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Project Summary

Project 1986-050-00 - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in the Lower Columbia River
Project Number:
1986-050-00
Title:
Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in the Lower Columbia River
Summary:
Project Overview: This project includes a series of closely coordinated and complementary activities being implemented in an orderly progression from initial problem scoping to full-scale restoration and mitigation in the Columbia River downstream from Lake Roosevelt, and in the Snake River downstream from Lower Granite Dam. The project has evolved from conducting research on white sturgeon in the Columbia River Basin to implementing mitigation activities based on research results, and monitoring the effects of mitigation activities.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (Govt - State)
Starting FY:
1987
Ending FY:
2018
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Mainstem - 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
RM and E
Focal Species:
Sturgeon, White - All Populations except Kootenai R. DPS
Sturgeon, White - Lower Columbia River
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 70.0%   Resident: 30.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None
BiOp Association:
None

Map of age-0 indexing locations in the Columbia River. Highlighted river sections indicate the reservoirs in which age-0 sampling took place during September and October of 2009.

Figure Name: Figure A-2

Document ID: P122512

Document: White Sturgeon Mitigation and Restoration in the Columbia and Snake Rivers Upstream from Bonneville Dam

Page Number: 13

Project: 1986-050-00

Contract: 50318

Map of Bonneville Reservoir in the Columbia River where white sturgeon sampling efforts were conducted in December 2008 by tribal fishers and Yakama Nation fisheries technicians.

Figure Name: Figure C-1

Document ID: P122512

Document: White Sturgeon Mitigation and Restoration in the Columbia and Snake Rivers Upstream from Bonneville Dam

Page Number: 66

Project: 1986-050-00

Contract: 50318

Map of Bonneville Reservoir in the Columbia River where white sturgeon sampling efforts were conducted in December 2008 by tribal fishers and Yakama Nation fisheries technicians.

Figure Name: Figure C-1

Document ID: P122512

Document: White Sturgeon Mitigation and Restoration in the Columbia and Snake Rivers Upstream from Bonneville Dam

Page Number: 66

Project: 1986-050-00

Contract: 50318


Summary of Budgets

To view all expenditures for all fiscal years, click "Project Exp. by FY"

Expense SOY Budget Working Budget Contracted Amount Modified Contract Amount Expenditures *
FY2017 (Previous) $1,336,827 $1,336,827 $1,336,809 $1,336,809 $1,492,748

General $1,336,827 $1,336,809 $1,336,809 $1,492,748
FY2018 (Current) $1,619,827 $1,619,827 $1,580,607 $1,580,607 ($108,438)

General $1,336,827 $1,304,459 $1,304,459 ($89,492)
Cost Savings $283,000 $276,148 $276,148 ($18,945)
FY2019 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 31-Oct-2017

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2017 - FY2019)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2017 Expense $1,336,827 From: General FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016
FY2018 Expense $1,336,827 From: General FY18 SOY Budgets 07/17/2017
FY2018 Expense $283,000 From: Cost Savings 1986-050-00 FY18 09/25/2017

Pending Budget Decision?  No


No Project Cost Share

FY2017 0 %
FY2016 0 %
FY2015 41 %
FY2014 43 %
FY2013 43 %
FY2012 46 %
FY2011 46 %
FY2010 45 %
FY2009 47 %
FY2008 43 %
FY2007 52 %
Fiscal Year Cost Share Partner Total Proposed
Contribution
Total Confirmed
Contribution

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Complete, History, Issued.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
326 REL 8 SOW Judith H Montgomery Communications WRITER-EDITOR SERVICES FOR WHITE STURGEON ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMEN History ($2,940) 9/1/2000 - 6/28/2002
8774 REL 2 SOW Judith H Montgomery Communications WRITER-EDITOR SERVICE FOR WHITE STURGEON ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT History $0 8/1/2002 - 3/10/2003
19342 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife PT 198605000 LOWER COLUMBIA WHITE STURGEON PROJECT History $1,286,061 10/1/2004 - 9/30/2005
24751 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 1986-050-00 EXP LOWER COLUMBIA WHITE STURGEON PROJECT History $1,383,867 10/12/2005 - 9/30/2006
29876 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 1986-050-00 EXP LOWER COLUMBIA WHITE STURGEON PROJECT History $1,229,736 10/25/2006 - 9/30/2007
BPA-003644 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - ODFW Active $19,981 10/1/2007 - 9/30/2008
BPA-004305 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Physical Habitat Active $10,107 10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009
BPA-004813 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in Lwr Col Active $10,572 10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010
BPA-005477 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Physical Habitat Active $9,466 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011
BPA-005535 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in Lwr Col Active $9,788 10/1/2006 - 9/30/2007
BPA-006311 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Eval Sturgeon Populations Active $7,317 10/1/2011 - 9/30/2012
BPA-007014 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Eval Sturgeon Populations Active $6,093 10/1/2012 - 9/30/2013
BPA-007450 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Pop. in L. Columbia Active $6,625 10/1/2013 - 9/30/2014
BPA-008430 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Pop. in L. Columbia Active $25,524 10/1/2014 - 9/30/2015
73881 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 1986-050-00 EXP EVALUATE STURGEON POPULATIONS LOWER COLUMBIA Issued $1,329,077 10/1/2016 - 9/30/2017
BPA-009672 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Pop. in L. Columbia Active $7,732 10/1/2016 - 9/30/2017
74313 REL 10 SOW Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 1986-050-00 EXP EVALUATE STURGEON POPULATIONS LOWER COLUMBIA Issued $1,572,857 10/1/2017 - 9/30/2018
BPA-010028 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Pop. in L. Columbia Active $7,750 10/1/2017 - 9/30/2018



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):17
Completed:15
On time:15
Status Reports
Completed:51
On time:21
Avg Days Late:8

Earliest Subsequent           Accepted Count of Contract Deliverables
Contract Contract(s) Title Contractor Start End Status Reports Complete Green Yellow Red Total % Green and Complete Canceled
4005 19342, 24751, 29876, 35494, 39233, 44565, 50318, 59559, 63186, 66928, 70076, 73881, 74313 REL 10 1986-050-00 WHITE STURGEON IN THE COLUMBIA Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 03/2001 03/2001 Issued 51 179 8 4 2 193 96.89% 0
BPA-005535 PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in Lwr Col Bonneville Power Administration 10/2006 10/2006 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-003644 PIT Tags - ODFW Bonneville Power Administration 10/2007 10/2007 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-004305 PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Physical Habitat Bonneville Power Administration 10/2008 10/2008 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-004813 PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in Lwr Col Bonneville Power Administration 10/2009 10/2009 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-005477 PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Physical Habitat Bonneville Power Administration 10/2010 10/2010 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-006311 PIT Tags - Eval Sturgeon Populations Bonneville Power Administration 10/2011 10/2011 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-007014 PIT Tags - Eval Sturgeon Populations Bonneville Power Administration 10/2012 10/2012 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-007450 PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Pop. in L. Columbia Bonneville Power Administration 10/2013 10/2013 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-008430 PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Pop. in L. Columbia Bonneville Power Administration 10/2014 10/2014 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-009672 PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Pop. in L. Columbia Bonneville Power Administration 10/2016 10/2016 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-010028 PIT Tags - Evaluate Sturgeon Pop. in L. Columbia Bonneville Power Administration 10/2017 10/2017 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 51 179 8 4 2 193 96.89% 0


Review: RME / AP Category Review

2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Assessment

Assessment Number: 1986-050-00-BIOP-20101105
Project Number: 1986-050-00
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-1986-050-00
Completed Date: None
2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Rating: Supports 2008 FCRPS BiOp
Comments: BiOp Workgroup Comments: No BiOp Workgroup Comments

The BiOp RM&E Workgroups made the following determinations regarding the proposal's ability or need to support BiOp Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RME) RPAs. If you have questions regarding these RPA association conclusions, please contact your BPA COTR and they will help clarify, or they will arrange further discussion with the appropriate RM&E Workgroup Leads. BiOp RPA associations for the proposed work are: ()
All Questionable RPA Associations () and
All Deleted RPA Associations ()
Proponent Response:

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1986-050-00-ISRP-20101015
Project: 1986-050-00 - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in the Lower Columbia River
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-1986-050-00
Completed Date: 12/17/2010
Final Round ISRP Date: 12/17/2010
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:
Overall, this is a highly worthwhile proposal outlining work badly needed for this species. The vulnerability of the naturally-spawning Columbia Basin white sturgeon is much greater than is widely appreciated. The proposed effort has great promise for providing key information necessary for sustainability of this species in the Basin.

The ISRP appreciates the extensive and thorough responses that the proponents have provided to our review comments, questions, and recommendations. However, we have two qualifications for the proposal.

Qualification 1. The qualification is regarding the ISRP’s preliminary comment/recommendation (#3): “Determine periodicity and extent of movements of movements to and from the estuary/nearshore ocean and its importance to population viability.” In response to this recommendation, the proponents have proposed two objectives that would require additional funding to implement – Objective (1). Apply micro-chemical techniques to sectioned fin rays of white sturgeon from the Lower Columbia River to reconstruct the movements of individual fish (over the lifetime of the fish) to and from the river, the estuary, and the ocean, and Objective (2). Use acoustic telemetry to examine fine scale spatial movement and seasonal habitat use of white sturgeon in the lower Columbia River, the Columbia River Estuary, and near-shore marine habitats including coastal estuaries both north and south of the Columbia River. The ISRP fully endorses the addition of these two objectives, along with adequate additional funding, and recommends that the proponents pursue addition of these two objectives to the project in negotiations with BPA and the Council. The qualification is that the ISRP wishes to be informed of the outcome of this process.

Qualification 2. It would seem that from the perspective of wild white sturgeon, a vital question is why reproduction and eventual recruitment are occurring below Bonneville Dam and why recruitment is almost non-existent above Bonneville Dam. After all, the fish below Bonneville, while remaining the linchpin of sturgeon in the Basin, are also affected by a dam and altered flows and habitat. The proponents have done a good job of suggesting some factors that might affect recruitment (e.g. flows, turbidity, etc.). The turbidity proposal seems of interest. One difference below Bonneville from above might be the lack of slack water and lack of standing water below; that might make young fish less susceptible to sight-feeding predation. It is important that effort be expended to identify what specific aspects of habitat lead to these differences below Bonneville versus the areas upriver and what factors may be amenable to operations changes, etc. and which might not. It would have been helpful in this proposal if the proponents had developed a hypothesis or two about what the limitations are in the pools above and outlined work to test hypothesis about recruitment, with the ultimate outcome of providing scientific information on recruitment in the pools above relevant to dam operations and such.

The qualification is that the ISRP recommends that the proponents add one or two hypotheses focused on testing recruitment limiting factors (e.g. flow, habitat, turbidity, etc.) for the below Bonneville population to compare with how those factors may affect populations above Bonneville.

These qualifications should be addressed in contracting with BPA and Council and addressed in future proposals.

Other ISRP Comments:
Harvest Management - Information on the fisheries provided in the response to ISRP Recommendation #6 has indicated that harvest management regulations have been quite static for these fish over the past decades (and longer). The harvest slot approach has had many beneficial effects, and despite limiting some data collection, has had a strongly positive effect. However, where harvest exists, collecting creel data on these very valuable fish is difficult and expensive because fishing seasons are long and areas are there are open are wide. The proponents provided information that percentages of the commercial catch in the pools above Bonneville Dam creeled are fairly high to high (58-80% of landings). The difficulties with sampling the sport fishery, however, are noted in the response. Although this suggestion is perhaps outside the scope of this proposal, the best way to more effectively and less expensively creel fish to effectively monitor these sport-caught fish and meet program objectives may be to develop some meaningful season area restrictions, as has occurred for sturgeon in some other locations. Such outside the box thinking might be pursued in cooperation with other agencies as part of sturgeon planning in this and other proposals. In that way, harvest could be concentrated spatially and temporally, the creeled fish concentrated in area and time, and creel data vital to maintaining these fish could be more easily obtained. One aspect of adaptive management is that regulations can be set to provide a successful positive feedback loop for data acquisition needed for research, monitoring and evaluation. For high valued individual fish such as sturgeon, such restrictions may be more easily justified and defended than for other species.

Effects of Hatchery Releases - Plans to monitor effects of hatchery releases are still not yet firmed up, and the proponents defer to those working on the Master Plan in Project 198605000. The ISRP believes that the proponents will continue to work in close collaboration with the latter group, and others, to help ensure a well-coordinated and timely completion of the Master Plan and wishes to be updated regarding these efforts.
First Round ISRP Date: 10/18/2010
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:
This is a long-term study that has been ongoing since 1986 and has evolved from a research study into almost exclusively a fisheries management and monitoring study as the proponents indicate, “The project has evolved from conducting research on white sturgeon in the Columbia River Basin to implementing mitigation activities based on research results, and monitoring the effects of mitigation activities. The primary objectives of the project are to ensure persistence of white sturgeon populations, restore and maintain population productivity in impounded reaches to levels similar to that in the un-impounded Lower Columbia River Mainstem, and to restore and ensure sustainable white sturgeon fisheries. Objectives are designed to restore white sturgeon populations in impounded areas so that they can sustain annual harvest or use equivalent to 5 kg/ha of surface area.”

During the most recent review for fiscal years 2007-2009, the project received favorable comments from the ISRP, acknowledging the project proponents and their subcontractors as “a group with good record of producing high quality technical reports and peer reviewed publications” and identified the project as “a key component in sturgeon stock assessment and management in the river above Bonneville (Dam)” and “worthy of high priority consideration.” The current proposal continues to propose important monitoring and stock assessment of white sturgeon in the lower Columbia River reservoirs. However, the ISRP notes that there remain a surprisingly large number of unanswered questions about the basic life history of white sturgeon, such as age-specific year class strengths, sex-specific reproductive periodicity, and periodicity of movements to and from the estuary or nearshore ocean and its impacts on estimated total fish present. The harvest management approach of protecting large females has protected many spawners amid these uncertainties but has also contributed to a sketchy understanding of the entire life history. There has evidently been too little sustained effort directed at this species in each reservoir and below Bonneville Dam.

The segment of the population below Bonneville Dam remains the linchpin of wild sustainability (and thus for overall sustainability) for the species in the river. In all other sections of the river basin, recruitment has proven to be poor, and despite the intense interest in sturgeon culture as a remedy, the long-term prospects for the species upriver are not clear. In addition, there is an acute need for truly coordinated research and management of the species in the basin, so that upriver hatchery mitigation efforts do not have a long-term negative effect on lower river efforts to sustain critical wild reproduction.

Detailed sex specific abundance-by-age data is needed to have a chance of learning what environmental factors lead to strong year classes. In addition, it is not clear that the proposed sampling will get at the idea of actual age-specific reproductive periodicity. The sample size of 150 fish may be adequate, but it may also be that such periodicity is not only sex specific (to be expected), but it may also change as the species ages. The linkages whereby the more-or-less traditional sampling proposed (length frequencies, etc.) will lead to actual insights into the status of sturgeon recruitment could stand to be clarified. Despite this very long-term study, it is not clear that age validation has progressed very far. In addition, there seems to be little in the proposal dealing with the total life history of the fish below Bonneville Dam, the lower river, estuary, and beyond.

The methods of stock assessment used for this long-lived fish species need to differ from those of traditional fisheries management for shorter-lived species. Creel census data adequate for most species may be inadequate for sturgeon. It may be that a much higher fraction of harvested fish needs to be included in a creel-census, not only to get sex specific age and condition information but also to get other internal information (lipid stores in organs, body walls, attached to gonads, etc. by age, sex and reach). The need for more complete information for this species with 50 or more recruited year classes is greater than for a species with 5 recruited year classes. The historical effort in the Columbia River for sturgeon, while better than in most other locations, has not been adequate for a high comfort level about the species’ long-term prospects, even in the lower river where they are still reproducing.

In view of these points, it would be beneficial if the proponents clarify in a concise response exactly how the sampling planned in this proposal will differ, be more complete, and be more effective in addressing the above information gaps (and others) than the sampling conducted a decade ago. Is there any new, “outside the box” thinking about these fish in this proposal, in management schemes, or are the changes from past proposals minor and incremental?

