Response for project 199703800: Listed Stock Chinook Salmon Ga

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

Renewed funding is desired for FY 2006 at the proposed level of $308,447. The budget is consistent with Bonneville's approved budget and, depending on cost increases for 2006, should be adequate to continue gamete collections at the current level. However, if 2006 cost increases are greater than anticipated, especially for personnel (health benefit costs), indirect rate and transportation (increased fuel costs), gamete collection effort would be reduced and this will reduce the number of gamete samples that can be collected, transported and cryopreserved. Significant cost increases absorbed over the previous three years of flat funding for items such as personnel, transportation, liquid nitrogen and indirect costs would require an increase of 3% (approximately $9,000) in order to ensure collection efforts similar to the previous years. Budget reductions to fund increases in fixed costs (liquid nitrogen, personnel benefits and supplies) must come from other non-fixed line items such as transportation and travel. Reduced funding for these line items will limit the collection effort and reduce the number of gametes collected.

Accomplishments since the last review

Utilizing work elements 98, 118, 119, 132, 141, 157, 160, 162 and 165 the following accomplishments were performed from 2001 through 2004. 2001 – Collected, transported and cryopreserved gametes from 398 male chinook salmon and 295 steelhead. Performed fertility trial using gametes collected in 2001; ave fertility–26.5%. Performed genetic analysis of DNA collected from fish that contributed gametes using microsatellite markers. Maintained inventory of 2526 gamete samples in long-term storage. Prepared and uploaded 2000 Annual Report. 2002 – Collected, transported and cryopreserved gametes from 286 male chinook salmon and 283 steelhead. Performed fertility trial using gametes collected in 2002; ave fertility–36.3%. Performed genetic analysis of DNA collected from fish that contributed gametes using microsatellite markers. Maintained inventory of 3095 gamete samples in long-term storage. Provided cryopreserved gametes to ODFW for use in the Imnaha River hatchery production. Prepared and uploaded 2001 Annual Report. 2003 – Collected, transported and cryopreserved gametes from 266 male chinook salmon and 90 steelhead. Performed fertility trial using gametes collected in 2003; ave fertility–32.7%. Performed genetic analysis of DNA collected from fish that contributed gametes using microsatellite markers. Maintained inventory of 3451 gamete samples in long-term storage. Prepared and uploaded 2002 Annual Report. 2004 – Collected, transported and cryopreserved gametes from 252 male chinook salmon and 125 steelhead. Performed genetic analysis of DNA collected from fish that contributed gametes using microsatellite markers. Maintained inventory of 3821 gamete samples in long-term storage. Prepared and uploaded 2003 Annual Report.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Utilizing work elements 98, 118, 119, 132, 141, 157, 160, 162 and 165 the following goals will be accomplished in 2006. Spring 2006 – collect gamete from ESA-listed populations of steelhead in the Snake River Basin Summer/Fall 2006 - collect gamete from ESA-listed populations of chinook salmon in the Snake River Basin Fall 2006 – Conduct fertility trials using gametes collected in 2006, genotype and conduct genetic analyses using DNA collected from fish that contributed gametes to the gene bank. Maintain inventory of gamete samples in long-term storage. Prepare and upload 2005 Annual Report.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

Biological problem statements, objectives and limiting factors in the Salmon River subbasin. Page 21. Aquatic objective 1B. Achieve goals defined in Table 6 for the Salmon subbasin through the application of artificial propagations programs. Minimize short- and long-term genetic, ecological and life history effects on wild populations. Page 23. Strategy 2A1. Preserve the genetic integrity of existing wild stocks in the Salmon River subbasin. Apply gene conservation measures (cryopreservation) to prevent irretrievable loss of genetic diversity. Page 24. Strategy 2A2. Continue ongoing and develop new programs in areas where intervention has already occurred…. Support the refinement of genetic preservation techniques such as captive broodstock, cryopreservation and artificial propagation. Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Plan. Page 113. Objective 2A – Method 3. Apply gene conservation measures (cryopreservation) to prevent irretrievable loss of genetic diversity. Page 121. RM&E releative to Artificial Propagation Projects. 2. Refine genetic preservation techniques in conservation hatchery and conventional hatchery programs, captive broodstock programs and cryopreservation programs.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The Technical Team agreed that a scientifically valid prioritization was not possible until certain biological information (e.g., basic egg to fry, par presmolt, etc) was available and any prioritization attempts would be more of less meaningless until out-of-basin effects were addressed (Salmon Subbasin Management Plan - SSMP, page 153). In addition, the Technical Team agreed that complexities associated with a subasin as large as the Salmon River subbasin made it unfeasible to prioritize between watersheds and therefore focused on environmental limiting factors. The weakness of this approach is that it does not adequately address or balance biological limiting factors within the prioritization framework (SSMP, page 154). This project is strictly biological in scope and therefore the priority was not adequately addressed in the Prioritization section of the subbasin plan. Using a biological approach outlined in other sections of the subbasin plan, the prioritization of work conducted in this project include, 1) benefit to multiple species, both anadromous and resident; 2) objectives focus on multiple subbasins within the Snake River basin (Salmon River, Clearwater River, Grande Ronde, Imnaha River and Tuccannon River subbasins); 3) long-term effectiveness and; 4) the project takes actions toward correcting the loss of diversity caused by localized extirpation of species or persistent small population sizes.

Other comments

Snake River salmonid populations have experienced significant decline in population numbers over the past five decades with chinook salmon and steelhead now listed as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In spite of a considerable population protection and monitoring effort by management agencies, recovery of these populations has not been successful. The Listed Stock Salmonid Preservation Project utilizes cryogenic technology in a comprehensive genetic resource management approach to preserve gametes of those salmonid populations (conservation units) at low levels of abundance and high risk of extirpation. The goals of the gamete preservation project are 1) to preserve and maintain salmonid population genetic diversity, 2) as an insurance policy against population collapse and extirpation, 3) for ongoing artificial propagation programs and 4) to preserve genetic material for future management options. The abundant returns of Chinook salmon and steelhead observed in the previous four years appeared to reduce the need for the long-term preservation of gametes. However, a low return of spring Chinook salmon in 2005, with an extremely low return of jacks (indicating even lower returns for 2006), indicate that recovery is in no way assured and provides justification for this project in minimizing the risk of extirpation of unique salmonid populations in the Snake River basin.