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

Project 2007-346-00 - Crims Island Habitat Restoration
Project Number:
Crims Island Habitat Restoration
The goal of this project is to describe the response of juvenile salmonids and biological productivity to tidal marsh restoration at Crims Island in the Columbia River Estuary.
Proponent Orgs:
US Geological Survey (USGS) (Govt - Federal)
Starting FY:
Ending FY:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia River Estuary Columbia Estuary 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: 2007-346-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-346-00 - Crims Island Habitat Restoration
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-346-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-346-00 - Crims Island Habitat Restoration
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 Crims Island restoration project in the lower Columbia River (LCR) is a major program, and monitoring and evaluation is clearly justified. In addition, little evaluation on habitat action effectiveness for restored tidal marshes in the Columbia is available and so the results of the evaluation will add valuable data to the Regional information base. A possible reference area is nearby on the same island and monitoring data were collected at the site prior to the onset of restoration actions. Both the reference and pre-restoration information can be compared to post-restoration information to assess effectiveness. The proposed work is consistent with Fish and Wildlife Program's subbasin plans and elements of the Biological Opinion. The work will directly address monitoring requirements called for in the BiOp. The objectives relating to use of Crims Island by migratory salmonids, feeding, benthic community status and elevation analyses have clearly defined and measurable end points, which match objectives in the subbasin plans.

However, the ISRP qualifies this "fundable" recommendation because further details on methods and design of the work would enhance the proposal:

1. The proposal would benefit by more details on how the Crims Island project is coordinated with the other restoration and evaluation projects in the lower Columbia River or Columbia River estuary (CRE) such as those being conducted by the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership (200300700) or by the USFS at the Sandy River delta (199902500). Has there been direct discussion between the various researchers to try and standard methods (e.g., fish marking techniques, vegetation analyses)?

2. More details on the suitability of Gull Island as a reference site and the rationale for sampling the main stem river would be helpful. Does the name "Gull Island" indicate there are large numbers of potential predators on the island relative to the restored site? Gull Island does not appear to have natural tidal channels which would provide the best "control" as an undisturbed habitat site. Is that why fyke net sampling is not proposed there?

3. The proposal would be clarified by an expansion of the concept that increasing detrital flow from Crims Island will lead to an increase in salmon survival. Is there empirical evidence for this linkage at the LCR or elsewhere? Will the results give data on incremental increase in detrital flow from Crims Island relative to other projects in the LCR or CRE?

4. Expansion or further detail on the following methods would be useful:

a. Detrital sampling - Is it possible that benthic algal production from the tidal channels or imported from the main stem river is also important to support invertebrates? It would be helpful if the proponents explained why algae were not considered.

b. Sediment organics - The proposal would be enhanced if the researchers explained what they mean by "productive capacity" (PC). It is not clear how organic carbon in sediments will provide an assessment of productive capacity. Has this methodology been used elsewhere?

c. Invertebrate sampling - A power analysis to clarify within site variation for core (n=10) and drift (n=3) sampling would be useful. The proponents should clarify how they are going to measure invertebrate productivity since the methods described only measure biomass. The methods used to sample benthic invertebrates (cores) will only partially provide data on fish food availability - the cores will work for Corophium but will not sample drift and surface organisms. Chinook feed from a variety of sites in the water column. The proposal would be improved by an explanation of why more specific methods such as emergent traps for chironomids were not considered.

d. Fish abundance, growth, and residency - The proposal would be improved by better justification of attempts to relate habitat variables at the capture sites to fish abundance. Fish likely will be present at a capture sites for reasons other than just the characteristics at that site. The fish don't have many choices as to where they enter the area and what routes they take once they have entered. Fish may be captured at a site simply because it is the only route of movement.

The sponsors indicate that their measurements would only represent "growth in a relative sense." It would be helpful if the proponents clarified this statement. The methods proposed to measure "growth" are only appropriate for measuring sizes of incoming and outgoing fish. Incoming fish may not necessarily be fish that egressed on the last tide and their residence time and growth attributable to marsh residence would not be known. Also, as the sponsors indicate, the sizes of incoming fish may change over the sampling season. The only reliable way to measure growth would be to mark fish. Even then, if fish move out of the area with the tide and spend time rearing in the mainstem, the increment of growth attributable to tidal marsh residence would be extremely difficult to determine. Will the fish used in the tagging study be those captured in the restored and reference areas? Have the proponents considered the use of scales to measure growth increments, which are correlated with seasonal growth rates? For example, see Fisher, Joseph P., and William G. Pearcy, 2005 Seasonal changes in growth of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) off Oregon and Washington and concurrent changes in the spacing of scale circuli. Fisheries Bulletin 103:34-51.

5. The proposal would be improved by further explanation of other personnel/experts involved in the laboratory analyses of water and soil samples and identification of invertebrates, and detritus for this project.

6. The proposal would be enhanced by a discussion of animal care protocols and provisions for live release by catch in seines and fyke nets. The proposal would be improved if a subsample of marked and unmarked fish were held throughout the period of the study (through July) To assess delayed mortality effects due to handling and marking with Calcein have the proponents considered holding a subsample of marked and unmarked fish (to July)?

7. Embayments off mainstem rivers sometimes silt in after a few years. Could this happen with the tidal channels at Crims Island? If silting occurs will this study have to be repeated in the future to evaluate long term benefits to fish?

8. The proposal would be improved by better justification for studying killifish. The existence of diet overlap of salmon and killifish, while it is useful information, does not necessarily indicate that competition is occurring. To demonstrate competition, the sponsors would need to show that killifish actually reduce the density of salmon food organisms and that this reduction results in decreased growth.
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-346-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-346-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: Assess effectiveness of Corps/BPA tidal marsh restoration.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-346-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-346-00
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