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199802100 - Hood River Fish Habitat

Sponsor: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon

Budgets: FY07: $699,852 | FY08: $699,825 | FY09: $699,799

Short description: Implement habitat improvement actions in the Hood River subbasin that will support wild fish and supplementation efforts of the Hood River Production Program (HRPP).

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Capital

Recommended budgets: FY07: $487,000 | FY08: $530,000 | FY09: $538,000

Comment: Address the ISRP concerns in the annual reporting of results to Bonneville, in terms of benefits to fish. Capital component.

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $212,852 | FY08: $169,825 | FY09: $161,799

Comment: Address the ISRP concerns in the annual reporting of results to Bonneville, in terms of benefits to fish. Expense portion. See capital budget for capital component.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

A history of watershed assessment and prescription within the Hood River indicates good planning, based on previous Provincial reviews, and has served as an example for other studies. Lacking to date, however, is an understanding of results in terms of benefits to fish. There is an ongoing fish M&E effort in the subbasin that this project might have drawn from, but benefits to fish and wildlife were not indicated in the proposal or response. The lack of fish data and results within the proposal or the response is viewed by the ISRP as a serious concern. In addition, the reporting of activities towards achieving project goals was lacking, and only a short list of activities exists for the time since commencement (1998). The response leads to the ISRP recommendation of "Fundable (Qualified)" with the qualification that sponsors: (a) develop and implement monitoring and evaluation of the fish response to their habitat-related actions and (b) assess the extent to which the residualism of hatchery steelhead is resulting in the displacement of wild fish from Hood River habitat. It is expected that much of both tasks will be done in close conjunction with projects 198805303 and 198805304. There is a need to evaluate the biological benefits of the work because some of the work might be confounded by residualized steelhead. It is important to ensure that the benefits to wild salmon and steelhead are fully realized. Effective investigation is required to document the assumed benefits, at least from some representative sites. Furthermore, a more comprehensive demonstration of the scale of work needed in the subbasin relative to the ability to reach their objectives is required, and some indication of where they are on achieving their goals. No solid evidence of an increase in fish production (smolt yield or wild parr densities) is presented. More detail on the project sponsor’s response is provided here below with questions from the ISRP original review followed by ISRP comment on how well the sponsors responded. 1) “There is no discussion of how fish populations have changed as a result of project activities.” The response was brief and inadequate. A limited amount of data on steelhead (only) smolt trends was presented in three figures, which indicated that there has been no detectable response that could be attributed to habitat improvements. The typical response was "not determined at this time" or "project not completed." 2) “It is recommended that the proponents submit an addendum that states clearly what benefits have accrued from the expenditures to date, before further funding is agreed. What is the in-stream juvenile response?” In the response, benefits were briefly discussed, largely based on assumptions about the fish response to habitat work. No data on the instream juvenile response was indicated. 3) “What is the impact of residual males? What is the interaction with the habitat improvement work and its evaluation?” A description of the smolt release and monitoring process was briefly described. There was no indication that an adequate search and evaluation of residualized steelhead occurs – the assumption is that fish that fail to leave the acclimatization site (released elsewhere) represent the residuals, but there may be many residuals that leave the acclimatization site with smolts but then remain in the river, with the consequences previously described in our review. There remains a need to explore this and its interaction with habitat work. The information provided in the response disagrees with information provided by Underwood et al. (2003), to which the response refers. Under “Hatchery Residuals,” Underwood et al. (2003) report: “An uncertain number of released hatchery steelhead residualized and did not contribute to the adult steelhead fishery or spawning population. Little data were available to estimate this proportion. However, Blouin (2003) found that up to 30% of parents of F1 generation steelhead returning to the Hood Basin had not in previous years passed Powerdale Dam. This indicated that a potentially substantial amount of steelhead returns to the Hood Basin were strays, or a large amount of steelhead production was being derived from resident rainbow trout or residual hatchery steelhead. Steelhead straying in the Hood Basin was thought to be low, and the degree of residualism versus anadromous production from resident rainbow was unknown, so we conservatively assumed that 5% of the released hatchery steelhead residualized.” They go on to estimate that a hatchery residual had the potential to displace approximately 10 wild parr. An estimated 5% rate of residualization among releases of very large numbers of hatchery steelhead smolts equates to a potential for several thousand residual parr, thus a substantial impact to wild parr and to utilization of wild parr habitat and the improved habitat from this project. Many of these residual parr likely die or contribute little to wild production after displacing wild parr.

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 - Gorge

Recommended budgets: FY07: $499,000 | FY08: $496,900 | FY09: $493,500

Comment: OSPIT notes the potential to leverage 200K from other funding sources (OWEB) and recommends reducing the budget by 200K each year from proposed levels. Reduced funds will cut one of the passage barrier removal projects each year, and will reduce the BPA contribution to the Central Canal Project in 2007, a fish screen project in 2008, and a habitat project on the East Fork in 2009.