Response for project 199900301: Salmon Spawning Below Lower Co

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The FY 06 budget is consistent with the budget for FY 06 recommended by BPA and the Council. However, while it is consistent with the recommended budget, it precludes activities that would prevent the dewatering of newly discovered chum spawning locations (such as the site Below Bonneville Dam near Interstate 205). The original scope of work also limits our studies below The Dalles and McNary Dams until spawning populations are discovered there. In FY05 fall Chinook were identified spawning there. The USFWS requires an additional $96,000 to minimally address these issues. Additionally, due to the high cost of fuel, PSMFC is significantly under-budgeted for boat Operation and Maintenance. We are asking to double the cost per boat trip from $60/trip to $120/trip which would add $9600 to the Operation and Maintenance budget for PSMFC. The USGS requests an increase of $15,000 to cover increased costs of gasoline and to purchase more acoustic tags to evaluate the effects of increased water levels on chum salmon spawning behavior and success. Comprehensive budget estimates to address these and other funding deficiencies will be made within the new FY07 Proposal process.

Accomplishments since the last review

Develop RM&E Methods and DesignsMaintained Remote Water Level Recording Monitors (1998-present). Water level and temperature recorders capable of remote data access will be maintained near fall chinook and chum salmon spawning sites downstream from Bonneville Dam (including I-205).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataCollected use and nonuse data for spawning fall Chinook and Chum Salmon as well as rearing fall chinook. Data collected was used to build a logistic regression model to develop probability models. 2000-2002
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataCollected Physical data necessary to construct hydrodynamic model below John Day Dam (2003-2004).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Collected Data from 2 Remote Recording Water Level Monitors (2004-2005).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataConducted Deep Water Fall Chinook Redd Surveys Below John Day Dam (2002-2005).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataConducted Fall Chinook Diel Spawning Habitat Use Surveys below John Day Dam to determine the temporal distribution of fall chinook spawning (2005).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataConducted Reconnaissance level Deep Water Fall Chinook Redd Surveys below McNary and The Dalles dams (2002-2005).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataCollected data to construct a new and spatially comprehensive Chum salmon hydrodynamic model from Below Bonneville Dam to Interstate 205 (2004-2005).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataDocumented and mapped 214 fall Chinook salmon redds and 776 chum salmon redds (2002) and mapped 190 fall Chinook salmon redds and 262 chum salmon redds (2003) in the Ives/Pierce island complex (peak counts).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataCharacterized emergence timing and length at outmigration for juvenile Chinook and chum salmon below Bonneville Dam (2003-2004).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataDocumented and mapped 336 deepwater fall Chinook redds below Bonneville Dam (2003) and 293 (2004). Characterized substrate near deepwater redds and collected velocity data near select redds (2003-2004)
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataVerified that chum, chinook and coho fry were stranded in the Ives/Pierce island complex as a result of river flow fluctuations.
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataEstablished 3 additional temperature and water level telemetry stations providing real-time temperature and water level data to the fish passage center to be used by the agencies to improve emergence timing estimates (2004).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataCollected spawning area subsurface grainsize and permeability distribution (24 freeze cores and slug tests at 8 Ives Island locations; 2004).
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab DataCollect diel behavioral data on spawning chum salmon (2003)
Mark/Tag AnimalsApplied CWTs to 10,076 juvenile fall Chinook salmon captured in the Ives/Pierce island complex (2003); applied CWTs to 24,657 juvenile fall Chinook salmon captured in the Ives/Pierce Island complex (2004)
Mark/Tag AnimalsTag 27 chum salmon with acoustic tags to evaluate water level changes on spawning behavior (2004)
Manage/Maintain DatabaseMaintained and Updated Internet-Based Data Access to Habitat models for Fisheries/Hydrosystem Management (2004-2005).
Disseminate Raw & Summary DataProvided Chum Habitat and In-season Management Data to Managers (1998-present)
Disseminate Raw & Summary Data
Disseminate Raw & Summary DataMaintained real time empirical data and analyses on the Fish Passage Center website (2003-2004).
Disseminate Raw & Summary DataProvided in-season hydrosystem management recommendations to salmon managers and hydrosystem operators regarding spawning habitat conditions and flows required for chum salmon to complete incubation and emergence.
Analyze/Interpret DataConducted Hydrodynamic Modeling below Bonneville Dam encompassing the areas used for spawning and rearing by fall Chinook and chum salmon
Analyze/Interpret DataQuantified Habitat for Fall Chinook and Chum Salmon Spawning and rearing below Bonneville dam (2002)
Analyze/Interpret DataWithin a Geographical information system (GIS) we modeling spawning and rearing habitats as probability coverages for the likely range of river flows (90-160 kcfs) below Bonneville dam (2002).
Analyze/Interpret DataConducted Preliminary Hydrodynamic Modeling below John Day Dam (2003-2004).
Analyze/Interpret DataProduced population estimates for adult fall Chinook salmon and chum salmon in the Ives/Pierce island complex (2003-2004).
Analyze/Interpret DataEvaluated spawning habitat quality based on grainsize distribution and riverbed permeability (2004).
Analyze/Interpret DataAnalyzed effect of Bonneville Dam operation on hyporheic flow and temperature gradients; statistical and graphical analysis of temperature and water level data from Ives area piezometers (2004-2005).
Analyze/Interpret DataQuantified diel differences in chum spawning behaviors (2003)
Analyze/Interpret DataQuantify flow-dependent changes in juvenile fall Chinook rearing habitat (2004)

