Life-History Model for Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) at Lake Ozette, Northwestern Washington—Users’ Guide

Open-File Report 2019-1031
Prepared in cooperation with the National Park Service
By: , and 



Salmon populations spawning in the Lake Ozette watershed of northwestern Washington were once sufficiently abundant to support traditional Tribal fisheries, and were later harvested by settlers. However, in 1974 and 1975, the sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) harvest decreased to 0 from a high of more than 17,500 in 1949, thus stimulating research into the causes of decrease, which resulted in eventual listing of the population as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. The listing status was upheld in 2005 and 2014 following 5-year reviews. Meanwhile, research results were compiled in a limiting factors analysis (LFA) and a recovery plan was developed. Although there has been some improvement in sockeye abundance since listing, the numbers remain too low to allow harvest and it is not yet clear which of the many potential limiting factors are most consequential.

As part of the LFA process, a population model was developed to determine values of life-history parameters that would enable the population to survive for 100 years. The model was based on the best available data, but data are limited for the Lake Ozette system. Results informed the qualitative assessment of the importance of limiting factors used to develop the recovery plan for Lake Ozette sockeye. The model was built in Microsoft Excel® and is difficult to use. The purpose of the model described herein is to synthesize the results of the LFA in a form that can be manipulated by resource managers and the public to create scenarios, test hypotheses, and observe sensitivities of results to changes in parameters. The goal is to provide a tool that enables research, monitoring and management to be focused on the most impactful elements and processes, including identifying the information gaps that are most critical to fill.

Suggested Citation

Woodward, A., Haggerty, M., and Crain, P., 2019, Life-history model for sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) at Lake Ozette, northwestern Washington—Users' guide: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019-1031, 79 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Model Description
  • Model Background/Justification
  • Model Performance
  • Model Uses and Limitations
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Appendixes 1–2

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Life-history model for sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) at Lake Ozette, northwestern Washington—Users' guide
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2019-1031
DOI 10.3133/ofr20191031
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description viii, 79 p.
Country United States
State Washington
Other Geospatial Lake Ozette
Online Only (Y/N) Y