Review of the draft 2011 Fish Passage Center Annual Report

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The Council’s 2009 amendments to the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program call for a regular system of independent and timely science reviews of the Fish Passage Center’s (FPC) analytical products. This regular system of reviews includes evaluations of the FPC’s draft annual reports, which began two years ago with the ISAB’s review of the FPC’s draft 2009 Annual Report (ISAB 2010-4), followed by a review of the draft 2010 Annual Report (ISAB 2011-2). This is the ISAB’s third review of FPC annual reports.

The ISAB finds the draft 2011 Annual Report informative. The organization of annual reports continues to improve. For example, the inclusion of an introductory section is a worthwhile improvement. However, as evidenced by the ISAB comments below, the ISAB’s review has progressed into a detailed editorial review rather than a review of scientific issues critical to management. This is in large part due to the FPC Annual Report’s intended and important purpose of telling the story of juvenile migration, river conditions, and hydrosystem operations. As such the annual reports involve more data reporting and documentation than data analysis, although some analyses are included. As noted in previous reviews, the writing quality and level of completeness at this draft stage varies across sections. Considering the progress in reporting made in the past few years, the intended content, and the draft nature of FPC annual reports, the ISAB recommends that a detailed ISAB review of the draft FPC annual reports is no longer warranted and that the ISAB review effort would be better focused on other FPC products. In the course of these three reviews, the FPC has responded positively to ISAB comments, and we anticipate they will constructively apply our comments to finalizing the 2011 report and in developing and structuring future reports.

The ISAB recommends that review of the draft Comparative Survival Study (CSS) annual report and attendance at the CSS annual workshop continue, at least through this year. The CSS report has more analyses that are suited for ISAB evaluation than does the FPC annual report. In addition to the CSS review, the ISAB is on call to evaluate technical memos and other FPC products that meet the criteria in the review guidelines for the ISAB review of FPC products. Those criteria are: new or novel analyses are introduced; new conditions or data bring old analyses into question; and/or consensus cannot be reached in the region on the science involved in the product. The ISAB looks forward to discussing the future scope of reviews with the Fish Passage Center Oversight Board.

The ISAB’s comments are provided here, organized by the sections in the FPC draft annual report.

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