Response for project 199404700: Lake Pend Oreille Kokanee Miti

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

We would like to continue our project in FY 2006. The budget amount is as we anticipated, considering that there can be no salary or inflationary increases.

Accomplishments since the last review

BPA Environmental Compliance2003-04 Project was found to meet NEPA compliance.
Manage and Administer ProjectsProject accomplished all of its field tasks and stayed within budget.
Produce PlanDuring 2003 and 2004 meetings were held with Federal agencies to plan present and future draw downs of the lake.
Produce Annual ReportAnnual reports for 2003 and 2004 were written, and edited by three reviewers. Both are pending final editing and signitures.
Produce Status ReportQuarterly reports were written every 3 months during 2003 and 2004. Copies were sent to our COTR and placed on the Department's web site.
Enhance FloodplainDrawdown in the winter of 2003-04 created more than 271,000 additional sq. ft. of kokanee spawning area that would be usable when lake is held higher.
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataDuring 2003 and 2004 we estimated: the kokanee population, egg-to-fry survival rates, shrimp abundance, density of predatory fish,monitored habitat use,and estimated quality of spawning areas.
Mark/Tag AnimalsOur project verified that all hatchery kokanee had been marked with thermal bands that were coded onto their otoliths.
Analyze/Interpret DataField data collected in 2003 and 2004 was analyzed and related to lake level changes produced by the Albeni Falls Dam.

2003- reviewed bull trout and kokanee status with USACE, USFWS, NOAA, and BPA. Decided Lake Pend Oreille could be drawn down to low pool elevation to allow wave action to clean and re-sort gravels along the shoreline. Full draw down produced an average of $4.5 million in electric power revenues. Drawdown of 2003-04 created a minimum of 271,000 square feet of new shoreline gravel available for kokanee spawning in future years. Kokanee and Mysis shrimp populations estimates were made. Research into hydroacoustic methods to make predator (bull trout, rainbow trout, and lake trout)estimates was begun. Kokanee survival rates from egg to fry were made to determine effects of lake level changes. Survival over the winter of 2002-03 was the highest on record at 9.8%. Survival of older kokanee was calculated and shows high predation levels. 2004- Coordinated with federal agencies on lake level and decided to hold Lake Pend Oreille higher at the 2055' elevation during the winter of 2004-05. This created a minimum of 272,000 sq. ft. of additional spawning area. Estimated the egg to fry survival of kokanee over the winter of 2003-04, which was a full drawdown year. Survival dropped to 2.0%. Monitored shrimp population and documented declines. Monitored water quality and nutrients. Worked on method to monitor predators with hydroacoustics. Tracking shows rainbow trout are shallow in mid-summer. Conducted kokanee spawner counts. Evaluated the use of large trap nets in an attempt to control lake trout. Marked (thermal brand) all hatchery produced kokanee for later identification. Core sampled substrate in kokanee spawning areas to determine quality and related it to lake level management. Built artificial spawning cribs in the lake and monitored their use by kokanee (very little use).

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

BPA Environmental ComplianceDiscuss compliance of SOW with BPA.
Manage and Administer ProjectsOversee research projects on the Pend Oreille River and Lake Pend Oreille.
Manage and Administer ProjectsOver see project activities, billing, budgets, personnel, and fieldwork.
Produce PlanAssist Federal and State agencies with the development of a lake level management plan for Lake Pend Oreille. A flow chart will be developed to guide future lake level decisions and a meeting held to review annual data.
Produce Annual ReportProduce an annual report describing the findings of the previous year. Report will be edited by three biologist and their comments included.
Produce Status ReportProduce 4 quarterly reports on project activities.
Enhance FloodplainAbout 100 miles of shoreline will be affected by winter lake level changes. Changes will enhance spawning conditions in hundreds of thousands of square feet of potential spawning beds. Spawning areas will be core sampled to document substrate quality.
Develop RM&E Methods and DesignsAttempt to develop a hydroacoustic technique to estimate the population of large predator fish in the pelagic waters of Lake Pend Oreille.
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataConduct midwater trawling, hydroacoustic surveys, fry trawling and kokanee spawner counts to assess kokanee population.
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataMonitor Biotic and Abiotic Variables- water chemistry, zooplankton, and Mysis shrimp will be monitored to determine their influence on the kokanee population.
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data25 miles of the Pend Oreille River will be sampled to assess the effects of changes at Albeni Falls Dam on the warm water fish community. Fish will be collected by electrofishing, gillnetting,and/or haul seines, and aged to relate to water year.
Mark/Tag AnimalsInsure that all hatchery produced kokanee (generally 5-15 million fry) have their otoliths cold-branded while in the hatchery. Otoliths will be sectioned and examined under a subcontract with a Washington otolith lab.
Disseminate Raw & Summary DataProject findings will be presented at a professional meeting or workshop. Quarterly reports will be provided to BPA.
Analyze/Interpret DataWe will analyze kokanee population data collected by field sampling to determine affect of lake level changes and predation. Survival rates of hatchery and wild fish will be calculated.
Analyze/Interpret DataImprove Hatchery Stocking Program for Kokanee- research methods to improve the survival of hatchery produced kokanee. Survival rates of hatchery and wild kokanee will be compared to determine relative fitness of hatchery produced fish.
Analyze/Interpret DataAttempt to define a balance point between predators and the kokanee prey base in Lake Pend Oreille. Kokanee production, yield, biomass, survival rates will be examined to determine predator impact on kokanee.
Analyze/Interpret DataA model of the lake trout population will continue to be refined and used to show possible management scenarios to reduce predation of lake trout on kokanee, and reduce impact of lake trout on bull trout.

(Goals in example are really tasks, I'll assume that is what you want.) Goal- to improve the Lake Pend Oreille ecosystem to benefit fish and wildlife while balancing with benefits of flood control and power production. A. Develop a lake level management plan as specified in USFWS Biological Opinion for Bull Trout. B. Conduct mid-water trawling for kokanee population estimates. c. Mark all hatchery produced kokanee fry. D. Conduct hydroacoustic survey on entire lake. E. Trawl lake with small mesh fry net to estimate wild kokanee fry abundance. F. Conduct kokanee spawner counts along shoreline and tributary streams. G. Core sample shoreline spawning areas. H. Monitor limnological factors. I. Evaluate hatchery kokanee survival and potential impacts to wild kokanee. J. Conduct hydroacoustic survey for rainbow trout. K. Analyze population data and relate to lake level management. L. Write quarterly and annual reports on project findings. M. Electofish Pend Oreille River to sample warm water fish population. N. Backcalculate ages of warm water fish and relate to operation of Albeni Falls Dam. The goals of the above work is to protect native species, restore impacted fisheries, and improve riparian (shoreline) habitat around the lake.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The project is consistent with and implements strategies in the Inter Mountain Province Management Plan and Inventory. Objectives 1B, 1C5,1C6, 2A3, and 2C2 on pages 2-13, 2-14 and 2-15. These objectives call for restoring riparian habitat (the project manages lake levels to protect shoreline spawning kokanee), meeting recovery plans for bull trout (bull trout recovery plan calls for restoring kokanee to supply forage for bull trout), restoring resident fish (project attempts to recover kokanee impacted by Albeni Falls Dam), minimize negative impacts to native fish from nonnative species (project attempts to restore kokanee which will minimize competetion between lake trout and bull trout), and provides harvest opportunity (if project restores kokanee, a multimillion dollar fishery could be restored).

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

Work accomplishes priority work in the Intermountain Province Management Plan and Inventory that are listed in Table 2.3.1-2, starting on page 2-24. First priority work in objective 1A involves new items and therefore cannot be proposed until new proposals are submitted for FY07. Our work falls under the 2nd Priority classification in Category 1; objectives 1B, 1C1-1C5, 1B5, 1B7, 1C5, 1C1, and 1C3. These objectives serve to protect shoreline habitat, increase warm water fish habitat in the Pend Oreille River, protect bull trout, and mitigate losses of kokanee directly attributable to operation of Albeni Falls Dam. These objectives address several limiting factors (page 2-24 to 2-25) including: 1. Habitat degradation 2. Non-native fish impacts, and 3. Loss of fishing opportunity

Other comments

Any questions on the above narrative please call Melo Maiolie, Idaho Fish and Game, (208)682-9218,