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

Project 2007-349-00 - Monitoring resident salmonid populations and the aquatic food web in the upper Icicle Creek sbubasin of the Wenatchee River basin
Project Number:
Monitoring resident salmonid populations and the aquatic food web in the upper Icicle Creek sbubasin of the Wenatchee River basin
Estimate abundance of resident rainbow, bull, and brook trout and measure benthic invertebrate community structure in conjunction with juvenile feeding ecology to characterize basin productivity and capacity.
Proponent Orgs:
Wild Fish Conservancy Northwest (Non-Profit)
Starting FY:
Ending FY:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Cascade Wenatchee 100.00%
RM and E
Focal Species:
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 100.0%   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: 2007-349-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-349-00 - Monitoring resident salmonid populations and the aquatic food web in the upper Icicle Creek sbubasin of the Wenatchee River basin
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-349-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-349-00 - Monitoring resident salmonid populations and the aquatic food web in the upper Icicle Creek sbubasin of the Wenatchee River basin
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
Final Round ISRP Comment:
The ISRP believes this project has merit, but is requesting a response to several questions and concerns. ISRP comments on various sections/elements of the proposal are provided first, followed by a summary.

Technical and scientific background: The abstract of the proposal makes the claim that "the upper Icicle is in fact [a] far more productive system than commonly believed". This statement implies that the productivity of the upper watershed will be compared to some reference location or prior condition; however, that is not included as an objective of this proposal. The project will focus on the trophic ecology of rainbow trout, bull trout, and introduced brook trout. According to USFWS, westslope cutthroat trout also inhabit the upper Icicle watershed. Why was this species not included? We also wonder why there is no consideration of the possibility that chinook or coho salmon might appear in this portion of the Icicle River, having passed through the new channel downstream? Otherwise, the technical background section does a good job of describing the scientific rationale for the study and explaining its relationship to fish and wildlife recovery goals.

Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: The proposal describes a clear relationship to the objectives of the Wenatchee subbasin plan, but it does not mention the Council's Fish & Wildlife Plan or the BiOp.

While the proposal addresses an identified problem in a broad sense (page 9), many of its objectives and methods are not likely to lead to production of information that will directly benefit fish. The proposal is not persuasive that the information will have practical application (i.e. benefit) in the management of fish and wildlife of concern in the Fish and Wildlife Program.

Relationships to other project: This project is one of three related proposals to study the Icicle Creek watershed as it is recolonized by anadromous salmonids. In fact, it is closely associated with proposal 20071900, submitted by the same proponents. The proposal adequately describes its relationship to the other projects and shows how the information produced by them fits together. It also refers to the M&E project of NOAA Fisheries (Chris Jordan) in the Wenatchee Basin, and discusses potential cooperative efforts.

Objectives: Objectives focus on trout food habits in the upper mainstem and four tributaries, trout movement and rearing location, stream temperature, and invertebrate abundance. The objectives for the most part, are clearly stated. Sampling locations were not shown on a map, which made it somewhat difficult to understand where samples would be taken. In some, but not all cases sample sizes were given. Seasonal timelines were provided, although it was not clear if everything would be measured for three years.

This proposal has some of the same problems as Proposal 200719000. In the proposal reviewed here, the first 4 Objectives listed on page 11 under the heading "F. Proposal biological objectives, work elements, and methods" can be justified as monitoring of the effects of a management measure (provision of passage for anadromous fishes), and can be expected to lead to measurable benefits to fish. On the other hand, Objectives 4 and 5, which propose population genetic analysis are not clearly linked in the proposal to possible benefits to fish. One objective, to measure water temperature, is likely to be of significance in monitoring the effects of this provision of passage. Effects on macroinvertebrates, proposed under objectives 11 and 12 are unlikely to lead to any benefit to fish. The questions addressed by these objectives are rather academic in their focus, and the text was not convincing that there was potential for any practical application of the information gained.

The upper Icicle Creek watershed is prone to wildfires (there was a significant burn in 2002, we believe), and fire occurrence might affect access to sampling sites and will surely affect results, if a wildfire occurs. The investigators should be aware of this possibility.

Tasks (work elements) and methods: The methods proposed for direct monitoring of abundance and distribution of juvenile and adult salmonids are adequately described and appropriately fit the objectives, but objectives and methods that go beyond a straightforward monitoring effort. For example, the fine-scale genetic analyses and the detailed attempt to describe macroinvertebrate populations, and others (See detail under Objectives review) are not appropriate or necessary for the application here. Proposed methods are often very new and innovative. Some are so new (e.g., scale and otolith microchemistry) that they must be tested on a non-native species - brook trout - to ensure they work as anticipated. The other methods are sound and the sampling frequencies seem adequate, although sample sizes for PIT-tagging were not given, and methods for detection/recovery were not specified. There did not appear to be any major weaknesses in the sampling protocols overall. University scientists will be involved in this study, although who would complete each work element wasn't always clear. Special approval will be needed for PIT-tagging ESA-listed species such as bull trout.

Monitoring and evaluation: This proposal is a monitoring study by design.

Facilities, equipment and personnel seem quite adequate for the work.

Information transfer: Unfortunately, there was little discussion of information transfer or data management. The project cover sheet mentions website publication, progress reports, and peer-reviewed journal articles, but no details were given in the narrative. We saw no discussion of storage of meta-data.

Benefit to focal and non-focal species: This study would provide important information on trout residing in headwaters. The upper Icicle Creek watershed is in an unmanaged roadless area and receives few anthropogenic impacts (including fishing), so having population data from an area with so little human alteration can be a good benchmark.

The proposal does not present a convincing argument that many of the stated objectives and methods would result in a benefit to fish. We have identified the particular objectives and methods that can be expected to produce a benefit to fish in the sections above, and have been identified that are not likely to do so. These might be classified as basic research. Non-focal species are not mentioned but will not likely be harmed by this project.

Summary: This proposal and proposal 200719000 should be combined and the budget revised to eliminate unnecessary and inappropriate objectives and methods we specified under those headings above. There should be monitoring and evaluation of the effects of this improved passage as they directly benefit fish numbers, but these proposals go beyond what is necessary.

This proposal should be considered to be a monitoring effort that ought to measure the effects of opening passage to anadromous fishes of the reach of Icicle Creek above the channel that was dug when the hatchery was built. Proposal 200719000 deals with monitoring in the channel itself. While large effects on flow and other physical factors are to be expected in the channel, that is not the case in the upper river where the present proposal is focused. While effects of reintroduction of anadromous salmonids can be expected to affect abundance and distribution of resident fishes in the upper river, and this should be monitored and evaluated, justification is lacking for conducting genetic analysis and/or fine-scale movements of these fish, or studies of benthic invertebrate abundance or benthic species composition, or pursuing other objectives of that sort. It is difficult to imagine a benefit to fish arising from these, and the proposal does not develop such a justification.

This project should provide important baseline information on headwater trout populations, especially populations facing reintroductions of salmon and steelhead. Possible or eventual presence of salmon should be considered. This study is not complete without the cutthroat trout.

The objectives need to be redefined. Why is the genetic testing necessary for this study? How productive is this portion of icicle creek going to be due to habitat, barriers, etc.? Is this based on sound ecological and scientific principles? How will this restoration project be monitored and by whom, will it be scientific? What will the carrying capacity be, without superimposition of redds, etc.?

Are the analyses of the options and the circumstances of those options complete? Is this consistent with the Council's Artificial Production Review and the Fish and Wildlife Program principles? The decision to open up this portion of the creek has been made. How can the upper Icicle Creek subbasin be restored and productive for the fish?
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-349-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-349-00
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: Tributary salmonid monitoring, fishery managers authorized/required.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-349-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-349-00
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