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

Project 2007-170-00 - South Fork Snake River Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Recruitment and Survival Improvement
Project Number:
2007-170-00
Title:
South Fork Snake River Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Recruitment and Survival Improvement
Summary:
The South Fork Snake River in eastern Idaho from Palisades Dam near the Idaho/Wyoming border downstream to its confluence with the Henrys Fork currently supports one of the few remaining functioning populations of fluvial Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout within their native range, and is the strongest population in Idaho. However, this population is threatened by non-native Rainbow Trout. Since 2004, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and collaborators have implemented an intensive Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout conservation management strategy in the South Fork Snake River drainage composed of three parts. This three-pronged management approach includes managing water releases from Palisades Reservoir during spring to benefit Cutthroat Trout spawning while hampering Rainbow Trout recruitment, protecting the genetic integrity of critical Cutthroat Trout spawning tributaries from hybridization risks with Rainbow Trout, and reducing competition and hybridization risks by increasing angler harvest of Rainbow Trout and Rainbow x Cutthroat Trout hybrids. Recent weir modifications have greatly improved IDFG’s ability to protect the tributaries from Rainbow Trout invasion. IDFG is committed to protecting the genetic integrity of Cutthroat Trout in the four major spawning tributaries of the South Fork Snake River over the long-term, recognizing that this effort must continue annually and will induce periodic maintenance and repair costs.

The four major spawning tributaries to the South Fork are Burns, Pine, Rainey, and Palisades creeks. This project's goal is to use fish trap and weirs on these tributaries to ensure only Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout are allowed upstream to spawn. Thus, protecting the genetic integrity of these fluvial native fish.

The second part of this contract pertains to entrainment of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout into irrigation canals which is not addressed by IDFG’s three-pronged management plan. We have quantified entrainment for juvenile trout and adult trout, and propose to address key habitats to start the implementation of the best alternative(s) to address and mitigate for entrainment. Along with entrainment of juvenile and fry in large canals, we propose to investigate the magnitude of entrainment of fry and juveniles in diversions on Rainey Creek. The fluvial population of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout has not responded as adjacent spawning tributaries with recent management efforts. Thus, we propose to use eyed-egg plants to increase the numbers of outmigrating fry as a possible tool to help Rainey Creek overcome a possible bottleneck to their population growth. We also propose to quantify the survival of outmigrating fry from eyed egg plants to locate any potential problem areas in Rainey Creek for outmigraing juvenile Cutthroat Trout.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) (Govt - State)
Starting FY:
2007
Ending FY:
2018
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Upper Snake Snake Headwaters 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
Restoration/Protection
Focal Species:
Cutthroat Trout, Yellowstone
Trout, Brown
Trout, Rainbow
Whitefish, Mountain
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 100.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
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) $274,607 $274,607 $182,740 $182,740 $274,298

General $274,607 $182,740 $182,740 $274,298
FY2018 (Current) $274,607 $274,607 $274,600 $274,600 $21,742

General $274,607 $274,600 $274,600 $21,742
FY2019 (Next) $0 $0 $0 $0

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 31-May-2018

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2017 - FY2019)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2017 Expense $274,607 From: General FY17 SOY Budgets 06/02/2016
FY2018 Expense $274,607 From: General FY18 SOY Budgets 07/17/2017

Pending Budget Decision?  No


Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2018
Cost Share Partner Total Proposed Contribution Total Confirmed Contribution
There are no project cost share contributions to show.
Previous Fiscal Years
Fiscal Year Total Contributions % of Budget
2017 (Draft)
2016 $94,620 26 %
2015 $80,400 23 %
2014 $96,000 26 %
2013 $100,600 27 %
2012 $139,000 34 %
2011 $140,000 34 %
2010
2009 $120,000 25 %
2008

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Complete, History, Issued.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Contracted Amount Dates
BPA-007739 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Active $3,908 10/1/2013 - 9/30/2014
BPA-008439 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Active $4,249 10/1/2014 - 9/30/2015
BPA-008949 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Active $4,281 10/1/2015 - 9/30/2016
BPA-009446 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Active $4,636 10/1/2016 - 9/30/2017
77225 SOW Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) 2007-170-00 EXP S. FORK SNAKE RVR YELLOWSTONE CUTTHROAT TROUT Issued $269,957 10/1/2017 - 9/30/2018
BPA-010033 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Active $4,643 10/1/2017 - 9/30/2018



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):11
Completed:3
On time:3
Status Reports
Completed:42
On time:27
Avg Days Late:0

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
35159 39187, 44377, 49516, 54536, 59512, 62814, 66446, 70494, 74346, 77225 2007-170-00 EXP S. FORK SNAKE RIVER YELLOWSTONE CUTTHROAT TROUT Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) 10/2007 10/2007 Issued 42 89 9 0 38 136 72.06% 5
BPA-007739 PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Bonneville Power Administration 10/2013 10/2013 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-008439 PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Bonneville Power Administration 10/2014 10/2014 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-008949 PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Bonneville Power Administration 10/2015 10/2015 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-009446 PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Bonneville Power Administration 10/2016 10/2016 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-010033 PIT Tags - So Fork Snake R Yellowstone Bonneville Power Administration 10/2017 10/2017 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 42 89 9 0 38 136 72.06% 5


Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-170-00-ISRP-20120215
Project: 2007-170-00 - South Fork Snake River Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Recruitment and Survival Improvement
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review
Proposal Number: RESCAT-2007-170-00
Completed Date: 4/17/2012
Final Round ISRP Date: 4/3/2012
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
First Round ISRP Date: 2/8/2012
First Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
First Round ISRP Comment:

This is a long-standing, well-run project that attempts to sustain the South Fork Snake River's native Yellowstone cutthroat trout (YCT). The sponsors are to be commended for the quality of the proposal and the success of their work to date.

1. Purpose: Significance to Regional Programs, Technical Background, and Objectives

The South Fork Snake River is one of the last strongholds for fluvial Yellowstone cutthroat trout within their historical range, and it provides an important fishery with significant economic value. There is a clear need to maintain the viability of this population which is currently threatened by, among other factors, hybridization and competition with non-native rainbow trout and by entrainment in a large irrigation diversion called the Great Feeder Diversion. The purpose of the proposed work is to minimize hybridization of Yellowstone cutthroat trout and rainbow trout, and to quantitatively assess entrainment and subsequent mortality of cutthroat trout in the large irrigation diversion system (an ISRP recommendation), which will result in development of best management practices to minimize entrainment and mortality. 

The sponsors provide a nice description of the situation and a clear definition of the problem. The sponsors provide strong justification for this work, first, by clearly discussing the nature of the threats posed by hybridization and competition with rainbow trout and the dangers to the population of large scale entrainment, and second, by demonstrating how the proposed work fits into their overall management strategy for protecting viability of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the South Fork Snake. The steps that are being taken to address these problems are well reasoned and carefully planned and, if successful, should lead to major benefits for the fish population. Unlike some other waters in the Columbia River Basin where threats from non-native fishes are so severe that they probably have no hope of a satisfactory outcome, the South Fork Snake offers the opportunity to provide significant benefits to native fish with continued work. The proposed work is consistent with the Fish and Wildlife Program and the Upper Snake Subbasin Plan.

There are two objectives: to protect the genetic integrity and long-term viability of the Yellowstone cutthroat trout population in the South Fork Snake River and to increase the survival rate of the cutthroat trout population in the South Fork Snake River. Both seem appropriate and important. A major assumption of the proposed work is that removal of rainbow trout is critical for cutthroat trout recovery, and another is that this can be accomplished. The sponsors make the case that "yes" applies to both, and the ISRP agrees.

2. History: Accomplishments, Results, and Adaptive Management (ISRP Review of Results)

The history of the project and changes in the fish population over the past decade show the ability of the sponsors to recognize the problem, to target and conduct specific research to define alternatives, and implement a multi-pronged management approach. The accomplishments presented in the proposal are operational changes that involve modifications to the weirs in each of the cutthroat trout spawning tributaries which should significantly improve capture of fish migrating into the tributaries. This is important because it allows the sponsors to remove rainbow trout and hybrids and so lessen their chances of their spawning with Yellowstone cutthroat trout. However, this discussion, by only dealing with operational improvements to weirs, does not provide a full understanding of the breadth of accomplishments of this project.

Adaptive management is shown in many ways, especially regarding screening of the tributaries. In fact, the entire management program for Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the South Fork Snake has been evolving based on past results of the work. The changes instituted include weir modifications undertaken because previous weir designs were ineffective, establishment of an angler incentive program to reduce densities of rainbow trout and hybrids in the mainstem South Fork Snake, and modifications to flow regimes regulated by Palisades Dam to benefit cutthroat and the riparian ecosystem.

ISRP Retrospective Evaluation of Results

This project can claim substantive accomplishments that have progressively improved management of Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the South Fork Snake River. The sponsors have a clear understanding of the major problems facing cutthroat trout in the South Fork and have taken steps to address these problems that are well-reasoned and carefully planned and, if successful, should lead to major benefits for the fish population. Their three-pronged approach for managing cutthroat trout includes establishing a more natural flow regime, minimizing competition and hybridization with non-native rainbow trout, and reducing entrainment in irrigation diversions. One of the greatest challenges facing this program at present is measuring entrainment of trout in a major diversion, the Great Feeder, and developing best management practices to reduce entrainment rate. This is a difficult problem to address, but it is necessary for reduction of entrainment mortality. Not all of their work is funded by BPA, but the BPA-funded portion is key and integrates well with their overall management plan.

3. Project Relationships, Emerging Limiting Factors, and Tailored Questions for Type of Work (hatchery, RME, tagging)

Relationships between the proposed work and other South Fork Snake activities involving federal agencies and non-governmental groups are well described. It is also evident how the proposed work complements other IDFG actions designed to bolster cutthroat trout by managing the fishery.

Pertaining to emerging limiting factors, the sponsors obviously are addressing the problem of non-native species. They also provided a thorough discussion of the possible impacts of climate change on Yellowstone cutthroat trout and how their management practices could lessen these impacts.

4. Deliverables, Work Elements, Metrics, and Methods

Three deliverables pertain to the tributary work and three address the Great Feeder entrainment component. They appear to be important and clearly described, with appropriate methods, and most appear accomplishable using the approaches and methods outlined in the proposal. Deliverables 4 and 5, which pertain to quantification of entrainment of cutthroat trout in the Great Feeder Diversion and its subsidiary canals, are the most uncertain, but nevertheless necessary. This problem admittedly is difficult to address and the sponsors propose a complex design that involves multiple methods of sampling, extensive PIT tagging, and multiple detection sites. It would have been helpful if the sponsors had discussed how entrainment rates will be calculated for the Great Feeder and subsidiary canals using PIT tag data.

The sponsors state in Deliverable 4, “The estimate of previously PIT tagged cutthroat trout entrained through the Great Feeder will be compared to the estimate of PIT tagged cutthroat trout in the entire South Fork Snake River drainage to gauge the population-level impact of entrainment at the Great Feeder Diversion.” This is a desirable, even critical, estimate. The sponsors, however, needed to clearly explain how they will obtain an estimate of the number of PIT-tagged fish in the entire drainage and why they believe this is the appropriate way to measure proportion entrainment. Perhaps a more appropriate measure would be the number of fish entrained relative to the number of fish passing the entrainment site over any given time period, not the total number of fish in the river. With continued sampling of entrained fish and fish passing the entrainment site throughout the time period when river flow is diverted, a seasonal estimate of entrainment proportion could be obtained. Admittedly, these measurements would be difficult to obtain.

Genetic “sorting” appears to be based on visual identification of rainbow trout and rainbow-cutthroat hybrids. While this is a pragmatic approach, it will likely result in an underestimation of the contribution of rainbow genes into the cutthroat trout population. Unfortunately, alternatives that provide greater discrimination are not practical for real time management.

Modified by Dal Marsters on 4/17/2012 2:53:58 PM.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2007-170-00-NPCC-20130807
Project: 2007-170-00 - South Fork Snake River Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Recruitment and Survival Improvement
Review: Resident Fish, Regional Coordination, and Data Management Category Review
Proposal: RESCAT-2007-170-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 3/5/2014
Recommendation: Implement
Comments: Implement through FY2017.
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-170-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-170-00
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: Screening of irrigation, and updating fish management weirs; other entities authorized/required (irrigators for screens, IDFG for weirs).

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-170-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-170-00
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: 2007-170-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-170-00 - South Fork Snake River Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Recruitment and Survival Improvement
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:
This is a new proposal from IDF&G focusing on native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the South Fork of the Snake River in eastern Idaho. The proposal is well written and logical, and refers to relevant recent studies and results within the South Fork system.

The project proposes to upgrade existing picket weir traps in four important upper river spawning tributaries for Yellowstone cutthroat trout. The weirs allow managers to keep introduced rainbow trout out of the tributaries and to therefore avoid hybridization - at least in these major tributaries. Rainbow trout are now well established in the mainstem and are a significant threat to the genetic integrity and population viability of the South Fork cutthroat trout population. A second important objective of the proposed project is to install irrigation screens on four lower river feeder canals where entrainment of juvenile Yellowstone cutthroat trout is thought to be a limiting factor in their abundance in the lower river section.

The proposal does not justify, with data, that entrainment in the diversions is actually a problem. But this is likely a good assumption considering the volume of water being moved. The proposed project fits extremely well with local and regional planning documents. This is a new project, but linkages are made to other existing projects within the drainage. A strong collaborative effort is ongoing to preserve native cutthroat on South Fork

There are two clearly stated Objectives - to screen one lower river diversion per year, and to replace pickets in one existing weir per year. Screening the diversions should reduce entrainment losses, but reviewers are asked to take that on faith. Tasks (work elements) and methods are clearly stated -- straightforward engineering. Facilities, equipment, and personnel are excellent

Monitoring of trout populations to verify expected results is referred to within the proposal but is not explicitly detailed. This is not particularly surprising, as the project is primarily a capital expense and facilities upgrade project, rather than a research project. Nevertheless, several assumptions are made that monitoring could be used (and should be used) to verify. One such assumption is that keeping the Yellowstone populations in the upper river tributaries (Pine, Rainey, etc,) free from rainbow trout introgression (via the picket weirs and genetic sampling) will be adequate to keep rainbow numbers down and Yellowstone cutthroat trout abundance high. This may be correct - and monitoring would show that - but it may also be overly optimistic. Information transfer is adequate. One also hopes that peer reviewed publications will emerge from this larger study.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2007-170-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-170-00 - South Fork Snake River Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Recruitment and Survival Improvement
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: Project budget has been aligned to reflect sequencing from assessment/planning to implementation. Budget in out years increases as planning is completed and screens are installed. Need to determine if any of this should be capitalized

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Steve Schmidt (Inactive) Supervisor Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG)
Brett High Project Lead Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG)
Jennifer Lord Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Ashlee Rudolph (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Paul Kline Administrative Contact Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG)
Elisabeth Bowers Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration