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Project Summary

Project 1991-019-01 - Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)
Project Number:
1991-019-01
Title:
Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)
Summary:
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) wrote "Fisheries Mitigation Plan for Losses Attributable to the Construction and Operation of Hungry Horse Dam" in March 1991 to define the fisheries losses, mitigation alternatives and recommendations to protect, mitigate and enhance resident fish and aquatic habitat affected by Hungry Horse Dam. On November 12, 1991, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC) approved the mitigation plan with minor modifications, called for a detailed implementation plan, and amended measures 903(h)(1) through (7). A long-term mitigation plan was submitted in August 1992, was approved by the Council in 1993, and the first contract for this project was signed on November 11, 1993. The problem this project addresses is the loss of habitat, both in quality and quantity, in the interconnected Flathead Lake and River basin resulting from the construction and operation of Hungry Horse Dam. The purpose of the project is to both implement mitigation measures and monitor the biological responses to those measures including those implemented by Project Numbers 9101903 and 9101904.
Goals and objectives of the 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program (Section 10.1) addressed by this project are the rebuilding to sustainable levels weak, but recoverable, native populations injured by the hydropower system. The project mitigates the blockage of spawning runs by Hungry Horse Dam by restoring and even creating spawning habitats within direct drainages to Flathead Lake. The project also addresses the unstable shoreline habitat within Flathead Lake, and the shifts in species composition within the lake and consequent dominance of new species that restricts the potential success of mitigation measures. Specific goals of this project are to create and restore habitat and quantitatively monitor changes in fish populations to verify the efficacy of our mitigation measures. The project consists of three components: monitoring, restoration and research. Monitoring, for example, includes a spring gillnetting series conducted annually in Flathead Lake and builds on an existing data set initiated in 1981. Monitoring of the experimental kokanee reintroduction was a primary activity of this project between 1992 and 1997. Lake trout, whose high densities have precluded successful mitigation of losses of other species in Flathead Lake, have been monitored since 1996 to measure several biological parameters. Results of this work have utility in determining the population status of this key predator in Flathead Lake. The project has also defined the baseline condition of the Flathead Lake fishery in 1992-1993 and has conducted annual lakewide creel surveys since 1998. The restoration component of the project has addressed several stream channel, riparian, and fish passage problems. The research component of the project began in FY 2000 and measured trophic linkages between Mysis relicta and other species to assist in predicting the results of potential mitigation strategies. Only Objective 1 in the workplan is funded entirely by Hungry Horse Mitigation funds. Additional funds are drawn from other sources to assist in completion of the remaining objectives.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes (Tribe)
Starting FY:
1991
Ending FY:
2017
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Mountain Columbia Flathead 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Bass, Largemouth
Cutthroat Trout, Westslope
Freshwater Mussels
OBSOLETE-Perch, Yellow
OBSOLETE-Pikeminnow, Northern
OBSOLETE-Trout, Lake
Other Resident
Trout, Bull (threatened)
Trout, Rainbow
Whitefish, Mountain
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 100.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None
BiOp Association:
None

Flathead Subbasin

Figure Name: Cover

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 1

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Locations of monitoring transects at the Blue Bay beach restoration site.

Figure Name: WE IJ-Figure 1

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 8

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Locations of monitoring transects at the Salish Point beach restoration site.

Figure Name: WE IJ-Figure 3

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 9

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Locations of baseline erosion pins (white) and measured shoreline in 2010 at the East Bay study site.

Figure Name: WE IJ-Figure 5

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 10

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Sample locations and distribution of barriers in the Jocko River watershed, Montana. Map includes all fish bearing streams in the system.

Figure Name: WE M-Figure 2.1

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 42

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Distribution of sites where no hybridization was detected (yellow markers) and sites where at least one RBT marker in one individual was detected (purple markers). The size of the markers represents the pRBT estimated for each sample. The histogram inset describes the frequency distribution of pRBT in the Jocko River basin. The sizes of the markers positioned above the histogram bins correspond to the size of the makers on the map.

Figure Name: WE M-Figure 2.2

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 43

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Example of a geologic barrier defining upper limit of fish distribution in Hot Springs Creek, Montana.

Figure Name: WE Q-Figure 1

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 54

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Example of sampling conducted during 2010 in Seepay Creek, Montana. Red line indicates distribution of westslope cutthroat trout in the system.

Figure Name: WE Q-Figure 2

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 55

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Example of a perched culvert at a road crossing on Teepee Creek, Montana. This crossing has prevented upstream fish passage from Flathead Lake.

Figure Name: WE Q-Figure 3

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 56

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Overview of the Jocko River Master Plan Reach 3 showing the location of the Bison Range Reach project area and the reference reach.

Figure Name: WE S-Figure 1

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 61

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Aerial photo with planned revegetation treatments in the Bison Range Reach. 2010. Courtesy of Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes.

Figure Name: WE S-Figure 2

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 63

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765

Overview of projected wetland areas as a result of restoration activities at the Bison Range reach project area.

Figure Name: WE S-Figure 3

Document ID: P122562

Document: Hungry Horse Mitigation - Flathead Lake, 2010 Annual Report

Page Number: 64

Project: 1991-019-01

Contract: 50765


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 *
FY2016 (Previous) $546,684 $546,684 $546,581 $546,581 $542,086

General $546,684 $546,581 $546,581 $542,086
FY2017 (Current) $546,684 $546,684 $546,668 $546,668 $311,050

General $546,684 $546,668 $546,668 $311,050
FY2018 (Next) $0 $1 $1 $0

General $0 $1 $1 $0

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 30-Apr-2017

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2016 - FY2018)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2016 Expense $546,684 From: General FY16 Initial Planning Budgets - Expense 05/22/2015
FY2017 Expense $546,684 From: General FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016

Pending Budget Decision?  No


No Project Cost Share

FY2016 0 %
FY2015 0 %
FY2014 0 %
FY2013 0 %
FY2012 0 %
FY2011 0 %
FY2010 0 %
FY2009 20 %
FY2008 34 %
FY2007 36 %
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
4100 SOW Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes 1991-019-01 HUNGRY HORSE FISHERIES MITIGATION PLAN History $482,760 3/22/2001 - 10/31/2004
19923 SOW Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes PI 1991-019-01 HUNGRY HORSE MITIGATION - FLATHEAD LAKE MONITORING History $143,204 10/1/2004 - 9/30/2005
26988 SOW Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes 199101901 EXP HUNGRY HORSE MITIGATION-FLATHEAD LAKE History $143,621 10/1/2005 - 9/30/2006
30794 SOW Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes 1991-019-01 EXP HUNGRY HORSE MITIGATION FLATHEAD LAKE History $62,107 9/30/2006 - 4/30/2007
BPA-003708 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathe Active $5,449 10/1/2007 - 9/30/2008
BPA-005547 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mit./Flathead Lake Rest. Active $5,163 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011
BPA-006942 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mit./Flathead Lake Active $1,523 10/1/2012 - 9/30/2013
BPA-007703 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mit./Flathead Lk Active $4,517 10/1/2013 - 9/30/2014
74125 SOW Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes 1991-019-01 EXP HUNGRY HORSE MITIGATION/FLATHEAD Issued $543,581 10/1/2016 - 9/30/2017
BPA-009522 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mit./Flathead Lk Active $3,087 10/1/2016 - 9/30/2017



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):17
Completed:11
On time:11
Status Reports
Completed:38
On time:5
Avg Days Late:54

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
4100 19923, 26988 1991-019-01 HUNGRY HORSE FISHERIES MITIGATION PLAN Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes 03/2001 03/2001 History 3 24 0 0 3 27 88.89% 0
30794 36038, 40945, 44587, 50765, 56091, 59727, 63483, 67298, 71233, 74125 1991-019-01 EXP HUNGRY HORSE MITIGATION FLATHEAD LAKE Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes 09/2006 09/2006 Issued 35 191 35 1 45 272 83.09% 2
BPA-003708 PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathe Bonneville Power Administration 10/2007 10/2007 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-005547 PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mit./Flathead Lake Rest. Bonneville Power Administration 10/2010 10/2010 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-006942 PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mit./Flathead Lake Bonneville Power Administration 10/2012 10/2012 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-007703 PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mit./Flathead Lk Bonneville Power Administration 10/2013 10/2013 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-009522 PIT Tags - Hungry Horse Mit./Flathead Lk Bonneville Power Administration 10/2016 10/2016 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 38 215 35 1 48 299 83.61% 2


Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1991-019-01-ISRP-20120215
Project: 1991-019-01 - Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review
Proposal Number: RESCAT-1991-019-01
Completed Date: 4/13/2012
Final Round ISRP Date: 4/3/2012
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:
Qualification #1 - Qualification #1 - Objectives and Deliverables need to be better linked
Objectives and Deliverables need to be better linked, and both need specific details articulated. As they stand now, most objectives are vague and difficult to properly evaluate. To a substantial degree these concerns result from having a very large and diverse proposal that might better be split into two.
Qualification #2 - Qualification #2 - Transparency of linkage with Montana Fish Wildlife Parks needs clarification.
Transparency of linkage with Montana Fish Wildlife Parks needs clarification. The absence of listed project relationships probably does not reflect those that are in place with state and federal agencies, and others. The CSKT and MFWP have a shared mitigation and implementation plan as well as roles outlined in the Flathead Subbasin Plan. For the Flathead Lake component of the proposal, it appears to reviewers that success in suppressing lake trout will be impossible if there is not a unified program by both co-managers of the lake. The proposal under Deliverable 3 indicates some unspecified level of coordination with MFWP as part of the ID team during the creation of the Environmental Assessment in 2012. It would be helpful to increase transparency of the linkages between this proposal and those in 199101903 (MFWP).
Qualification #3 - Qualification #3 - The lake trout reduction program needs continuing assessment
The lake trout reduction program needs continuing assessment as to how it will be accomplished and a timeline for meeting a stated goal incorporated into the proposal. The predator problem is too big for an individual project to solve. It needs a basinwide approach and study with an adequate design. As discussed in the ISRP's programmatic comments included in the front section of this report, a more unified effort is needed in dealing with lacustrine predators. This effort might include getting together appropriate groups of fishery biologists and modelers dealing with lake trout and other exotics, such as walleye, for a conference. One conference goal could be to discuss and design studies that cover multiple locations that complement each other, especially for eradication issues. Further, there are emerging predators other than lake trout, such as smallmouth bass, that require monitoring, especially if temperatures increase from climate change or local land use. It seems worthwhile to engage in preliminary modeling to gain insights into systems and biotic communities going forward.
Qualification #4 - Qualification #4 - The data management system requires careful scrutiny
The data management system requires careful scrutiny. This aspect of the program needs a better description. It is not clear that an efficient data management system is in place. Considering the scope of the projects, there needs to be a clear and open system for entering and analyzing data, and for assessing data quality. Further, many of these data are acquired with public funds and therefore should be readily available to the public. What facilities and equipment, including software, are in use? What are the planned upgrades to the data management system, for example cloud computing?
Qualification #5 - Qualification #5 - Publication needs stronger emphasis in the future.
A number of unpublished reports are listed as accomplishments, but very few professional publications, especially by principals in the program. Publication needs stronger emphasis in the future.
First Round ISRP Date: 2/8/2012
First Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
First Round ISRP Comment:

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

The primary purpose is for fulfilling mitigation from impoundment and operation of Hungry Horse Dam. This project partially describes an effort by CSKT to understand limiting factors of native fish and to monitor effectiveness of management actions and population status/trends in the Flathead basin. The project tiers to other regional planning and conservation activities, especially the Draft Recovery Plan for Bull Trout, the Montana Cutthroat Memorandum, and the Flathead Subbasin Plan.

The proposal does not delineate all planned activities, but rather focuses on and summarizes efforts in two "landscape level" areas – Flathead Lake and Jocko River. For the Flathead Lake part, the proposal focuses on getting a handle on the scale of the lake trout problem. That is, how many and what level of effort will be needed to reduce their impact on native bull trout. For the second part, the proposal focuses on two elements of threats to westslope cutthroat trout: 1) isolating aboriginal gene pools and 2) effectiveness of passage to increase population size in the Jocko River.

The 18 Objectives are very extensive, from tributary and lake habitats to populations to genetics. They are expressed largely in terms of a benchmark for reference. These are broken out further by tasks and work elements that appropriately tier to the objectives. In addition, work on stabilizing the lake shoreline shows success and will be continued (Objective 7).

Presentation of some objectives is hampered by a paucity of supporting information that makes review a challenge. For example Objective 10 calls for at least five local populations of bull trout of at least 100 adults in all core areas but does not indicate how many there are and where they currently exist, which others are targets for rebuilding, and what will be needed to rebuild them. Similarly, a goal is indicated for cutthroat trout conservation populations without providing adequate details, especially regarding current status. Summaries of, or links to, that information are needed. For the Jocko basin, the link to the Master Plan was very valuable to provide the needed information; something similar is needed for project lands and waters outside the Jocko.

