Response for project 199502800: Assessment Of Fishery Improvem

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The proposed budget is marginally adequate to complete the proposed tasks. In recent years we have experienced considerable cost increase associated with performing our tasks. For example, during the past 3 years we have seen a 9% increase in overhead which equates to an additional ~$20,000.00 being removed from our operating budget. We have also experienced an increase in personnel costs, benefits, fuel, and materials associated with our project. Finally, after July 1, 2005 there will be a 3.5% increase in salary costs, as WDFW employees will receive a cost of living allowance. This year we were able to re-schedule ~$20,000.00 which has helped us relieve the budget squeeze we had previously experienced. The proposed budget is marginally adequate and we have every intention of completing our proposed tasks. However, at some point in the near future we will need to address the increase in costs associated with operating the Moses Lake Project.

Accomplishments since the last review

2000-2005: Increased our understanding of Moses Lake trophic dynamics. Traditional stomach content analysis, stable isotope analysis, bioenergetics modeling. 2003-present: Collected data regarding entrainment rates of fishes from Moses Lake. A larger than predicted number of fishes are being entrained from Moses Lake. 2004-present: Recorded rates of avian predation on the fishes of Moses Lake. Unable to obtain permit to harvest birds. Took common mergansers with hunting license. Modified methodology and collected behavioral data to supplement. 2004-2005: Used data to suggest modifying recreational fishing regulations. Applied data to FAST model (Fisheries Assessmet Simmulation Tools). 2003-2005: Conducted walleye population estimate and species composition of Moses Lake. Multiple mark-recapture events. Open population model. 2001-present: Monitored fishery within Moses Lake including net pen trout program via creel survey. Two separate creel surveys. Standardized biological surveys. Species composition, age structure, sex ratio. 2002-2004: Quantified and qualified entire lake habitat using GIS, aerial photos and ground truthing. 1999-2003: Monitored water quality. Collected nutrient data, various water quality parameters. Monitored littoral turbidity. 2002-2004: Calculated overwinter survivial of young of year fishes. Spring and fall shoreline abundance estimates. 1999-present: Tracked carp movements and areas of carp concentrations. Carp telemetry 2003. Recording areas of carp concentrations continuous. Developing carp exclusion and harvest plan. 2000-2004: Quantified secondary production. Collected macroinvertebrates, zooplankton and conducted analyses determining abundance, composition and density. 2005: Pursue future funding. Develop scope of work and budget. 1999-present: Remain current with BPA training. 1999-Present: Meet deliverable requirements.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Fall 2005- spring 2006-Avian predation: Obtain the necessary permits that are needed to better quantify rates of bird predation on Moses Lake and collect common mergansers and cormorants for diet analysis. Monthly counts will be conducted on all birds to better understand possible predation rates on fishes. Goal-determine bird predation impacts on resident and net pen fishes. Present-Summer 2006-Monitor Entrainment: Due to variability of operations and water conditions we will continue to monitor and evaluate the entrainment of fishes from Moses Lake. Goal-what and how many fishes entrained from Moses Lake. Spring 2006-funding availablility-Creel Survey: With our data and analyses we have been able to make accurate suggestions regarding fish harvest. Consequently, regulations will be changed and will require monitoring. Goal-Detect change in fishery with regulation change. Fall 2005-funding availability-Biological surveys: Standardized spring and fall surveys to determine the impacts of regulation changes, predation and entrainment. Biological data will be collected from all species as well as diets and aging structures from species of concern. Goals-monitor and detect changes in fishery composition, age structure, predation and mortality. Associated with Crab Creek sub-basin plan (CCSP) and Upper Columbia Sub-basin Plan (UCSP)as listed in the Subbasin Planning section (consistent and priorities) of this site. It should also be noted that our goals are also our anticipated accomplishments assuming there are no unforseen circumstances hampering our efforts.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The following objectives and strategies from the Upper Columbia and Crab Creek subbasin plans relate to this project’s objectives: Upper Columbia • Objective 3, strategy a; page 34-18 – Enhance native and focal species. • Objective 2, strategy b; page 34-18 – Use locally adapted stocks. • Objective 3, strategy d; page 34-18 – Artificial production for harvest needs. • Objective 4, strategy a; page 34-18 – Maintain production programs/net pens. • Objective 6, strategy a; page 34-19 – Artificial production for harvest needs. • Objective 6, strategy b; page 34-19 – Preserve and enhance net pen operations. • Objective 7, strategy c; page 34-19 – Monitor entrainment. • Objective 15, strategy c; page 34-22 - Develop minimum in-stream flows. • Objective 17, strategy b; page 34-22 – Implement the assessment. Crab Creek - Assessment Unit 3 - Moses Lake • Hypothesis 1, objective 1; page 177 – maintain current status of fish populations • Hypothesis 1, objective 2; page 177 – species/habitat interactions • Hypothesis 3, objective 1; page 177 – manage impacts to fish The Moses Lake project is consistent with both the Crab Creek and Upper Columbia Subbasin plans.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The project ‘Factors Affecting the Recreational Fishery of Moses Lake, Washington’ (Project ID 1995-028-00) can be directly related to at least two sub-basin plans. The Upper Columbia Sub-Basin Plan section (page 29-5) states that Moses Lake was originally placed in the Upper Columbia Summary but for planning purposes Moses Lake was put in the Crab Creek sub-basin plan. However, the Moses Lake project is mitigation for the Upper Columbia Basin even though it is geographically distinct. Within the Upper Columbia Sub-Basin Plan 21.1 Current management Directions (page 68) it states that in areas where anadromous fisheries have been extripated and recovery is not feasible, substitution with non-native gamefishes may be an option. The Moses Lake Project was originally funded as off-site mitigation for fisheries lost as a result of federal hydroelectric power projects. The sub-basin vision also states the importance of the economic well being of the Pacific Northwest. The resident fishery of Moses Lake generates a considerable amount of funds and the loss of this fishery would negatively impact the economic well being of the region. Within the Crab Creek Sub-basin plan it is stated within the Resident Fish Management Program (page 141)that the WDFW manages an extensive resident fishery. The majority of these fisheries are for non-native resident fishes and are provided as a source of off-site mitigation for lost anadroumous fishing opportunities (page 162). Both sub-basin plans demonstrate the need to maintain or improve the integrity of the native stocks while providing quality resident fishing opportunities in areas that have recently been inundated or have lost native stocks. Understanding the interaction between native and non-native fishes will allow us to better preserve native fishes in areas of concern within both sub-basins.

