Reviews, narrative and other documents for proposal
199800702: Grand Ronde Supplementation: Lostine River Operation and Maintenance and Monitoring and Evaluation
ISRP final recommendation: Meets Scientific criteria? In Part
General Comments For the most part, the proponents have adequately addressed the ISRP's comments, providing comprehensive responses to some of them, most notably the discussion of “results.” The response was well organized and clearly presented. The proponents continue to take ISRP comments in a productive spirit to make their proposed work more transparent and subject to productive evaluation. We commend the proponents for also clearly identifying how and where the narrative was revised. Comments on Responses to Specific ISRP Questions 1. “Clearly identify additions to this proposal from the basinwide RME strategy” - This ISRP comment was adequately addressed. The proponents identified and discussed two major additions to the project from the basinwide RME strategy. One of the additions, extended operation of the weir, is crucial for estimating hatchery and natural adult fish abundance and managing outplanting of hatchery fish above the weir. The other was an evaluation of details of the captive brood program. 2. “Provide in the proposal the goals and objectives for hatchery and natural production in the Lostine River that are components of the NEOH Master Plan. How do the objectives relate to AHA and the HSRG recommendations?” - Objectives for hatchery and natural production in the Lostine River that are components of the NEOH Master Plan are now more clearly identified (Table 1). The proponents evaluated HSRG recommendations based on AHA for the Wallowa/Lostine and concluded that NEOH goals for the Wallowa/Lostine, TRT abundance recommendations, and obligations of the LSRCP were inconsistent with the suggested goals of the HSRG. Thus, the proponents have not adopted those goals. They are, however, using AHA as a complementary tool to assess various management scenarios. This approach appears reasonable and the proponents are wisely keeping in mind the assumptions and limitations of AHA identified in RIST. The proponents propose to "Manage population [presumably Wallowa/Lostine] for ... (PNI) of 0.67." and "Manage Lostine population for PNI of 0.5". These estimates need to be reconciled. Specifically, is the 0.67 level attainable if the PNI for Lostine only reaches 0.5? 3. “Present the results for each year of operation for each goal and objective related to natural and hatchery production, perhaps patterned after the NPT presentation at the supplementation workshop/symposium held in Orofino, ID. These results can be reported in a couple of pages with a table. We are not expecting and exhaustive report, but a manageable additions.” - Reporting of results was improved considerably over the original proposal. They were more detailed and included a better description of life history performance results and assessments of how well the project has met its goals to date. Management assumptions (Table 5), which in effect are objectives, could be more closely associated with defined project objectives (Table 4). How do the two relate? Can management assumptions be considered sub-objectives? 4. “Provide a self-assessment of meeting the goals. In particular, the proponents should rigorously evaluate and present convincing evidence that natural production could consistently meet or exceed escapement goals and in what time frame.” - The proponents provided a reasonable self-assessment of how well established project goals have been met. Some short-term goals have been met and other mid- or longer-term goals either have not yet been met or data is insufficient to determine whether they have been met. The proponents still did not define time frames for short, mid-, and long-term goals. Nor did they present evidence or a reasonable discussion of whether natural production could consistently meet or exceed escapement goals and in what time frame. This is admittedly difficult to assess, but it appears from the data presented that at this point in time, due to variability in population parameters, the likelihood that long-term goals can be met is unknown. The proponents definitely should provide time estimates for short, mid- and long-term goals. Otherwise they have little meaning and could be interpreted (or misinterpreted) in multiple ways. It is worth pointing out that the fish production that this project is evaluating is conducted under the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan (LSRCP) and negotiated in the US. v. Oregon production and harvest. The LSRCP anticipates a step-wise review of spring Chinook in December 2010, and steelhead and fall Chinook in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The sufficiency of the data collection and further evaluation of whether the overall effort is achieving the objectives of the subbasin plan and LSRCP will take place in that review. This project supports the NEOH monitoring design previously reviewed and supported by the ISRP. After the NEOH monitoring was designed the ISRP and ISAB further elaborated on monitoring supplementation projects, and the Ad Hoc Supplementation Workgroup has produced recommendations for standard monitoring of supplementation. The proposal states that monitoring in the Lostine, using the NEOH design, is consistent with recommendations for monitoring supplementation. However, in the data and monitoring design information presented in the proposal, there was an absence of discussion of whether abundance of natural-origin adults in the supplemented streams was contrasted to reference streams. The 2007 LSRCP annual report states that evaluation of spring Chinook supplementation in the Grande Ronde was unable to demonstrate a benefit to natural-origin adults. This is a critical evaluation that needs to take place in the Lostine. Figure 16 shows a trend line for annual redd abundance in the Lostine in contrast to the Minam. This contrast appears to be total redds. The appropriate contrast needs to account for redds produced from hatchery and natural spawners. 5. “Clearly identify the BiOp VSP parameters that are to be determined by this project and how precision will be established for the methods to be employed to estimate the parameters.” - VSP parameters were identified. The proponents, however, did not adequately discuss how precision of the methods for evaluating VSP parameters will be established, but instead referred to other documents. Assuming this documents adequately address the precision issue a brief summary or synthesis would complement the response.
