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Project Summary

Project 2003-009-00 - Canada-USA Shelf Salmon Survival Study
Project Number:
2003-009-00
Title:
Canada-USA Shelf Salmon Survival Study
Summary:
The primary objective of this research is to assess the effects of ocean conditions on the production of Columbia River Basin salmon. The information generated in this study is intended to map the ocean conditions that determine the growth and survival of Pacific salmon along the west coast of North America from southern British Columbia to southeast Alaska, and to identify which stocks of Columbia River salmon forage in these areas. Documenting the extent of changes in growth, along with changes in physical features of the ocean will help to improve our understanding of how climatic events in the ocean can impact important fish resources. More specifically, the samples collected in this study will provide an assessment of whether different stock groups (including ESA listed stocks) predominate in regions of poor growth and survival. This research will also provide baseline data that can be used to forecast the size of Columbia River salmon runs.

The working hypothesis of this research is that the marine survival of salmon is mediated by the effects of ocean conditions on salmon growth during their first year at sea. In particular, salmon experiencing faster growth are expected to have lower mortality. Similarly, salmon that accumulate higher energy and lipid reserves prior to the onset of winter are expected to exhibit lower overwinter mortality than those in poor conditions. In the marine environment, the bioenergetics processes regulating salmon growth may vary in relation to changes in temperature, ocean productivity, and prey community structure, and may be affected by changes in ocean circulation and climate. More specifically, large-scale shifts in atmospheric circulation may affect ocean productivity through changes in mixed-layer depth, horizontal transport of nutrients, and upwelling, while prey community composition may vary in response to changes in horizontal transport.

The objectives of this research will be achieved by (1) collecting juvenile salmon and oceanographic data from the west coast of Vancouver Island to southeast Alaska during spring/summer, fall, and winter, (2) assessing the growth and feeding conditions of juvenile salmon collected from these areas, (3) assessing the ocean productivity of these areas, and (4) reconstructing the migration of specific stocks using DNA analyses. These areas are frequently utilized by juvenile Chinook and coho salmon from the Columbia River during their first years in the ocean. To obtain a broader perspective of the effects of ocean conditions on juvenile salmon, this research will be coordinated with concomitant sampling programs conducted by NMFS from California to Washington and in Alaska. The results of this research will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and data reports, and will be presented at national and international conferences.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Govt - Federal)
Starting FY:
2005
Ending FY:
2017
BPA PM:
Stage:
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Ocean - 100.00%
Purpose:
Programmatic
Emphasis:
RM and E
Focal Species:
Chinook - All Populations
Chum - Columbia River ESU (threatened)
Coho - Lower Columbia River ESU (threatened)
Coho - Unspecified Population
Sockeye - All Populations
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
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 $0

BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) $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

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2017 - FY2019)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2017 Expense $0 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016

Pending Budget Decision?  No


No Project Cost Share

FY2017 0 %
FY2016 0 %
FY2015 0 %
FY2014 57 %
FY2013 43 %
FY2012 67 %
FY2011 63 %
FY2010 75 %
FY2009 70 %
FY2008 61 %
FY2007 71 %
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
7392 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 1998-014-00 CANADA-USA SHELF SALMON SURVIVAL STUDY History $853,600 10/2/1999 - 12/1/2004
20173 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans PI 200300900 CANADA-USA SHELF SALMON SURVIVAL STUDY History $249,900 10/1/2004 - 12/31/2005
24445 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 2003-009-00 EXP CANADA SHELF SALMON SURVIVAL STUDY History $250,155 10/1/2005 - 11/1/2006
29753 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 2003-009-00 EXP CANADA SHELF SALMON SURVIVAL STUDY History $341,664 11/1/2006 - 9/30/2007
34892 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 200300900 EXP CANADA-USA SHELF PROJECT History $434,000 10/1/2007 - 9/30/2008
39197 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 200300900 EXP CANADA-USA SHELF PROJECT History $434,000 10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009
44358 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 200300900 EXP CANADA-USA SHELF PROJECT (CDFO) History $444,850 10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010
50871 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 200300900 EXP CANADA-USA SHELF PROJECT (CDFO) History $444,850 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011
54545 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 2003-009-00 EXP CANADA-USA SHELF PROJECT (CDFO) History $460,075 10/1/2011 - 9/30/2012
59076 SOW Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 2003-009-00 EXP CANADA-USA SHELF PROJECT (CDFO) History $278,002 10/1/2012 - 9/30/2015