The purpose of this project is fourfold: (l) Document the existence of fall chinook populations spawning just below Bonneville, The Dalles, John Day, and McNary dams; (2) profile stocks for important population characteristics; including spawning time, emergence timing, emigration size and timing, and juvenile to adult survival rates, and relate these population characteristics to river flows and water temperatures; (3) determine habitat requirements that are necessary for successful fall chinook and chum spawning and rearing in the mainstem Columbia River; and (4) conduct chum spawning ground surveys from The Dalles Dam downstream. It is not possible to summarize in the narrative space provided all the accomplishments that have been made since the last Council review in 2003. Rather, we have summarize task specific accomplishments in the metric/work element format provided.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

The primary goal of this project remains unchanged since the last review, and is to collect data concerning fall Chinook and chum spawning just below the four lowermost Columbia River mainstem dams so that the hydrosystem can be managed in a manner to protect and enhance these spawning populations. Specifically, during FY06 the project goals are to: Continue to document evidence of fall Chinook and chum salmon spawning in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam, determine if fall Chinook and chum salmon are spawning successfully in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam, and collect biological data to profile fall Chinook and chum salmon spawning in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam and determine stock origin. Determine emergence timing, emigration time, and size for fall Chinook and chum salmon rearing in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam and mark juvenile fall Chinook salmon captured in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam with coded-wire tags to determine juvenile to adult survival rate. Continue to monitor Ives Island area intragravel water elevations to identify redd dewatering. Document and map chum salmon spawning in Washington and Oregon tributaries from The Dalles Dam downstream, and develop population estimates for spawning chum salmon in the tributaries. Conduct deep water redd surveys below Bonneville Dam, John Day Dam, The Dalles Dam, and McNary Dam. Validate Hydrodynamic/Habitat model constructed below John Day with FY06 use data and propose Dam Operations to optimize spawning Habitat for mainstem fall Chinook Salmon. Continue to collect data necessary to construct a new and spatially comprehensive Chum and Fall Chinook salmon hydrodynamic model from Below Bonneville Dam to Interstate 205. Conduct a second year of Fall Chinook diel spawning habitat Use surveys below John Day Dam. Complete Ives area hyporheic data analysis and interpretation activities and submit results to peer reviewed journals. Conduct a second year of evaluating the effects of high experimental flow on chum salmon behavior.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The project is consistent with and implements Habitat Strategies EH.S4 and Habitat Measures EH.M4 (Lower Columbia Salmon Recovery and Fish & Wildlife Subbasin Plan Volume 1 – Regional Plan pages A-245 and A-246), Hydropower Strategies D.S1 and Hydropower Measures D.M2 (Regional Plan page A-248), and Harvest Measures F.M5 (Regional Plan page A-251). Further, the supplement to the Lower Columbia River Mainstem management plan identifies the two most important strategies (page 2-1): 1. Reduce the effects of the Columbia River hydrosystem. 2. Protect and restore habitat The supplement also identified several key physical objectives in support of each strategy, including “Maintain favorable water flow and temperature throughout mainstem incubation, spawning, and migration periods” (page 2-6), and “Protect existing rearing and spawning habitat to ensure no further net degradation” (page 2-9). While not yet accepted, the Lower Mid Columbia Mainstem/Habitat Subbasin plan addresses Fall Chinook needs. This plan however does not include provisions for the mainstem spawning fall Chinook discovered spawning below The Dalles and McNary Dams in November and December of 2004. This new research has not yet been published and size of the populations have not yet been quantified. The Lower Mid Columbia Subbasin Plan does mention 1043 redds estimated to have been excavated in 2003 but does not include any provisions to protect or enhance the population. The projects objectives are closely related to the management plan strategies and objectives identified above, and will continue to address critical data gaps that must be filled in order for the subbasin management plans to effectively implement strategies that will rebuild and maintain healthy fall Chinook and chum salmon populations.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The project accomplishes priority work under the subbasin plan and is directly referred to in the plan on page A-248, under D.M. “Fall Chinook and chum salmon have recently been observed spawning naturally in the Columbia River mainstem below Bonneville Dam; these spawning aggregations represent an important component of natural production in the lower river. Fluctuating water levels could be negatively impacting this population through redd dewatering, lack of access to prime spawning areas, and stranding of juveniles. It has become apparent that data concerning this population is necessary to determine how flows and temperatures might effect this population and to develop management plans to protect these stocks. This project addressed RPA Action 15, 156, and 199 under the NOAA Fisheries 2000 FCRPS BiOp and would continue to contribute to the ESA commitments made by BPA and the FCRPS Action Agencies under NOAA Fisheries’ revised 2004 BiOp. The objectives of this project are consistent with the near-term RM&E hydrosystem targets included in the FCRPS Action Agencies’ 2005-2007 Implementation Plan (IP). The project is specifically listed for continued implementation in Table 22 of the IP and would help provide status monitoring for restoring Columbia River chum and fall Chinook salmon spawning habitat.

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