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Project Summary

Project 2001-027-00 - Western Pond Turtle Recovery
Project Number:
2001-027-00
Title:
Western Pond Turtle Recovery
Summary:
This project will continue with recovery efforts for the western pond turtle in the Columbia River Gorge. Emphasis will be habitat improvement and predator control. Population augmentation will continue at select sites to aid in recovery.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) (Govt - State)
Starting FY:
2001
Ending FY:
2014
Stage:
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Gorge Columbia Gorge 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Wildlife
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 100.0%
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"

Expense SOY Budget Working Budget Contracted Amount Modified Contract Amount Expenditures *
FY2017 (Previous) $0 $0 $0 $0

FY2018 (Current) $0 $0 $0 $0

FY2019 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

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

No Decided Budget Transfers

Pending Budget Decision?  No


No Project Cost Share

FY2012 0 %
FY2011 43 %
FY2010 43 %
FY2009 47 %
FY2008 44 %
FY2007 34 %
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
19816 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2001-027-00 WESTERN POND TURTLE RECOVERY - COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE History $88,333 10/1/2004 - 9/30/2005
23926 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2001-027-00 EXP WESTERN POND TURTLE RECOVERY History $113,866 10/1/2005 - 6/30/2007
34573 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 200102700 EXP WESTERN POND TURTLE RECOVERY History $40,519 9/1/2007 - 2/29/2008
36877 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2001-027-00 EXP WESTERN POND TURTLE RECOVERY History $86,378 3/1/2008 - 2/28/2009
41660 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 200102700 EXP WESTERN POND TURTLE RECOVERY History $88,517 3/1/2009 - 2/28/2010
46394 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2001-027-00 EXP WESTERN POND TURTLE RECOVERY History $88,697 3/1/2010 - 2/28/2011
52092 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2001-027-00 EXP WESTERN POND TURTLE RECOVERY IN COL. R. GORGE History $90,504 3/1/2011 - 3/15/2012



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):6
Completed:6
On time:6
Status Reports
Completed:25
On time:22
Avg Days Early:2

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
5175 19816, 23926, 34573, 36877, 41660, 46394, 52092 2001-027-00 WESTERN POND TURTLE RECOVERY IN THE COLUMBIA R. GORGE Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 06/2001 06/2001 History 25 50 0 0 2 52 96.15% 0
Project Totals 25 50 0 0 2 52 96.15% 0


Review: Wildlife Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2001-027-00-ISRP-20090618
Project: 2001-027-00 - Western Pond Turtle Recovery
Review: Wildlife Category Review
Completed Date: 5/19/2009
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The sponsors response provided thorough information (backed up with citations from the recent scientific literature) and well thought-out plans for addressing all ISRP comments and recommendations. The response included a useful discussion of population monitoring. As the ISRP recommended, they have contacted Dr. Skalski, and he has agreed to consult with them in further developing their mark-recapture model and statistical analyses of the data.

With potential bullfrog productivity very high, it seems that bullfrog control must continue (we did not see that point mentioned) as well as turtle population monitoring after supplementation stops. The project managers may need to adjust the recovery plans if natural production does not occur. It was of interest that some toxicological data was available in 1991 at the beginning of the study, and that issue should perhaps be revisited soon. The response to climate change and a possible sex ratio issue is also of interest and proves that they are seriously thinking about many factors. The history of turtle population numbers was addressed with the "best available information."

The ISRP compliments the sponsors on their innovative efforts to recover this species and encourages them to continue and expand biological, toxicological, genetic, and climate change research. Innovative techniques to improve predator control and natural production are needed.
First Round ISRP Date: 3/26/2009
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:
This is an important species recovery project, which will benefit western pond turtles if successful. A recovery goal of 200 or more western pond turtles for each of the four populations in the Columbia River Gorge project area is stated, but no information was provided to justify how that number was determined. Reliable estimates of western pond turtle population numbers are needed in any case and are proposed to be developed through a mark-recapture program, but the proposal lacks sufficient detail to determine if/when a successful population monitoring technique will be forthcoming. One concern is that RM&E is accompanied by a reduction in supplementation efforts. If this is due in part to funding constraints, then, should requested funding for supplementation be increased so it can continue at current levels? Several factors that might affect recovery are not considered in the proposal and should be addressed including: water quality impacts, genetic diversity of the four populations, and long-term climate change effects.

In addition, the reporting of results is not well done in this proposal and was mostly provided in narrative style. The data and information from the Annual Progress reports to BPA should be summarized in the proposal and those reports cited. For example, an important finding from the FY 2006 Annual report indicates that: "During the 2006 field season trapping effort, 414 western pond turtles were captured in the Columbia Gorge, including 374 previously head-started turtles. These recaptures, together with confirmed nesting by head-start females and visual re-sightings, indicate the program is succeeding in boosting juvenile recruitment to increase the populations." This type of data should be included in the proposal. A response should indicate how the project will respond to problems in mark-recapture protocols (the problem may be solved by choosing a model with different assumptions for data analysis) and focus on defining criteria for success in removal of bullfrog egg masses and reduction in population of adult bullfrogs through bullfrog population survey data and results.

A response is requested to address the following questions/recommendations:

Population Monitoring
A mark-recapture project is being conducted with the program “Mark” to estimate survival. Some analyses have been conducted but the model seems to be yielding biased data/estimates from heterogeneity of capture probability. The ISRP recommends that the project sponsors seek statistical support such as that provided by Dr. John Skalski’s BPA statistical support project for assistance with mark-recapture model alternatives and project statistical design. Additional analyses may be needed in addition to modifying trapping techniques. If these models continue to result in poor estimates, please respond by identifying what other estimators/techniques will be used for M&E?


Bullfrog Management Efforts
Can removal of bullfrog egg masses be shown to cause a reduction in populations of adult bullfrogs through concurrent bullfrog population surveys? What would these surveys cost? Can increases in juvenile turtle survival over time be linked to bullfrog egg mass or adult bullfrog population declines?

Genetic Concerns
An understanding of the genetic diversity of these populations is needed. Will supplementation of these populations from the same nests year after year further reduce the genetic diversity? Is increased genetic diversity available from other nearby source populations?

Future Monitoring Recommendations
For future monitoring efforts the sponsors should consider (1) developing a plan to respond to future climate-change effects on restoration sites and western pond turtle populations, and (2) developing a plan for monitoring and evaluation of water quality at turtle restoration sites and bioaccumulation of chemicals and contaminants in turtles at restoration sites.

Additional comments on each of the sections of the proposal are included below:

1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships
The history of loss of western pond turtle habitat and decline of populations in the Columbia River Gorge are really not documented with references and only generally described in this section. Apparently, the only reporting of past project results is in the required BPA quarterly/annual reports, but these reports are not summarized or cited in this proposal. Is there an annual status report on western pond turtles that is updated each year? Is there an information exchange network between agencies involved in western pond turtle recovery? This proposal is not technically well justified until some documentation of western pond turtle habitat loss and population declines are added. Also, Part B. of the proposal should come first, because the introduction of the proposal jumps right into recovery plans for planting protectively reared juvenile western pond turtles in various project area locations.

One of the main linkages to regional programs or plans is the statement that the western pond turtle is a Washington State listed endangered species and is a federal species of concern. It is also stated that the 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program and the Columbia River Gorge Subbasin Plan have specific objectives to restore western pond turtles to their native habitats. This project also has a number of partnerships with the Woodland Park Zoo, the Oregon Zoo, WDFW, and the USFS and describes and uses these partnerships effectively, especially for the head-starting program.

2. Project History and Results
The project’s history was adequately described by providing lists of accomplishments for various categories such as Habitat Acquisitions, Habitat Enhancement, Surveys (pre-project), etc. However, as the sponsors note, monitoring is needed to determine whether the various recovery activities are resulting in the recovery of western pond turtles.

Reporting of results is very general with little or no documentation. This is a long running project. Annual reports to BPA are required, but none are cited in the Literature Cited. However, a search of the BPA PISCES site indicated that Annual Reports have been fairly regularly submitted through FY 2006. These reports were well done, providing data from annual population counts indicating that the Head Started juveniles were adding to recruits in the field. A summary of the data should be included in the proposal, and those reports cited in the proposal.

3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods
Several questions or comments are given for each of the four biological objectives.

• Objective 1. Restore western pond turtle populations - How was the population-size goal of 200 animals determined? Does this need to be revisited? It seems reasonable to expect considerable spatio-temporal variation in population numbers that will achieve self-sustainability and maintain biodiversity.
• Objective 2. Develop methods to conduct population monitoring - The proposal would be improved if proponents had provided a specific experimental/sampling design and more background information on "Mark" and results of estimation procedures using this software.
• Objective 3. Supplement existing populations when needed - Further justification is needed for reducing this aspect of the program while the monitoring/evaluation of natural production is occurring.
• Objective 4. Enhance, restore, maintain, manage western pond turtle habitats - Most of the effort is focused on terrestrial habitat. No mention of whether water quality and quantity are issues. More specifics on control of non-native species would be useful. Are bullfrogs and warm water fish (species?) the only non-native predators?

The Work Elements and Methods were described in adequate detail.

4. M&E
In the 2007 review of this project, the ISRP was concerned about recruitment problems (need to record age/size classes captured) and the need to better understand population dynamics and critical evaluation of the head start program. A mark-recapture project is being conducted with the program Mark to estimate survival. Some analyses have been conducted but the model seems to be yielding biased data/estimates from heterogeneity of capture probability. The ISRP recommends that the project sponsors make use statistical support, such as that provided by Dr. John Skalski’s BPA statistical support project, for assistance with mark-recapture model alternatives and project statistical design. Additional analyses may be needed in addition to modifying trapping techniques. If these models continue to result in poor estimates, please identify what other estimators/techniques will be used for M&E?

This project indicates generally that bullfrog predation on young turtles is the main limiting factor for western pond turtles. To address this limiting factor the project currently removes bullfrog egg masses in the spring plus does lethal removal of adult bullfrogs while in the field for the egg-mass removals. Counts of egg masses removed from all four sites appear to be declining hence adult bullfrogs may be declining. However, there is still no sound criterion for success of this measure until bullfrog population surveys are conducted to see if the removal of egg masses is a good index of declines in bullfrog population levels. Adult frogs from neighboring sites could be regularly invading the supplementation sites.

For future monitoring efforts the proponents should consider (1) developing a plan to respond to future climate-change effects on restoration sites, and (2) monitoring and evaluation of water quality at turtle restoration sites and bioaccumulation of chemicals and contaminants in turtles at restoration sites.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2001-027-00-NPCC-20091217
Project: 2001-027-00 - Western Pond Turtle Recovery
Review: Wildlife Category Review
Approved Date: 5/31/2009
Recommendation: Fund
Comments:
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2001-027-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2001-027-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 3 - Does not appear reasonable
Comment: Western pond turtle recovery efforts; other entities authorized/required (eg FWS, other actors); query whether cost-share sufficient.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2001-027-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2001-027-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2001-027-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2001-027-00 - Western Pond Turtle Recovery
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 sponsors did a good job of responding to the fix-it requests. Given the population estimates provided in the fix-it response, the ISRP team wondered about recruitment problems. To get at this issue, it would be valuable for the sponsors to record age/size classes in turtles they capture. For instance, recording the size classes of turtles at capture might be a way to identify year class differences and age classes in the population and lead to better understanding of recruitment. The ISRP noted and was pleased to see that there are plans to radio mark and track adult females in the population to better understand this segment of the population. In future work, the ISRP will look for authors to better understand the population dynamics of this species. The ISRP would also like to see a critical evaluation of the head-start work in future proposals. As the ISRP understand it, from 1991 to 2001, 116 head-started western pond turtles were released at the Bergen site(s). Population estimates for 2001 were that 121 turtles are in the Bergen area, and there were 55 acres of habitat work in the area as well. The ISRP wonders what is happening to turtles released at Bergen? Is this site typical? This example reminds us that the ISRP and the field biologists need to be able to critically evaluate their methods (e.g. head start) so they can change them (adaptive management) if necessary.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2001-027-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2001-027-00 - Western Pond Turtle Recovery
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund
Comments:

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Janice Jackson Administrative Contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
David Anderson Project Lead Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Hannah Dondy-Kaplan (Inactive) Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Michelle O'Malley Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration