Objectives for recovery of alosines commonly involve improving fish passage at dams during migration. However, a quantitative basis for dam passage performance standards is largely absent. We describe development of a stochastic life-history-based simulation model for American shad, Alosa sapidissima, to estimate effects of dam passage and migratory delay on abundance, spatial distribution of spawning adults, and demographic structuring in space and time. We used the Penobscot River, Maine, USA, as a case study to examine sensitivity of modeled population metrics and probability of achieving specific management goals to inputs. Spawner abundance and percentage of repeat spawners were most sensitive to survival and migration delay at dams, marine survival, and temperature cues for migratory events. Recovery objectives related to abundance and spatial distribution of spawners were achievable under multiple scenarios, but high rates of upstream and downstream passage were necessary. The simulation indicated trade-offs between upstream and downstream passage efficacy whereby increased downstream passage was required to maintain or increase population abundance in conjunction with increased upstream passage. This model provides a quantitative support tool for managers to inform ecologically based decisions about a suite of management scenarios to facilitate recovery and sustainability of diadromous fish populations.

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Canadian Science Publishing

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Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

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This is an Author Manuscript of an article published by Canadian Science Publishing in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences in 2018, Version of Record available online: