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198201302 - Annual Stock Assessment - Coded Wire Tag Program (ODFW)

Sponsor: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW)

Budgets: FY07: $245,680 | FY08: $250,593 | FY09: $255,604

Short description: Apply coded-wire tags to production releases of coho and Chinook salmon at ODFW Columbia Basin hatcheries for stock assessment of hatchery and wild salmon populations. Evaluate survival, contribution and stray rates of hatchery reared salmon.

view full proposal

Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $228,775 | FY08: $228,775 | FY09: $228,775

Comment: Interim funding pending further Council consideration of regional monitoring and evaluation framework.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

This well-written proposal is one of three projects (ODFW, WDFW, USFWS) that coordinates and funds tagging at ten Oregon hatcheries as part of the regional coded wire tagging (CWT) program. An excellent background section, the same as presented in the WDFW proposal, explains the need and utility of the coded-wire tagging program and how it addresses the issues of basin wide stock assessments and the monitoring and evaluation of hatchery production. It contains a very good description of the different fish marking methods. It clearly explains the basic assumptions of CWT marking and directly addresses several questions about CWT raised by the ISRP in its 2000 review. The sponsors provide a useful review of technical and scientific information on the coded-wire tagging program. The 18-year history of the project is well described. A good narrative history of the project describes how project results have been used to modify and improve hatchery operations. It also describes the utility of understanding factors influencing variability in survival. Tables summarize the numbers of fish tagged over the life of the project, results of quality-control checks on tagging, and funding history. The narrative also discusses some of the challenges that have been addressed along the way. Disposition of the data on tagging is described. Overall, the proposal presents a good interpretive explanation of the program and its evolution over time that supplements information provided in the "answering ISRP questions" section. The proposal contains a clear description of the significance of CWT to the region through its contribution to more accurate, complete and accessible data. It describes the wide range of uses for the data produced by the CWT recovery program. It relates the program to the Fish and Wildlife Program and to the BiOp-required Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans. The proposal identifies the other CWT projects to which it is directly related, giving a clear description of how these projects interrelate to form a comprehensive monitoring program. The goal of the CWT Program is to ensure comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of all Columbia Basin Hatchery salmon production. The proposal also describes other agencies that use the data and the management forums that depend on the data for run-size forecasting and harvest allocation. It describes some of the multiple subbasin projects that use the CWT data. The CWT program is a strong collaborative effort. Each coded-wire tag group represents a portion of the total hatchery production for the species. Multiple tag groups at each hatchery represent different production scenarios, such as one portion of the production released at a different time or size than another portion. This specific objective, and the means to achieve it and other marking objectives, may be affected by a new basinwide-marking plan currently under development by the co-managers in the Columbia Basin. Although this plan is currently under development, additional marking and sampling likely will be required. Much of that expanded work will require the use of the CWT coupled with electronic tag detection sampling programs. The proposal makes the point that the ability to meet the project’s overall objective may be affected by changes in the basin-wide marking plan currently being developed by co-managers. In the introduction to the objectives section the proposal makes the point that this is an M&E project whose purpose is to provide information necessary to monitor, evaluate and manage salmon harvest and hatchery programs. By itself, it does not have a biological objective. The section describes how this project contributes to achieving the objectives of the Fish and Wildlife Program and BiOp through many related projects. Still, even though the description is clear, objectives for accomplishing the work this project does in the course of providing this information could have been specified. Later in the "work elements" section four appropriate "overall objectives" are specified. Methods are well described in detail. Error checking is a routine part of the tag application and data collection process. The project is a long-term monitoring and evaluation project focused on providing information for the M&E of a range of other projects and programs. The information will be used to monitor and evaluate progress toward regional biological objectives, and provide the information necessary for adaptive management of salmonid populations and their habitats. The project contains elements of project effectiveness monitoring throughout in tag checking, data error checking, annual evaluations of tagging and recovery, annual evaluation of hatchery practices that lead to recommendations to change. The history and "answers to questions" sections provide additional examples of how this has occurred. There does not seem to be specific evaluation of the CWT marking process itself although otolith checks were used in a past effort. The proponents state, "there has been considerable statistical research that now provides guidelines on tagging levels and models for evaluating variability...(several papers cited)...but also say much more statistical work, however, remains to be done." It would be useful to have needed work identified. It would also be useful to know whether there has been any progress in solving the problem of underestimating tag loss (because this is assessed only in the first five days post tagging). Clarifications and adjustments to the proposed methods, objectives, and budgets by the sponsor in consultation with the Council and BPA might be needed given the recent reductions in salmon fisheries where CWT hatchery fish might be recovered. What will be the impact of the 2006 South of Falcon fishery reductions on the integrity of the data? What are the sampling implications of the fishery reductions?

State/province recommendation: MS: Core Program

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $228,775 | FY08: $228,775 | FY09: $228,775

Comment: see 198201301