In Flathead Lake, the long-term persistence of westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout is threatened by lake trout. For several years an angler-based approach was used to try to reduce lake trout numbers. Throughout the years, population numbers of species of concern were monitored, but the results were not sufficient to benefit native trout. Now, a more aggressive net-based method is proposed to reduce lake trout numbers to a point where the native trout will respond favorably. A comprehensive Environmental Assessment is being prepared describing the full range of options to reduce lake trout numbers. The effectiveness of the action will be determined by direct measures of lake trout population harvest relative to targets, and ultimately by measures of native fish abundance by redd counts and catch rates in standard gill nets.

The Jocko River represents an opportunity to restore an entire watershed. A watershed assessment was made and a master plan developed to guide restoration activities. The tribes now own or have easements on over 80% of the floodplain. Efforts to date include removal of passage barriers, installed fish screens and reconstructed ~3 km of channelized river. Completed genetic status review of existing westslope cutthroat trout populations to develop a management strategy. More of the above-mentioned work needs to be completed over the next 5 years to complete the project. Also, there is a need to remove non-native fish species from the system.

Regarding emerging limiting factors, it is surprising that competition and predation from non-native fishes are listed as key emerging limiting factors and then it is proposed that rainbow trout be stocked for public fishing. It seems that the sponsors are missing an opportunity for public education on non-natives and may be offering a longer term counter-productive lesson.

2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management (ISRP Review of Results)

The monitoring of Flathead Lake fishery and the evaluation of the "kokanee" experiment ultimately demonstrated the role of non-native lake trout in the system as a limiting factor for native species stability. Several associated projects on bioenergetics, community changes, foodwebs, and shoreline changes have provided information to CSKT, MFWP, and NPS regarding the management options and approaches. 

The sponsors did a helpful job linking the accomplishments to ongoing objectives and to reporting of results.

From these, the sponsors identify a list of six management changes due to information from previous monitoring and evaluation, including imposition of a directed fishery removal effort on Flathead Lake trout and a phased restoration project to mitigate for irrigation structures on the Jocko River.

Although much improved from previous proposals, the approach taken is to state that the overall program has produced many significant accomplishments over the years, and reviewers concur, but although these accomplishments are itemized and briefly described, virtually no data summaries of key metrics are provided. Such metrics were provided during the site tour and during the presentation on Flathead Lake, but they are absent from the proposal.

Similarly, for the Jocko River fish program the proposal states that it has been the subject of major work for 5 years, but summaries of key metrics, especially trout abundance, are not included. Summaries do exist to some degree in the Master Plan, a link to which is provided. More detailed summaries of Corsi's results, either as links or in tabular form, are needed to adequately evaluate the work to date. Deliverable 12 would continue the important task of status assessment of cutthroat trout, but the extent to which the assessment has been conducted to date is not given, nor is a completion date.

The restoration Master Plan for the Jocko River is an impressive document. It is very readable and shows much of quality work with emphasis on whole-ecosystem process restoration and protection. This approach is likely to have great success in the Jocko system where sponsors have control over a large land base and have the resources to sustain a large-scale, long-term effort. This eliminates the need to attempt the conventional band-aid approach of placing instream structures.

That said, it is apparent to reviewers that the knowledge and understanding of fish populations of the Jocko are not as advanced as is that of geomorphology and physical stream and riparian rehabilitation. Reviewers challenge the sponsors to put forth a superior effort when assessing limiting factors for cutthroat trout populations as proposed in Deliverable 12. Rather than uncritically assuming some generic limiting factor for the species overall in a stream reach such as summer temperature or sediment, data should be gathered at times and places when possible limiting factors can be assessed carefully for each key life-stage of cutthroat including egg to alevin, juvenile summer rearing, first winter, and adult. Further, it will not be possible to reduce impacts from non-native trout until project staff has a good understanding of what constitutes the preferred conditions for each.

Fish population data in the Jocko Master Plan have some real limitations. Fish numbers are reported in relative terms of percent catch from electrofishing rather than as population estimates. This is useful in assessing trends, but is limited otherwise. Also, in the Montana tradition, numbers of fish captured per length of stream are reported. Without also identifying the average stream width, it is not possible to compare between sites. A better approach would be to report numbers in terms of fish density, that is, the number per hundred square meters or similar. An understanding of growth rates and age structure will be needed so that ideally year-classes of cutthroat can be tracked through time.

