Richard L. Townsend

Senior Biometrician
School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences
University of Washington


I have been a member of the Columbia Basin Research group in the UW School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences for over 25 years. Primarily involved in mark-recapture studies estimating salmonid survival through large and small projects in the Columbia Basin, I have also worked with other fisheries and wildlife organizations in studies ranging from estimating population size (deer, bear, cougar, bull trout, eel grass) to designing and testing software that assist researchers to analyze their own data. I have a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Idaho, did a stint in the Navy, and a M.S. in Statistics from the University of Washington.

Research Interests

While a lot of my work is to estimate probabilities of survival and studying the effect of environmental conditions on them, I also assist wildlife biologists with statistical planning of their own studies and to analyze their own data.

Areas of Expertise

  • Mark release-recapture models
  • Hydroproject passage survival
  • Sample size estimation
  • Survival study analyses using Passive (CWT, PIT) and active (Radio, Acoustic) technology
  • Breaking software and code bug-hunting


Current Projects

PIT-tag and CWT survivals for various salmonid releases in the Columbia Basin. Assisting in updating our website and data presentation.

Selected Publications

Skalski, J. R., R. Townsend, J. Lady, A. E. Giorgi, J.R. Stevenson, R. D. McDonald. 2002. Estimating route-specific passage and survival probabilities at a hydroelectric project from smolt radiotelemetry studies. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 59(8):1385-1393.

Townsend, R. L., J. R. Skalski, P. Dillingham, and T. W. Steig. 2006. Correcting bias in survival estimation resulting from tag failure in acoustic and radiotelemetry studies. Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics 11:183-196.

Millspaugh, J. J., J. R. Skalski, R. L. Townsend, D. R. Diefenbach, M. S. Boyce, L. P. Hansen, and K. M. Kammermeyer. 2009. An evaluation of the sex-age-kill (SAK) model performance. Journal of Wildlife Management 73(3): 442-451.

Skalski, J. R., R. A. Buchanan, R. L. Townsend, T. W. Steig, S. Hemstrom. 2009. A multipleā€release model to estimate routeā€specific and dam passage survival at a hydroelectric project. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 29(3), 670-679

Contact Info