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Project Summary

Project 1997-019-00 - Evaluate Life History of Native Salmonids in Malheur River Subbasin
Project Number:
1997-019-00
Title:
Evaluate Life History of Native Salmonids in Malheur River Subbasin
Summary:
The Burns Paiute Tribe initiated native resident fish research efforts in 1997. A significant decline of fisheries resources has occurred and the trend continues in the Malheur River Subbasin. In less than 100 years, anadromous fish were extirpated from the Malheur River Subbasin that included chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, steelhead trout Oncorhynchus mykiss, pacific lamprey Lampetra tridentata, and possibly coho salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch (Thompson and Hass 1960). The construction of hydropower and irrigation facilities in the Columbia River Basin has decreased the range of anadromous fish (NPCC 1987). The construction of Brownlee Dam in 1958 extirpated the remaining populations of anadromous fish in the upper Snake River Drainage (NPCC 2001). The diet of the Paiute people included fish (including a great deal of salmon) birds, mule deer Odocoileus hemionus, rocky mountain elk Cervus elaphus, small mammals i.e. yellow-bellied marmot Marmota flaviventris, plants i.e. Camas Camassia quamash, and roots i.e. bitter root Lewisia rediviva (BPT 2001). Due to the elimination of anadromous fish, resident fish species have been the focus of recovery efforts in the Malheur River Subbasin (NPCC 2001). Native resident fish have suffered significant habitat loss and degradation due to land-use factors such as timber harvest, livestock production and irrigation withdrawals (Ratliff & Howell 1992). Management and conservation of bull trout populations and native redband trout populations have become high priorities for many state and federal agencies due to dramatic population declines throughout their historic native ranges. Bull trout are currently listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (USFWS 1998), and redband trout are recognized as a “species of special concern” or a “sensitive species” by the State of Oregon, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the American Fisheries Society, and all other states throughout their historic range. Despite their sensitive status, quantitative data on the current distribution, population status and trends, habitat, life history needs, limiting factors, and threats to persistence of native salmonids in the Malheur River Subbasin is limited.

The goal of the project is to assess the status of current populations, understand the life cycles and seasonal migratory movements of native resident fish to better understand the critical biological processes that shall provide local fish and land management entities the scientific information needed for sound management decisions and recovery priorities. This project is a cooperative effort between local fish and land management agencies which end product shall provide beneficial information and data to all stakeholders to aid them in their management and recovery priorities.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Burns-Paiute Tribe (Tribe)
Starting FY:
2004
Ending FY:
2018
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Middle Snake Malheur 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
RM and E
Focal Species:
OBSOLETE-Pikeminnow, Northern
Other Resident
Trout, Brook
Trout, Bull (threatened)
Trout, Interior Redband
Trout, Rainbow
Whitefish, Mountain
Wildlife
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 100.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None
BiOp Association:
None

Cover photo

Figure Name: Cover

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 1

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

Stream temperature monitoring site locations.

Figure Name: Figure 2-1

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 34

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

Redband densities (fish/m2) associated with 2010 monitoring sites.

Figure Name: Figure 3-1

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 58

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

Map of Malheur River Subbasin and site locations

Figure Name: Figure 4-1

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 67

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

Close-up of South Fork Malheur River watershed and site locations

Figure Name: Figure 4-2

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 67

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

Location Map of Agency Valley Dam

Figure Name: Figure 5-1

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 88

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

Photograph of Water Level in the Stilling Basin on Oct. 18 2010

Figure Name: Figure 5-4

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 93

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

Photograph of Water Level in the Stilling Basin on Oct. 21 2010

Figure Name: Figure 5-5

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 93

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

High Lake and upper Lake Creek

Figure Name: Figure 6-1

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 104

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255

Malheur River, OR tributaries sampled for this study. Green dots designate sampling locations within each tributary.

Figure Name: Figure 1

Document ID: P124857

Document: Evaluate the Life History of Native Salmonids in the Malheur Subbasin; 4/10 - 3/11

Page Number: 134

Project: 1997-019-00

Contract: 52255


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) $266,016 $286,606 $286,606 $286,606 $261,678

General $266,016 $266,016 $266,016 $242,879
General - Within Year $20,590 $20,590 $20,590 $18,799
FY2017 (Current) $266,016 $266,016 $266,016 $266,016 $208,343

General $266,016 $266,016 $266,016 $208,343
FY2018 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

General $0 $0 $0 $0

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

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2016 - FY2018)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2016 Expense $266,016 From: General FY16 Initial Planning Budgets - Expense 05/22/2015
FY2016 Expense $61,770 From: General - Within Year BOG 2016 June Approvals 06/09/2016
FY2016 Expense $61,770 To: General - Within Year June 23 2016 06/23/2016
FY2016 Expense $20,590 From: General - Within Year June 23 2016 06/23/2016
FY2017 Expense $266,016 From: General FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016

Pending Budget Decision?  No


Project Cost Share:

FY2016 25 %
FY2015 27 %
FY2014 48 %
FY2013 18 %
FY2012 33 %
FY2011 2 %
FY2010 0 %
FY2009 0 %
FY2008 10 %
FY2007 14 %
Fiscal Year Cost Share Partner Total Proposed
Contribution
Total Confirmed
Contribution
FY2015 Burns-Paiute Tribe $2,500
FY2015 Oregon Department Of Fish and Wildlife $10,000
FY2015 US Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) $26,527
FY2015 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $0
FY2015 US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) $30,000
FY2015 US Forest Service (USFS) $30,000
FY2016 Burns-Paiute Tribe $2,500
FY2016 Idaho Power $10,000
FY2016 Natural Resources Conservation Service $3,923
FY2016 Oregon Department Of Fish and Wildlife $15,000
FY2016 US Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) $19,417
FY2016 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $0
FY2016 US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) $15,000
FY2016 US Forest Service (USFS) $30,000

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Complete, History, Issued.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
46509 SOW Burns-Paiute Tribe 199701900 EXP EVALUATE LIFE HISTORY OF NATIVE SALMONIDS IN MALHUE History $205,000 4/1/2010 - 3/31/2011
74623 SOW Burns-Paiute Tribe 1997-019-00 EXP LIFE HISTORY OF NATIVE SALMONIDS IN MALHEUR Issued $266,016 1/1/2017 - 12/31/2017



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):17
Completed:14
On time:14
Status Reports
Completed:47
On time:34
Avg Days Early:1

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
6313 21931, 27001, 32506, 37198, 42495, 46509, 52255, 56472, 60649, 63715, 67693, 71007, 74623 1997-019-00 EVAL. LIFE HISTORY OF NEED OF NATIVE SALMONID IN THE Burns-Paiute Tribe 08/2001 08/2001 Issued 47 127 20 0 5 152 96.71% 0
Project Totals 47 127 20 0 5 152 96.71% 0


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

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1997-019-00-ISRP-20120215
Project: 1997-019-00 - Evaluate Life History of Native Salmonids in Malheur River Subbasin
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review
Proposal Number: RESCAT-1997-019-00
Completed Date: 4/17/2012
Final Round ISRP Date: 4/3/2012
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
First Round ISRP Date: 2/8/2012
First Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
First Round ISRP Comment:

The sponsors should be congratulated for preparing a very strong proposal. The proposed work would benefit bull trout recovery and provide useful background information on the status of redband trout in the Malheur basin. Success of the Lake Creek brook trout suppression effort hinges on significant reduction in brook trout abundance in High Lake.

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

The goals of the proposed work are to suppress brook trout in priority streams supporting bull trout within the Malheur basin and to conduct a basinwide assessment of redband rainbow trout abundance. Mechanical methods, such as electrofishing and strategically placing weirs to impede brook trout movement into bull trout spawning areas will be used to suppress brook trout. Mechanical methods are being tried as an alternative to a piscicide. The sponsors also propose to undertake a statistically rigorous estimation of abundance of redband trout throughout the Malheur basin.

The sponsors present a convincing argument, based on previous studies in the Malheur basin, that suppression of non-native brook trout, which threaten listed bull trout through genetic introgression and competition, is necessary for bull trout recovery in the basin. Furthermore, the work on redband trout seems justified as this fish is listed as a “species of concern” by several state and federal agencies, and little is known about their distribution and abundance in the Malheur basin.

Especially for the Lake Creek site, the technical background is provided in an unusually strong and complete manner that incorporates quality maps, graphics, and photos to very clearly explain the situation and focus on the nature of the problem. Much of it is based on previous work in the basin that provided needed information on distribution, abundance, movement, and genetic structure of brook and bull trout, and to some extent, redband trout. Furthermore, work done on bull trout and brook trout outside the project area are nicely referenced and used to help design the proposed work. The proposal is well prepared, easily read, and well- grounded scientifically.

The proposal provides a good discussion of how the sponsors’ efforts, and jurisdiction, coordinate with co-managers, and regional and federal agencies and programs. There are indications of unusually strong efforts to communicate. This project is closely tied to other projects in the Malheur basin and to several regional plans. The project directly responds to the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program 2009 Amendments, the USFWS Bull Trout Recovery Plan, the Malheur River Subbasin Implementation Strategies for bull trout (2011 draft), and the Malheur Subbasin Management Plan. The sponsors have been awarded several non-BPA contracts for other related components of the proposed work.

There are seven objectives, several of which commit to gathering statistically sound estimates of the status of populations of native species. All objectives appear sound and important. They address the crucial problems identified by the sponsors. Accomplishment of these objectives should aid in recovery of bull trout in the basin and provide useful background information on redband trout.

Critical to the success of the Lake Creek project is successful suppression of brook trout in High Lake, a headwater lake that serves as a source population of brook trout for Lake Creek. Removal of brook trout from High Lake has been ongoing for a couple of years. Based on the information presented in the proposal, it appears that a large proportion of the brook trout population has already been removed. Because the lake is relatively small (~ six acres) there is a high probability that the project will be able to significantly reduce brook trout abundance.

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

Accomplishments to this point are considerable. The sponsors present a thorough discussion of results that not only describe previous baseline work but also serve as a justification for the currently proposed work. The proposal clearly describes the work completed to date on bull trout, which is largely radio tracking, and how it is useful in developing the design of the proposed suppression efforts. The limited work to date on monitoring the status of redband trout in the Malheur basin was adequately described. Plans for developing a stronger database were outlined.

Discussion of results would have been improved if the sponsors provided some analysis of habitat quality and quantity including not only temperature but also other habitat factors such as deep pools, and large wood, and whether habitat is a limiting factor for bull trout. A question for the sponsors to consider is: would habitat enhancement as well as direct mechanical suppression of brook trout in concert improve chances of bull trout recovery?

In some cases, bull trout and brook trout abundance from earlier surveys is expressed as total numbers of fish. In future work, the sponsors should consider expressing abundance as densities or CPUE, for example in the High Lake brook trout removal project. These expressions of abundance would make comparison between locations more relevant as different sampling locations may differ in sampling effort and amount of habitat sampled. 

Adaptive management is clearly evident in this work. Considerable previous work in the basin has focused on gaining baseline information on population status of brook, bull, and redband trout, and factors limiting native trout abundance and distribution. Based on this work the sponsors propose to begin more management oriented work on brook trout removal and restriction of their movement into streams where they are absent or at low abundance, the response to bull trout to the brook trout suppression efforts, and a more systematic and complete assessment of redband abundance and distribution.

ISRP Retrospective Evaluation of Results 

This project is well designed, with important accomplishments to date. The project has progressed significantly over the years. The sponsors present a thorough discussion of results that not only describe previous baseline work but also serve as a justification for the currently proposed work. The baseline work consisted of obtaining needed information on status and trends of bull trout and, to some extent, redband trout in the Upper and Middle Malheur basin, and identifying limiting factors for bull trout. Brook trout were identified as a major limiting factor. The sponsors propose to undertake brook trout suppression in key bull trout streams to address this problem. The progression from initial assessment of status and trends to the direct management action of brook trout suppression is both logical and necessary for bull trout recovery and is an excellent example of adaptive management. 

Critical to the success of the project is successful suppression of brook trout in a headwater lake that has served as a source population of brook trout. The ISRP recommends that the sponsors seriously consider treatment of the lake with a piscicide as the methods they are currently using probably will not lead to complete eradication of brook trout.

The sponsors also plan to undertake a systematic and complete assessment of redband trout abundance and distribution in the Malheur basin. This work is well planned and well designed and should provide much needed information on redband status and trends. The ISRP recommends that the sponsors evaluate limiting factors as part of this assessment.

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

Relationships among agencies and the Tribe seem well developed and clearly described. Recovery of bull trout in the Malheur basin is a multi-agency effort in which the Burns Paiute Tribe has taken the lead role. The proposal directly and comprehensively addresses the non-native fish problem but does not deal with effects of climate change, which could elevate stream temperatures directly jeopardizing bull trout and possibly benefiting brook trout.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

Most deliverables contribute directly to accomplishment of the objectives. The methods for the most part appear sound. The work is well designed. We commend the sponsors for using a GRST design for sampling redband trout (Deliverable 3) and estimating abundance of brook trout (Deliverable 7) and bull trout (Deliverable 9) in Lake Creek.

The proposed work has been nicely thought through and is very clearly laid out. The detail and explicit emphasis in this section of the proposal indicates that project personnel are doing nearly all that is currently possible to achieve the rapid and concerted brook trout suppression required to bolster Lake Creek bull trout.

Reviewers, however, continue to support chemical suppression of brook trout in High Lake. Mechanical suppression, especially if it includes capture of all spawning adult brook trout in the outlet and inlet, might be able to significantly reduce abundance. However, with this species' ability to successfully spawn in spring seeps in the lake proper, it is unlikely that eradication would be possible. Night electrofishing in a raft with a throwable electrode has proven effective in ponds as fish may move into shallows at night and freeze in the craft's underwater lights.

There are other reasons for support of chemical treatment of High Lake. It was historically fishless and fits with recent USFS emphasis on restoring lakes to a fishless state to favor amphibians and other native species. There is a precedent to using chemical treatment in Wilderness Areas. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (pers. Com. Matt Boyer, MFWP, Libby/Kalispell) recently has done so.

Weir placement and operation on Meadow Fork Big Creek should be suitable for restricting movement of brook trout into the stream. This activity appears to be a valuable component of the project.

The proposed survey protocol (Deliverable 3), designed to develop a robust assessment of redband by electrofishing non-privately-owned sections, seems adequate. The links to location maps were helpful. Some habitat attributes will also be recorded.

Reviewers suggest that the survey also could and should be used to gain understanding of factors limiting redband abundance with only minor additions to protocol, but it can only be successful if thought through prior to initiation of fieldwork, rather than after-the-fact. A very few simple hypotheses should be framed, such as "large redband are only present if pool depth or volume exceeds some particular dimension." The process does not necessarily need to be statistically rigorous, but over time might lead to the framing and testing of more elegant hypotheses.

The sponsors should consider monitoring the North Fork Malheur while the assessment of brook trout suppression and bull trout recovery in Lake Creek is ongoing. Since the North Fork is brook trout free it seems as though it could provide a useful reference site for comparison with Lake Creek. It is unclear why bull trout in Meadow Fork Big Creek will be assessed by snorkeling and not electrofishing, as will be done in Lake Creek. Meadow Creek, like the North Fork, could provide another worthwhile reference location.

The sponsors propose several metrics for evaluating success of the various suppression and control measures for brook trout including ratios of brook trout to bull trout, abundance estimates, and redd counts. It would have been useful if the sponsors summarized the quantitative target values, ranges, or clear trends of each metric that will be used to determine the success of their efforts for both Lake Creek and Big Creek. Ratios alone may not be sufficient to assess success of brook trout suppression if bull trout abundance declines at the same time as brook trout abundance; that is, a given ratio could be achieved but at the same time bull trout abundance could have declined to unacceptable levels. Additionally, it is unclear how the ratios were derived.

Modified by Dal Marsters on 4/17/2012 2:29:38 PM.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1997-019-00-NPCC-20130807
Project: 1997-019-00 - Evaluate Life History of Native Salmonids in Malheur River Subbasin
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review
Proposal: RESCAT-1997-019-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 2/26/2014
Recommendation: Implement
Comments: Implement through 2017.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1997-019-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1997-019-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: Population analysis; fishery managers/land managers authorized/required; need cost share or other remedy.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1997-019-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1997-019-00
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: 1997-019-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1997-019-00 - Evaluate Life History of Native Salmonids in Malheur River Subbasin
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:
The proposal included some evidence of progress since the provincial reviews that was reinforced by material provided in the response. The response indicated to reviewers that the project is making progress toward the goal of understanding the needs of Malheur native salmonids to enable protection and restoration of their habitat. The sponsors have submitted one manuscript on previous work, and the project effort is being re-directed with more focus on redband trout than on bull trout.

Reviewers empathize over the slow growth of woody riparian vegetation at study sites after livestock grazing has been eliminated. This might be the time to reconsider whether willows, which have shown similar "stunting" elsewhere when harsh winter conditions apparently lead to desiccation if not snow-covered, are the best species.

Other components of the project such as bull trout redd counting and the 180-site (one-fifth then to be re-sampled annually over 5 years) sampling effort to assess salmonid status throughout the subbasin, seem generally appropriate and adequately designed from the brief summaries provided in the response. Biological Objective #4, to gather habitat data on 30 sites, will only yield valuable results if it is done in combination with fish assessment and if it is set up to test which possible limiting factor (based on a very short list compiled from the literature and other BPT studies) is actually regulating the population at each site. For the redband trout genetic work, it is not clear the proposed number of sites to be sampled and the number of fish to be used are sufficient for detecting meaningful differences/trends. This should be established before on-the-ground implementation takes place.

Reviewers repeat the suggestion that interaction, if not already occurring, with personnel of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Native Snake River Salmonid Assessment project 199800200 should be of value to sponsors of this project.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1997-019-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1997-019-00 - Evaluate Life History of Native Salmonids in Malheur River Subbasin
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments:

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Paul Krueger (Inactive) Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Erica Maltz Supervisor Burns-Paiute Tribe
Jonathan Goodman Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Siena Lopez-Johnston Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Kristopher Crowley Project Lead Burns-Paiute Tribe