Regarding adaptive management, the sponsors have used past results to shape the course of their activities. While the recreational lake trout fishery has not been successful in reducing lake trout abundance or increasing bull trout abundance, the results have provided insights on future approaches. They are conducting a large scale recreational fishery experiment and appear to have strong connections with the public, which are positive aspects.

ISRP Retrospective Evaluation of Results

 For Flathead Lake the fundamental question is "Do lake trout negatively affect bull trout?" Catch rates in gill nets of bull trout versus lake trout (1981, 1983) vs. (1997-2005) showed a dramatic increase in lake trout following the establishment of Mysis. Bioenergetics modeling provided an estimate that lake trout annually consumed 30,000 bull trout. Also, good data on bull trout redd counts show a major decline since the 1980s, but not continuing to decline in recent years. Other evidence of bull trout declines following lake trout introductions have occurred at Priest Lake, Whitefish Lake, Bowman Lake, and Kintla Lake. An analysis of the lake trout population at Flathead Lake by Hansen indicates that the population attributes are consistent with a population living near carrying capacity, that is, the underlying mortality rate is not high enough to suppress the lake trout population and the body size is below normal. They have collected some useful series of data at Flathead Lake and had some modelers evaluate the data and draw some conclusions. The population numbers of lake trout at Flathead Lake in 2010 (Hansen) were estimated in the spring and fall and differed considerably from 1.1 million to 489,000. It is concluded that current lake trout fishing is not adequate to reduce the population, thus, following an adaptive management approach more take is needed to solve the problem. 

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

The absence of listed project relationships probably does not reflect those that are in place with state and federal agencies and others. The CSKT and MFWP have a shared mitigation and implementation plan as well as roles outlined in the Flathead Subbasin Plan. It would be helpful to increase transparency of the linkages between this proposal and those in 199101903 (MFWP). Overall, the proposal gives the impression that the project operates separately from many other projects in the basin, for example Hungry Horse, and is only peripherally involved with other research activities on Flathead Lake and the upper Flathead Basin.

The role of invasive predators is a central theme of the Flathead Lake part of the proposal. The role of climate change is acknowledged and described briefly, but will require deeper consideration in the future. No focus or funding request was directed at toxics.

A concern of the ISRP in past reviews has been lack of reference to similar efforts, especially regarding lake trout suppression, being conducted in other systems. The current proposal continues that trend, but following the field tour reviewers are now aware the project staff is well apprised of such efforts elsewhere.

In contrast to the lake trout predation issue which is quite well documented, the Jocko River specifics regarding limiting factors are basically generalized without much quantitative data collected including habitat quantity and quality and fish population information.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

Monitoring and evaluation was inadequately described, making it impossible to assess whether the data management and reporting protocol is meeting Council standards.

Deliverables: Many are problematic. Several of the Objectives do not have Deliverables, and many of the Deliverables only partially address the Objectives.

DELV-1: Annual population estimates for lake trout in Flathead Lake – This is really a discussion of the methods used. Are they not already in the MonitoringMethods.org website? The sampling methods proposed seem to be very biased toward larger/older fish. How will they effectively sample younger fish?

DELV-2: Quantification of angling parameters in the Flathead Lake fishery – Why should the Council fund this? Recreational angling is a very selective method and does not give a complete picture of the fish community.

DELV-3: A reduction in lake trout population size by the percentage identified in the Lake Trout Suppression EA – The EA process, as initiated, does not identify the best method(s) to use for lake trout reduction. Also, reviewers doubt that a 25-50% reduction in lake trout is possible without an extensive gill net fishery (and a host of other suppression efforts) on such a large lake. Lake trout are abundant, most likely in the millions, and most are smaller and younger individuals. Processing and marketing the fish will require a capital investment, and that is not discussed here. A recent paper by Syslo et al (2011) documenting 15 years of lake trout control in Yellowstone Lake demonstrates the complexities of trying to suppress this apex predator: John M. Syslo, Christopher S. Guy, Patricia E. Bigelow, Philip D. Doepke, Brian D. Ertel, and Todd M. Koel, 2011. Response of non-native lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) to 15 years of harvest in Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2011, 68:(12) 2132-2145, 10.1139/f2011-122.

DELV-5: Increased fishing opportunity through planting of hatchery-raised fish – Why should the Council fund this? Use of non-native rainbow trout sends a counter-productive message to the public when the stated objectives emphasize native fish.

DELV-6: Land management plans for newly acquired properties – Description of this deliverable does not provide identification of sites, and their characteristics, that require land management plans. This deliverable articulates an approach but does not specifically identify what will be delivered.

