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200714900 - Pend Oreille Nonnative Fish Suppression Project

Sponsor: Kalispel Tribe

Budgets: FY07: $596,785 | FY08: $405,591 | FY09: $400,959

Short description: The focus of this project is to recover native salmonids in the Pend Oreille River watershed. Primary recovery actions are nonnative fish removal and reinvasion prevention.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $596,785 | FY08: $405,591 | FY09: $400,959

Comment: ISRP fundable in part:Fund consistent with ISRP comments - fund objective 2 (Manage Nonnative Species), and not objective 1.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable in part

Comment:

There are two distinct components of this proposal: lake trout posing a threat to bull trout in Priest and Upper Priest Lakes, and brook trout posing a threat to cutthroat trout in tributaries. The brook - cutthroat trout portion (Objective 2) is Fundable. This stream work (Lower Graham Creek barrier reconstruction and Cee Cee Ah Creek antimycin treatment) seems justified, and both activities have a reasonable chance for success. Reviewers agree with proposal authors that the controversy regarding proposed use of fish toxicants is a major issue and can only be successful if community members are involved from the onset. These work elements are supportable but need better M&E description. Reviewers note that the program for eliminating or reducing exotic fishes in these situations is appropriately accompanied by methods to prevent them from reinvading. On other hand, the proposed actions intended to benefit bull trout by suppressing lake trout (all of Objective 1) are Not Fundable. In the preliminary review, the ISRP wondered if it is not likely that bull trout in the lake are already beyond recovery. The response did not present factual evidence regarding that issue, instead indicating a certainty that "members of the Subbasin Work Team, OC, and Technical Coordination Group considered the adequacy and probability of lake trout netting for bull trout recovery prior to incorporating these action items into the Subbasin Plan." The response restated that the removal goal of this project would be to remove 90% of the lake trout from Upper Priest Lake, consistent with the Subbasin Plan. The ISRP notes the following regarding the status of bull trout in Upper Priest Lake, from the 2003 IDFG report by Liter and Maolie. The 1999 population estimate was 116 adults, with no juveniles being caught. In 2002, the fifth year of gillnetting to remove lake trout, the "situation appeared to worsen for bull trout" when 836 lake trout were netted and the ratio of lake trout to bull trout in the nets was 93:1. In the absence of more recent evidence to the contrary from the project sponsors, coupled with reviewers' experience with the dynamics of lake trout predation, the ISRP must take the position that, while the activities proposed are in good faith and lake trout assuredly pose a serious problem, the actions are being proposed 20 years too late to benefit bull trout. In the original proposal there was not convincing evidence put forth that either the deepwater trap netting in Upper Priest Lake, or the employment of a strobe light in the Thorofare to deter lake trout reinvasion of Upper Priest Lake, had a reasonable chance for success (and for the effort to benefit bull trout, both those activities would need to be successful). The response provided more detail on the strobe light system proposed as a deterrent to lake trout movement and reviewers agree that trial applications could have merit but only if they were part of program with a reasonable chance of benefit to bull trout. There was no additional information put forth in the response regarding details of the proposed deepwater trap netting in Upper Priest Lake or an appraisal of whether goals would be achievable and adequate for bull trout recovery.

State/province recommendation: Fundable

Review group: Intermountain

Recommended budgets: FY07: $596,785 | FY08: $405,591 | FY09: $400,959

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