Response for project 199005500: Id Steelhead M&E Studies

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The base budget for this project has been level for several years. The project has expanded its scope by adding three screw traps that target wild steelhead (Rapid River, Lick Creek, and Secesh River) since the last review and in conjunction with the IDFG Natural Production Monitoring Project will investigate methods to expand snorkel surveys in the Selway and MF Salmon drainages in 2006. We intend to use our genetic analysis of 74 wild steelhead populations and all five hatchery stocks (collected in 2000 and analysis completed in 2005) as a baseline to screen selected wild steelhead populations every 3-5 years for temporal genetic changes and hatchery introgression. The project requires additional personnel time to operate the screw traps, maintain databases, and to expand summer snorkel surveys. A new camp trailer is needed to house trap tenders operating the Secesh and Lick Creek screw traps. The camp trailer at Fish Creek is in its 12th field season and needs to be replaced. Both personnel costs and operating costs (especially travel costs) are expected to increase. Because of these reasons we request a budget of $642,000 for FY2006.

Accomplishments since the last review

1) continued yearly snorkel surveys to document juvenile steelhead densities and distribution (2) made yearly wild steelhead escapement counts at Fish Creek weir (3) estimate yearly juvenile steelhead outmigration in Fish Creek (4) PIT-tagged over 29,000 juvenile steelhead for smolt migration timing, inriver survival, and smolt-to-adult survival estimates (5) aged 7,200 juvenile steelhead from 10 streams and 1,240 adult steelhead from Fish Creek and Rapid River. (6) completed the genetic analysis of juvenile steelhead from 74 wild and 5 hatchery populations. (7) record stream temperatures in 40 streams. (8) began trapping and PIT-tagging steelhead in Rapid River and the SF Salmon drainage (8) completed the Annual Reports for 2002, 2003, and 2004.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

We plan to continue our long-term monitoring of the wild steelhead population in Fish Creek using an adult weir, screw trap, and snorkel surveys. Summer snorkel surveys to estimate fish densities will continue in the Lochsa, Selway, and SF Salmon drainages. We will operate other screw traps, placed to primarily target wild steelhead, in Rapid River, Lick Creek (SF Salmon drainage), and the Secesh River. We plan to investigate temporal genetic changes, using microsatellites, in a subset of the wild steelhead streams that were surveyed in 2000. We will continue to participate with other regional genetic labs to standardize microsatellite steelhead markers. The subbasin plans identified the MF Salmon and Selway drainages as data poor. If time and budgets are adequate we would like to expand our summer snorkel surveys in the Selway and MF Salmon drainages to assess steelhead abundance and distribution. Data collected during the history of this project is being incorporated into several web-based IDFG databases. We are planning to submit articles to professional fisheries journal(s) for publication next year. Topics include (1) productivity of the Fish Creek steelhead stock; (2) genetic structure of steelhead populations in Idaho; (3) age and growth of steelhead parr and smolts in the Clearwater and Salmon drainages.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

Salmon Subbasin: Strategy 1A2. Population specific SAR’s. Project PIT-tagging of steelhead address this need. Strategy 2A1. Project has completed a genetic analysis of 74 wild steelhead populations and all 5 hatchery stocks. Strategy 2A3. Project makes wild steelhead escapement counts at Rapid River. Yearly snorkel surveys done to estimate juvenile steelhead densities in upper Salmon River and SF Salmon drainages. Strategy 2A4. Project began working in SF Salmon drainage and Rapid River in 2004 to gather data on wild steelhead populations. Strategy 2A5. Project collects data necessary to do an extinction risk analysis for steelhead. Strategies 3A1 and 3A2. Data is collected in Rapid River to make survival estimates and calculate smolts per female for steelhead. Strategies 3C1, 3C2, 3C3. Data is collected for steelhead in index streams from snorkel surveys, PIT-tagging, and adult counts at Rapid River. Clearwater Subbasin Strategy 1A1. Project PIT-tags wild steelhead that can be used for this analysis. Strategy 1A2. Project makes yearly escapement count of wild steelhead at Fish Creek and does yearly snorkel surveys to estimate juvenile densities in the SF Clearwater, Lochsa and Selway drainages. Strategy 3D2. Project collects steelhead data needed to do an extinction risk analysis for steelhead. Strategy 4E1. Project collects resident fish densities during the yearly snorkel surveys. Strategy 4G1. Project has completed a genetic analysis that can be used to assess O. mykiss and O. clarkii hybridization.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

Salmon Basin: No priorities were assigned to this plan however, research needs were identified (Table 13, p 120). This project contributes steelhead data that can be used in the Research Needs and Performance Measures identified in Table 13 to assess survival among life-stages (Need 1), effective population size and genetic diversity (Need 2), juvenile abundance and distribution, age class structure, and condition of juveniles at emigration (Need 4). Clearwater Basin: No priorities were assigned to this plan however, research needs were identified (Section 4.3, p 61). This project is specifically named in the Management Plan for collecting data for Research Needs I.1 (effects of nutrients); I.2 (determine migration characteristics and timing of smolt outmigration); I.3 ( develop appropriate intensity and spatial distribution monitoring to estimate parr carrying capacity); VIII.1 (population status of summer steelhead); VIII.2 (profile anadromous salmonid genetics); VIII.4 (assess effectiveness of hatchery production to sustain or rebuild natural production). In addition this project contributes data necessary for Research Needs II.2 ( stream water temperature monitoring); V.1 (quantify stray rates and potential genetic consequences); VI.1 ( resident trout population monitoring); and VI.4 (genetics of O. mykiss)

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