Response for project 198909803: Salmon Studies Id Rvrs Sbt

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

Due to the increased cost of fuel, coupled with our high annual mileage, a slight increase would be appreciated.

Accomplishments since the last review

Since the inception of this project we have accomplished the following in order to further the goals outlined below. Annual snorkel surveys to estimate juvenile abundance in the East Fork Salmon River, Herd Creek, West Fork Yankee Fork, Valley Creek, and Bear Valley Creek. Operated screw traps on East Fork Salmon River and West Fork Yankee Fork to estimate abundance of chinook salmon at the fry, parr, pre-smolt and smolt stages. Conduct redd surveys on East Fork Salmon River, West Fork Yankee Fork, Valley Creek, and Bear Valley Creek. Pertinent biological information (length, sex, DNA, retained eggs, marks/tags) will be collected from all Chinook salmon carcasses encountered. Beginning in 2003, we intensified carcass surveys beyond multiple pass redd counts, to remove various structures from carcasses for aging, collect length, sex, DNA, egg retention information, and examine for the presence of fin clips, coded wire tags, radio tags, VI tags, and other tags. Remove snouts from carcasses containing coded wire for laboratory analysis.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

The goal of the Idaho Supplementation Studies Project is to evaluate the usefulness of supplementation as a recovery/restoration strategy for depressed stocks of spring and summer Chinook salmon in Idaho. The project is a multi-agency effort that encompasses 30 streams throughout the Salmon and Clearwater River basins. Benefits of the ISS study will include helping to define the potential role of Chinook salmon supplementation in managing Idaho’s natural spring and summer Chinook salmon populations, and identifying genetic and ecological impacts to existing natural populations. The ISS experimental design is split into three main approaches: (1) large-scale population production and productivity studies designed to provide Snake River basin-wide inferences, (2) using study streams to evaluate specific supplementation programs, and (3) small-scale studies designed to evaluate specific hypotheses. Approaches (1) and (2) measure population responses to supplementation and are long-term studies. Approach (3) utilizes short-term studies conducted in “controlled” environments to determine specific effects of supplementation, such as competition, dispersal, and behavior. We expect this research to demonstrate the best methods for supplementing existing natural populations of Chinook salmon and re-establishing natural populations in streams where Chinook salmon have become extirpated. The supplementation effects will be monitored and evaluated by comparing juvenile production and survival, fecundity, age structure, and genetic structure and variability in treatment and control streams having similar ecological parameters.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

Index of Juvenile Abundance (Density) Raw measure (secondary). Number of fry, parr, or smolts per unit area of rearing habitat. Juvenile Emigrant Abundance Raw measure (primary). Estimates of the total number of fry, parr, or smolts emigrating from tributary streams (e.g., determined from rotary screw trap estimates). Smolt-to-Adult Return Rate Raw measure (secondary): Number of adults from a given brood year returning to a point (e.g., LGR dam) divided by the number of smolts that left this point 1-3 years prior, integrated over all return years. Juvenile freshwater survival rate (egg-to fry/parr/smolt, parr-to smolt) Derived or raw measure: Derived if estimated using information from independent programs (e.g., redd counts, fecundity estimates, and parr estimates collected in separate studies for the same tributary could be used to estimate an egg to parr survival rate). Raw measure if estimated in studies (e.g., use of instream incubation boxes to estimate survival-to-emergence (an index of egg-to-fry survival), or release of wild adult spawners to fenced-off stream areas followed by estimates of fry or parr abundance from those spawners to estimate egg-to-fry, or egg-to-parr survival rates). Juvenile Survival to first mainstem dam Raw measure (secondary): Survival rate measure estimated from detection of PIT tagged smolts at first mainstem dam, or model derived survival rates based on detections at first and second mainstem dams (e.g., using SURPH, Steve Smith NOAA). Smolts or parr are tagged in the tributary rearing areas. Distribution (within tributaries) Raw measure: Tributary spawner distribution – extensive estimates of where spawners are found within a tributary. Subbasin spawner distribution - presence/absence surveys across multiple tributaries within a subbasin. Stray Rate Derived or raw measure (secondary): Carcass surveys of spawning grounds, or weir sampling, looking for marks or tags or taking scale and tissue samples for DN

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

2A1. Preserve the genetic integrity of existing wild stocks in the Salmon Subbasin. Preserve the genetic diversity of existing wild stocks in the Salmon Subbasin. Protect and monitor abundance and productivity of wild stocks in the subbasin that have not been influenced by hatchery Salmon Aquatic Objective 3A: Address data gaps necessary to measure freshwater survival and productivity. Strategies: 3A1. Use new and existing projects (ISS and GPM) to further the knowledge of egg to smolt survival and the mechanisms that affect survival. 3A2. Determine juvenile or smolt per female measurement to further knowledge of freshwater productivity. 3C1. Quantify population specific adult and juvenile abundance information for focal species on a representative set of index streams. 3C2. Determine population-specific smolt-to-adult return (SAR) rates for chinook salmon and steelhead on a representative set of index streams. 3C3. Determine population productivity (e.g., spawner to spawner ratios and/or lambda) on a representative set of index streams.

Other comments

Due to this questionnaire being released during the peak of smolt migration I was unable to answer each question as completely or with as much thought as I would liked to have. I also ran out of characters before I was even close to finishing the consistant with subbasin plan portion.