Columbia Basin Research (CBR) is an interdisciplinary research center in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington whose mission is to provide quantitative approaches to issues involving endangered salmonid stocks in the western United States. CBR provides accessible environmental and fish data, science-based real-time forecasts of fish survival and migration, and quantitative tools and interpretation for conservation and management of endangered fish populations in regulated rivers.


CBR began over 30 years ago with Professors John R. Skalski and James J. Anderson, providing robust quantitative analyses online to support fish, wildlife, and resource managers with research design and interpretations of monitoring results in the Columbia Basin. In recent years, the research center has expanded its services and research to the Central Valley of California. Drs. Rebecca A. Buchanan and Jennifer L. Gosselin are the current co-directors of CBR.

The applied ecological research under the direction of Dr. Buchanan focuses on statistical methods and mark-recapture tagging studies, primarily for salmonid stocks in the Columbia River Basin and California's Central Valley. They develop study designs and new statistical methods for assessing all parts of tagging studies and support managers in interpreting study results. Their goal is to ensure that tagging studies are conducted with the best available design and analysis by providing sample size guidance, statistical consultation, and analytical software. They also provide statistical analysis and interpretation of life-cycle information on the web for monitoring and evaluation of salmonid stocks.

The ecological research and data science teams, under the direction of Dr. Gosselin, help address data-knowledge-action gaps related to endangered fish species in regulated rivers and the Pacific Ocean.
  • The research team works on retrospective, process-based, and forecast modeling to assist fish and river managers' decision-making in the Pacific Northwest and California. Through ecosystem models, they integrate effects of habitat conditions on the ecology, physiology, behavior, and ultimately survival of salmonids over the life cycle. They aim to identify underlying mechanisms through field and laboratory studies and in context of a changing climate.
  • The data science team works on database management, value-added data visualizations, and interactive online queries through the CBR website. The team integrates multiple databases into a secondary repository system for new tools that facilitate knowledge and regional coordination. The products and services complement the work from the original data owners and support prediction models developed internally and from third parties.
Together, the ecological research and the data science teams strive for robust science and relevance to support management, decision-making, and coordination among diverse practitioners, managers, policy makers, stakeholders, and rightsholders.

CBR is uniquely positioned and actively involved in fish and river management in the Pacific Northwest and in California with their website and access to historical and real-time environmental and fish data, predictive models, and statistical tools. Through their website, CBR provides a publicly accessible portal to collaboratively explore historical, real-time, and future effects of large river operations on hydropower, water, and fisheries resources.