Response for project 198805304: Hood River Production M&E-Odfw

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The budget is consistent with BPA's approved budget, but the total approved dollar amount for FY 2006 will be insufficient to implement the existing base program. This is primarily because both the indirect rate and the employee benefits package are projected to increase markedly in FY 2006. Continued implementation of the base program will require an additional $46,000 dollars (approximate estimate at this time) to compensate for an estimated 26% increase in the OPE (i.e., from 46% to 58%) and a 38.5% increase in the indirect rate (i.e., from 22.96% to 31.8%). The additional dollar amount identified above does not include ~$15,000 required to purchase PIT tags. The total budget we are requesting for FY 2006 is $476,000. The additional dollars will be required to continue implementing a monitoring and evaluation program (M&E) that effectively and accurately evaluates the various BPA funded projects in the Hood River subbasin, relative to their contribution towards achieving the biological fish objectives for the subbasin. Beyond FY 2006, their will also be an additional request (i.e., for 1-3 years) for dollars required to purchase radio tags (~$9,000/year). The radio tags will be required to complete a study on winter steelhead; which was implemented beginning in FY 2005.

Accomplishments since the last review

Estimated subbasin steelhead smolt production. Data is critical to managing the subbasin fishery. Estimated timing of smolt migration in Hood River. Data was critical in reaching an agreement with PacifiCorp to discontinue diverting water at Powerdale Dam (i.e., for power production) during peak smolt migration. Estimated non-tribal harvest and exploitation rates in the Hood River subbasin. Data is critical to allocating harvest among fisheries. Collected genetic samples from both juvenile and adult salmonids. Data was critical in developing steelhead broodstock collection protocols. PIT tagged pre-smolt and smolt salmonids. Data is critical in monitoring 1) life history and movement of pre-smolt migrants and 2) the timing of smolt migration past Bonneville Dam. Participated in a cooperative inter- and intra- agency steelhead pedigree study. Data was critical in monitoring subbasin wild x hatchery steelhead interactions. Monitored jack and adult salmonid escapements to the mouth of the Hood River, and to the spawning grounds. Data was critical to 1) allocating harvest among fisheries and 2) evaluating the HRPP relative to its biological fish objectives. Provided data used in conducting a programmatic review of the HRPP and in 1) populating the Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment (EDT) model and 2) validating the EDT's output. Developed models for predicting future run sizes of summer and winter steelhead. Data is critical in developing pre-season broodstock collection protocols. Began developing a model to predict subbasin smolt production from summer streamflows. Data will be critical in managing indigenous populations of salmonids. Participated in a cooperative inter- and intra agency study designed to estimate harvest of winter steelhead in the mainstem Columbia River. Monitored smolt-to-adult survival rates of wild and hatchery steelhead. Data is critical to evaluating the HRPP relative to its biological fish obj.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Sample downstream migrant pre-smolt and smolt salmon and steelhead. Sampling is required to implement the ISRP's recommendation to PIT tag downstream migrant salmonids. Data provided by the sampling effort is critical to a) monitoring subbasin smolt production in response to habitat improvement work conducted in the subbasin; b) more accurately identify races of summer and winter steelhead destined for hatchery broodstock; c) monitor wild and hatchery smolt-to-adult adult survival rates, d) evaluate projects proposed in the Hood River Subbasin Plan relative to the subbasins biological fish objectives, and e) determine if a model can be developed to indirectly predict future run size based on the correlation between smolt production, summer flow, harvest, and escapement to Powerdale Dam. This model will be critically important in managing indigenous populations of steelhead post- Powerdale Dam. Monitor subbasin harvest and escapements. Data is critical to a) allocating harvest among fisheries and b) developing pre-season recommendations for subbasin fisheries. Continue to participate in a cooperative inter- and intra- agency steelhead pedigree study. Data is critical to monitoring the impact of the HRPP on indigenous populations of steelhead. PIT tag downstream migrant pre-smolt and smolt salmonids. Data will be critical to 1) identifying contribution of subbasin pre-smolt migrant salmonids (primarily spring chinook salmon) to subbasin production, 2) timing of smolt migration through the mainstem Columbia River, and 3) identifying salmonid life history patterns unique to the Hood River Subbasin. PIT tag experimental groups of winter steelhead that will be direct released into the upper reaches of the Hood River Subbasin. Data from this experimental group will be critical to determining if returning hatchery adults will hold and spawn over a much wider geographic range than adults that are acclimated and volitionally released at one site.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The Hood River Subbasin Plan (HRSP) identifies various strategies for benefiting fisheries within the Hood River Subbasin (HRS). An effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) project is required to assess how specific strategies identified in the HRSP, when implemented, contribute to the HRSP's biological fish objectives. The ability to effectively monitor and evaluate BPA funded fisheries projects in the HRS was identified by the subbasin's co-mangers (ODFW and CTWSRO) as a critical component of the HRSP. This project is consistent with goals, objectives, and strategies for implementing Section 6 (Hood River Subbasin Management Plan, pages 175-209) of the HRSP; as defined in Sections 6.1 through 6.4 (pages 175-200). Specifically, this project addresses strategies defined in Section 6.5 (Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation; pages 200-209) of the HRSP. As stated in this projects proposed FY 2006 Statement of Work, the primary components of this project are referenced as follows in the HRSP: 1) estimate salmonid harvest and escapements (pages 202-203), 2) estimate subbasin smolt salmonid production (pages 203-204), and 3) monitor selected life history, biology, and fish health parameters for salmonid populations (pages 204-207). The need for implementing this work is also defined and addressed on the aforementioned pages of the HRSP.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The Hood River Subbasin Plan identifies a strong M&E program as a critical component to achieving the biological fish objectives for the Hood River subbasin; which is consistent with recommendations made by the subbasins co-managers (ODFW and CTWSRO). This project is primarily designed to monitor indigenous populations of juvenile and adult salmonids relative to their response to strategies (i.e., work) implemented under the umbrella of the HRSP; as defined, in part, in Sections 6.1 through 6.4 of the HRSP. The HRSP identifies the associated activities required to implement this work as critically import, not only with respect to monitoring strategies relative to their contribution towards achieving the subbasin's biological fish objectives, but also with respect to 1) improving program efficiency and 2) providing the information required to manage indigenous populations of fish in a biologically sound manner(pages 201-202).

Other comments

We are proposing to implement projects designed to 1) provide fisheries managers with the biological data and tools required to effectively manage indigenous populations of salmonids and 2) evaluate the various projects outlined in the Hood River Subbasin Plan (HRSP) relatively to their contribution towards achieving the HRSP's biological fish objectives. Because of the extremely complex life history patterns displayed by salmon and steelhead, this requires a long term commitment in an M&E project. This project is just beginning to collect the information required to estimate and monitor specific biological and genetic parameters relative to virtually all life history stages of the indigenous populations of salmon and steelhead (i.e. from egg to adult spawner). Information which has been gathered, and which we are proposing to gather, has been requested and used extensively by biologists from various agencies, to monitor and manage fisheries in the Hood River subbasin. Maintaining the current data string will be critical to providing the highest degree of protection and benefit to indigenous populations of fish in the Hood River Subbasin; several of which are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.