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

Project 2007-166-00 - Lower Columbia River Coastal Cutthroat Trout Population Response to Habitat Restoration
Project Number:
2007-166-00
Title:
Lower Columbia River Coastal Cutthroat Trout Population Response to Habitat Restoration
Summary:
Determine if habitat restoration efforts in the lower Columbia River and estuary are achieving the recovery goals for coastal cutthroat trout, an indicator species, of reversing declining abundance trends and maintaining life history diversity.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (Govt - Federal)
Starting FY:
2007
Ending FY:
2011
BPA PM:
None
Stage:
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia River Estuary Columbia Estuary 100.00%
Purpose:
Programmatic
Emphasis:
RM and E
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: 2007-166-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-166-00 - Lower Columbia River Coastal Cutthroat Trout Population Response to Habitat Restoration
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund
Comments:

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-166-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-166-00 - Lower Columbia River Coastal Cutthroat Trout Population Response to Habitat Restoration
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Does Not Meet Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The ISRP agrees data on cutthroat trout in the Columbia River estuary and tributaries off the lower Columbia River are required to complement the work being done at restoration projects on the more numerous salmonid species, and this would help round out an ecosystem approach.

The responses to ISRP's questions were not explicit and required reading of the revised narrative. Taking both documents into account, the proponents have addressed some questions satisfactorily. Concerns about animal care protocols, rationale for using stable isotope analysis as method to investigate life history, aging techniques, and identification difficulties were addressed satisfactorily.

However, there are still major problems with the overall design and concept of the project as a scientific program to evaluate coastal cutthroat response to restoration in the estuary and lower river. On this basis, the ISRP concludes the project is not fundable. The project is unlikely to succeed for the following reasons:

The species is not abundant, occupies a variety of habitats, and the life history (e.g., migration patterns) is relatively unknown, and complex, compared to other salmonids.
The ISRP asked about the sample size proposed for the PIT tagging and straying work to investigate migration rates and was not convinced the sample size of 1000 fish in each tributary was adequate.

The ISRP asked about the selection criteria used to identify study sites. The response mentions four widely spaced restoration sites (Lower Chinook River/Baker Bay, Blind Slough, Crims Island, and Scappoose Bay). These sites were chosen pragmatically as they are some of the larger restoration projects in the lower river and estuary.

The ISRP remains concerned about the conceptual basis of actually bounding the population at these restoration sites. The ISRP asked for further details on the proposed tagging work to do this and the responses did not allay concerns about problems with the mark-recapture methodology, the assumptions behind it, and how results would be used.

The sponsor's statement, "We do not presume to identify what a population is at this time (e.g., one stream v. multiple streams). Population abundance estimates will be point estimates for a given point in time for all juvenile and adult coastal cutthroat trout in the stream at that time" is particularly troubling and indicates the population estimate objective has not been well thought out. Even if population estimates were obtained it is not clear how they would relate to the restoration projects.

In addition, even in the revised narrative, details on the model MARK were not given. The ISRP should not have to dig into the literature for the information.

The ISRP recognizes that investigations of alternative approaches to differentiate between alternate life history strategies in juvenile and adult coastal cutthroat trout in the lower Columbia River and estuary are needed. Some of this work may be possibly supportable by agencies concerned with basic life history and descriptive ecology of this important species.
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-166-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-166-00
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: Coast cutthroat trout response to habitat restoration, via PIT tag study; multiple entities authorized/required (fishery managers requiring habitat restoration; & all entities doing restoration activity).

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-166-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-166-00
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