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Project Summary

Project 1997-024-00 - Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids
Project Number:
1997-024-00
Title:
Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids
Summary:
A study was initiated in 1997 to investigate the impacts of piscivorous colonial waterbirds on the survival of juvenile salmonids ( Oncorhynchus spp.) in the lower Columbia River (Roby et al. 1998; Collis et al. 2002). The study area included the Columbia River from the mouth (river km 0) to the head of the impoundment created by McNary Dam (river km 553). The species of piscivorous waterbirds investigated were California gulls (Larus californicus), ring-billed gulls (L.delawarensis), glaucous-winged/western gulls (L. glaucescens X L. occidentalis), Caspian terns (Sterna caspia), double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), and, more recently, American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) and California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus).
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Oregon State University (Edu)
Real Time Research (Private)
Starting FY:
1997
Ending FY:
2018
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Basinwide - 100.00%
Purpose:
Predation
Emphasis:
RM and E
Focal Species:
All Anadromous Fish
All Anadromous Salmonids
Chinook - All Populations
Coho - Lower Columbia River ESU (threatened)
Coho - Unspecified Population
Lamprey, Pacific
Sockeye - All Populations
Steelhead - All Populations
Wildlife
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None

Study area in the Columbia River basin and coastal Washington showing the locations of active and former breeding colonies of piscivorous colonial waterbirds mentioned in this report.

Figure Name: Map 1

Document ID: P124726

Document: Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Avian Predation on Salmonid Smolts in the Lower and Mid-Columbia River

Page Number: 85

Project: 1997-024-00

Contract: 36864

Locations of existing recently-built and proposed islands designated for Caspian tern nesting as part of the federal agencies’ Caspian Tern Management Plan for the Columbia River estuary (USFWS 2005, 2006).

Figure Name: Map 2

Document ID: P124726

Document: Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Avian Predation on Salmonid Smolts in the Lower and Mid-Columbia River

Page Number: 86

Project: 1997-024-00

Contract: 36864

Study area in interior Oregon and northeastern California and locations of piscivorous waterbird colonies mentioned in this report.

Figure Name: Map 3

Document ID: P124726

Document: Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Avian Predation on Salmonid Smolts in the Lower and Mid-Columbia River

Page Number: 87

Project: 1997-024-00

Contract: 36864

Map of San Francisco Bay, California. Brooks Island is located in central San Francisco Bay, with the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers entering the Bay from the northeast. Eden Landing and Steven’s Creek are located in southern San Francisco Bay.

Figure Name: Figure A.1

Document ID: P124726

Document: Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Avian Predation on Salmonid Smolts in the Lower and Mid-Columbia River

Page Number: 159

Project: 1997-024-00

Contract: 36864


Summary of Budgets

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

Expense SOY Budget Working Budget Contracted Amount Modified Contract Amount Expenditures *
FY2017 (Previous) $535,341 $535,341 $0 $535,341 $548,472

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $535,341 $0 $535,341 $548,472
FY2018 (Current) $535,341 $535,341 $0 $0 $51,619

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $535,341 $0 $0 $51,619
FY2019 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

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

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2017 - FY2019)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2017 Expense $535,341 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016
FY2018 Expense $535,341 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY18 SOY Budgets 07/17/2017

Pending Budget Decision?  No


No Project Cost Share

FY2017 0 %
FY2016 0 %
FY2015 0 %
FY2014 83 %
FY2013 82 %
FY2012 80 %
FY2011 80 %
FY2010 0 %
FY2009 92 %
FY2008 83 %
FY2007 46 %
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
325 REL 7 SOW WRITER-EDITOR SERVICES FOR EA, AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVENILE SALMON History $2,112 1/23/2001 - 6/30/2001
4275 SOW Oregon State University 1997-024-00 AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVINILE SALMONIDS History $1,296,080 4/2/2001 - 9/30/2003
12825 SOW Oregon State University 1997-024-00 AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVENILE SALMONIDS History $895,657 2/15/2003 - 1/31/2005
22182 SOW Oregon State University 1997-024-00 AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVENILE SALMONIDS History $219,991 4/1/2005 - 1/31/2006
26707 SOW Oregon State University 1997-024-00 EXP AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVENILE SALMONIDS History $460,367 3/13/2006 - 2/28/2007
31313 SOW Oregon State University 1997-024-00 EXP AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVENILE SALMONIDS History $479,086 2/1/2007 - 1/31/2008
BPA-005038 Bonneville Power Administration FY10 Avian Pedation Photogrammetry Active $0 10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010
BPA-005452 Bonneville Power Administration BPA Photogrammetry for FY11 Avian Predation Active $29,208 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011
BPA-005543 Bonneville Power Administration TBL Task Order Active $27,263 10/1/2006 - 9/30/2007
BPA-005544 Bonneville Power Administration TBL Task Order Active $21,136 10/1/2007 - 9/30/2008
BPA-005545 Bonneville Power Administration TBL Task Order Active $32,590 10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009
60846 SOW Oregon State University 1997-024-00 EXP AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVENILE SALMON Issued $2,676,705 2/1/2013 - 1/31/2018



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):14
Completed:13
On time:13
Status Reports
Completed:50
On time:31
Avg Days Late:50

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
4275 12825, 22182, 26707, 31313, 36864, 56884, 60846 1997-024-00 AVIAN PREDATION ON JUVINILE SALMONIDS Oregon State University 04/2001 04/2001 Issued 50 105 6 0 3 114 97.37% 0
BPA-005543 TBL Task Order Bonneville Power Administration 10/2006 10/2006 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-005544 TBL Task Order Bonneville Power Administration 10/2007 10/2007 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-005545 TBL Task Order Bonneville Power Administration 10/2008 10/2008 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-005038 FY10 Avian Pedation Photogrammetry Bonneville Power Administration 10/2009 10/2009 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-005452 BPA Photogrammetry for FY11 Avian Predation Bonneville Power Administration 10/2010 10/2010 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 50 105 6 0 3 114 97.37% 0


Review: RME / AP Category Review

2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Assessment

Assessment Number: 1997-024-00-BIOP-20101105
Project Number: 1997-024-00
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-1997-024-00
Completed Date: None
2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Rating: Supports 2008 FCRPS BiOp
Comments: BiOp Workgroup Comments: No BiOp Workgroup comments

The BiOp RM&E Workgroups made the following determinations regarding the proposal's ability or need to support BiOp Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RME) RPAs. If you have questions regarding these RPA association conclusions, please contact your BPA COTR and they will help clarify, or they will arrange further discussion with the appropriate RM&E Workgroup Leads. BiOp RPA associations for the proposed work are: ( 66 67 68)
All Questionable RPA Associations ( ) and
All Deleted RPA Associations (54.8)
Proponent Response:

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 1997-024-00-ISRP-20101015
Project: 1997-024-00 - Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-1997-024-00
Completed Date: 12/17/2010
Final Round ISRP Date: 12/17/2010
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
This is a well developed, well designed and important program for the Fish and Wildlife Program that supports a clear need that will benefit salmonids in the Columbia River Basin. The investigators have demonstrated that avian predation concentrated in certain specific areas has a large effect on salmonid outmigrant survival. They developed the necessary data to show this need and to support the management plans to move nesting birds and reduce the predation. The work proposed will continue these efforts, support efforts to move cormorants to appropriate nesting locations, and continue to determine the importance of predation by other nesting waterbirds (including the relatively recent arrival of pelicans in the estuary). This study is important to understanding the predation rate of fish-eating birds on various salmon stocks. This rate is being evaluated in considerable detail; however, the predator influence on the overall survival rate of the various stocks seems unknown (is it mostly compensated for or is it additive)? For a true cost-benefit analysis, this question needs to be answered. Perhaps avian biologists working with salmon biologists can address this critical issue by working together on salmon life stage models for various stocks, especially since predation rates seem to vary among species and stocks.

