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199801600 - Salmonid Productivity, Escapement, Trend, and Habitat Monitoring in the John Day River Subbasin

Sponsor: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW)

Budgets: FY07: $997,800 | FY08: $1,034,705 | FY09: $1,082,220

Short description: Research monitoring and evaluation project that monitors anadromous salmonid status and trends in life-stage abundance, survival, and distribution and status and trend in their habitats.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $700,000 | FY08: $700,000 | FY09: $700,000

Comment: Budget reductions not specific. Project to be implemented with reduced scope. Sponsors should take the ISRP comments into account.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

This is a large and well-designed data collection project promising important information on key species in the basin. Strong benefits to anadromous and resident fish over the long term should result from ongoing monitoring of population status and trends and of habitat restoration effectiveness. This project is to continue monitoring in the sub-basin, identified as a priority watershed in the 2000 BiOp, to quantify status and trends of fish populations. Index sites identified in the 1960s are still monitored and the project has expanded beyond index sites to include census surveys of all known spawning habitat. The proposal is to quantify status and trends of Chinook and steelhead populations and their habitats in the sub-basin. Benefits to non-focal species could result from ongoing monitoring of population status and trends and of habitat restoration effectiveness. The trapping and surveys have the potential to provide considerable information on other species if planned properly. It would be useful to make certain that they see and gain these side benefits from the extensive (and expensive) sampling involved. Previous data from the project have been used by NOAA’s Technical Recovery Team. The project cooperates with the Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership (PNAMP), provides juvenile steelhead data to BOR research, data on bull trout to BPA project, smolt data to the Comparative Survival Studies, and habitat data to the Nature Conservancy. There is ongoing discussion of collaboration potential with other ODFW projects. The proposers are well qualified and experienced for this work. The project's objectives are defined over monitoring areas (e.g. life-cycle metrics, spawner escapement, habitat) and tied to strategies of the SBP. Appropriate methods are described in detail for each objective and related to specific work elements with detailed deliverables and timelines. Appropriate literature is cited. The proposed probabilistic sampling and BACI experimental designs are linked to the Fish and Wildlife Program, ISRP recommendations, NOAA, BOR, and Streamnet database development, the 2000 BiOp RPAs for monitoring and the subbasin plan. BACI is used to evaluate effectiveness of restoration activities. The proposal includes clear descriptions of sampling issues, history, and development of approaches. The proposal is weak on analysis procedures and how the data will be used to inform management activities (i.e., adaptive management). Strong collaborations in data provision and compliance monitoring mean that information is routinely transferred among collaborators. Information is also transferred through reports and provision of data to regional databases. Outreach publications and peer-reviewed journal articles may also be appropriate. The budget seems high even for the fairly ambitious work planned.

State/province recommendation: Fundable when money available

Review group: OSPIT - Plateau

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

Comment: OSPIT notes the subbasin rating, the ISRP review, and the Bi-op designation, but budgetary restrictions and the expensing of two formerly capital projects have severely impacted the John Day budget. OSPIT recognizes the critical importance of this project and the status and trends information that is provided. This project provides essential data for the viability assessments needed for recovery planning and for annual-long term status of John Day Basin Chinook and steelhead populations. In addition this project provides smolt to adult survival rates that are a cornerstone for the Comparitive Survival Study(CSS). Without this project the CSS project will not have the data to conduct upstream-downstream population comparisons and no annual abundance estimates will be possible for the steelhead and chinook populations. Should funding become available, this project should be considered.