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200305000 - Evaluation Of Reproduction Of Steelhead

Sponsor: University of Washington

Budgets: FY07: $320,447 | FY08: $259,894 | FY09: $259,978

Short description: Evaluate the individual reproductive success of naturally spawning hatchery steelhead relative to that of native wild steelhead using genetic tools and methods.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $320,447 | FY08: $259,894 | FY09: $259,978


ISRP final recommendation: Fundable


In many ways, this is a model project and proposal that tackles critical uncertainties with a clear design, modest budget, and a stellar publication record. The technical section of the proposal provides an excellent review of the issue of hatchery-wild fish interaction that summarizes the available and relevant literature and presents the project in context to issues of concern within the Columbia and elsewhere. Previous and positive past ISRP comments apply. Results from the project are applicable systemwide, thus the work is recommended as fundable, highest priority. A benefit includes the fact that the project is well underway and already has two to three generations of pedigree and fitness data available for analysis. The region should take advantage of this opportunity. It will provide data much sooner than other proposals that are in planning stages. A thorough summary of the history of this project, including bumps along the way, was provided. Monitoring efforts have improved continually and further evaluation has occurred. This is a rare opportunity to evaluate hatchery spawning effects on a wild steelhead population, and of particular significance to Washington steelhead culture and segregation projects. Continued work is justified, and most work to date is published, in press, or shall be submitted to peer-reviewed reports. This proposal offers opportunities to monitor essentially all the genetic issues raised in regard to hatcheries. This project is out-of-basin but addresses the specific objectives on relative fitness of wild and hatchery steelhead, thus is highly relevant to the Columbia River Basin with notable strengths and applicability. Objectives are to evaluate relative reproductive success, and the proponent's publication record indicates that the information will be useful to subbasin plans with similar supplementation experiments or interests. The proposal also describes how sponsors have reached out to other supplementation researchers to foster an ongoing dialogue. We support this and encourage its continuation. The project was compared to others in the basin (e.g., Hood, Abernathy) and outside the basin (Minter, Hamma Hamma; no mention of Keogh), and an integration of studies has begun (the proponent should provide a report of the workshops). Project documentation would benefit by a letter from WDFW Forks Creek facility documenting their continued support of and participation in this project. No doubt they do.

State/province recommendation: MS: High Priority

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $320,447 | FY08: $259,894 | FY09: $259,978

Comment: 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. Also, these projects may need to be considered ongoing monitoring rather than research. The MSRT would like some assurance that this work is not being duplicated within other projects funded within the Program.