DELV-8: Relative population structure of lake trout in Flathead Lake – This deliverable is a more comprehensive approach to DELV-1. While the stated objectives for sampling are to accurately quantify population size structure, and relative abundance of each species within the fish community of Flathead Lake, gill netting alone will not do this. As proposed, it will give a good picture of lake trout population structure, as well as for some other species, but will miss quite a few others. Note that the budget is small for such a large effort.

DELV-9: Immediate post-acquisition restoration and maintenance of newly acquired properties.

DELV-10: Appraisal reports, NEPA documents, surveys, and title reports, and DELV-11: Land protection agreements with private landowners – What properties are involved? Considerable funds are requested, but no details are provided on the properties.

Data Management: This aspect of the program needs a better description. It is not clear that an efficient data management system is in place. Considering the scope of the projects there needs to be a clear and open system for entering and analyzing data, and for assessing data quality. Further, many of these data are acquired with public funds and therefore should be readily available to the public. What facilities and equipment, including software, are in use? What are the planned upgrades to the data management system, for example cloud computing?

Key Personnel: Subcontractors have produced the most peer-reviewed publications. Core personnel should become more active as lead authors on publications; the results are useful well beyond the basin. This metric should be carefully considered as it shows leadership within the broader restoration community.

4a. Specific comments on protocols and methods described in MonitoringMethods.org

No linkages in MonitoringMethods.org are found for this project/sponsor.

Qualifications:

This proposal has many positive aspects, for example shoreline restoration, conservation of westslope cutthroat trout, and riparian restoration. It also has a significant number of concerns. In some cases the benefits to fish and wildlife are debatable, such as lake trout reduction. Objectives and outcomes are not clearly defined with many quite vague, and provisions for monitoring and evaluation of results via data management are murky. Nevertheless, the proposed activities, if carried out in a scientifically credible manner, are consistent with the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. A stimulating site visit in October 2011 demonstrated quality field efforts based on well thought-through logic and understanding.

Important issues remain with the proposal for this large, multifaceted effort and are discussed below as a means of providing constructive feedback to the sponsors. These should be considered during the contracting process and through additional ISRP review of the Flathead Lake Environmental Assessment.

Modified by Dal Marsters on 4/13/2012 12:37:24 PM.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1991-019-01-NPCC-20120313
Project: 1991-019-01 - Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review
Proposal: RESCAT-1991-019-01
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 2/26/2014
Recommendation: Implement with Conditions
Comments: Implement with condition through FY 2017. Prior to FY 2015, sponsors to co-lead in the development and submission of a retrospective report for the interconnected Flathead River system, as described by the ISRP for Project # 199101903 and to include a joint M&E plan as described for project # 199101904 and that addresses ISRP comments. Do not implement Lake Trout reduction program (Deliverable 3) until the ISRP has reviewed the Flathead Lake Environmental Assessment and has favorable Council review to proceed with full implementation.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1991-019-01-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1991-019-01
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 2 - May be reasonable
Comment: Multiple activities for habitat restoration as well as RM&E on variety of lands (private, tribal etc); assume no projects occurring where another entity is already required to perform.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1991-019-01-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1991-019-01
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: 1991-019-01-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1991-019-01 - Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Does Not Meet Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The tone of the response was so defensive that it was difficult to see the substance of the response. The project sponsor does include graphs in the response that surely should have been included in the original proposal. However, there still is no evidence of progress in meeting the initial goals and objectives regarding biological response to habitat initiatives. They do provide some assessment of trends in fish populations in Flathead Lake, but there is no effort to tie these trends to the habitat program. With regard to all the road restoration work, it is true that population-level improvements will take several generations to be apparent; however, monitoring fish presence above an improved road crossing is quite achievable and could yield a rough estimate of increased potential productivity if you knew how many miles of stream were now available. Indicating a willingness to adjust the M&E to address the ISRP's concerns would have been helpful.



Reviewers remain of the opinion that Not Fundable is the appropriate recommendation. By any reasonable standard that we might apply, this effort falls short of demonstrating biologically significant results (and current/proposed actions) that benefit fish and wildlife.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1991-019-01-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1991-019-01 - Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Funding contingent on ISRP and Council review of revised proposal. Revised proposal due end of December, 06.

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Barry Hansen Project Lead Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes
Cecilia Brown Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Jamie Cleveland Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Lynn DuCharme Project Lead Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes
Paul Krueger (Inactive) Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Jennifer Snyder Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration