Aquatic Species Assessment Tool (ASAT)

Aquatic Species Assessment Tool (ASAT)

Home | Key Initiatives | Restore Estuaries | Aquatic Species Assessment Tool (ASAT)

Project Goal:

The Aquatic Species Assessment Tool (ASAT) will provide an integrated quantitative framework for assessing the impact of management actions on salmonids and other sensitive listed fish species that depend on the estuary for their lifecycle.

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Project Stages


Conceptual Design



Estimated Completion Date:

Project Funders

Wildlife Conservation Board
Tides Foundation
Keefe Foundation
Resources Legacy Fund

Fish Affected:

Project Description

CalTrout's Restore Estuaries initiative includes an inter-regional collaboration among the North Coast, Bay Area, and San Diego staff called the Aquatic Species Assessment Tool (ASAT).

Working with an experienced technical advisory committee, habitat modelers at CSU Monterey Bay, and food web researchers at UC Berkeley, CalTrout is developing an estuary restoration planning tool for managers. The proposed tool provides a species-focused estuary assessment and design tool to enhance biodiversity and sustain ecosystem resilience to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise in estuaries across California. The ASAT tool will allow managers to to identify and help resolve potential habitat trade-offs of different listed fish species based on their physiological requirements in estuaries.

The guidelines and best management practices will provide a useful framework for managers, regulatory agencies, restoration practitioners, and others to understand the seasonal estuarine habitat needs of each species and to help make informed decisions to manage tradeoffs. CalTrout contracted Dr. John Olson’s group at CSU-Monterey Bay to model aquatic species’ abundance in select estuaries to better understand key variables that drive population dynamics in these ecosystems. Dr. Olson and students Michelle Tarian, Mike Biedebach and Caleb Yakel used Random Forest modeling to analyze existing robust data sets in four representative estuaries: Russian River, Redwood Creek, Carmel River, and Suisun Estuaries to understand drivers and trade-offs in different sizes and classes of estuaries. They also generated a prototype interface for the models that let users predict how different scenarios (e.g., increased summer flows or increased temperatures) likely affect the abundances of each species in their estuary of interest. Getting sufficient population data was critical to successful modeling, and will hopefully highlight the need for additional monitoring data to do these sorts of analysis that are fundamental to resource management.

Project Partners:

University of California, Berkeley
California State University at Monterey Bay
Technical Advisory Committee
ASAT end-users

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