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198710001 - Umatilla Anadromous Fish Habitat - CTUIR

Sponsor: Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Budgets: FY07: $372,245 | FY08: $385,085 | FY09: $405,960

Short description: Instream and riparian habitat restoration for fisheries and wildlife in the Umatilla River Basin.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $326,000 | FY08: $326,000 | FY09: $326,000

Comment: The project sponsors are to work with the Council and others to structure an ISRP/Council review of the coordinated subbasin activities in the Umatilla at some point in the next two years.

ISRP final recommendation: Not fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

Because of the high level of management intervention (pumping, trucking, hatchery releases), the Umatilla projects need to be reviewed as an integrated program. This program is not currently scientifically justified because of the inadequacy of the tie of M&E to management actions, especially in terms of monitoring and the water pumping issues. For example, the issues of trucking the fish need to be explored in terms of effects on mortality and stress. What is the evidence of wild smolt production from the hatchery migrants? The sponsors claim that declining survival is the result of factors other than potential failure of habitat restructuring. They should show that the result is related to these other factors. Ineffective habitat treatment was not eliminated as the cause. Returning adults and number of redds are subject to out-of-basin factors as well as habitat factors that affected survival as juveniles. To be effective, habitat restoration measurements need to be viewed in the context of natural watershed conditions and fish population monitoring, as well as compared to similar measurements from a reference stream without restoration. Until data are presented to show it to be otherwise, it is faith rather than science that permits a conclusion that changes in habitat have caused increased run-strength. The data presented in response Figure 1 provided no meaningful answer to questions regarding the habitat work. To gain some scientific credibility, sponsors could at least try to provide comparative data from an untreated system to help account for out-of-basin affects. Pointing to modeled results from EDT is not enough. EDT permits formulation of a hypothesis regarding habitat quality, a hypothesis that then needs to be tested. The response from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) was not as thorough or as useful as that from related work by ODFW on 198710002, with whom they supposedly coordinate. However, one assumes the same response within 19871002 applies here. The separation of tasks by the two agencies remains confusing, and one of convenience rather than purpose, despite the reasons given. The call for presentation of results in terms of fish response has gone unheeded in both responses. There remains the need to fully develop the effectiveness evaluation of habitat improvement work, and there seems a need for professional assistance towards this process. There is no evidence that an increase in salmonid carrying capacity or productivity is a result of this work. They note, “The obvious increase in the total number of spawners is no doubt due partially to improved habitat…” But without treatment and control data this cannot be confirmed. Indeed, it is the other reasons stated (removal of passage barriers in addition to out of basin factors), particularly the latter, for which variation in adult returns likely exists, and as noted in the former fisheries literature. To repeat, the limiting factors appear to primarily relate to out of basin factors and fish passage within the basin and to flows. The relationship with irrigation and pumping of water remains confusing. An on-site subbasin review is needed. This project and others like it are individual parts of what the Council has referred to as the “Umatilla Initiative.” As such, none of them is a stand-alone project that can be subjected to scientific peer review on its own merits, but the projects need to be reviewed in the larger context of a plan for restoration of anadromous fishes in the Umatilla Basin. The ISRP’s recommendation of “Not Fundable (Qualified)” for the set of projects that constitute the Umatilla Initiative is explained under project 198343600, Umatilla Passage O&M.

Response loop edit

See the sponsor's revised proposal from the response loop. You'll be taken to CBFWA's proposal system in Section 10 where most sponsors uploaded revised narratives or other responses to the ISRP comments.

State/province recommendation: Fundable, but at a reduced level

Review group: OSPIT - Plateau

Recommended budgets: FY07: $359,245 | FY08: $359,245 | FY09: $359,245

Comment: OSPT proposes reducing the budget by $13K from FY07 proposed to eliminate work in lower priority areas. Flatlined out years to FY07.