from Apr 2010 ISRP 2010-10 report
Narrative and other documents
|199800702_Revised Narrative_March 25 2010.docx (narrative)|
|199800702_NPT Letter and Response to ISRP_March 25 2010.docx|
|Final Narrative for BPA Project 199800702.doc (narrative)|
ISRP preliminary recommendation: Meets scientific criteria? In Part
The project is important to efforts aimed at conserving/restoring spring Chinook salmon. It provides an opportunity to assess and evaluate how well artificial production succeeds/contributes to restoring a previously depressed local population. If successful, the population could be an important mid-basin component of the ESU. The project provides an M&E program that could be of both short term (prevent extirpation) and long-term (meet escapement goals for natural production) benefit to anadromous fishes in the Lostine basin. The fast track portion to upgrade and operate the weir is justified. However, the remainder of the project needs a response in the form of a revised narrative. In the response the proponents should: 1. Clearly identify additions to this proposal from the basinwide RME strategy 2. Provide in the proposal the goals and objectives for hatchery and natural production in the Lostine River that are components of the NEOH Master Plan. How do the objectives relate to AHA and the HSRG recommendations? 3. Present the results for each year of operation for each goal and objective related to natural and hatchery production, perhaps patterned after the NPT presentation at the supplementation workshop/symposium held in Orofino, ID. These results can be reported in a couple of pages with a table. We are not expecting an exhaustive report, but a manageable addition. 4. Provide a self assessment of meeting the goals. In particular, the proponents should rigorously evaluate and present convincing evidence that natural production could consistently meet or exceed escapement goals and in what time frame. 5. Clearly identify the BiOp VSP parameters that are to be determined by this project and how precision will be established for the methods to be employed to estimate the parameters. 1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships Lostine River spring Chinook have declined significantly in recent decades and now are a component of the Snake River spring/summer Chinook ESU listed as Threatened in 1992. This project is directed at preventing extirpation and increasing abundance of Chinook salmon in the Lostine through supplementation and is deemed by NOAA-Fisheries to be important for recovery of Snake River and Grande Ronde River Chinook salmon. The project also proposes to monitor status and trends of steelhead and bull trout populations in the Lostine basin. Apparently, little information on steelhead abundance and productivity is available for the Lostine River. Specifically, the program is to operate an adult trapping weir, support juvenile rearing at Lookingglass Hatchery and a smolt acclimation and volitional release program on the Lostine. The Grande Ronde Supplementation project (including Lostine O&M and M&E components) is an ongoing project that has been reviewed previously by the ISRP. The projects have received favorable reviews by the ISRP largely because they effectively integrate scientific monitoring directly into program designs. Recent "Qualifications" of the Grand Ronde project stated in the previous ISRP review are of particular relevance for the review of this proposal. These qualifications include: 1) need for enhanced (adequate) presentation of analyzed data and results (especially for adult return rates), 2) the need for the M&E portion of the project (project # 200713200) to be funded to justify the O&M portion, and 3) enhanced decision criteria that complement program assumptions in order to fully consider various potential management alternatives. The proponents point out that the Lostine project is a component of the Northeast Oregon Hatchery program, established through US v. Oregon and the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan. NEOH has undergone an ISRP Three-Step Review under the Fish and Wildlife Program. As well as a component of NEOH, the project is related to many other ongoing projects in the Snake Basin. Because so many of the projects are closely related, a better approach than reviewing projects individually might be to review the whole set of interrelated projects. The technical justification for the project could be improved. The problem description should have summarized the abundance of natural and hatchery fish in the watershed before the program began as well as trends to the present. The background section should clearly identify the new elements in the proposal that put it in the fast track portfolio. The proposal identifies BiOp RPAs and other action agency documents that recommend implementation of an M&E program and expect the project, at a minimum, to reduce the risk of extirpation of the extant natural Chinook population. Although the proposal provides some data that documents the depressed status of Chinook salmon in the Lostine River basin, it should present more comprehensively the data and analyses that support this conclusion. 