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

Project 2007-176-00 - Freshwater Mussel Watch for Biomonitoring in the Columbia River Basin
Project Number:
2007-176-00
Title:
Freshwater Mussel Watch for Biomonitoring in the Columbia River Basin
Summary:
We propose to establish a long-term, basinwide ecosystem biomonitoring program in the Columbia River Basin using freshwater mussels as bioindicators ? The Freshwater Mussel Watch.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Umatilla Confederated Tribes (CTUIR) (Tribe)
Starting FY:
2007
Ending FY:
2011
BPA PM:
None
Stage:
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Basinwide - 100.00%
Purpose:
Programmatic
Emphasis:
RM and E
Focal Species:
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 100.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Tags:
None
Special:
None
BiOp Association:
None

No photos have been uploaded yet for this project.

Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-176-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-176-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: Research re: mussels as indicator species, other entities authorized/required (eg fish/wildlife agencies, other hydro owners etc).

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-176-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-176-00
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: 2007-176-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-176-00 - Freshwater Mussel Watch for Biomonitoring in the Columbia River Basin
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 technical and scientific background information was generally well presented. The use of mussels as bioindicators has a long history in the biomonitoring literature. However, the proposal does not adequately address its limitations. Mussels in the Pacific Northwest usually do not occur in high gradient headwater streams, particularly those prone to frequent bedload movement. Thus, the distribution alone makes the mussel group less suitable for use in monitoring than other taxa. Furthermore, numerous other proposed projects have discussed the fact that the mussel group is in jeopardy. In addition, the areas selected for study (Upper Columbia, John Day, Upper Salmon, and estuary) are all within the anadromous fish zone. It would seem that mussels could provide biomonitoring value to resident fish areas as well, but none were chosen.

In addition, a filter feeder will not have high concentrations of most contaminants, even if they are present. Other ephemeral contaminants will depend upon the time of the year the sample was collected (spray season), and can be more easily completed with a semi-permeable membrane device (SPMD) placed in the water. The Mussel Watch Program along the coast came into existence before the advent SPMDs, which can now be used for monitoring purposes (independent of mussel distribution). SPMDs collect contaminants from water just like the filter-feeding mussels. The ISRP was surprised that no contaminants were scheduled for analyses, although some samples were going to be archived for possible analyses.

It would seem like the condition of the mussels will be so dependent upon local conditions that it would be very difficult to compare locations and associated habitats in a meaningful way to obtain overall patterns and to understand what is responsible for them, i.e., age ratios, growth rates, other body measurements, etc.

No single approach is best for monitoring contaminants in the Columbia River Basin, but a combination of SPMDs, selected fish species and top predators (mammalian or avian) may be effective. Top predators should be evaluated if there is concern about contaminants that biomagnify up the food chain. With certain contaminants, the timing of collections (e.g., related to spray season for non-persistent pesticides) is very important.

Relationships to other projects is clearly articulated. However, some of the proposed work in the John Day River may duplicate John Day mussel research in the ongoing BPA-funded study. A weakness of the proposal is a lack of detail on how contaminant levels in mussel tissues will be related to pollution sources. As described in the proposal, there does not seem to be a strong connection with water quality monitoring agencies such as EPA, Oregon DEQ, and Washington DOE. Such a partnership would help this project.

A couple of the tasks (e.g., 2.d) call for physiological studies conducted in the lab, where it will be very hard to duplicate typical diurnal and seasonal variability in basic parameters such as temperature. For contaminants, this issue becomes even more difficult because many contaminants are pulsed into the drainage system. One approach the investigators might consider is devising a mobile laboratory that can travel to the sites and utilize flow-through water supplies, making it much easier to simulate natural conditions. Such a setup can provide a more controlled environment than the mussel caging studies without sacrificing some of the natural environmental variability.
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2007-176-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-176-00 - Freshwater Mussel Watch for Biomonitoring in the Columbia River Basin
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund
Comments:

Project Relationships: None