Cost Effective Recovery Strategies for Snake River Chinook Salmon


Formulation of recovery plans for endangered salmon populations in the Columbia River Basin of North America is a complex, controversial resource-management issue. This report presents an integrated assessment model to analyze the biological-economic tradeoffs in recovery of Snake River spring/summer-run chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).The authors find that the removal of an estuarine predator, the Caspian tern (Sterna caspia), and elimination of adult salmon harvest are recovery measures that markedly increase long-term population-growth rates regardless of transport effectiveness. Dam breaching significantly increases growth rates under the best available estimate of transport effectiveness. The authors also conclude that recovery strategies in the cost-effective set depend on assumptions about transport effectiveness. Tern removal and harvest elimination are generally cost effective. At the best estimate of transport effectiveness, strategies that discontinue smolt transportation or breach dams are prevalent in the cost-effective set. In contrast, strategies that maximize transportation are prevalent in the cost-effective set if transport effectiveness is relatively high. This paper links biology and economics through an integrated model thus providing a valuable tool for science-based policy and management.The paper can be downloaded from Michael R. Moore's website at


David L. Halsing and Michael R. Moore