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 are implemented in two overlapping rounds of research, Round 1 and Round 2.

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 College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences; Bert LewisAlaska Department of Fish & Game Division of Commercial Fisheries

Team Members: 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; 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

Advisors: Rich Brenner, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Commercial Fisheries; Gale Vick, Tanana Chiefs Conference


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 are asking:

  • 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. Black, University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development and Tribal Management; Co-Lead: Dr. Courtney Carothers, University of Alaska Fairbanks College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences

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, UAA (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 College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences; Wilson Justin, Ahtna, Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium, and Chistochina EnterprisesJim 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 is addressing 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 is engaging 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; 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 Sciences; Todd Sformo, North Slope Borough; Richard Brenner, Alaska Department of Fish & Game


This group is building on data syntheses 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 is:

  • Helping to inform decision-makers on potential changes in future salmon production
  • Drawing on the expertise of group members to evaluate the current gaps in monitoring in the Arctic region
  • Making 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, Montana State University

Key Modelers: Brendan Connors, U.S. Department of Education Every Student Succeeds Act; Lewis Coggins, U.S. Fish & Wildlife; Matthew Catalano, Auburn University, School of Fisheries

Team Members: 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; Kevin Whitworth, Up-River stakeholder


This working group is 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 are synthesizing 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 Walker, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; Mark Rains, University of South Florida; Ryan King, Baylor University; Charles Simenstad, University of Washington; Dennis Whigham, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Team Members/Advisors: Syverine Abrahamson, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; 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, Cook Inlet Keeper; Katie McCafferty, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Michael Opheim, Seldovia Village Tribe; Mandy Bernard, Mountains to Sea; Alice Rademacher, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; Jacob Argueta, Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve


The working group is engaging multiple stakeholders in the Kenai Lowlands who are landowners, resource managers, land use planners, and regulators to share and communicate the connectedness of salmon habitats throughout the four major watersheds of the Kenai Lowlands.  The groups focus in on developing spatial data tools and outreach products that provide the background for people to make decisions that support maintaining the connectedness of the Kenai Lowland watersheds to benefit salmon resources. Products of the working group will include:

  • A Spatial Data Tool that will allow users to visualize how potential development activities and conservation measures can incorporate sustaining landscape connection supporting salmon habitat.
  • A StoryMap that depicts the research underlying our understanding of how the Kenai Lowlands watersheds function to support robust salmon populations and how people can make decisions to support maintaining those ecosystem services. Link:
  • Videos showcasing the importance of salmon to the people of the Kenai Lowlands, and how we can maintain landscape connectedness to keep salmon populations healthy.