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

Evaluate efficacy and management initiative implemented to reduce predation on juvenile salmonids by Caspian terns and double-crested cormorants on East Sand Island and develop plans for long-term management of avian predation, as warranted. Data indicates that most significant impacts to smolt survival occur in Columbia River estuary, although populations at other sites may be a concern to local stocks. The two avian species now take 15-20 million smolts annually, i.e., ~15% of all smolts. Stocks affected include every ESA-listed stock from throughout the Basin.

The project’s plan is to (1) evaluate efficacy of management initiative implemented to reduce tern predation on East Sand Island, (2) collect compile and analyze data needed for NEPA analyses required to manage cormorants on East Sand Island, and once implemented evaluate efficacy of management actions, and (3) investigate impacts on juvenile salmonids of other piscivorous birds (Brown Pelicans, White Pelicans, Brandt’s Cormorants and gull species), including interactions with smolt losses from Caspian Terns and Double-crested Cormorants. Specifically, assess changes in tern habitat use, colony size, productivity, diet composition, smolt consumption and stock-specific predation rates (associated with reducing the acreage for nesting on East Sand Island from 5 to 1.5 acres. Basically the same approach seems to be followed with cormorants, but it is still in early stages and has not progressed as far.

Nice background information is given, with many detailed publications. Tern population is relatively stable since 1998, but cormorant populations more than doubled. More salmonids are now eaten by cormorants than terns. However, similar to other predator control projects, there is the lingering concern of the importance of predation losses via birds relative to overarching factors such as ocean survival.

2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management

Systemwide losses of juvenile salmonids to Caspian Terns in estuary amount to 3.6-6.7 million smolts per year, even after management to date. The colony on Rice Island was moved to E. Sand Island (closer to ocean) where diet would hopefully include fewer salmonids. A Caspian Tern dietary change indeed took place (from 90% salmonids to 47% salmonids) with a 62% reduction in consumption of smolts. Further management was needed with the goal in 2006 to redistribute half to two-thirds of E. Sand Island tern colony to alternative sites in Oregon and California, with goal to reduce smolt loss another 50% while still maintaining a viable tern population. Eight artificial islands were constructed in Oregon and California as alternative tern nesting habitat with more nesting islands planned as the size of the nesting area on E. Sand Island is reduced from 5 to 1.5 acres. Double-crested Cormorants on E. Sand Island in 2009 consumed 11.1 million smolts and the colony now represents 41% of the population in western North America. As with the tern, any management of the cormorants will likely require an analysis under NEPA which includes (1) assessment of population status in Pacific states, (2)available suitable alternative nesting habitat outside Columbia Basin, and (3) potential enhancement of salmonid recovery rates in Columbia River should management of cormorants be implemented. The project shows a history of solving problems with fish-eating birds and seems to be planning far ahead to obtain the information needed to assess responses from current or planned management activities. Many results have been published in peer reviewed journals. Raw data have been archived and are available to others. Adaptive Management is clearly demonstrated.

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

Research, monitoring and evaluation of piscivorous waterbird colonies are paramount to success of several regional fish and wildlife recovery plans. Numbers and percentages of smolts consumed by avian predators are needed to assess the success of management activities. Furthermore, the investigators plan to evaluate whether reduction in smolt consumption associated with management of birds in the estuary is compensated by commensurate increases in predation by other avian populations. The diet data will provide information on impacts of avian predation to salmonid and non-salmonid species alike. The study is designed to broaden knowledge of fish mortality through understanding predator-prey interactions (on a species and stock basis). The study is dependent upon PIT tags applied by many salmon researchers. This indicates that avian biologists are working with salmon biologists.

A big question that does not seem to be fully discussed is, “What influence has the smolt loss from avian predation had on the adult return rate (survival) of various salmon stocks?” Some scenarios were discussed, but from what was presented, these seemed to be “what if” type presentations. The time is now to ask the question, “What type of data are necessary to fully understand what percentage of this avian predation loss is additive vs. compensatory?” It would seem like a real cost-benefit analysis needs the answer to this question. Game bird and waterfowl management has been concerned about compensatory and additive mortality for decades when determining harvest rates by hunting, so perhaps some approaches can be found in that literature. Emerging factors, especially climate change as it affects bird distribution, are acknowledged and factored into study designs. The investigators are apparently working with various management agencies across a broad geographic scope.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

Fourteen deliverables were described and were very specific with respect to types of data being collected and types of reports that will be prepared (usually journal articles). The techniques were described, and most were standard techniques or techniques they developed and described in earlier years of this study. A few methods were slightly modified when changes needed to be made for a different species. The deliverables were listed for both Caspian terns and double-crested cormorants. Certainly the investigators planned far ahead, e.g., collecting pre-management activity data so that it will be available for assessing responses to the management activities. Seems that many organizations and agencies are involved with this large project and cost sharing and expertise sharing is occurring.
First Round ISRP Date: 10/18/2010
First Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
First Round ISRP Comment:
This is a well developed, well designed and important program for the Fish and Wildlife Program that supports a clear need that will benefit salmonids in the Columbia River Basin. The investigators have demonstrated that avian predation concentrated in certain specific areas has a large effect on salmonid outmigrant survival. They developed the necessary data to show this need and to support the management plans to move nesting birds and reduce the predation. The work proposed will continue these efforts, support efforts to move cormorants to appropriate nesting locations, and continue to determine the importance of predation by other nesting waterbirds (including the relatively recent arrival of pelicans in the estuary). This study is important to understanding the predation rate of fish-eating birds on various salmon stocks. This rate is being evaluated in considerable detail; however, the predator influence on the overall survival rate of the various stocks seems unknown (is it mostly compensated for or is it additive)? For a true cost-benefit analysis, this question needs to be answered. Perhaps avian biologists working with salmon biologists can address this critical issue by working together on salmon life stage models for various stocks, especially since predation rates seem to vary among species and stocks.

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

Evaluate efficacy and management initiative implemented to reduce predation on juvenile salmonids by Caspian terns and double-crested cormorants on East Sand Island and develop plans for long-term management of avian predation, as warranted. Data indicates that most significant impacts to smolt survival occur in Columbia River estuary, although populations at other sites may be a concern to local stocks. The two avian species now take 15-20 million smolts annually, i.e., ~15% of all smolts. Stocks affected include every ESA-listed stock from throughout the Basin.

The project’s plan is to (1) evaluate efficacy of management initiative implemented to reduce tern predation on East Sand Island, (2) collect compile and analyze data needed for NEPA analyses required to manage cormorants on East Sand Island, and once implemented evaluate efficacy of management actions, and (3) investigate impacts on juvenile salmonids of other piscivorous birds (Brown Pelicans, White Pelicans, Brandt’s Cormorants and gull species), including interactions with smolt losses from Caspian Terns and Double-crested Cormorants. Specifically, assess changes in tern habitat use, colony size, productivity, diet composition, smolt consumption and stock-specific predation rates (associated with reducing the acreage for nesting on East Sand Island from 5 to 1.5 acres. Basically the same approach seems to be followed with cormorants, but it is still in early stages and has not progressed as far.

Nice background information is given, with many detailed publications. Tern population is relatively stable since 1998, but cormorant populations more than doubled. More salmonids are now eaten by cormorants than terns. However, similar to other predator control projects, there is the lingering concern of the importance of predation losses via birds relative to overarching factors such as ocean survival.

2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management

Systemwide losses of juvenile salmonids to Caspian Terns in estuary amount to 3.6-6.7 million smolts per year, even after management to date. The colony on Rice Island was moved to E. Sand Island (closer to ocean) where diet would hopefully include fewer salmonids. A Caspian Tern dietary change indeed took place (from 90% salmonids to 47% salmonids) with a 62% reduction in consumption of smolts. Further management was needed with the goal in 2006 to redistribute half to two-thirds of E. Sand Island tern colony to alternative sites in Oregon and California, with goal to reduce smolt loss another 50% while still maintaining a viable tern population. Eight artificial islands were constructed in Oregon and California as alternative tern nesting habitat with more nesting islands planned as the size of the nesting area on E. Sand Island is reduced from 5 to 1.5 acres. Double-crested Cormorants on E. Sand Island in 2009 consumed 11.1 million smolts and the colony now represents 41% of the population in western North America. As with the tern, any management of the cormorants will likely require an analysis under NEPA which includes (1) assessment of population status in Pacific states, (2)available suitable alternative nesting habitat outside Columbia Basin, and (3) potential enhancement of salmonid recovery rates in Columbia River should management of cormorants be implemented. The project shows a history of solving problems with fish-eating birds and seems to be planning far ahead to obtain the information needed to assess responses from current or planned management activities. Many results have been published in peer reviewed journals. Raw data have been archived and are available to others. Adaptive Management is clearly demonstrated.

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

Research, monitoring and evaluation of piscivorous waterbird colonies are paramount to success of several regional fish and wildlife recovery plans. Numbers and percentages of smolts consumed by avian predators are needed to assess the success of management activities. Furthermore, the investigators plan to evaluate whether reduction in smolt consumption associated with management of birds in the estuary is compensated by commensurate increases in predation by other avian populations. The diet data will provide information on impacts of avian predation to salmonid and non-salmonid species alike. The study is designed to broaden knowledge of fish mortality through understanding predator-prey interactions (on a species and stock basis). The study is dependent upon PIT tags applied by many salmon researchers. This indicates that avian biologists are working with salmon biologists.

A big question that does not seem to be fully discussed is, “What influence has the smolt loss from avian predation had on the adult return rate (survival) of various salmon stocks?” Some scenarios were discussed, but from what was presented, these seemed to be “what if” type presentations. The time is now to ask the question, “What type of data are necessary to fully understand what percentage of this avian predation loss is additive vs. compensatory?” It would seem like a real cost-benefit analysis needs the answer to this question. Game bird and waterfowl management has been concerned about compensatory and additive mortality for decades when determining harvest rates by hunting, so perhaps some approaches can be found in that literature. Emerging factors, especially climate change as it affects bird distribution, are acknowledged and factored into study designs. The investigators are apparently working with various management agencies across a broad geographic scope.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

Fourteen deliverables were described and were very specific with respect to types of data being collected and types of reports that will be prepared (usually journal articles). The techniques were described, and most were standard techniques or techniques they developed and described in earlier years of this study. A few methods were slightly modified when changes needed to be made for a different species. The deliverables were listed for both Caspian terns and double-crested cormorants. Certainly the investigators planned far ahead, e.g., collecting pre-management activity data so that it will be available for assessing responses to the management activities. Seems that many organizations and agencies are involved with this large project and cost sharing and expertise sharing is occurring.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1997-024-00-NPCC-20110125
Project: 1997-024-00 - Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal: RMECAT-1997-024-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 6/10/2011
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Implement through FY 2016.
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: RMECAT #6 Research projects in general—.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 1997-024-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 1997-024-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 1 - Appears reasonable
Comment: RM&E regarding avian predation; fishery managers, Corps authorized/required; cost share appears sufficient.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 1997-024-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 1997-024-00
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: 1997-024-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 1997-024-00 - Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids
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 strong proposal, and avian predation is definitely a problem that has been documented in a useful series of studies. This project is being funded by a number of entities, the Corps and BPA. The Council/BPA/Corps and the sponsor should clearly delineate who is funding which tasks.

This recommendation is qualified, because the ISRP questions whether it is necessary to condition new sites for the terns (this pertains only to those sites more than 200 miles away), or even evaluate potential new habitat at great distances from the present colonies. These birds are adept at finding suitable habitat when the present habitat is no longer rendered suitable and will likely redistribute to their more historical range, instead of the recent concentration in the Columbia River estuary. More suitable alternative sites need to be provided within 200 miles of the present colonies, because birds need alternative sites or they will not readily move.

Fisheries investigators should consider a similar approach to this project's in sampling for PIT tags in dredge material at Burbank Slough (at mouth of Snake and Columbia).
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 1997-024-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 1997-024-00 - Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Scope expansion not accepted. Budget at the FY 2006 level.

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Daniel Roby Project Lead Oregon State University
Ken Collis Project Lead Real Time Research
Dan Gambetta Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
David Roberts (Inactive) Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration