Rhode Island; Steve LangdonDepartment of Anthropology emeritus; Jordan P. Lewis, WWAMI School of Medical Information; Liza Mack, University of Alaska Fairbanks PhD Candidate; Melissa PoeNOAA Affiliate/Washington Sea Grant; Julie Raymond-YakoubianKawerak Incorporated; Katherine Reedy, Idaho State University; Andrea Akalleq SandersAlaska Native Policy Center; Rob Sanderson Jr.Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska; Danielle Ringer, University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences; Wilson Justin, Ahtna, Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium, and Chistochina Enterprises; Katherine Reedy, Idaho State University; Jim Fall, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Jonathan Samuelson, Georgetown Tribal Member and Member of Kuskokwim River Inter-tribal Fish Commission; Freddie Christiansen, Alutiiq and Old Harbor Native Corporation


This state of the knowledge synthesis project is driven by the overarching goal of identifying and applying well-being concepts to improve the social sustainability management of Alaska salmon systems. The study will address the following questions:

  • How do salmon-dependent individuals and communities define well-being, and how do salmon-human connections contribute to various forms of well-being?
  • What dimensions of human-well being are currently understudied in the context of Alaska salmon systems?
  • How have human well-being concepts been incorporated into fishery management decision-making processes?
  • What information gaps currently exist?

Guided by the above questions, this working group will engage in a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue with the aim of understanding interdependencies between sociocultural and ecological systems, salmon-human connections and contributions to well-being in Alaska, and relationships between management and well-being.

Group 3: Interacting Effects of Ocean Climate and At-Sea Competition on Alaskan Salmon

Principal Investigators: Peter S. Rand, Ph.D, Prince William Sound Science Center; Robert W. Campbell, Ph.D, Prince William Sound Science Center; Kristen B. Gorman, Ph.D, Prince William Sound Science Center

Team Members/Advisors: Andrew Gray, NOAA Fisheries Auke Bay Laboratories; Brendan Connors, U.S. Department of Education Every Student Succeeds Act; Christian Zimmerman, USGS Alaska Science Center; Ed Farley, NOAA Fisheries Auke Bay Laboratories; Greg Ruggerone, Natural Resources Consultants Inc.; Jim Irvine, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Karen Dunmall,Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Freshwater Institute; Mike Malick, Simon Fraser University; Milo Adikson, University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean; Todd Sformo, North Slope Borough; Trent Sutton, University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean


This group will build on data synthesis from recent oceanographic studies and long-term, salmon population monitoring. By accounting for the interplay between climate and at-sea competitive processes across broad, ocean domains, the working group will:

  • Help inform decision-makers on potential changes in future salmon production
  • Draw on the expertise of group members to evaluate the current gaps in monitoring in the Arctic region
  • Make recommendations on how scientists can improve the understanding of salmon range extension and colonization in the Arctic

Group 4: Using Participatory Modeling to Empower Community Engagement in Salmon Science

Principal Investigator: Michael L. JonesDepartment of Fisheries and Wildlife Quantitative Fisheries Center

Team Members/Advisors: Brendan Connors,U.S. Department of Education Every Student Succeeds Act; Lewis Coggins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife; Matthew Catalano, Auburn University, School of Fisheries; Joe Spaeder, AYK Sustainable Salmon Initiative; Steve Fleischman, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Daniel Schindler, University of Washington; Milo Adkison,University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries and Ocean; Bill Bechtol, Bechtol Research; Zach Liller, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Stephanie Q-D, Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission; Lamont Albertson, Kuskokwim River Salmon Management WG; Greg Roscicza, Orutsaramiut Native Council; Nick Kameroff; Carrie Holt, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Pacific Bio Station; Ben Staton, Auburn University School of Fisheries; Sam Truesdell, Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Quantitative Fisheries Center; Janessa Esquible, Orutsaramiut Native Council


This working group will be comprised of modelers, salmon population dynamics experts, and regional stakeholders from the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim (AYK) region of Alaska, home to the largest subsistence salmon fisheries in the world. Together, they will synthesize ideas for community-based monitoring of salmon populations and the fisheries that depend upon them. The group aims to:

  • Synthesize current knowledge and understanding of salmon science in the region
  • Identify strategies wherein local stakeholder groups could create community-based monitoring programs
  • Create community-monitoring programs that are optimally informative for salmon management and risk assessment

The modelers and their models will define critical information needs, while the stakeholders will bring practical, local knowledge of monitoring and data collection options. The definition of critical information needs that can be met by community-based monitoring strategies has relevance to all areas of Alaska where assessment costs constrain information gathering by management agencies.

Group 5: Kenai Lowlands Salmon Research Synthesis and Design Tools for Integrated Watershed Management

Principal Investigators: Coowe WalkerKachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; Mark RainsUniversity of South Florida; Ryan KingBaylor University; Charles SimenstadUniversity of Washington; Dennis Whigham, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Team Members/Advisors: Syverine Abrahamson, University of Alaska Anchorage Alaska Center for Conservation Science; Chris Guo, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; Steve Baird, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; Ginny Litchfield, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Brian Blossom, Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Karyn Noyes, Kenai Peninsula Borough; Willy Dunne, Kenai Peninsula Borough; Sue Mauger, Crook Inlet Keeper; Leslie Jones, University of Alaska Anchorage Alaska Center for Conservation Science; Darrel Williams, Ninilchik Tribal Council Resource and Environmental Department Lead; Robert Ruffner, Kenai Peninsula Fish Habitat Partnership; Katie McCafferty, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Michael Opheim, Seldovia Village Tribe; Mandy Bernard, Umbrella Drink Consulting


The working group will engage multiple stakeholders in the Kenai Lowlands to identify how natural salmon capital is valued, and to what degree people are willing to make trade-offs in development activities to benefit salmon resources. Products of the working group will include:

  • A synthesis identifying key landscape support elements, potential development activities that could adversely affect salmon-bearing streams, and key data gaps
  • A GIS project derived from the synthesis, classifying key ecosystem support systems services for salmon-bearing streams at scales from individual stream segments to watersheds of the Kenai Lowlands
  • A land-use decision and planning tool/guide that integrates stakeholder perspectives for local investment in watershed management in support of sustainable salmon populations
  • A published document on the holistic approach for integrating multi-disciplinary place-based research and stakeholder perspectives for salmon and watershed management