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Project Summary

Project 1995-027-00 - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery
Project Number:
1995-027-00
Title:
Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery
Summary:
Studies in the Transboundary Reach of the Columbia River have shown that the white sturgeon population has experienced almost total recruitment failure since the mid-1980’s and currently consists of an aging cohort of adults with juvenile age classes lacking. Preliminary results from recent stock assessments in the U.S. portion of the Reach suggest that the reproductive potential of the population is currently high based on the abundance of broodstock sized fish, good condition factors and maturation characteristics similar to mid-Columbia populations that support limited levels of exploitation with periodic recruitment events. Spawning has been documented annually in the Canadian portion of the Reach since 1993 and spawning was identified in the U.S. in 2005. Gamete viability is good based on the success of conservation aquaculture efforts using wild caught broodstock, high survival rates of eggs and larvae during in situ incubation experiments, and recent collections of larvae in the U.S. Despite this, recent gill netting in the Transboundary Reach has failed to capture wild YOY fish. Rearing habitat appears productive based on the post-release growth rates of hatchery juvenile releases that have that exceeded those of hatchery juveniles released in the Kootenai River and are similar to those of wild juvenile “trawl and haul” transplants in the mid-Columbia. These results suggest that factors limiting recruitment may primarily be acting on life stages between the initiation of exogenous feeding and age 1. The cause of the early mortality is unknown, but could be due to a variety of factors that are primarily acting within the U.S. portion of the reach. The goals of the proposed project are to restore natural recruitment, implement an interim aquaculture program until natural recruitment is restored, and continue to build upon baseline stock assessment data to help with identify and evaluate restoration and management activities.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Spokane Tribe (Tribe)
Starting FY:
1995
Ending FY:
2033
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Intermountain Columbia Upper 100.00%
Purpose:
Hydrosystem
Emphasis:
RM and E
Focal Species:
Bass, Largemouth
Bass, Smallmouth
Burbot
Carp, Common
Catfish
Crappie, Black
Crappie, White
Cutthroat Trout, Westslope
Freshwater Mussels
Kokanee
Perch, Yellow
Pike, Northern
Pikeminnow, Northern
Sturgeon, White - All Populations except Kootenai R. DPS
Sturgeon, White - Lower Columbia River
Trout, Brook
Trout, Brown
Trout, Bull
Trout, Interior Redband
Trout, Lake
Trout, Rainbow
Walleye
Whitefish, Mountain
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 100.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None
BiOp Association:
None

No photos have been uploaded yet for this Project.

Summary of Budgets

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

To see more detailed project budget information, please visit the "Project Budget" page

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2023 - FY2025)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2023 Expense $505,982 From: General FY23 SOY Budget Upload 06/01/2022
FY2023 Expense $394,018 From: General STOI 01/24/2023
FY2024 Expense $528,245 From: General FY24 SOY Budget Upload 06/01/2023
FY2024 Expense $394,255 From: General Budget Transfers (Spokane) 11/2/2023 11/02/2023
FY2024 Expense $922,500 To: General Removed Spokane Tribe Budget Decisions for FY24 prior to Accord 05/13/2024
FY2024 Expense $922,500 From: Fish Accord- STOI MOA Fish Accord- STOI MOA 05/13/2024
FY2025 Expense $945,563 From: Fish Accord- STOI MOA Fish Accord- STOI MOA 05/13/2024

Pending Budget Decision?  No


Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2024   DRAFT
Cost Share Partner Total Proposed Contribution Total Confirmed Contribution
There are no project cost share contributions to show.
Previous Fiscal Years
Fiscal Year Total Contributions % of Budget
2023 $68,396 7%
2022 $50,650 9%
2021 $50,650 9%
2020 $53,650 8%
2019 $53,650 10%
2018 $53,650 10%
2017 $43,529 8%
2016 $43,529 8%
2015 $43,529 8%
2014 $42,550 8%
2013 $42,350 8%
2012 $43,050 8%
2011 $58,250 10%
2010 $71,899 13%
2009 $104,594 18%
2008 $77,316 14%
2007 $68,396 11%

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Closed, Complete, History, Issued.
* "Total Contracted Amount" column includes contracted amount from both capital and expense components of the contract.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Total Contracted Amount Dates
5755 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON Closed $333,504 4/1/2001 - 3/31/2005
22571 SOW Spokane Tribe PI 1995-027-00 LAKE ROOS. STURG. RECOV. PROJECT Closed $193,648 5/1/2005 - 3/31/2006
27332 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURG. RECOV. PROJECT Closed $199,382 4/21/2006 - 3/31/2007
BPA-003715 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Active $43,656 10/1/2006 - 9/30/2007
32258 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURG. RECOV. PROJECT Closed $469,420 4/1/2007 - 3/31/2008
BPA-004082 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $43,050 10/1/2007 - 9/30/2008
37734 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURG. RECOV. PROJECT Closed $396,270 4/1/2008 - 3/31/2009
BPA-004326 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Active $54,146 10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009
42440 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURGEON RECOV. PROJECT Closed $462,738 4/1/2009 - 3/31/2010
BPA-005167 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $14,096 10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010
46996 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURGEON RECOV. PROJECT Closed $421,473 4/1/2010 - 3/31/2011
BPA-005708 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $30,981 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011
52293 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURGEON RECOV. PROJECT Closed $470,329 4/1/2011 - 3/31/2012
BPA-006351 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $39,554 10/1/2011 - 9/30/2012
57415 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURGEON RECOV.PROJECT Closed $417,518 4/1/2012 - 3/31/2013
BPA-007023 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $28,828 10/1/2012 - 9/30/2013
61026 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURGEON RECOV. PROJECT Closed $476,532 4/1/2013 - 3/31/2014
65088 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURGEON RECOV. PROJECT Closed $496,420 4/1/2014 - 3/31/2015
BPA-008386 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $7,587 10/1/2014 - 9/30/2015
68702 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOS. STURGEON RECOV. PROJECT Closed $498,382 4/1/2015 - 3/31/2016
BPA-008912 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Rosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $6,163 10/1/2015 - 9/30/2016
72008 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Closed $490,215 4/1/2016 - 3/31/2017
BPA-009593 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Rosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $6,181 10/1/2016 - 9/30/2017
75980 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Closed $499,184 4/25/2017 - 3/31/2018
BPA-010021 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Rosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $6,191 10/1/2017 - 9/30/2018
78941 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Closed $484,763 4/1/2018 - 3/31/2019
BPA-010729 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - Lake Rosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Active $6,440 10/1/2018 - 9/30/2019
81914 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Closed $457,036 4/1/2019 - 3/31/2020
BPA-012275 Bonneville Power Administration FY20 PIT tags Active $0 10/1/2019 - 9/30/2020
85144 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Closed $560,433 4/1/2020 - 3/31/2021
BPA-012276 Bonneville Power Administration FY21 Pit Tags Active $8,150 10/1/2020 - 9/30/2021
87423 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Closed $478,147 4/1/2021 - 3/31/2022
BPA-012914 Bonneville Power Administration FY22 PIT tags Active $6,720 10/1/2021 - 9/30/2022
89840 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Closed $481,687 4/1/2022 - 3/31/2023
BPA-013273 Bonneville Power Administration FY23 PIT Tags Active $6,720 10/1/2022 - 9/30/2023
92128 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Issued $893,280 4/1/2023 - 3/31/2024
BPA-013780 Bonneville Power Administration FY24 PIT Tags Active $4,800 10/1/2023 - 9/30/2024
94282 SOW Spokane Tribe 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Issued $917,700 4/1/2024 - 3/31/2025



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):38
Completed:17
On time:17
Status Reports
Completed:75
On time:53
Avg Days Late:0

                Count of Contract Deliverables
Earliest Contract Subsequent Contracts Title Contractor Earliest Start Latest End Latest Status Accepted Reports Complete Green Yellow Red Total % Green and Complete Canceled
5755 22571, 27332, 32258, 37734, 42440, 46996, 52293, 57415, 61026, 65088, 68702, 72008, 75980, 78941, 81914, 85144, 87423, 89840, 92128, 94282 1995-027-00 EXP LAKE ROOSEVELT STURGEON RECOVERY Spokane Tribe 04/01/2001 03/31/2025 Issued 75 257 0 0 31 288 89.24% 0
BPA-3715 PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2006 09/30/2007 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-4082 PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2007 09/30/2008 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-4326 PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2008 09/30/2009 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-5167 PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2009 09/30/2010 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-5708 PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2010 09/30/2011 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-6351 PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2011 09/30/2012 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-7023 PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2012 09/30/2013 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-8386 PIT Tags - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2014 09/30/2015 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-8912 PIT Tags - Lake Rosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2015 09/30/2016 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-9593 PIT Tags - Lake Rosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2016 09/30/2017 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-10021 PIT Tags - Lake Rosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2017 09/30/2018 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-10729 PIT Tags - Lake Rosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2018 09/30/2019 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-12276 FY21 Pit Tags Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2020 09/30/2021 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-12914 FY22 PIT tags Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2021 09/30/2022 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-13273 FY23 PIT Tags Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2022 09/30/2023 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-13780 FY24 PIT Tags Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2023 09/30/2024 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 75 257 0 0 31 288 89.24% 0


The table content is updated frequently and thus contains more recent information than what was in the original proposal reviewed by ISRP and Council.

Review: 2020 Resident Fish and Sturgeon Project Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1995-027-00-NPCC-20210317
Project: 1995-027-00 - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery
Review: 2020 Resident Fish and Sturgeon Project Review
Approved Date: 10/27/2020
Recommendation: Implement
Comments: Supported as reviewed. Additional funding supported - retrofit the existing 2003 sturgeon landing craft ($100K) to conduct field activities and provide safe environment for crew and sturgeon. Linked to #2008-116-00.
Part 3, Project-Specific Recommendation: Bonneville to fund the retrofit of the sturgeon landing craft at a cost not to exceed $100,000 in FY2021 to ensure continued use of the vessel in support of this collaborative sturgeon effort.

[Background: See https:/www.nwcouncil.org/fw/reviews/2019RFS]

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1995-027-00-ISRP-20210319
Project: 1995-027-00 - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery
Review: 2020 Resident Fish and Sturgeon Project Review
Completed Date: None
Documentation Links:
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1995-027-00-NPCC-20130807
Project: 1995-027-00 - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review
Proposal: RESCAT-1995-027-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 3/5/2014
Recommendation: Implement with Conditions
Comments: Implement with conditions through 2017. 1) Not to exceed current infrastructure and sturgeon production level (experimental phase: with 10,000 naturally produced post-hatch sturgeon (deliverable 6)) until initial step review complete in Project 2007-272-00. 2). As part of step review, sponsor to address ISRP qualification 2. 3) Prior to implementation of food web/predation activities, sponsor to submit for ISRP review design and approach methods for predation (deliverable 4) and food web (deliverable 5) components as requested by ISRP in qualification #1. Refer to Data Management Review and Recs (Part 3) for database development aspects of the project. Also refer to the Resident Fish Review and Recommendations for White Sturgeon in Part 2.

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1995-027-00-ISRP-20120215
Project: 1995-027-00 - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review
Proposal Number: RESCAT-1995-027-00
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:

Most of the responses to ISRP questions were adequate. Positive responses from the sponsors included summary updates for project results (2009-2011) and a description of expertise and roles of existing project personnel.

The sponsors provided detailed information, including a good diagram, of how this project relates to and coordinates with project #200811600. It has now been made clearer to the ISRP which entities are leading the work in various areas.

The ISRP had requested additional information on criteria for identifying stock rebuilding. However, no additional information was provided. The objective is simply to stock plenty of fish, and if it turns out to be too many, fish can be thinned through harvest. This is one approach, but a more plausible scientifically-based rebuilding schedule needs to be formulated.

The ISRP requested more detailed methods and approaches for several tasks outlined in the proposal, including methods for determining (1) if predation on juvenile sturgeon was cause for recruitment failure and (2) if lack of proper food was the cause of starvation and recruitment failure. These were not included in the response. Instead, the sponsor’s response was "The LRSRP appreciates that the ISRP recognizes the complexity of the recruitment failure issue in the transboundary reach and the difficulties associated with identifying the limiting factors. The LRSRP recognizes the importance of designing detailed study approaches in order to objectively answer recruitment failure questions. The LRSRP plans to retain a subcontractor with appropriate expertise to assist with study design including detailed methods and implementation of the predation and food habits components of this project. The completion of this work is contingent upon funding."

The sponsor stated that it plans to hire a subcontractor when funded to assist with study design and methodology involving predation and food web components of the project. A specific subcontractor was not identified in the proposal. It is highly desirable for a scientific proposal to identify key individuals or groups that would be responsible for such a major contribution to the study, to indicate that that they had been contacted, and for them to perhaps provide some indication of hypotheses and appropriate methodologies used to test the hypotheses.

Qualification #1 - Qualification #1 - identify and hire the subcontractor
For the predation and food web components of the project, the sponsor needs to identify and hire the subcontractor, identify qualified staffing additions to conduct the work, and develop detailed methodologies, including the starvation approach. The ISRP should review the specific objectives and methodologies prior to implementation.
Qualification #2 - Qualification #2 - develop a plausible rebuilding schedule for the stock
The sponsor needs to develop a plausible rebuilding schedule for the stock with production and cohort/age structure goals during contracting. Similar work by other entities, including the Kootenai Tribe, should be reviewed for applicability.
Qualification #3 - Qualification #3 - High quality annual reports need to be completed and updated.
High quality annual reports need to be completed and updated.
First Round ISRP Date: 2/8/2012
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:
  1. Results are lacking for 2009-2011. Annual reports are behind schedule. Two or three years of data may change the direction and rationale of the study. The sponsors should provide a summary of recent results to the ISRP for review.

  2. More rigorous and detailed methods and approaches are needed for several of the tasks outlined, specifically describing how the field work will translate into answered questions. Refer to the next paragraph for issues to address in the response.

Despite a reasonably sound and useful overview of sturgeon problems in this portion of the basin, several items in the proposal are in need of clarification. First, although the need for more understanding of the recruitment failure is well articulated and on target, designing studies to address this issue is an extremely difficult process and requires a more detailed, critical approach than is outlined here. The goals of the recruitment failure work are laudable. However, because of a lack of detail provided in the proposal, the ability of the proposed work to answer the key questions and meet those goals is very questionable. For example, it is not enough to answer if some sturgeon are eaten; it must be shown that this is a cause of the recruitment failure. Similarly, it is not enough to look at some fish food habits and invertebrates; it needs to be shown objectively that these factors are a cause for the recruitment failure. These are difficult questions to answer. Detailed study approaches are needed.

  1. Information that details how work elements proposed under 200811600 and this project are to be divided up should be provided in the response.
  2. A description of the expertise and specific roles of personnel should be provided so responsibility for every project activity is clear.

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

The Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Project (LRSRP) is an ongoing project implemented to monitor population status and conduct recruitment failure research on white sturgeon in the Roosevelt Reach of the upper Columbia River. The primary goal of the project is to conserve and restore white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt and the upper Columbia River. Their hypothesis is that sturgeon cannot get from the hiding to rearing life stage due to contaminants and predation. This project is closely linked to project 200811600.

The significance of this project is described as responding to many regional plans and programs including: the Lake Roosevelt Guiding Document and Management Plan, the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Initiative and Recovery Plan (2002), the NPPC Fish and Wildlife Program (2009), the Spokane Subbasin Plan, the MERR Plan, and others.

The technical background is described in the Problem Statement and is extensive, contains many good references, and provides sufficient detail regarding the current status and problems of white sturgeon populations in the Columbia River Basin. Past work is well described.

The objectives are listed as:

OBJ-1: Prevent further reduction in upper Columbia River sturgeon distribution, density and genetic diversity by implementing LRSRP/UCWSRI long-term measures.

OBJ-2: Implement research examining hypotheses to determine the cause of upper Columbia River white sturgeon recruitment failure.

These objectives are too general. The deliverables which follow, however, are the work elements and are at a reasonable level of detail.

Even though the importance of rebuilding white sturgeon in the Upper River is well documented and well-justified in this proposal, some details remain vague. The intent to "rebuild the natural age-class structure lost during the recruitment failures of the last 30 years (UCWSRI 2002, Recovery Plan Measure 5.5.3)" raises the question of whether this historical age structure is well-known, or is it just assumed that recruitment occurred every year or nearly every year? The data in Figure 2 demonstrate the lack of recruitment very clearly but do not necessarily indicate steady recruitment of the past. It is also not separated by sex, so with sexual size dimorphism of sturgeon, it gives little indication of actual yearly recruitment. Care must therefore be used in designing the stock composition target that is part of the rebuilding effort. There seems to be no evidence that recruitment in this section of the river was necessarily a yearly event or even very consistent.

Regarding the goal of 1000 mature individuals in an approximately 1:1 sex ratio at maturity, there will of course not be such a sex ratio at maturity because the males will mature several years before the females so there will be more mature males from a cohort starting at a 50-50 sex ratio.

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

Overall, the sponsors did a nice job providing the status of sturgeon populations for this part of the system. Accomplishments are adequately summarized in the proposal. However, there has been a serious lack of reporting since the last ISRP review of this project. Completed reports are lacking for three recent years. Although the ISRP lauded the reporting in the previous review, the major lapse in reporting since then is cause for concern about project direction.

Regarding growth, the authors reported that "the estimate of growth co-efficient, K, was substantially greater in magnitude, and resulting growth trajectories predicted that sturgeon in the Roosevelt Reach attain larger sizes at younger ages than observed in other areas of the Columbia River (Howell and McLellan in prep; Figure 5)." It is confusing as to why the growth of the Lake Roosevelt fish would be faster than others but from Keenleyside slower than the others. This does not appear to make sense. Clarification would be helpful.

ISRP Retrospective Evaluation of Results

The sponsors present a thorough review of sturgeon activities to date and do a reasonable job of focusing in on the knowledge limitations remaining. There does not seem to be a 2009, 2010, or 2011 Annual report, and there does not seem to be much, if any, history of refereed publications resulting from this long project. The ISRP will expand on its retrospective analysis following the response.

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

The sponsors provided a good description of how this project relates to and coordinates with many other BPA projects plus state and Canadian programs.

Potential limiting factors are identified in the review section. There is a general description of how the sponsors are aware of emerging limiting factors such as non-natives and predators.

Adequate answers were provided to the tailored questions. Tagging descriptions were provided in good detail. Database development and sharing is described in reasonable detail.

It is not clear exactly who is doing the work. There is no recent annual report to clarify this issue. The sponsors state, "Stock assessment study design, analysis, and implementation will be led by the Spokane Tribe Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Project (1995-027-00) in Washington and by BC Hydro in British Columbia. The CCT, under the White Sturgeon Enhancement Project (BPA project 2008-116-00), will provide a support role in population monitoring by providing a field crew, equipment, and technical advice. CCT participation will help increase sampling effort, and sample sizes, to improve precision of capture-recapture abundance and survival estimates, as well as indices of growth and condition to facilitate inferential statistical analysis." The one person mentioned as involved in this study is from neither entity but from WDFW, even though this is a Spokane Tribe proposal. The roles of the participants in achieving each objective are unclear and need to be clarified. Who exactly is doing various portions of this work?

Some duplication appears to occur in 200811600 with regard to database management. Both agencies have sizeable budgetary resources dedicated to this effort, although it is the lead of 2008-116-00. The roles here need to be more clearly defined. We would request a diagram showing how work elements proposed under 200811600 and this project are to be divided up. There seems to be some duplication, and a diagram may show otherwise.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

Details of several work elements are not clearly articulated. For example, regarding predation: "Under the recruitment failure hypotheses assessment completed by the UCWSRI, several potential proximate mechanisms have been identified as potentially limiting survival of white sturgeon in the recovery area. The LRSRP proposes to examine predation on white sturgeon early life-history stages (ELS) by conducting diet analyses on predators collected from the transition zone from July through October using a combination of short duration gill net sets and by trawling with sampling being stratified by depth and by time of day." This approach intends to sample fish and look at stomachs, but it is not clear how the presence or absence of sturgeon will be translated into a quantitative assessment of the effect of predation and therefore on recruitment failure. The collection of the data is much more direct than the translation of the results into a predation effect on recruitment failure, and the approach should be described in more detail.

Similarly, with regard to food limitation, the sponsors state, "We also intend to compare histology of post-feeding stages of white sturgeon collected during field surveys with reference specimens to identify starvation effects in wild fish, thus determine the role food availability plays as a limiting factor in sturgeon survival." Has this approach been used successfully elsewhere? Please provide background and references.

Although year class strength has at least tentatively been associated with higher flows, it does not seem that any recommendations have been forwarded to test flow augmentation during late spring early summer to improve natural reproduction and recruitment. Has this topic been adequately investigated? Have recommendations been made?

There may be some value in using otoliths to find hatching dates for larval fish.

More details are needed of the contaminant work to be performed and the protocols and methods. 

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

The protocols and methods have been entered in MonitoringMethods.org. The basic protocols and methods were fairly complete and the level of detail for the methods is almost sufficient to be able to replicate the study data collection. Methods outlined in these sections often do not greatly exceed in detail that presented in the proposal. More details of the proposed experimental designs for predation should be provided. What might be the role of sculpins and how might it be evaluated?

Under food resource availability, no details of methods are provided. How can sampling some stomachs clearly lead to conclusions regarding possible "starvation"? Have the sponsors clearly visualized and laid out how the starvation hypothesis can be evaluated?

Modified by Dal Marsters on 4/13/2012 4:39:12 PM.
Documentation Links:
  • Proponent Response (3/7/2012)
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1995-027-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1995-027-00 - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: ISRP fundable (qualified): sponsors should consider the ISRP comments for the next project review. Work element associated with artificial production triggers step reviews. See project 200737200.

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1995-027-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1995-027-00 - Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:
This is a proposal for white sturgeon rehabilitation in Lake Roosevelt that is reasonable in broad view, but the initial proposal lacked perspective from other white sturgeon research, did not adequately document the status of the population, and did not adequately justify a conservation aquaculture program. The first two of these three deficiencies were amply remedied by an excellent response. The response addressed the ISRP's identified concerns explicitly with an abundance of data, analysis, and intentions for the proposed research. The response provides convincing evidence that sponsors are gaining an understanding of the dynamics of the sturgeon population upstream from Lake Roosevelt and perhaps beginning to determine the mechanisms limiting recruitment to the older age classes. An expanded reference list was provided. The ISRP appreciates the thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and objectivity with which the sponsors provided their response. The reporting of results of the project has been good with Annual Reports to BPA produced for each year of the study.

The relationships of the Lake Roosevelt stock to other components of the Columbia River Basin white sturgeon were described both genetically and geographically. The research and analysis to date on stock status was described quantitatively and appropriate results were presented. As requested, the response demonstrated an understanding of the sturgeon population in the context of other populations and ongoing research and management in the basin and throughout the species' range. The initially unclear relationships among existing projects were appropriately clarified. The response provided evidence that the population assessments conducted to date and those planned for the future are intended to be quantitative and have statistical rigor.

Despite the fine response, the ISRP has some suggestions for sponsors' consideration in the areas of population status and stock assessment. Sponsors conclude with a statement that the historic stock structure is not germane to the current problem of poor recruitment, and that the population will remain isolated for the foreseeable future because of impoundment of this section of the river. This may be true, although the ISRP provides another view for consideration. The ISRP receives proposals from various reaches throughout the Columbia River basin that implicitly treat each impoundment as an isolated unit. It could be, however, that before the hydrosystem was constructed white sturgeon migrated among segments of the Columbia and Snake Rivers (exclusive of the Kootenai, which has been isolated for thousands of years). Coupled with episodic and localized successful recruitment interspersed with many years of failed reproduction, the abundance and geographic distribution of sturgeon may have depended on movement of individuals, young and old, among river reaches. The fragmentation of the system may itself be a causal mechanism in the decline in recruitment in some segments. If this is the case, then efforts to mitigate the mechanisms for recruitment failure may be a necessary but insufficient solution to recover these populations. Any artificial production to support white sturgeon needs to consider this possibility.

Sponsors provided a very helpful summary of their stock assessment efforts, and their conclusions to date. If this proposal is funded and the current round of tasks are accomplished, it would be helpful for reviewers in the next proposal cycle if the sponsors provided a more thorough justification of additional stock assessments. There need to be explicit assessments outlined that will provide convincing abundance and survival estimates. The conclusion that a standardized survey needs to be conducted every three years could to be better justified, also. Future proposals should more thoroughly develop the need for continued population status monitoring and at what time intervals.

The sponsors' justification for the conservation hatchery was still based too much on the UCWSRI (2002) and recovery plan recommendations, plus the citing of supplementation ongoing in the lower Columbia River (The Dalles reservoir) and in the Kootenai River. The ISRP examined the upper Columbia plan and found no compelling evidence that a conservation aquaculture program was well justified other than that the Canadians were successfully rearing and releasing juvenile white sturgeon into the Keenleyside Reach since 2002. All of the supplementation efforts are at such an early stage that it is unknown if supplementation will help or hurt these populations. This is too much like a bandwagon approach. The rationale for trying conservation aquaculture was presented as a temporary response to the longer time frame of likely research and management advances for restoring habitat deficiencies likely responsible for low recruitment. An informative set of projected population trajectories with and without hatchery supplementation was provided. Nonetheless, the ISRP suggests the supplementation approach be more thoroughly developed and justified, which remains a qualification for the fundable recommendation.
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1995-027-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1995-027-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: White sturgeon M&E and aquaculture in Lake Roosevelt; assume in mitigation for FCRPS.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1995-027-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1995-027-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Edward Gresh Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Brent Nichols Project Lead Spokane Tribe
Andy Miller Technical Contact Spokane Tribe
Carlos Matthew Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Martin Allen Project SME Bonneville Power Administration