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199700400 - Resident Fish Stock Status Above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dams

Sponsor: Kalispel Tribe

Budgets: FY07: $622,049 | FY08: $692,120 | FY09: $663,233

Short description: The Joint Stock Assessment Project goals are to assess the current resident fish and habitat conditions of the blocked area and implement management recommendations based on research results.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $622,049 | FY08: $682,120 | FY09: $663,233

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable

Comment:

The basic design of this project is collaboration; project staff subcontract many work elements with WDFW, STI and CCT. The proposal is well-written and clearly traces the history of the project. Recent efforts have been actively improving the program by a) standardizing and upgrading data collection techniques and experimental design and b) making data more available, primarily on Streamnet. Reviewers note and applaud significant progress. That said, future activities need to begin another upgrade, namely a gradual shift in project justification. In its previous review the ISRP commented that the Panel will be looking for clear descriptions as to how managers are using the data generated, and that comment is being repeated more forcefully here. Project justification must begin to move from the current "fill data gaps" to something more scientifically meaningful, more cost-effective, and more likely to benefit fish, fish habitat, and resource managers. That means a focus on limiting factors, looking for opportunities (especially those that are time-critical) to gather data to help the resource managers actually preserve and restore the most important habitat/populations. Refer to the ISAB's report: A Review of Strategies for Recovering Tributary Habitat; ISAB 2003-2: www.nwcouncil.org/library/isab/isab2003-2.htm. To date, project efforts seem to focus on reporting "activities performed," but should be placing more emphasis on "results obtained." Unfortunately project activities in recent history have largely been to document the invasion of one exotic fish species after another, which seems a fact of life today in the region. Proposed objectives seem reasonable for burbot and redband trout. The planning for, and discussion of, census techniques for proposed Spokane River project seems very well considered. However, the value of diet analysis and bioenergetics modeling for northern pike seems of low management value. Such work has been done repeatedly elsewhere and would not seem needed to assess the situation. Project staff is encouraged to increase their level of publication in peer-reviewed literature in the future.

State/province recommendation: Fundable

Review group: Intermountain

Recommended budgets: FY07: $622,049 | FY08: $682,120 | FY09: $663,233

Comment: Reduced by $10,000 in FY08. Correction of error in proposal budget.