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199501100 - Chief Joseph Kokanee Enhancement

Sponsor: Colville Confederated Tribes

Budgets: FY07: $599,802 | FY08: $681,642 | FY09: $599,802

Short description: Ongoing project to assess status and interaction of wild origin kokanee in the blocked area. Enhance wild kokanee using fry plants, spawning channel, and instream egg plants. Conduct limited feasibility studies regarding egg take and spawning channels.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $512,871 | FY08: $512,871 | FY09: $512,871

Comment: ISRP fund in part: funding continues but part of funding contingent on outcome of a workshop with the ISRP to address ISRP concerns. If project sponsor decides to pursue artificial production (Obj 1, work element 3) then implementation is dependent upon favorable step review.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable in part

Comment:

The ISRP reviewed the revised proposal, noting the withdrawal of the deepwater spawning components. The reviewers acknowledge the historical and cultural significance that kokanee hold for the project sponsors, and the reviewers support the overall thrust of the project in "preserving the natural origin kokanee stocks in Colville Tribal reservation streams (San Poil and Nespelem rivers) and other tributaries capable of supporting natural origin kokanee." Overall, project results of this decade-long endeavor have generally been thin or (as in the case of strobe lights to reduce entrainment) negative, reflecting the many difficulties faced in managing kokanee in the Lake Roosevelt system. Portions of the proposed workplan involve inventory or improvement of passage for natural origin kokanee and are found to be Fundable. Those efforts appear in the revised proposal as both of the two work elements (planning and inventory of natural origin kokanee) under Biological Objective 1, and Work Elements 1 and 2 under Biological Objective 3. The latter two work elements would determine the feasibility of providing spawner access to lower Barnaby Creek and then design and construct access structure if feasible. Reviewers maintain that there is no demonstrated scientific basis for an endorsement of the other portions of the actions proposed, namely Biological Objective 2, to supplement current kokanee stocks using artificial production, and Work Element 3 under Biological Objective 3, to conduct a feasibility study of spawning channels in the Nespelem and San Poil rivers. The latter work element is not accompanied by any discussion or supporting information and thus is Not Fundable; the "supplementation" objective is likewise viewed as Not Fundable, as discussed below. The sponsors use the term supplementation but propose to conduct the operation in a way which does not truly embody the concept, and which is basically harvest augmentation. They state that “the fundamental assumption behind the theory of supplementation is that hatchery fish returning to the spawning grounds are ‘reproductively similar’ to naturally produced fish.” The sponsors go on to say (a) they will use (instead of stream-specific fish) “an in-basin stock that is currently being reared as part of the Lake Roosevelt Kokanee Hatchery Program” and (b) the intent is to “artificially produce sufficient salmonids to supplement consistent harvest . . .” As developed elsewhere in the Columbia Basin, supplementation is proposed to increase the naturally reproducing population of a specific stream to a level at which it will sustain itself. The idea is to use the specific stream’s adults as parents for hatchery production of young, and then release those young into the same stream with the objective that some will return there to spawn and increase that stream’s natural production. Regardless of what it is called, it appears that hatchery-reared kokanee are already being released in Big Sheep Creek and perhaps other stream sites. If so, that should be reported. The ISRP does not support funding the release of hatchery-reared kokanee in Big Sheep Creek, West Fork San Poil, and Gold Fork as proposed for FY 07-09. The proposal does not adequately justify the action and does not provide enough detail for reviewers' consideration. Questions arise, such as how many wild kokanee remain in these streams? What is historic and current harvest? Why did the wild kokanee run decline? Can the causative factors be rectified? Could enough hatchery-produced kokanee be expected to survive the predator bottleneck where the streams enter the reservoir? The discussion of the barrier problem on Barnaby Creek showed that if conditions are "right" kokanee will come. The barrier is effective in most years but passable with high flows such as occurred in 1997 when 800 to 1000 fish escaped to the stream. In light of these results, any future consideration of any supplementation/harvest augmentation should include a focused discussion of the causes for what was concluded to be low production in these streams and an M&E plan that has measurable goals, with objectives and strategies that are clearly linked to the goals.

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: $473,749 | FY08: $473,749 | FY09: $473,749

Comment: Withdrew hatchery upgrades. Reduced budget by $126,053 FY07, $207,893 FY08, $126,053 FY09.

State/province recommendation: Washington

Review group: Washington list

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

Comment: See Washington guidance