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199604300 - Johnson Creek Artificial Propagation Enhancement Project

Sponsor: Nez Perce Tribe

Budgets: FY07: $1,275,001 | FY08: $1,330,000 | FY09: $1,287,999

Short description: The Johnson Creek Artificial Propagation and Enhancement (JCAPE) project is a small-scale (100,000 smolts) supplementation initiative integrated with a monitoring and evaluation program designed to prevent the extirpation of the Johnson Creek stock.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $1,009,770 | FY08: $1,009,770 | FY09: $1,009,770

Comment: Fund at current production level (100,000 fish). Address ISRP concerns regarding monitoring results during contracting, also see Programmatc Issue: supplementation m&e.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable in part

Comment:

For the response loop, the project sponsor submitted a letter from BPA that listed BPA's existing ESA implementation commitments and an estimation of new work anticipated to be a priority in addressing limiting factors for ESA-listed fish. The Johnson Creek Artificial Propagation Enhancement Project is listed in a table attached to the letter. The BPA letter does not address the scientific issues raised by the ISRP in its review. The ISRP recommendation of "Fundable in part" from the preliminary review stands. The Johnson Creek Artificial Propagation Enhancement Project is Fundable in Part for one year (FY07) with subsequent annual funding contingent upon reporting of monitoring results and evidence of adaptive management decisions justified by the results. Sponsors also need to analyze and report on extinction risk. The annual report should be reviewed by an independent team. The ISRP's preliminary review comments (June 1, 2006) were: This is a long and complex proposal that richly documents its history including numerous iterative reviews by the ISRP. Significant exchanges have occurred between the project sponsors and the ISRP since the late 1990s and the removal of Johnson Creek from the ISS control stream status. The goal of the Johnson Creek Artificial Propagation Enhancement project is to reduce the demographic risk of extirpation of the ESA listed Johnson Creek summer Chinook salmon and begin its recovery through supplementation while maintaining genetic diversity of the artificially propagated summer Chinook salmon population and the natural population. The sponsors hope to increase adult returns through increased juvenile survival and improved homing in order to preserve and recover the Johnson Creek salmon population. The ISRP has long been critical of this project for a variety of technical reasons. Most of these have been addressed through the above described iterative review exchanges. A decision was made to initiate a supplementation program in Johnson Creek to increase the population size as it appeared to be at increasing demographic risk during the 1990s. Decision-makers must have concluded that removing Johnson Creek from the ISS study design would not compromise the objectives of the ISS. The current proposal redirects the Johnson Creek work to become an additional stand-alone assessment of supplementation. What is the reason for another stand-alone assessment? The sponsors have provided an excellent summary of the results of their project to date. The proposal is well done. Proponents should be commended for reporting and making these data available. The next step is to make adaptive management decisions on the appropriateness and scale of further supplementation. This discussion is absent from the proposal. The important data that the sponsors provide calls into question whether the supplementation program is providing any demographic benefit or whether it may be creating a demographic loss (page 24, Table 10). For both the 1998 and 2000 brood years, the female-to-female replacement rate was lower for supplementation than for natural spawning (6.99 vs. 6.95 for 1998, and 4.46 vs. 2.88 for 2000). In both these cases, more fish would have returned had the collected females been permitted to spawn in the wild than by bringing them into the hatchery. With results to date, the ISRP does not currently see justification for supplementing Johnson Creek. Moreover, this project could result in harm to the wild population based on the data reported. What are the limits to broodstock mining? Continuing the project with adequate monitoring may only be valuable in better understanding the problems with supplementation. The proponents provide appropriate evidence that the summer Chinook population in Johnson Creek has decreased over the past 50 years. The purpose of supplementing the population is to reduce a risk of extirpation of the population. What is needed to more fully justify the action is a quantitative assessment of the likelihood of extirpation within specific timeframes. This should be followed by a presentation of the level of demographic support from supplementation that would be required to reduce this risk; i.e., how much supplementation at specified performance levels would lead to a 10, 20, 30, 40% etc. reduction in the risk of extirpation? This provides a context for comparing the project to alternatives. If for example, the population has a 50% chance of extirpation in the next 25 years, will we only reduce that chance to 40% under the expected performance of the supplementation program? Finally, this type of analysis would logically lead to clear performance thresholds by which to judge the artificial production portion of the program. While it is clear (p. 29) that natural origin adults are used for broodstock, it is not clear whether adults of hatchery origin are also used for brood stock purposes. This should be clarified. Supplementation in its strictest sense (RASP) would rely solely on natural origin adults. This project has changed from what it was first intended to be. It is now viewed as a stand-alone assessment of supplementation rather than as a part of the ISS assessment program. It appears that several issues that were contentious in the recent past have been resolved. Benefits of the program are unknown at this point, but objectives seem vague in terms of reducing the risk of extirpation - by how much, in what timeframe. They also are vague with respect to adaptive management loops to modify, expand, or terminate the supplementation. The monitoring indicates they are adding contrasts between supplemented and unsupplemented reference streams, but no detail for this contrast is provided. It is still unclear just how supplemented and unsupplemented "reference" streams will be compared. The reliance on contrasts of supplementation with natural fish within Johnson Creek are informative but not sufficient to evaluate demographic or fitness benefits or losses from supplementation. Evaluation for the project is dependent on suitable data from reference streams, but available streams are not free from stray fish from adjacent supplementation programs. The sponsors have made information from the project available for independent review. The identification and magnitude of adverse outcomes for non-focal species is unknown.

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: Snake

Recommended budgets: FY07: $1,009,770 | FY08: $1,009,770 | FY09: $1,009,770

Comment: Referenced as currently Implementing BiOp UPA in June 1, 2006 Delwiche (BPA) letter to Whiting (NPCC). Revised request results from deferring genetic parentage analysis and dropping EMAP sampling of habitat and juveniles.