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):8
Completed:7
On time:7
Status Reports
Completed:43
On time:9
Avg Days Late:29

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
7392 20173, 24445, 29753, 34892, 39197, 44358, 50871, 54545, 59076 1998-014-00 CANADA-USA SHELF SALMON SURVIVAL STUDY Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans 10/1999 10/1999 History 43 111 0 0 1 112 99.11% 0
Project Totals 43 111 0 0 1 112 99.11% 0


Review: RME / AP Categorical Review - Follow Up
Review: RME / AP Category Review

2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Assessment

Assessment Number: 2003-009-00-BIOP-20101105
Project Number: 2003-009-00
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-2003-009-00
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: (61.1)
All Questionable RPA Associations ( ) and
All Deleted RPA Associations ( 61.2 56.1 56.2 57.2 58.2 58.3 59.4 61.1 61.3 61.4 56.3 60.2)
Proponent Response:

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2003-009-00-ISRP-20101015
Project: 2003-009-00 - Canada-USA Shelf Salmon Survival Study
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-2003-009-00
Completed Date: 12/17/2010
Final Round ISRP Date: 12/17/2010
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:
This project provides an important link to NOAA project #199801400 (Ocean Survival of Salmonids) for coastwide investigations of survival of northward-migrating Columbia River salmon distributed over the continental shelf off British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. The results benefit Columbia River salmon by potentially enabling managers to understand mechanisms of ocean survival and adaptively manage for changes in ocean conditions. The working hypothesis of this project is that “marine survival of salmon is mediated by the effects of ocean conditions on salmon growth during their first year at sea.” Overall, the project has made good progress on evaluating factors that affect early ocean growth and survival of Columbia River salmon. The ISRP believes it is highly important to keep building on the existing time series of data. The investigators continue to examine new ideas that develop through analyses of existing data. This project examines all species and races of salmon, and it is apparent that hatchery and wild fish are identified when possible. A major accomplishment of ongoing research is the identification of a potential growth/survival bottleneck (in some years) for juvenile Columbia River salmon related to ocean conditions off the west Coast of Vancouver Island. Another import result is the observation that the majority of Columbia River fish caught off British Columbia during summer are of hatchery origin. During the last three to four years the proportion of hatchery fish relative to wild fish has decreased despite fairly stable releases, which may indicate increased production of wild Columbia River salmon. Although the ISRP is not requesting a response to this proposal, we have one major qualification.

Qualification: Address the issues listed below during the contracting process and in the project’s 2011 annual report, which will be reviewed by ISRP.

1. Strategic Plan. As noted by the ISRP in previous reviews, the project would benefit from a strategic plan that prioritizes objectives in the event that only partial funding is available for this project.

2. Linkages between CDFO and NOAA Sampling. The linkages between CDFO sampling off British Columbia and Alaska relative to NOAA sampling off Washington and Oregon need to be clarified. Can one project proceed without the other or are the two sampling programs interlinked so tightly that incomplete understanding would result if one project did not go ahead? The proponents state, “In addition, CDFO and NOAA Fisheries are planning to extend the CDFO winter survey to the Washington and Oregon coasts to provide additional information on the distribution of Columbia River salmon and to describe the biophysical environment they encounter in these waters during winter. This area has never been sampled for juvenile salmon at that time of the year due to inclement weather.” However, this survey is not described as an objective, and the CDFO work is only to “complement” NOAA work. Presumably similar methods will be used in both CDFO and NOAA surveys, but this needs further explanation. Does NOAA now have a vessel that can handle heavier weather or is there some other reason why the winter survey is now feasible? Have the data from CDFO winter surveys been used to evaluate the winter starvation hypothesis (Beamish and Mahnken 2001)? NOAA is now proposing to look at sockeye salmon (assuming they have a few fish in their samples). Sockeye is a specific species that the two projects need to collaborate on since Columbia sockeye increased during a period when Fraser River sockeye collapsed (the 2005 & 2007 Fraser smolt years produced very low adult returns compared to what was expected from the long-term Ricker relationships).

