Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program
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Project Summary

Project 2007-031-00 - Identifying prioritized action plans from subbasin strategies using a scenario-based decision support system
Project Number:
Identifying prioritized action plans from subbasin strategies using a scenario-based decision support system
Improving, testing, and applying a transparent method for developing an efficient habitat action list using multiple models. The proposed project builds on a decision support system that has successfully been applied in the Lewis River basin.
Proponent Orgs:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Govt - Federal)
Starting FY:
Ending FY:
Province Subbasin %
Lower Columbia Columbia Lower 100.00%
RM and E
Focal Species:
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
BiOp Association:

No photos have been uploaded yet for this Project.

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

Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2007-031-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-031-00 - Identifying prioritized action plans from subbasin strategies using a scenario-based decision support system
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-031-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-031-00 - Identifying prioritized action plans from subbasin strategies using a scenario-based decision support system
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:
The proposed decision support system (DSS) has potential to be useful for assisting with prioritization and decision-making related to habitat restoration. The sponsors are understandably enthusiastic about their approach. They seem to have, however, an overly confident attitude toward modeling very complex physical and biological functions that raises concerns about how objectively the DSS will be conveyed to managers. The kinds of models that comprise the DSS and the assumptions and shortcomings of the models (e.g., data inadequacies) should be better explained. It is difficult to grasp exactly what the DSS is and how it is supposed to be used. Contributing to this problem is inadequate explanation of Figures 1 and 2 and how the results displayed in these figures could support management decisions.

The sponsors need to explain what new insights these modeling exercises could add to what we already know. What are examples of some new insights or testable hypotheses that could be added or developed? The sponsors also need to address several methodological issues.

Technical and scientific background: The proposal is very well presented. The technical background and justification were understandable and logical. Sponsors claim that habitat response can be modeled with greater certainty than biological response with clear links to multiple populations. This seems an overly optimistic claim and needs to be justified.

Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: The proposal was clearly linked to the subbasin plan for the Lower Columbia, as well as the efforts of the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board (LCFRB) and the Lower Columbia-Willamette Technical Recovery Team (TRT). The work addresses a high priority need to rank habitat recovery actions in terms of effectiveness, cost, and certainty of outcome.

Relationships to other projects: The proposal clearly identifies the context of work and discusses how it fits with other major habitat projects in the region. Other projects include federal (NOAA-Fisheries, USFS), state (WDFW), and private industry (PacifiCorp) efforts.

Objectives: Specific outcomes and timelines are clearly stated and reasonable. Objectives are linked to subbasin plan needs and Fish and Wildlife Program objectives. If the project is successful, the decision support tool should be transportable to other subbasins and provinces.

The sponsors propose to improve the DSS they have developed and applied in the Lewis River watershed, ground-truth the model, and extend application to other watersheds. These are reasonable extensions of the approach. The sponsors need to explain why they are developing their own water temperature models when these models are already available (e.g., Matt Boyd's model, Oregon DEQ)? What is the purpose of the ground testing and what will be ground-tested? How will the ground testing relate to future landscape scenarios? The sponsors also should explain why they consider their approach to be successful in the Lewis River.

Tasks (work elements) and methods: In general, methods are clearly articulated. The modeling exercises will be complex, and bringing them together (Figure 3) will be a difficult undertaking; however, the sponsors have assembled a very capable team with a proven track record. A successful result would be both innovative and widely applicable.

The sponsors need to provide greater detail about the models that are part of the DSS and the shortcomings and major assumptions of the models. A crucial need is a better explanation of the specific outcomes or products of the DSS and how managers could use them. This comment relates specifically to Figures 1 and 2, which are poorly explained. Specifically, what do the percentages in Figure 1b refer to? How were the targeted watersheds selected? What do the maps in 1c-f illustrate and what do the numbers beside the bars mean? Exactly how would a manager use this information to make decisions and how does this information lead to prioritization? Similar concerns pertain to Figure 2. What are the y-axis values and what does the x-axis represent? How would a manager use this information to aid in decision-making?

The sponsors do not point out any shortcomings of the models that are part of the DSS and the DSS itself. For example, the data demands of some of the popular models used in the basin (e.g., EDT) are great. The lack of appropriate data and the quality of much of the available data has long been a concern of the ISRP and ISAB.

Will the DSS be amenable to use and modification by mangers to enable them to incorporate new information or alter scenarios? Usability is a central criterion for any basinwide approach.

Given output from several models that may or may not agree, will there be direction provided to managers as to how to weigh the positive and negative aspects of each of the models? Will the assumptions of each be made known? A major problem pointed out in the subbasin planning exercise was the inaccessibility (proprietary) of EDT to modification. Will this still be the case? By what criteria has the DSS framework been judged to be "successful" in the Lewis River?

Monitoring and evaluation: Fortunately, the proposal includes tasks that involve verification and ground-testing of model predictions, allowing for adjustment in model parameters as better data become available.

Facilities, equipment, and personnel: The personnel are highly qualified and experienced, and the facilities are adequate for the work proposed.

Information transfer: An excellent mix of information transfer techniques, including public workshops, on-line reports, and peer-reviewed publications. The decision support system will be made available to managers throughout the basin, but it is unclear how much assistance the managers will be given in using the DSS.

Benefits to focal species: The project is focused on identifying a useful set of models that support decisions on salmon and steelhead habitat. It has the potential to greatly benefit recovery of these species over the long-term if restoration decisions prove effective. The project would be beneficial to salmonids because it would assist managers in making restoration action decisions.

Benefits to non-focal species: Although the proposal is aimed at developing decision support tools for salmonid habitat, non-focal species habitat needs are not directly considered. In all likelihood, however, salmonid habitat improvements will also benefit native non-salmonid fishes.
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-031-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-031-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems May Exist
Cost Share Rating: 2 - May be reasonable
Comment: Refinement of "decision support system" for aquatic habitat recovery; multiple entities authorized/required.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-031-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-031-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Project Relationships: None