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200723300 - Distribution and Abundance Monitoring of Oncorhynchus mykiss within the Lower Clearwater Subbasin

Sponsor: Nez Perce Tribe Dept. Fisheries Resource Management Watershed Division

Budgets: FY07: $373,367 | FY08: $350,615 | FY09: $350,615

Short description: Project will address the lack of spatial distribution and abundance data for the Lower Clearwater River subpopulation of the Snake River Basin steelhead DPS through electrofishing surveys conducted at probabilistically located sites.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $220,000 | FY08: $220,000 | FY09: $220,000

Comment: The reduced budget addresses the following: target 12 trend sites and 132 status sites in place of 18 trend and 198 status. Reduce crew size from four to three. Fund no personnel outside of field season. Fund no vehicles outside of field season. Fund no travel or training.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable

Comment:

This is a thorough, well-written proposal that is targeted on priority species and habitats. The methods should yield good quality data to help guide restoration and habitat management in the Lower Clearwater Basin. The summary of the geographic area and the lack of data on salmonids in these streams are emphasized. The proposal identifies that the subbasin plan calls for improving the data on status and trends of steelhead in these ignored habitats. It would be helpful to include the VSP metrics (abundance, productivity, diversity, and geographic distribution) for steelhead that is expected by the Interior Columbia TRT in these streams when "recovered." The proponents have developed linkages and potential collaborations with a number of key agencies concerned with the Clearwater Basin. There is good potential for integration. The goal of the project to assist in recovery serves as an overarching biological objective. The objectives are clearly defined, and measurable: "to obtain reliable data on abundance and distribution of steelhead in the Lower Clearwater Basin" The methods were well described and show that a lot of thought has gone into the proposed fieldwork. The use of randomized site selection and thoughtful consideration of fish sampling methods (open versus blocked sample areas, mark/recapture versus depletion estimation of abundance) is excellent. A minor comment, the proponents should consider a physiological measure (possibly lipid content) instead of the usual condition factor (Carlander 1969) that they propose. A missing element is evaluating upland watershed conditions that drive the status of the in stream habitat and likely the steelhead populations. Ultimately correcting these watershed elements is going to be needed. The project will primarily benefit steelhead because new data on these populations will be obtained. The information should stimulate further habitat restoration such as vegetation planting to control sediment (p. 5 of narrative). Preliminary observations indicate coho have expanded their range in the Basin, and if confirmed this could be an important finding providing benefits for coho salmon as well.

State/province recommendation: Fundable, but at a reduced level

Review group: Snake

Recommended budgets: FY07: $220,000 | FY08: $220,000 | FY09: $220,000

Comment: 2007 Revised Budget: target 12 trend sites and 132 status sites in place of 18 trend and 198 status. Reduce crew size from four to three. Fund no personnel outside of field season. Fund no vehicles outside of field season. Fund no travel or training. Purchase no backup equipment. FTE reductions/elimination.