3. Interannual Variations in Salmon Distribution. The proponents state, “This project will be successful if interannual variations in the marine distribution of Columbia River salmon are detected.” Proponents should keep in mind that even if interannual variations are detected and significant, we need to know about the mechanisms that determine the variations and how much they vary in time and space. How many years will it take before success can be determined or will this go on forever? The proponents need to consider important sources of variation in research trawl fishing operations and fishing efficiency with respect to what is known about diel, horizontal, vertical, and seasonal distribution juvenile salmon. How might these sources of variation affect time-series observational data on species composition, abundance, distribution, growth, etc., of juvenile salmon in the survey area?

4. Invasive Species (Objective 3). No details were provided in Objective 3 of the proposal, although section 3.4 of the Major Accomplishments section mentions Humboldt squid. What invasive species will be investigated? How will this information be used? Pacific whiting migrations and potential predation could be integrated with estimates to the south. Nothing is mentioned in the proposal about forage fish as a buffer to smolt predation, although the proponents note that a subset of the pelagic forage fish caught in the trawl is sampled. The ISRP encourages proponents to assess the availability, size, and abundances of forage and predatory fishes and squids in their trawl survey catches.

5. Coordination with Other Projects. This project benefits greatly from in-kind match support from CDFO, which funds two of the three project surveys each year. The effort includes analysis of stocks from other regions, and this provides for interesting comparisons with Columbia River salmon. The project also has shared information with NOAA’s Ocean Survival of Salmonids Project. Still, it would be good for the BPA-funded CDFO, NOAA, and Kintama investigators to coordinate and integrate their efforts and their findings to a greater extent than shown in the proposals. Also, consider greater use of ocean monitoring data collected by other (non-BPA funded) projects for developing indices of ocean conditions, such as hydroacoustics, remote sensing, oceanographic buoys and floats, and robotic vehicles. The ISRP recommends improved coordination and collaboration with other projects and programs collecting these data.

6. Genetic stock identification. The ISRP recommends standardization of genetic stock identification methods used by BPA-funded ocean survival projects so that results are directly comparable among projects. Different projects may currently be using different methods but this was not clearly explained in the proposal.

7. Tag recovery and reporting. In addition to collection of coded-wire tags and PIT tags, all salmon and steelhead sampled during fishing operations should be examined for recovery of acoustic tags, if this is not already being done (no mention of this in the proposal). The ISRP recommends using a handheld wand detector, V-Detector, or tunnel detector onboard the survey vessels to examine all salmon and steelhead in survey catches for coded-wire tags (CWTs), as some Columbia River hatcheries release CWT fish that do not have an adipose fin clip. Apparently, data on CWT recoveries collected by this project have not been reported to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (PSMFC) RMIS database since 2005. Are PIT tag recovery data reported in the PSMFC’s PTAGIS database? The ISRP strongly recommends that reporting of recovered CWTs and PIT tags to the PSMFC’s RMIS and PTAGIS databases should be done on an annual basis.

8. Forecast models. The proponents state, “With more than a decade of observations on the ocean conditions experienced by juvenile salmon on the west coast of BC, this CDFO-BPA study has started to develop simple forecasting models for the marine survival of Columbia River salmon 1-2 years prior to the return of adult salmon to their natal river.” However no elaborations of these models are provided - can this be done? Can confidence intervals be placed on the qualitative information in the red-yellow-green traffic-light charts or some kind of probabilistic statistic? The proponents state, “Given that the C:N ratio is an indicator of lipids, and that prey size and lipid contents generally increase with trophic position in aquatic food webs (Rasmussen et al. 1990), salmon growth should also be positively correlated to the C:N ratio in plankton, their trophic position, and plankton biomass.” Has this hypothesis been tested before? Why not correlate growth, boreal copepods, C/N of plankton with SARs of Chinook (as with Oregon Production Index Hatchery survival) rather than numbers returning? Consider whether ocean survival forecasts could be improved by integration of additional sources of variation in freshwater and ocean survival (e.g., ocean harvests of immatures, jacks, and adults in Alaska and Canada, bycatch in commercial groundfish fisheries, climate and ocean conditions in offshore rearing areas)? Are anoxic conditions considered in forecast models?

9. In-river versus ocean survival. In the proposal, the proponents state, “Finally, the in-river survival of salmon smolts is similar in large rivers with and without dams (Welch et al. 2008).” Is this a defensible generalization? For example, several organizations have said there were too few years in the Welch et al. study to reach this conclusion. This leads to the larger issue of whether proponents can deliver accurate quantitative forecasts of Columbia River salmon survival and adult returns without also considering in-river effects.

10. Scientific workshop. ISRP recommends a scientific workshop in 2011 focused on estimation of estuarine and ocean survival, forecasting of adult returns, and adaptive estuary, plume, and ocean environmental assessment for Columbia River Basin salmon and steelhead. Perhaps the proposal should include this workshop. A workshop would help to improve coordination and collaboration, standardization of methods (e.g., genetic stock identification), development of simulation and predictive models, and integration of results among Columbia River Basin estuary/ocean projects. One aspect of all projects that needs work is how to include more detail on sub-stock structure, including hatchery versus wild fish, hatchery release time, area comparisons, in-river migration and associated ocean migration, and more in the models. CDFO and NOAA seem to be taking somewhat different approaches to salmon forecasting, i.e., stoplight charts (red, yellow, and green) with a Bayesian belief network approach by CDFO versus ecosystem indicators by NOAA. Can this reconciled?

11. Adaptive Management. Project proponents might be overselling their ability to provide quantitative estimates of ocean conditions to help forecast runs. A case in point seems to be CDFO’s recent failure to forecast near record returns of Fraser River sockeye salmon in 2010. A project focus directed toward use of information on ocean conditions for adaptive management of Columbia River hatchery operations, hydrosystem operations, and habitat restoration might be more appropriate.

12. Communicating results. Consider developing more effective approaches for communicating project results and forecasts of ocean survival of salmon directly to Columbia River Basin hatchery, hydrosystem, and harvest managers. The websites, scientific meetings, and peer-reviewed scientific publication are excellent methods for communicating with other scientists, government agencies, educational institutions, and conservation organizations, but are likely not effective tools for communicating directly with hydro, harvest, and hatchery managers.

13. Update Online Proposal Format. The format of this proposal was confusing and difficult to follow. Proponents should reformat their online proposal to better conform to the specific information requested in each section of the online form. The repetition of the same deliverables under several objectives seems unnecessarily repetitive. Objectives providing the same deliverables could be combined into one objective. Specific objectives need to be clearly stated as desired outcomes in the proponent’s section 2.0 of the problem statement, instead of describing the methodological approaches. These should correspond to objectives in the objectives and deliverables part of the proposal form. At present, objectives are not stated as desired outcomes, for example, Objective 1 is “Ocean Conditions,” and this might be better stated as, “Assess effects of ocean conditions on Columbia River salmon survival.” The problem statement section is unnecessarily long, and describes the entire proposal including methods, timelines for deliverables, etc. This section could be shorted by moving methods, etc., to other more appropriate sections of the proposal. This proposal needs to address the online tailored questions for tagging as it involves recovery of CWTs and genetic stock identification.
First Round ISRP Date: 10/18/2010
First Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
First Round ISRP Comment:
This project provides an important link to NOAA project #199801400 (Ocean Survival of Salmonids) for coastwide investigations of survival of northward-migrating Columbia River salmon distributed over the continental shelf off British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. The results benefit Columbia River salmon by potentially enabling managers to understand mechanisms of ocean survival and adaptively manage for changes in ocean conditions. The working hypothesis of this project is that “marine survival of salmon is mediated by the effects of ocean conditions on salmon growth during their first year at sea.” Overall, the project has made good progress on evaluating factors that affect early ocean growth and survival of Columbia River salmon. The ISRP believes it is highly important to keep building on the existing time series of data. The investigators continue to examine new ideas that develop through analyses of existing data. This project examines all species and races of salmon, and it is apparent that hatchery and wild fish are identified when possible. A major accomplishment of ongoing research is the identification of a potential growth/survival bottleneck (in some years) for juvenile Columbia River salmon related to ocean conditions off the west Coast of Vancouver Island. Another import result is the observation that the majority of Columbia River fish caught off British Columbia during summer are of hatchery origin. During the last three to four years the proportion of hatchery fish relative to wild fish has decreased despite fairly stable releases, which may indicate increased production of wild Columbia River salmon. Although the ISRP is not requesting a response to this proposal, we have one major qualification.

Qualification: Address the issues listed below during the contracting process and in the project’s 2011 annual report, which will be reviewed by ISRP.

1. Strategic Plan. As noted by the ISRP in previous reviews, the project would benefit from a strategic plan that prioritizes objectives in the event that only partial funding is available for this project.

2. Linkages between CDFO and NOAA Sampling. The linkages between CDFO sampling off British Columbia and Alaska relative to NOAA sampling off Washington and Oregon need to be clarified. Can one project proceed without the other or are the two sampling programs interlinked so tightly that incomplete understanding would result if one project did not go ahead? The proponents state, “In addition, CDFO and NOAA Fisheries are planning to extend the CDFO winter survey to the Washington and Oregon coasts to provide additional information on the distribution of Columbia River salmon and to describe the biophysical environment they encounter in these waters during winter. This area has never been sampled for juvenile salmon at that time of the year due to inclement weather.” However, this survey is not described as an objective, and the CDFO work is only to “complement” NOAA work. Presumably similar methods will be used in both CDFO and NOAA surveys, but this needs further explanation. Does NOAA now have a vessel that can handle heavier weather or is there some other reason why the winter survey is now feasible? Have the data from CDFO winter surveys been used to evaluate the winter starvation hypothesis (Beamish and Mahnken 2001)? NOAA is now proposing to look at sockeye salmon (assuming they have a few fish in their samples). Sockeye is a specific species that the two projects need to collaborate on since Columbia sockeye increased during a period when Fraser River sockeye collapsed (the 2005 & 2007 Fraser smolt years produced very low adult returns compared to what was expected from the long-term Ricker relationships).

3. Interannual Variations in Salmon Distribution. The proponents state, “This project will be successful if interannual variations in the marine distribution of Columbia River salmon are detected.” Proponents should keep in mind that even if interannual variations are detected and significant, we need to know about the mechanisms that determine the variations and how much they vary in time and space. How many years will it take before success can be determined or will this go on forever? The proponents need to consider important sources of variation in research trawl fishing operations and fishing efficiency with respect to what is known about diel, horizontal, vertical, and seasonal distribution juvenile salmon. How might these sources of variation affect time-series observational data on species composition, abundance, distribution, growth, etc., of juvenile salmon in the survey area?

4. Invasive Species (Objective 3). No details were provided in Objective 3 of the proposal, although section 3.4 of the Major Accomplishments section mentions Humboldt squid. What invasive species will be investigated? How will this information be used? Pacific whiting migrations and potential predation could be integrated with estimates to the south. Nothing is mentioned in the proposal about forage fish as a buffer to smolt predation, although the proponents note that a subset of the pelagic forage fish caught in the trawl is sampled. The ISRP encourages proponents to assess the availability, size, and abundances of forage and predatory fishes and squids in their trawl survey catches.

5. Coordination with Other Projects. This project benefits greatly from in-kind match support from CDFO, which funds two of the three project surveys each year. The effort includes analysis of stocks from other regions, and this provides for interesting comparisons with Columbia River salmon. The project also has shared information with NOAA’s Ocean Survival of Salmonids Project. Still, it would be good for the BPA-funded CDFO, NOAA, and Kintama investigators to coordinate and integrate their efforts and their findings to a greater extent than shown in the proposals. Also, consider greater use of ocean monitoring data collected by other (non-BPA funded) projects for developing indices of ocean conditions, such as hydroacoustics, remote sensing, oceanographic buoys and floats, and robotic vehicles. The ISRP recommends improved coordination and collaboration with other projects and programs collecting these data.

6. Genetic stock identification. The ISRP recommends standardization of genetic stock identification methods used by BPA-funded ocean survival projects so that results are directly comparable among projects. Different projects may currently be using different methods but this was not clearly explained in the proposal.

7. Tag recovery and reporting. In addition to collection of coded-wire tags and PIT tags, all salmon and steelhead sampled during fishing operations should be examined for recovery of acoustic tags, if this is not already being done (no mention of this in the proposal). The ISRP recommends using a handheld wand detector, V-Detector, or tunnel detector onboard the survey vessels to examine all salmon and steelhead in survey catches for coded-wire tags (CWTs), as some Columbia River hatcheries release CWT fish that do not have an adipose fin clip. Apparently, data on CWT recoveries collected by this project have not been reported to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (PSMFC) RMIS database since 2005. Are PIT tag recovery data reported in the PSMFC’s PTAGIS database? The ISRP strongly recommends that reporting of recovered CWTs and PIT tags to the PSMFC’s RMIS and PTAGIS databases should be done on an annual basis.

8. Forecast models. The proponents state, “With more than a decade of observations on the ocean conditions experienced by juvenile salmon on the west coast of BC, this CDFO-BPA study has started to develop simple forecasting models for the marine survival of Columbia River salmon 1-2 years prior to the return of adult salmon to their natal river.” However no elaborations of these models are provided - can this be done? Can confidence intervals be placed on the qualitative information in the red-yellow-green traffic-light charts or some kind of probabilistic statistic? The proponents state, “Given that the C:N ratio is an indicator of lipids, and that prey size and lipid contents generally increase with trophic position in aquatic food webs (Rasmussen et al. 1990), salmon growth should also be positively correlated to the C:N ratio in plankton, their trophic position, and plankton biomass.” Has this hypothesis been tested before? Why not correlate growth, boreal copepods, C/N of plankton with SARs of Chinook (as with Oregon Production Index Hatchery survival) rather than numbers returning? Consider whether ocean survival forecasts could be improved by integration of additional sources of variation in freshwater and ocean survival (e.g., ocean harvests of immatures, jacks, and adults in Alaska and Canada, bycatch in commercial groundfish fisheries, climate and ocean conditions in offshore rearing areas)? Are anoxic conditions considered in forecast models?

9. In-river versus ocean survival. In the proposal, the proponents state, “Finally, the in-river survival of salmon smolts is similar in large rivers with and without dams (Welch et al. 2008).” Is this a defensible generalization? For example, several organizations have said there were too few years in the Welch et al. study to reach this conclusion. This leads to the larger issue of whether proponents can deliver accurate quantitative forecasts of Columbia River salmon survival and adult returns without also considering in-river effects.

10. Scientific workshop. ISRP recommends a scientific workshop in 2011 focused on estimation of estuarine and ocean survival, forecasting of adult returns, and adaptive estuary, plume, and ocean environmental assessment for Columbia River Basin salmon and steelhead. Perhaps the proposal should include this workshop. A workshop would help to improve coordination and collaboration, standardization of methods (e.g., genetic stock identification), development of simulation and predictive models, and integration of results among Columbia River Basin estuary/ocean projects. One aspect of all projects that needs work is how to include more detail on sub-stock structure, including hatchery versus wild fish, hatchery release time, area comparisons, in-river migration and associated ocean migration, and more in the models. CDFO and NOAA seem to be taking somewhat different approaches to salmon forecasting, i.e., stoplight charts (red, yellow, and green) with a Bayesian belief network approach by CDFO versus ecosystem indicators by NOAA. Can this reconciled?

11. Adaptive Management. Project proponents might be overselling their ability to provide quantitative estimates of ocean conditions to help forecast runs. A case in point seems to be CDFO’s recent failure to forecast near record returns of Fraser River sockeye salmon in 2010. A project focus directed toward use of information on ocean conditions for adaptive management of Columbia River hatchery operations, hydrosystem operations, and habitat restoration might be more appropriate.

12. Communicating results. Consider developing more effective approaches for communicating project results and forecasts of ocean survival of salmon directly to Columbia River Basin hatchery, hydrosystem, and harvest managers. The websites, scientific meetings, and peer-reviewed scientific publication are excellent methods for communicating with other scientists, government agencies, educational institutions, and conservation organizations, but are likely not effective tools for communicating directly with hydro, harvest, and hatchery managers.

13. Update Online Proposal Format. The format of this proposal was confusing and difficult to follow. Proponents should reformat their online proposal to better conform to the specific information requested in each section of the online form. The repetition of the same deliverables under several objectives seems unnecessarily repetitive. Objectives providing the same deliverables could be combined into one objective. Specific objectives need to be clearly stated as desired outcomes in the proponent’s section 2.0 of the problem statement, instead of describing the methodological approaches. These should correspond to objectives in the objectives and deliverables part of the proposal form. At present, objectives are not stated as desired outcomes, for example, Objective 1 is “Ocean Conditions,” and this might be better stated as, “Assess effects of ocean conditions on Columbia River salmon survival.” The problem statement section is unnecessarily long, and describes the entire proposal including methods, timelines for deliverables, etc. This section could be shorted by moving methods, etc., to other more appropriate sections of the proposal. This proposal needs to address the online tailored questions for tagging as it involves recovery of CWTs and genetic stock identification.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2003-009-00-NPCC-20110128
Project: 2003-009-00 - Canada-USA Shelf Salmon Survival Study
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal: RMECAT-2003-009-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 6/10/2011
Recommendation: Under Review
Comments: Implement through FY 2012 to complete coordinated synthesis report. Implementation beyond FY 2012 based on ISRP and Council review of the report. NOTE: In resolving this programmatic issue at its June 2011 meeting, the Council deferred to its July meeting consideration of the precise level of funding and activities to recommend for the ocean projects through FY2012 for activities beyond the completion of the synthesis report.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2003-009-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2003-009-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 2 - May be reasonable
Comment: RM&E regarding ocean/climate effects on CR salmon; multiple other entities authorized/required to fund (eg fishery managers, others affecting CR salmon); confirm that cost-share is adequate.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2003-009-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2003-009-00
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: 2003-009-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2003-009-00 - Canada-USA Shelf Salmon Survival Study
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria - In Part
Final Round ISRP Comment:
This is an excellent proposal and evaluation of our understanding of the problems of juvenile salmon migration, marine survival and growth and their interannual linkages to the ocean environment, with a focus on spring/summer Columbia River Chinook and coho off British Columbia. The benefits of improved knowledge of when and where critical periods of juvenile salmon growth and survival occur in the ocean are significant. This project could be funded in part depending upon available funding. At a minimum, funding for ship time (21 days) and sample processing should be continued (Work Element 1, p. 32). The ISRP recommends deletion of the insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) analysis and the metabolic rate study from this proposal (see explanations in items 3 and 7 below).

The proposal would have been improved by a strategic plan that prioritized the various elements of the proposed field and laboratory research in the event that only partial funding is available for this project. Information on how project effectiveness is being monitored and evaluated would also have been useful. Further justification for requested BPA funding for 100% FTEs for three Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) personnel, travel, and a proposed workshop(s) might be necessary before final approval for funding (see item 10 below). Further explanation and justification for the proposed workshop, and the high annual travel costs ($10,000) for the proponents to attend conferences and workshops might be necessary. It is not clear if this proposal includes funds to support the proposed annual workshops.

Additional ISRP comments and questions are provided to the proponent, but do not require a written response to the ISRP:
1. Review of Project History (section E, p. 26-28). The proponent's reference list suggests that most of their peer-review publications have not specifically addressed Columbia River salmon (see Appendix J, p. 65-66). Although reporting of monitoring results in processed reports and non peer-reviewed publications has improved in recent years (since 2004), the ISRP encourages the proponents to develop a specific work plan for timely publication of the results in the scientific literature. The project history would have been improved if it had included an analysis of catch data of salmon and associated species, as well as abundance estimates of Columbia River stocks in the research vessel catches.

2. Work Element I (p. 32-33). Are the cruise dates in the spring, when Columbia River stocks are leaving the estuary, coordinated with the NOAA plume cruises (#199801400, "Ocean Survival of Salmonids")? There is no mention of trawl gear selectivity. The proposal does not address the potential harmful effects of repetitive (lethal) research trawl sampling of juvenile salmon in their resident ocean feeding areas, or whether there are potential harmful effects on Ecologically Significant Units (ESUs) of salmon and steelhead listed under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA). What are the expected species, stocks or ESUs, and sample sizes of Columbia River fish expected in the catches? Why aren't steelhead included in the study? Do surface trawl catches include older immature or maturing Columbia River salmon, and will DNA and other samples also be collected from these older fish? Will preferential sampling of only those salmon with preferred body area scales bias the results of growth and other analyses?

3. Work Element II (p. 33-34). What specific stocks and/or ESUs of Columbia River chinook and coho salmon will be identified by the DNA analysis? Will DNA analysis also be performed on chum salmon?

The sample sizes in the genetic analysis (pooled over 7 years; Figs. 5 and 6, p. 9) suggest that catches of coho and Chinook salmon during the research vessel surveys are low. The ISRP is concerned that samples are not/will not be sufficient to carry out the stock-specific analyses proposed. What are the sample sizes for each part of this work element, and whether they will provide adequate statistical power? Because of the large mixture of salmon stocks in the region to be surveyed, it is not clear whether results will be directly applicable to Columbia River fish.

Will the analysis of IGF-1 be stock specific, i.e., use the same samples of fish that are identified by DNA analysis? Have the proponents considered using scale growth increments to estimate growth rates rather than published values of size and date of ocean entry?

The ISRP recommends deletion of the insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) analysis from this proposal. The proposed collaboration on IGF research with Brian Beckman is excellent, because IGF-I provides good data on growth that can be related to Beckman's work in the Columbia River plume. Beckman is funded by NOAA. Why is $40,000 needed by DFO for IGF-I work, when the proposal states that Beckman will analyze the DFO samples, p. 40? The Council and BPA should consider whether DFO should fund their part of this collaboration directly?

What prey species would be used in the cesium (Cs) analyses to estimate food consumption (Work Element II, p. 34-35)? Juvenile chinook and coho salmon do not feed on copepods. The analyses need to be specific to the prey that the fish eat. Will the prey used in the analyses be caught in zooplankton (bongo net) samples?

Will lipid analyses account for likely differences between stocks, ESUs, or hatchery vs. wild origin of fish?

4. Work Element III (p. 36-37). What specific data sets (locations, years, sample sizes) will be used in the nutrient limitation analyses?

5. Work Element IV (p. 37). Will sample sizes in the mixture be sufficient to identify 250 different populations? How will stock identification results be validated?

6. Work Element V (p. 37-38). Will IGF-1 analyses be carried out by DFO or NMFS? It is not clear how regression models developed by the proponents to predict marine survival would actually be used to manage harvest strategies. How will changes in horizontal and vertical distribution of immature salmon during winter affect analyses to determine overwinter mortality?

7. Work Element VI (p. 39). It is not clear what methods will be used for the proposed spatially-explicit bioenergetic models. From the results of their past work, the proponents hypothesize that poor feeding conditions for salmon off the west coast of Vancouver Island may act as a "bottleneck" to Columbia River salmon survival, and that further work (controlled laboratory experiments) is required to refine Chinook and coho salmon bioenergetic models. The proposal would have been improved if the proponents had provided examples from other programs of the successful use of bioenergetics models to forecast or predict survival of salmon or other marine fish species.

Salmon in the natural ocean environment are likely to self-regulate physical forcing effects (temperature, salinity, current) on metabolic rates (oxygen consumption) by changing their vertical distribution. Will maps of growth potential have both a horizontal and vertical component?

The ISRP recommends deletion of the metabolic rate laboratory study from this proposal. The proposed laboratory study on metabolic rates is peripheral to the primary objectives of this project. Perhaps this is good basic physiological research. However, could the results of metabolic research already published in the scientific literature (e.g., Brett) be used as a basis for computer modeling? If more data on metabolic rates are needed, the BPA and the Council should examine if DFO should fund this laboratory research directly. NOAA is a funded by BPA to do similar bioenergetic modeling work (#199801400, "Ocean Survival of Salmonids). If both NOAA and DFO are funded by BPA to do bioenergetic modeling, then how will the two studies be coordinated?

8. Work Element VIII (p. 39-40). The proposed survival estimates from BPA-funded acoustic tracking study (#200311400, "Acoustic Tracking for Survival") would pertain to only two stocks of Columbia Basin hatchery spring chinook (Columbia River mainstem and Snake River). How would these results be applied to identify regions of poor survival for other species, stocks, or ESUs of Columbia Basin salmon?

9. Work Element IX: The ISRP encourages the proponents to collaborate in their research in Southeast Alaska with NMFS/Alaska Fisheries Science Center scientists who are also conducting ocean work on juvenile salmon in this region.

10. Personnel are highly qualified to accomplish the proposed work elements. However, it is not clear as to why 100% of the salaries of three DFO personnel (including the PI) are requested to be funded by the BPA. It seems highly unlikely that these personnel will not have other duties and responsibilities to perform for DFO over the 3-year period of this proposed BPA-funded project. It is not clear from the proposal what work some of the listed DFO personnel (Hinch, Mackas, and Whitney) will do on this project. BPA and the Council should consider whether DFO should provide support for these DFO personnel.

11. Non-focal species. What were the annual bycatches of all non-focal species during all past years of the BPA-funded trawl surveys? What precautions are taken to minimize bycatch of non-focal species? Some discussion of potential adverse effects related to trawl bycatch would be appropriate.

12. Information transfer. More information on the "High Seas Salmon database" maintained at the Pacific Biological Station would have been useful. Are meta-data summarizing the database contents, formats, etc., and information on how to request the database available online? What are the plans for long-term storage of the "High Seas Salmon database", and how accessible is the database to non-Canadian government researchers?
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2003-009-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2003-009-00 - Canada-USA Shelf Salmon Survival Study
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Only funding a portion. Address ISRP concerns during contracting.

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Marc Trudel Project Lead Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Anne Creason Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Brian Riddell Interested Party Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Sandra Ackley Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Mark Saunders (Inactive) Supervisor Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans