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

Project 2007-049-00 - Efficacy of carcass analogs for restoring the productivity of nutrient limited salmonid streams
Project Number:
2007-049-00
Title:
Efficacy of carcass analogs for restoring the productivity of nutrient limited salmonid streams
Summary:
This project will assess the influence of seasonal additions of salmon carcass analogs on various measures of stream productivity and nutrient flow through the aquatic community.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
US Geological Survey (USGS) (Govt - Federal)
Starting FY:
2007
Ending FY:
2011
BPA PM:
None
Stage:
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Gorge Wind 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
None
Focal Species:
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Tags:
None
Special:
None
BiOp Association:
None

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: 2007-049-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-049-00 - Efficacy of carcass analogs for restoring the productivity of nutrient limited salmonid streams
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund
Comments:

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-049-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-049-00 - Efficacy of carcass analogs for restoring the productivity of nutrient limited salmonid streams
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:
There are not many studies that have evaluated this issue, so this is a valuable proposal. The background for the proposal was adequate. This study has the potential to evaluate carcass analogs, provided a suitable experimental design can be implemented. The development of carcass analogs represents a new technology that deserves investigation in controlled field studies before the region commits to wholesale acceptance.

In general, the proposal does a good job of relating the study to the general issue of deliberate nutrient enrichment to boost stream productivity, although the early work of C. E. Warren and colleagues at Oregon State University on nutrient enrichment of streams is often overlooked and should be reviewed by project sponsors. The practice of releasing salmon carcasses from hatcheries is widespread, but there are considerable logistical problems with deploying large numbers of carcasses throughout a stream network. The recent development of carcass "analogs" has been suggested as a much more tractable method, with the additional advantage of being able to deploy the material at the desired time and place -- not just when fish are available from a hatchery. Relatively few studies have monitored the biological effects of deliberate carcass releases, and with this new technology the effects remain largely unknown. The proposal does not explain what carcass analogs are (pelletized, pasteurized fishmeal derived from spawned-out hatchery salmon), and of the five assumptions about their advantages given, only assumption 3 (easy to transport) and assumption 5 (stable supply) should be taken at face value. The others (pathogen-free, closely mimic nutrients from natural carcasses, and similar breakdown rate) should be tested.

The proposal describes how carcass analogs have been deployed in the Wind River watershed in 2005, but does not mention any results. The claim is made that the Pearsons et al. (2003) study of carcass analog enrichment of a Yakima River tributary "restored food pathways by direct consumption and food chain enhancement"; however, in a recent presentation these authors have further stated "Except for an initial increase in growth approximately 6 weeks after analogs were stocked, we detected no effect of analogs on either growth or abundance of trout." Two other important references are omitted: Sanderson and Kiffney's (2003) progress report on carcass analog additions to streams in the Salmon River basin, and S. Claeson's M.S. thesis at OSU on experimental whole carcass effects on food webs in the upper Wind River.

The objectives are worthwhile and the proposal does a good job of covering the bases with regard to biological response -- water chemistry, periphyton, benthic invertebrates (although it is odd that only grazers will be analyzed for stable isotopes), resident fishes, and contaminants.

Using a predetermined range of carcass analog densities is a good idea, since the Yakima study of Pearsons et al. did not appear to have detected sustained trophic enrichment. One of the most important questions the proposal does not address is how the amount of natural spawning by Chinook and steelhead will be factored into the analyses. Although the proposal does not contain a map of the study streams, they appear to be located in the vicinity of the Carson hatchery. Thus, it seems possible that there will be some natural spawning in the study streams (the proposal does not specify if sites will be located above barriers to anadromous species). If natural spawning is distributed unequally among the study sites it could confound the objectives of the research. If there is no salmon spawning at any of the study sites, the objective of the work is slightly compromised because the study will have taken place in streams where aquatic communities have not adapted to historical salmon spawning over time. The proposal does not justify why a 500m upstream control and 500m downstream treatment approach was selected, as opposed to treating an entire stream with carcass analogs and pairing sites with untreated control streams to the extent possible.

The methods for sampling the periphyton, aquatic invertebrates, and fishes are standard techniques and should work well. Surprisingly, fish species were not specified. How does fish community composition vary among streams?
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-049-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-049-00
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: Evaluation carcass analogs(hatchery) for nutrient deposition; fishery managers, others authorized/required.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-049-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-049-00
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