As an information point for the reviewers, it would also be useful to know how harvest regulations have evolved in the past decade (especially below Bonneville, but also in harvest areas above) to facilitate the more effective sampling needed for this species in the river. Has harvest been restricted not necessarily to curtail harvest but so that more effective stock assessment data can be collected? In view of the restricted harvest in many locations, it seems reasonable that high priority should be placed on detailed creel sampling of a higher percentage of harvested fish than typical for other species.

The ISRP requests a response, in the form of a revised proposal, to address the following comments and suggestions:

1. Develop a plan and protocols to improve knowledge of age-specific year class strength.

2. Develop a plan and protocols to improve knowledge of sex-specific reproductive periodicity.

3. Determine periodicity and extent of movements of movements to and from estuary/nearshore ocean and its importance to population viability.

4. Develop a plan to monitor and assess impact of hatchery releases on population below Bonneville Dam.

5. Develop a plan to improve inter-reservoir passage through lower mainstem dams.

6. Determine what it will take to creel-census a higher fraction of the harvest from lower reservoir populations.

The ISRP realizes that implementing a number of these items would extend the scope of the project beyond the current level of resources budgeted, but protecting and managing this valuable species requires this information.

Other ISRP comments:

1. Purpose, Significance to Regional Programs, Technical Background, and Objectives

This project continues to be responsive to regional programs including the Fish and Wildlife Program, several mainstem Subbasin Plans, the 2008 BiOp, and MERR Plan recommendations.

The technical background is well done with detailed use of available scientific literature. The proponents are clearly experienced sturgeon biologists and researchers.

Objectives:

Objective 1 - The proponents state: “The objective is to ensure the forecasted likelihood of white sturgeon to persist into the foreseeable future in three distinct Columbia River
Subbasins: The Columbia River Gorge (Objective 1a), the Lower Middle Columbia
River (Objective 1b), and the Lower Snake River (Objective 1c).” The proposal would be improved by a description of what a “forecasted likelihood” is - this is a pretty vague goal. Does “likelihood” have a statistical meaning?

Objective 2 is to “Restore and Maintain Population Productivity in Impounded Subbasins (3) to Levels Similar to that in the Un-impounded Lower Columbia River Mainstem. Is this a realistic approach given the role of amphidromy (or anadromy?) to the fish below Bonneville? It is not clear if the especially high level of productivity below Bonneville results from minimal or substantial use of estuary and nearshore rearing areas Similarly, it is not clear if historical growth and abundance of fish now restricted in upriver pools is related to feeding conditions there or to conditions farther downriver (e.g. the reach below Bonneville Dam and estuary/nearshore ocean productivity) whereby once fish are reproduced they might have a better chance of recruiting and a larger food supply. The proponents imply the year 1 white sturgeon are vulnerable to fishing (“they are within legal harvest size limits”). Data are required to defend this statement.

2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management

This long-term project has had significant accomplishments over time with many sound refereed papers and technical reports published. The quality of reports has been excellent and results have applied to objectives, although some goals have not been met because factors limiting recruitment have not been specifically determined. The development of an overall sturgeon conservation plan is still incomplete (although this is not the responsibility of this project) and this is disappointing, considering the ISRP has noted this acute need on numerous occasions.

Results of project findings are nicely summarized in the text and tables from 1986-2009, and adaptive management has been used as a guiding principle over the years.

3. Project Relationships, Emerging Limiting Factors, and Tailored Questions for Type of Work (Hatchery, RME, Tagging)

Project coordination and information sharing has improved and is now more extensive. Also in response to 2002 recommendations by the ISRP there have been improvements in white sturgeon life history knowledge by using active tags in research studies. However, in the project relationships section the proponents state: “The use of hatchery supplementation in the Lower Middle Columbia River may impact downstream populations through entrainment of stocked fish.” Although they do collaborate with fishery managers downstream of Bonneville Dam, this is an important issue and more focus on it would improve the proposal.

A key objective is to: “Restore and Ensure Sustainable Fisheries in the Columbia River Gorge, The Lower Middle Columbia River, and the Lower Snake River Subbasins.” This may be a laudable goal, but may also be a limiting factor. It is not necessarily clear that without continual stocking, such fisheries will resemble those of past years when today’s below-Bonneville fish had access to much more of the river. Without a planning document outlining the role of hatchery supplementation, it is not necessarily clear that a hatchery-sustained fishery would be more sustainable in the long term than a smaller, naturally reproducing stock (if this is possible).

Limiting factors are listed but understanding of specific factors which may be impeding recruitment still not specifically known – improve efforts here. The proponents mention focus on project monitoring linked to potential effects of climate change but do not include details for testing such effects.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

The project has an excellent record for reporting results. Monitoring methods in the proposal, however, are incomplete and not statistically based (i.e., no power analyses, sampling locations are not well described and methods of choosing sampling locations are not given). Comparing trawls to gill nets to set lines is problematic, but the latter two gear types are probably the only practical methods.

The proponents have concluded PIT tags are the marking methods of choice although they do mention scute marks as well. Statistical aspects of the PIT tagging are not well developed or included and should be detailed.

It is not clear how the physiological sampling of small numbers of fish for reproductive periodicity will get at overall stock periodicity. What are the sample sizes here for that work? In other places, this information has been obtained by a conventional tagging operation involving large numbers of caught and released fish. Is this method being used here also?
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1986-050-00-NPCC-20101104
Project: 1986-050-00 - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in the Lower Columbia River
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal: RMECAT-1986-050-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 6/10/2011
Recommendation: Fund (Qualified)
Comments: Implement with conditions through FY 2012: Sponsor to assist in developing a comprehensive sturgeon management plan for ISRP review as described in programmatic issue #7; and sponsor to address ISRP qualifications as part of the management plan. Implementation recommendation beyond FY 2012 based on ISRP and Council review of plan and proposed future work.
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: RMECAT #7 White Sturgeon—.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1986-050-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1986-050-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 3 - Does not appear reasonable
Comment: White sturgeon mitigation, including stock assessments, monitoring, and transplant supplementation; other entities authorized/required (fishery managers, other hydro operators); need confirmation that cost share sufficient.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1986-050-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1986-050-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1986-050-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1986-050-00 - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in the Lower Columbia River
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
This is an excellent proposal from a group with good record of producing high quality technical reports and peer reviewed publications. The project is a key component in sturgeon stock assessment and management in the river above Bonneville. It appears to be worthy of high priority consideration. The rationale for the work is well established, although the narrative is not very specific. The proposal adequately relates its work to the Council's Fish and Wildlife Program (2003 Mainstem Amendments), NOAA Biological Opinion, subbasin plans, and sturgeon plans. The proposal provides an excellent history. A considerable amount of high quality research has been completed, and many technical reports and peer-reviewed publications have been produced.

Although fundable in its own right and not requiring a response, the project may benefit from a few ISRP comments. As more knowledge about white sturgeon is obtained, and technical skill and technologies evolve, is the project still collecting the best information? Based on data generated to date, some of the stock assessment methods could be reviewed for possible improvements (e.g., obtaining sex-specific data). Are the pragmatic management strategies in this proposal keeping pace with the developing science of habitat requirements of the species? As other white sturgeon projects in the basin focus on obtaining data related to clarifying and resolving a "survival bottleneck" in the phase of early life history from egg incubation to early juveniles, does this project have relevant field information to share or study opportunities? What opportunities are there for collaborative research between this project's field crews and other sturgeon investigators? The project personnel have a history of innovative thinking and research that might be reactivated in light of recent developments in white sturgeon research elsewhere in the basin.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1986-050-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1986-050-00 - Evaluate Sturgeon Populations in the Lower Columbia River
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Reduce the work elements to priority elements.

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Thomas Rien (Inactive) Supervisor Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Brad James Technical Contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Blaine Parker Technical Contact Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)
Molly A.H. Webb Technical Contact US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
Christine Mallette Project Lead Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Jerilyn Irvine Administrative Contact Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Ted Gresh Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Amy Mai Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration