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199404300 - Lake Roosevelt Fisheries Evaluation Program (formerly Data Collection)

Sponsor: Spokane Tribe

Budgets: FY07: $1,171,031 | FY08: $1,219,306 | FY09: $1,239,716

Short description: The primary task of the LRFEP is to monitor the performance of the Lake Roosevelt hatchery programs. Other tasks included assessing hydro-operations and other factors that may impact hatchery and native fish and reservoir productivity.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $1,171,031 | FY08: $1,219,306 | FY09: $1,239,716

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable

Comment:

The proposal is substantially improved from those of the past and now is beginning to more clearly identify the serious problem that management of the aquatic resources of Lake Roosevelt poses. Technical information regarding the scope and nature of the problem is more adequately presented here, as it is in the new Guiding Document prepared for Lake Roosevelt. There should be a continuation of this more rigorous analysis of results and potentially a redesign of the program to assess whether fishery desires are realistic given the community dynamics and physical constraints in the system. Much future improvement is needed in such critical analysis, with more targeted monitoring, and better-organized proposals. Lake Roosevelt managers face a daunting political task in trying to satisfy a diversity of (sometimes conflicting) user groups, given an artificial water body containing a mix of target species and other organisms that is largely unnatural. The response brings this out and shows they are contending with the situation about as well as could be reasonably expected. Responses were requested regarding two issues: the role of walleye and the role of rainbow trout. The proposal left reviewers concerned that the scientific credibility of the project seemed to be compromised by the complex mix of variables and the hope that fishery benefits for kokanee and rainbow trout can be enhanced without altering the predator populations. The response provided some clarification regarding the issue of walleye management. The additional information about walleye size distribution was helpful. Reviewers appreciate the sponsor’ intent to make a series of gradual regulation changes (that are politically acceptable) to reduce walleye numbers and thus reduce their predation on kokanee. Lacking in the response, however, was an assessment of the extent to which the increased bag limit will affect walleye abundance. Also, reviewers repeat the comment regarding the limited value of relative abundance estimates and note that sooner or later a better estimator of predator (especially walleye) abundance will be needed. Regarding rainbow trout, the response provided evidence that expanding the rainbow trout netpen rearing project would be expected to have minimal negative effects on kokanee, and reviewers concerns are dispelled. The netpen project, that this project provides technical support to, would increase redband rainbow production and move toward an entirely triploid release of rainbow trout. These are reasonable and supportable efforts. The ISRP recommends that only female triploids be stocked, because male triploids (in mixed sex production lots) will engage in courtship behavior with native trout, possibly leading to gamete waste (from the native trout). The ISRP notes that standardized Quality Assurance/Quality Control protocols are not yet established for using sterile female triploids to provide recreational angling in waters inhabited by native trout. Large-scale production of triploid female rainbow trout is not 100% effective. Sponsors should have the production lots they stock evaluated for the percentage of triploids, and report this as part of the project monitoring. The efficacy of avoiding hybridization between stocked and native trout is unknown when less than 100% of the stocked fish are triploids. Ongoing evaluation of hybridization in contemporaneous native trout populations will be needed in the future. Stocking triploid females to provide recreational angling in regions with highly sensitive native populations is not yet justified. See Kozfkay, J. R., J. C. Dillon, and D. J. Schill. 2006. Routine use of sterile fish in salmonid sport fisheries: are we there yet? Fisheries 31(8):392 - 401. Reviewers acknowledge their awareness of the historic and cultural significance of kokanee for sponsors in the Lake Roosevelt system. Reviewers’ perception of the kokanee situation is that the project is trying to counteract the extremely poor results from stocking hatchery kokanee mainly by trying "fixes" of the hatchery and stocking program -- and some changes in harvest regulations. None have been adequate yet, and it is far from convincing that any of those proposed will be effective. A new approach is noted in the proposal that would more closely mimic the wild kokanee population, and that appears a more defensible position. Reviewers suggest that project personnel continue to investigate whether it is reasonable to try to have a kokanee fishery in the lake proper, other than that provided by naturally reproducing fish. Evidence to date suggests (to reviewers) that, in the face of entrainment losses, artificial production of kokanee is likely futile until the walleye population is managed appropriately (which probably cannot be done) and until lake water levels can be better managed for kokanee spawning. Great improvement was seen in information transfer. It is commendable to see material being published in major scientific journals.

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

Review group: Intermountain

Recommended budgets: FY07: $1,171,031 | FY08: $1,219,306 | FY09: $1,239,716

Comment: No change to proposed budget.

State/province recommendation: Washington

Review group: Washington list

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: See Washington guidance