Other comments

The accomplishments and data collected from Moses Lake are applicable to the northwest region and beyond. Our results and analyses can be used for a variety of resident lake/reservoir management applications. It should also be noted that even though our investigations have been conducted in Moses Lake our methodologies and more importantly our results can also be applied elsewhere. Moses Lake is an effective nursery for non-native fisheries and is not a closed system as indicated by our entrainment data. Consequently, piscivorous fishes such as walleye, bass and perch may be impacting native fishes downstream once entrained from Moses Lake. We have shown that walleye are formidable predators on a variety of species. It is imperative we determine the rates of overlap, both spatial and temporal, between non-native and native fishes and attempt to minimize deleterious interactions. Our goal should be to maximize resident fisheries while minimizing the impact to native fishes within the Upper Columbia Sub-Basin amd the Crab Creek Sub-Basin. To properly manage the now well established non-native fisheries and maintain our responsibilities to the native fishes of the Columbia Basin, we will need to continue with our investigations on Moses Lake as well as the conecting water-ways. Traditional methods of attempting to remove deleterious species can often meet considerable objections from the public, impact the regional economy, and may also result in negative ecological trajectories. As with any science based decisions it is important that the problem(s) first be identified and sound scientific methodologies be implimented to most efficiently and effectively address the immediate concerns. Accomplishing such goals will require managers to examine our region in a holistic manner in order to be effective. Finally, in recent years our costs have increased with benefits, step increases, overhead etc. At some point in the future we will need to revisit our budget allocations should we wish to remain effective.