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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Russ Thurow - Research Fisheries Scientist

Russ F. Thurow

Research Fisheries Scientist
322 East Front St
Suite 401
Boise
Idaho
United States
83702

Phone: 208-373-4377
Fax: 208-373-4391
Contact Russ F. Thurow


Current Research

  • Spatial and temporal variation in Chinook salmon populations.
  • Bias and precision of aerial and ground-based Chinook salmon redd counts.
  • Demographic and genetic structuring of Chinook salmon populations.
  • Exploring the application of otolith microchemistry to describe life history variation, measure dispersal, and assess climate effects on Chinook salmon.
  • Response of Chinook salmon to post-fire debris flows and gravel deposition.
  • Geomorphic controls on salmonid habitat at watershed scales.
  • Fluvial bull trout movements, spawning, and habitat use.
  • Fine-scale characteristics of fluvial bull trout spawning sites and redds.
  • Development of protocols for sampling stream dwelling salmonids.
  • Effects of environmental and habitat characteristics on sightability of juvenile bull trout.
  • Assessing climate effects on bull trout phenology.
  • Assessing climate effects on the timing and distribution of Chinook salmon spawning.

Briefing Papers and other Resources: 

Spatial Dynamics of Chinook Salmon Redds - Science Briefing

Idaho Public Television: Salmon Recovery 2011

Research Interests

Research Program: The status of aquatic and terrestrial resources in the diverse, large, and dynamic landscapes of the interior west offer unique challenges. Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in this region share a management history that has extensively altered both. For example, 45 of 88 native fish taxa within the Interior Columbia River basin are considered sensitive or of special concern, 14 are federally listed under the Endangered Species Act, and more are proposed for listing. A growing human population and economy are expanding demands on limited resources and increasing challenges for biologists and land managers. Simplification of habitat, initiatives for the restoration of forest health, concerns about wildfire, and a changing climate have precipitated debate about conservation and restoration approaches. By advancing understanding of ecological processes and functions, my research will play a central role in helping strategically guide the complex and challenging management of sensitive native species and in realizing opportunities to conserve and restore functional aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Within this context, I conduct a broad range of studies over multiple spatial and temporal scales to improve our understanding of aquatic species and the ecosystems they depend upon. Research topics include:

A.) Patterns of species and life stages

  • There is a need to Integrate Disciplines and Broaden the Scales at which we investigate the physical and biological processes influencing aquatic habitat and the distribution, diversity, and persistence of fish.
  • New knowledge is required to describe Temporal and Spatial Habitat Requirements for poorly understood life stages of native fishes.
  • As Landscape Analyses assume a more central role in ecosystem management, it is critical to understand the Influence of Landscape Features and Processes on the Distribution of Critical Fish Habitats.
  • Improved analytical frameworks and guidelines are essential for interpretations of Species Status and Occurrence at large scales.

B.) Structure of populations

  • Patterns in the distribution and spatial structure of populations may be important to their persistence in stochastic environments. There is a need to understand how Habitat Geometry and Spatial Structuring influence fish population dynamics and persistence.
  • Metapopulation Theory suggests that dispersal and recolonization will influence the dynamics and persistence of populations. Empirical evidence is limited, however, and additional understanding of salmonid dispersal and recolonization mechanisms is needed.

C.) Sampling protocols

  • Biologists and managers need reliable methods to assess the Status of fish populations, to monitor Population Responses to Management Activities, and to measure Fish Responses to Temporal and Spatial Changes in habitat.

D.) Climate affects

  • There is a critical need to understand the Effects of a Warming Climate on the phenology, distribution, abundance, and persistence of native western fishes.

Past Research

  • The biology, habitat utilization, and critical habitat requirements of sensitive native fishes.
  • Landscape level models of species distribution and status.
  • Effects of fine sediments on salmonid spawning and incubation.
  • Methods for assessing the effects of watershed disturbance on species occurrence.
  • Methods for monitoring characteristics of spawning substrates.
  • The influence of landscape features on critical habitats.
  • The relevance of spatial structure to the persistence of aquatic species.
  • Demographic and genetic structuring of populations.
  • The importance of metapopulation processes to population persistence.
  • Bias and precision of sampling methods and development of improved sampling protocols.
  • Effects of angling regulations on native trout populations.

As one of three scientists with the Aquatic Science Team and the Science Integration Team for the Interior Columbia River Basin Ecosystem Management Project, we helped developed an assessment of the distribution, status, and ecology of native fishes in the Interior Columbia River basin and portions of the Klamath River and Great basins, an area encompassing 58.3 million ha and portions of six western states. The aquatic resource report for the ICBEMP represents a contribution to fisheries science and management of regional and national significance. The aquatic assessment of native fishes represents the most comprehensive and spatially explicit evaluation ever attempted in the Intermountain and Pacific Northwest.

 

Why This Research is Important

The status of aquatic and terrestrial resources in the large and dynamic landscapes of the interior west offer unique challenges. Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in this region share a management history that has extensively altered both. For example, 45 of 88 native fish taxa within the Interior Columbia River basin are considered sensitive or of special concern, 14 are federally listed under the Endangered Species Act, and more are proposed for listing. A growing human population and economy are expanding demands on limited resources and increasing challenges for biologists and land managers. Simplification of habitat, initiatives for the restoration of forest health, concerns about wildfire, and a changing climate have precipitated debate about conservation and restoration approaches. By advancing understanding of ecological processes and functions, my research will play a central role in helping guide the complex and challenging management of sensitive native species and in realizing opportunities to conserve and restore functional aquatic and terrestrial systems.

Education

  • University of Idaho, Fisheries Resources. "The Effects of Closure to Angling on Westslope Cutthroat Trout Populations in Tributaries to the St Joe River, Idaho". , 1976
  • University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Fisheries , 1973

Professional Experience

  • Research Fisheries Scientist, USDA-Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Boise, ID
    1990 - Current
  • Senior Fisheries Research Biologist, Idaho Department of Fish and Game; Soda Springs, Salmon, McCall, Hailey, Boise
    1977 - 1990
  • Fisheries Research Technician, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Kokanee salmon spawning assessment, Coeur DÂ’Alene
    1976 - 1977
  • Fisheries Research Assistant, Idaho Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit, Westslope cutthroat trout studies, Moscow
    1975 - 1975
  • Graduate Fisheries Research Assistant, College of Forestry, Wildlife, and Range Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow
    1973 - 1975

Professional Organizations

  • Idaho Chapter American Fisheries Society, Member (1973 - Current)
    * IDAFS Secretary-Treasurer (1980) * IDAFS Vice President (1981) * IDAFS President (1982)
  • American Fisheries Society, Member (1972 - Current)
    * Western Division AFS Arrangements Chair for EXCOM Meeting (1990) * Associate Editor, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (1997-1999)
  • Idaho Herpetological Society, Member (1992 - 2003)

Awards & Recognition

  • R.L. Wallace Native Fish Conservation Award, 2012
    Idaho Chapter AFS
  • National Rise to the Future Group Research Achievement Award, 2003
    USDA-Forest Service
  • Certificate of Merit, 2000
    USDA-Forest Service. For contributions to the Science Advisory Group, Interior Columbia River Basin Ecosystem Management Project.
  • Certificate of Merit, 1997
    USDA-Forest Service. For contributions to the Scientific Assessment of the Interior Columbia River Basin Ecosystem Management Project.
  • National Rise to the Future Research Award, 1995
    USDA-Forest Service. For development and implementation of a leading fisheries research program.
  • Certificate of Merit, 1993
    USDA-Forest Service Region 4. Group Award for providing crucial technical and logistical support for the development and implementation of fish habitat inventory methodology and desired future condition values for anadromous streams
  • National Rise to the Future Award, 1992
    USDA-Forest Service. Group Award for excellence in assisting the Rise to the Future Program.
  • Professional/Technical Employee of the Year, 1988
    Idaho Department of Fish and Game
  • Silver Anniversary Certificate, 1988
    Idaho Chapter AFS. For continued contributions to the Professional Society.
  • Award of Special Recognition, 1986
    Idaho Chapter AFS. For service to fisheries resources in the Salmon River basin.

Featured Publications & Products

Publications


Last updated on : 06/25/2015