Response for project 198712700: Smolt Monitoring By Non-Feder

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

This information is being submitted to confirm that the Smolt Monitoring Program (SMP) will be renewed for 2006. The SMP project #198712700 was established by the first Fish and Wildlife Program to provide a basis for real time implementation of anadromous fish passage mitigation measures, short and long term evaluation of mitigation measures and to develop a long term consistent and continuous time series of data that can be used to evaluate existing mitigation measures and consider additional or alternative mitigation measures. The budget for this project was established by the NPCC as $2,239,743 for 2005. This budget was not adequate for the 2005 program. The separator monitoring at Bonneville Dam which is key to the recapture of PIT Tagged fish at Bonneville Dam could not be included because of inadequate funding at the 2005 budget level. Again as occurred in 2005 the budget allocation for the SMP is inadequate to meet the budget needs in 2006. The Bonneville separator monitoring for 2006, has been eliminated from the SMP budget with the understanding that USCOE will fund the separator monitoring within their facilities budget. The budget requirement for the SMP for 2006 is projected to be $2,356,413. This number includes personnel cost increases, increases in fuel costs, rent and other office equipment/supplies increases and assumes that the cost per PIT tag will remain the same as in 2005.

Accomplishments since the last review

The SMP has been in place since 1984 and has provided a consistent and continuous data series regarding migration characteristics of anadromous fish through the Columbia and Snake rivers. The SMP data has provided the basis for real time spill and flow management decisions, long term mitigation decisions, and has been a key information foundation for the NOAA BIOPS and the NPCC Fish and Wildlife Program passage measures. The SMP is a key element of the transportation program. The SMP provides daily data to the region from early March through the end of October each year, regarding the passage of anadromous fish. The SMP provides daily passage index data at each site by species. In addition, some SMP sites mark fish which are recaptured downstream for determination of travel time, survival and passage distribution. The SMP collects real time data on gas bubble trauma monitoring which supports the implementation of the spill for fish passage measures of the BIOP. Included in the data provided by the SMP is incidental species catch data, lamprey data, daily catch by species, fin clips, marks and wild and hatchery catch. Flow data is provided for calculation of the passage index. Facility mortality, sample mortality, transportation and bypass numbers are also collected. The SMP program provides managers with real time information on all aspects of the juvenile migration including observations of descaling, injury, and disease.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Produce Environmental Compliance DocumentationAll sites are required to provide data to the FPC for ESA section 10 permit requirements
CoordinationAll SMP sites are required to coordinate their activities which other monitoring programs, and research programs and management programs such as juvenile smolt transportation. In addition each site is required to maintain close coordination with the FPC.
Manage and Administer ProjectsEach site is required to manage their budgets, personnel and meet contract requirements
Produce Annual ReportAnnual reports are produced for each of the ten SMP sites
Produce Status ReportStatus Reports are produced for each of the ten individual SMP sites
Operate/Maintain FacilityEach SMP site is required to maintain and operate the particular trapping and sampling facility in operation at that site.
Install Fish Trap/Monitoring WeirEach site is required to install, maintain and start up the trapping and or sampling facility that is employed at that location.
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataSMP sites collects a combination of the data listed by species depending on the site, passage index, flow, descaling, facility mortality, numbers of fish transported, sample catch, sample number, fork length, gas bubble trauma symptoms,marks,clips,brands
Mark/Tag AnimalsThe Imnaha, Lewiston Trap, Grande Ronde, Salmon River traps all PIT tag fish for the SMP. In addition the USFWS and IDFG PIT tag hatchery mark groups for the SMP at several hatcheries
Submit/Acquire DataEach SMP site is required to acquire data from the project and submit it with their own sampling and catch data for the site, to the FPC.
Analyze/Interpret DataAll sites analyze and interpret data for the status and annual reports provided to the region.

The SMP overall goal for 2006 is to implement the SMP as approved by the agencies and tribes, add the 2006 data to the historic data base to provide a foundation for present and future consideration of project specific and basinwide fish passage mitigation measures as well as provision of the real time basis for implementation of hydrosystem passage mitigation measures, such as the start and stop of spill, flow augmentation and transportation programs. In 2006 the SMP will provide daily passage index data by species according to the SMP plan at the following sites: the Imnaha trap, the Lewiston trap, the Grande Ronde River trap, the Salmon River trap, and Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, McNary, Rock Island, John Day and Bonneville dams. Data will be electronically transmitted daily and hand logs and data collection sheets will be faxed to FPC for quality control review. Data will be collected, recorded and transmitted according to protocols outlined by the FPC in the SMP manual. Marking will occur at the trap sites according to protocols and marking plans and fish handling methods developed by the FPC and included in the ESA section 10 permit. The following data will be collected at SMP sites and transmitted daily. The site personnel will validate their own sampling data weekly to assure that there are no errors in transmitted data. The SMP in 2006 will collect and transmit: Daily sample, catch, fork length, marks, brands, project operations, flow data, fish transport numbers, facility mortalities, percent descaling, average fork length, gas bubble trauma data, upload PIT tag data to PITAGIS, some sites will PIT tag Chinook and steelhead according to the SMP plan for 2006.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The SMP is consistent and relative to all sub-basin plan priorities for sub basins producing and enhancing habitat for anadromous fish. The evaluation of benefits from sub-basin improvements in anadromous fish production will be addressed directly by the SMP. The SMP will provide valuable information regarding the juvenile downstream passage experience of juvenile anadromous fish from sub-basins above Bonneville Dam. This data will be valuable to sub-basin hatchery and habitat projects and the managers evaluation of benefits of these projects. The SMP provides valuable information back to the sub-basins that will have utility in the implementation and development of plans for the individual sub-basin.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The SMP does not conflict with any priorities in any sub basin plan upstream of Bonneville Dam and the SMP and FPC can contribute valuable information back to each sub basin as they begin to evaluate the benefits of their sub basin activities, regardless of the priority assigned within each subbasin of evaluation of benefits of activities.

Other comments

The process outlined for the 2006 project submittals is designed for specific habitat projects and does not reflect the importance of projects like the SMP to hydrosystem short term and long term management decisions such as the start or stop of spill for fish passage and flow augmentation.