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200202700 - Forecasting Hydrosystem Operations to Benefit Anadromous Fish Migration

Sponsor: US Department of Energy (DOE)

Budgets: FY07: $446,547 | FY08: $451,931 | FY09: $454,888

Short description: The project sponsors propose to apply state-of-the-art computer models that describe the complex power-generation, hydrodynamic, and water quality environment in the lower Snake and lower Columbia rivers and to relate this information back to impacts on migrating salmon.

view full proposal

Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable

Comment:

This proposal is intended to link results of individual hydraulic, power generation, water quality, and particle tracking models (some of which have been in use for several years) to improve the forecasting/optimization abilities for anadromous fish. The investigators would validate the hydrodynamic and water quality models, and apply the models to the 2008 salmon migration period. In addition, improved visualization techniques will be developed. This proposal does a good job of outlining the values of the individual models and the combined model suite. With the possible exception of the FINS model that puts them all together, the individual models have been tested and accepted in the basin. The linking of hydrodynamic and water quality models should begin the movement to a more dynamic management of the hydrosystem. The proposal provides discrete systematic objectives, with reasonable timelines. Quantifying impacts of hydrosystem operation will decrease the uncertainty about the effects of flow augmentation and load following, and will help optimize spillway discharge, make tradeoffs in alternative volume allocations, and forecast alternative watershed conditions. The investigators will file project reports and, if appropriate, publish in peer-reviewed journals. Also, they will explore making their results available in near real time, which would be of great value to managers of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS). However, they have not been very good about communicating their results in the past -- mainly a handful of project reports and proceedings. The proposal could be improved by providing more details about the biological benefits and the adaptive management aspects. They talk about the need for a three-dimensional model but state they are going to use a two-dimensional model. Salmon are treated as passive particles, which can be problematic. There will be limits to how this can actually be applied. Even with the limits of the fish components of this model, exploration of the physical components of the model will be useful. This effort should get better as time and knowledge progresses. For load following, they might need shorter duration than eight-hour periods. It is good that they are looking at this. A better understanding of the dynamics of the hydrosystem and better control of temperature and dissolved gas enabled by these models would benefit both anadromous fish and non-focal species.

State/province recommendation: MS: Recommended Action

Review group: MSRT

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

Comment: This is a new project. This is a follow up project to a BPA 2000 BiOp project addressing RPA 143. The original phase of the project covering the four Snake River reservoirs has completed. RPA 143 and the UPA anticipated extension of the temperature model selected by the Water Quality Team, CEQUAL-W2, down to Bonneville Dam. The initial portion of this project proposes to do so but is a component of a larger effort addressing load following/peaking operations and fish movement. This project will develop a computer model to predict the hydrograph under different flow simulations, linking several other existing models (mostly hydrodynamic and temperature models). Several MSRT members view this project as primarily benefiting power operations, and only secondarily benefiting fish. The non-temperature portion of the proposal requires a policy change affecting hydro operations.