2. Project History and Results The description of Project History is adequate. The project has been ongoing since 1994 and funded by BPA since 1998. To date, the project has been successful in achieving some of its objectives (Table 3 in proposal). The proponents state that NOAA-Fisheries concluded that the project prevented extirpation of the Lostine spring Chinook stock. It has met the short-term goal of maintaining escapement of combined hatchery and naturally spawning Chinook at above 250 fish. It has also enabled harvest by a tribal fishery. Its success at achieving the mid-term objective of maintaining an escapement of 500 naturally produced fish is less certain. This level of escapement appears to have been achieved, but only marginally, in five of eight of the most recent years (2001-2009). There is no clear trend of a sustained increase in escapement toward the long-term goal of 1716 naturally spawning adult Chinook, although positive trends toward the long-term escapement objective may require a longer time to manifest. It would be helpful if the proponents provided the time frame since inception of the project for achieving short-, mid-, and long-term goals. Given the above uncertainty, is it likely that the project is only going to be able to prevent extirpation through continued supplementation or is recovery of an unsupplemented naturally spawning population a real possibility? A useful exercise might be to determine whether the population would remain viable if current escapement trends (marginally meeting or below the goal) continue. The proponents should also seriously consider terminating planting of hatchery adults above the weir to determine if natural production can be sustained without augmentation or, alternatively, provide justification for continued augmentation Presentation of results of the project should be improved. A primary "Qualification" of past ISRP reviews has been the evaluation of the program's success by robust data analysis and reporting of results (relative to biological objectives, work elements, and hypotheses). The current proposal gives a first level of these required/qualified analyses in that return rates, harvest rates, escapement, etc. are provided. However, the ISRP remains interested in deeper analyses that demonstrate how well the program is meeting its goals and expectations. Therefore, this remains a qualification. The project also should clearly state the objectives and goals as established in the NEOH Master Plan and the FY07 project proposal. It was sometimes difficult to distinguish NEOH M&E goals and objectives from the objectives of this proposal as, apparently, they overlap. Clarification of this distinction and relationship would be helpful. Last January the ISRP attended a supplementation workshop/symposium held in Orofino, ID, sponsored by the NPT. In the symposium the presenters laid out the goals and objectives for fish culture (broodstock collection, spawning, egg hatch, etc) and post release goals. They then compared each of their projects to the program goals. The symposium included the Lostine project. The type of summary presented at that symposium needs to be included in the results section of this proposal. The ISRP also suggests looking at the presentation of results by the Warm Springs Tribe for Hood River steelhead and Chinook in their draft revised Master Plan. The presentation need not be ponderous, but it should be thorough. 3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods The objectives, work elements, and methods have largely remained unchanged. This is appropriate at this point to avoid complicating the design until a thorough evaluation and robust analysis of the data are performed to warrant adapting the program. The proposal would be strengthened considerably by a more comprehensive presentation of methods, particularly those related to collection of data on life history performances. More specifics are needed on how the proponents are going to achieve the data precision standards that are called for in the Comprehensive M&E strategy. The proponents have made an effort to quantify out-of-basin effects on adult returns to the Lostine. They are currently developing a model that will incorporate ocean conditions. To help determine the impact of out-of-basin factors and assess efficacy of supplementation in the Lostine basin, the proponents should consider comparing patterns and trends in abundance of the Lostine stock to reference streams such as the John Day which has been little influenced by hatchery introductions compared to other Columbia Basin rivers. An element of the objectives focuses on extended weir operation for steelhead. Although it is a minor element (opportunistic because the weir is already operated and maintained), it will provide tangible and logical support for the proponent's objective of monitoring adult steelhead returns. 4. M&E The program has a strong M&E component built into the O&M part of the project. The objectives for this project tie directly into broader GRESCSP and NEOH program objectives, as well. The M&E components of the proposal are critical to evaluating the Lostine portion of the Grande Ronde Chinook Supplementation program. The details regarding assurance that the methods will achieve BiOp RPAs and basinwide M&E for VSP parameters could be improved. To date, the project has been successful in achieving some of its short- and mid-term objectives, which is encouraging. Nevertheless, continued monitoring is necessary, especially to assess adult returns of naturally spawning Chinook. The results of the supplementation effort in regard to natural Chinook production are mixed. In some years returns of natural spawners have marginally met the established escapement goal. In other years it has been well below the goal. Escapement is variable, as would be expected, but the concern is that even the best adult returns appear to have barely exceeded the escapement goal and no sustained increase in escapement is evident.
from Feb 2010 ISRP 2010-7 report