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198909600 - Genetic Monitoring of Snake River Chinook Salmon and Steelhead

Sponsor: Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Budgets: FY07: $513,210 | FY08: $527,980 | FY09: $543,280

Short description: Direct and indirect estimates of reproductive success. Estimate selection gradients in hatchery and wild. Monitor changes in hatchery, natural (supplemented), and wild (unsupplemented) populations. Evaluate effectiveness of hatchery supplementation.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $483,525 | FY08: $483,525 | FY09: $483,525


ISRP final recommendation: Fundable


Although the proposal is fundable, the ISRP emphasizes that the results need to be used in regional analytical forums; e.g., NOAA’s Technical Recovery Teams (TRTs). The proposal could be improved by showing how the data from this project have guided adaptive management of recovery and implementation strategies. Technical and scientific background: There is good explanation of the need to use this data to assess the natural spawning by hatchery salmon and steelhead in the Grande Ronde and Imnaha subbasins. Testable hypotheses are included. It is less clear how more genetic data can serve to guide TRTs and others in the broader survey of populations. Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: Five uncertainties from the Fish and Wildlife Program are identified in the narrative as being addressed by this proposal. The uncertainty over relative fitness of hatchery fish spawning in the wild (point 1) is well presented by the proposal. The remainder of the uncertainties are either questionably justified (point 2), partially covered (3 and 5), or not clear (4). The project could be strengthened by integration between this project and the monitoring and evaluation it supports for other agencies and tribes and by clarifying these applications of the data. Project history: The history of the project is well described, and the milestones properly identified. The sponsors have a good track record of publications in the peer reviewed scientific literature. Less compelling is the evidence that the information being developed is making its way to guiding management decisions. Objectives: It is not clear from the bulleted list below biological objective 1 (Describe demographic, evolutionary, and population genetic relationships) what demographic relationships mean or how they will be assessed. Evolutionary and population genetic relationships are clear, however. Information transfer: The sponsors publish peer-reviewed work on salmon genes and lead development of standardized protocols for cross validating genetic data. There is little evidence however, that management decisions have been guided by the work to date. For example, has the captive broodstock work in the Grande Ronde been thought about differently, or the use of captive broodstock justified or reinforced as a result of the data collected by this project? The sponsors themselves note that more effort has been requested by cooperators to assist with information transfer. Data from this project have been used extensively by the Interior Columbia Technical Recovery Teams (TRT) to develop the independent populations and ESU boundaries for the Snake system. The ISAB was critical of the depth to which that data was analyzed in the TRT work. The sponsors only cite Myers (1998) and Busby (1996) as status reviews that used data from the project. Those references are now outdated, and new status reviews have been performed. It would be useful for the sponsors to identify how the recent NOAA hatchery review and status review update used data from this project.

State/province recommendation: MS: High Priority

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $483,525 | FY08: $483,525 | FY09: $483,525

Comment: This project has been ongoing for possibly 17 years. What have we learned so far? The project established a baseline genetic framework and is now filling in more specific genetic information on particular stocks. This project should be grouped with similar efforts to insure no redundancy and appropriate priorities. The underlying research into reproductive success of salmon and steelhead is a Core Program need. Which projects should be funded to address the critical management questions cannot be determined by the MSRT. The ongoing reproductive success projects are ranked High Priority as an understood need, but how each of these projects are addressing specific management questions needs to be fully explained.