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

Project 2008-004-00 - Sea Lion Non-Lethal Hazing
Project Number:
2008-004-00
Title:
Sea Lion Non-Lethal Hazing
Summary:
Sea lion presence below Bonneville Dam was rare and their consumption of salmonids was not a major concern prior to the 2000 Biological Opinion for Operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) (NMFS 2000). Since 2001, the ACOE have been documenting sea lion abundance and estimating predation rates using visual observations within a quarter mile of the dam. Estimated predation rates have ranged from 0.4 to 4.7 percent of the spring season salmonids migrating annually (Stansell 2004, Tackley et al 2008). This equates to 1,010 to 4,466 spring Chinook (O. tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss) being caught and consumed within the visual observation area adjacent to the dam (Tackley et al 2008). NOAA (NOAA 2008b) concluded that:
“collectively California sea lions at Bonneville Dam are having a significant negative impact on ESA listed salmon and steelhead species based on information in the record and in particular on the following factors:
• The predation is measurable, growing, and could continue to increase if not addressed;
• The level of adult salmonids mortality is sufficiently large to have a measurable effect on the numbers of listed adult salmonids contributing to the productivity of the affected ESUs,/DPSs; and,
• The mortality rate for listed salmonids is comparable to mortality rates from other sources that have led to corrective action under the ESA.”

Deterrent activities using non-lethal hazing were initiated in 2005 by the state, federal and tribal agencies and have been ineffective at eliminating the fish predation problem (Norberg et al. 2005, Wright et al. 2007, Brown et al. 2007) but were shown to modify sea lion behavior (Tackley et al. 2008). This result prompted the states to seek lethal removal authority for sea lions under Section 120 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (NOAA 2007a). NOAA Fisheries accepted the application, convened a Pinniped Fisheries Interaction Task Force which, concluded that predation at this rate was a significant negative impact on ESA listed salmonids and recommended that NOAA approve the states request to remove identifiable problem animals in November 2007 (NOAA 2007b). NOAA Fisheries reviewed the report along with pertinent information in their environmental assessment and granted the states authority to remove problem sea lions on March 18, 2008 (NOAA 2008a). This determination included a list of individually identifiable problem sea lions that could be removed and criteria to add sea lions to the list. Generally the criteria for problem animals includes being individually identifiable, has been observed consuming salmonids, and has been subjected to non-lethal hazing. Removal has currently been suspended while the decision is being litigated.

Currently, the only quantitative measure of sea lion predation in the Columbia River is the ACOE limited observation area below Bonneville Dam, however, the amount of predation in the lower 150 miles is unknown and estimated through modeling at 13,000 in 2007 (http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/sealions/sec_120_appl.pdf). Boat-based hazing activities in 2007, reported that approximately one-quarter of all hazing events involved a predation observation (Brown et al. 2007). Boat hazers reported a total of 1,494 hazing events and salmonid predation was observed in every site within the study area (Navigation Marker 85 to Bonneville Dam approximately 6 miles). This confirmed that substantial sea lion predation is occurring beyond of the observation limit (area viewable from the tailrace deck of the Dam) of the ACOE’s enumeration program and necessitates the need for a technique to estimate sea lion predation. The Pinniped Fisheries Interaction Task Force expressed the desire for more data on sea lion abundance, distribution, and predation in the Columbia River (NOAA 2007b).
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) (Tribe)
Starting FY:
2008
Ending FY:
2032
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Lower Columbia Columbia Lower 100.00%
Purpose:
Predation
Emphasis:
RM and E
Focal Species:
Chinook - All Populations
Chinook - Lower Columbia River ESU
Chinook - Mid-Columbia River Spring ESU
Chinook - Snake River Fall ESU
Chinook - Snake River Spring/Summer
Chinook - Snake River Spring/Summer ESU
Chinook - Upper Columbia River Spring ESU
Chinook - Upper Columbia River Summer/Fall ESU
Coho - Unspecified Population
Lamprey, Pacific
Sockeye - All Populations
Steelhead - All Populations
Steelhead - Lower Columbia River DPS
Steelhead - Middle Columbia River DPS
Steelhead - Snake River DPS
Steelhead - Upper Columbia River DPS
Sturgeon, Green
Sturgeon, White - Lower Columbia River
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 0.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 100.0%
Special:
None

The upper left image is a Steller sea lion image as it is captured on our video system. The upper right, followed by lower left, then lower right are varying stages of zoom on that original image.

Figure Name: Figure 1a

Document ID: P124223

Document: Sea Lion Monitoring and Non-Lethal Hazing

Page Number: 7

Project: 2008-004-00

Contract: 51210

The upper left image is a Steller sea lion image as it is captured on our video system. The upper right, followed by lower left, then lower right are varying stages of zoom on that original image.

Figure Name: Figure 1b

Document ID: P124223

Document: Sea Lion Monitoring and Non-Lethal Hazing

Page Number: 7

Project: 2008-004-00

Contract: 51210

The upper left image is a Steller sea lion image as it is captured on our video system. The upper right, followed by lower left, then lower right are varying stages of zoom on that original image.

Figure Name: Figure 1c

Document ID: P124223

Document: Sea Lion Monitoring and Non-Lethal Hazing

Page Number: 7

Project: 2008-004-00

Contract: 51210

The upper left image is a Steller sea lion image as it is captured on our video system. The upper right, followed by lower left, then lower right are varying stages of zoom on that original image.

Figure Name: Figure 1d

Document ID: P124223

Document: Sea Lion Monitoring and Non-Lethal Hazing

Page Number: 7

Project: 2008-004-00

Contract: 51210

The upper image is of an unknown species of sea lion captured at a distance and the lower image is zoomed in.

Figure Name: Figure 2a

Document ID: P124223

Document: Sea Lion Monitoring and Non-Lethal Hazing

Page Number: 8

Project: 2008-004-00

Contract: 51210

The upper image is of an unknown species of sea lion captured at a distance and the lower image is zoomed in.

Figure Name: Figure 2b

Document ID: P124223

Document: Sea Lion Monitoring and Non-Lethal Hazing

Page Number: 8

Project: 2008-004-00

Contract: 51210


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 *
FY2018 (Previous) $239,682 $262,041 $232,165 $232,165 $224,490

Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC $262,041 $232,165 $232,165 $224,490
FY2019 (Current) $255,292 $255,292 $255,292 $84,949

Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC $255,292 $255,292 $255,292 $84,949
FY2020 (Next) $245,878 $245,878 $0 $0 $0

Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC $245,878 $0 $0 $0

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 31-Mar-2019

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2018 - FY2020)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2018 Expense $243,681 From: Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC FY18 Initial Planning Budgets (WS, CTUIR, YN, CRITFC, CCT, ID) 2/10/2017 02/13/2017
FY2018 Expense $3,999 To: Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC CRITFC Establish FY18 budget for 2009-022-00 Accord Administration 07/26/2017
FY2018 Expense $22,359 From: Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC Accord Budget Transfers (CRITFC) 10/4/2017 10/04/2017
FY2019 Expense $245,878 From: Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC Accord Extensions (CRITFC) 10/4/2018 10/04/2018
FY2019 Expense $9,414 From: Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC Accord Budget Transfers (CRITFC) 11/6/2018 11/06/2018
FY2020 Expense $245,878 From: Fish Accord - LRT - CRITFC Accord Extensions (CRITFC) 10/4/2018 10/04/2018

Pending Budget Decision?  No


Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2019   DRAFT
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
2018 $2,000 1 %
2017 $2,000 1 %
2016 $7,000 3 %
2015 $10,000 4 %
2014 $10,000 3 %
2013 $15,000 10 %
2012 $25,000 12 %
2011 $30,000 14 %
2010 $12,000 7 %
2009
2008

Contracts

The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Complete, History, Issued.
* "Total Contracted Amount" column includes contracted amount from both capital and expense components of the contract.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Total Contracted Amount Dates
77802 SOW Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) 2008-004-00 EXP SEA LION NON-LETHAL HAZING & MONITORING (CRITFC) Issued $262,041 1/1/2018 - 12/31/2018
73354 REL 17 SOW Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) 2008-004-00 EXP SEA LION NON-LETHAL HAZING & MONITORING (CRITFC) Issued $255,292 1/1/2019 - 12/31/2019



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):12
Completed:12
On time:12
Status Reports
Completed:45
On time:33
Avg Days Early:4

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
37475 40706, 45692, 51210, 55351, 59809, 63757, 67740, 71018, 74235, 77802, 73354 REL 17 2008-004-00 EXP SEA LION PREDATION RATE/ NON-LETHAL HAZING Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) 04/2008 04/2008 Issued 45 102 9 0 1 112 99.11% 0
Project Totals 45 102 9 0 1 112 99.11% 0


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: 2019-2021 Mainstem/Program Support

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2008-004-00-ISRP-20190404
Project: 2008-004-00 - Sea Lion Non-Lethal Hazing
Review: 2019-2021 Mainstem/Program Support
Proposal Number: NPCC19-2008-004-00
Completed Date: None
First Round ISRP Date: 4/4/2019
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:

Response requested comment:

This project has been changed and has made significant progress since its inception. The proponents appear poised to develop better methods to determine sea lion predation using accelerometer tags and to collect useful data on distribution and abundance of sea lions using boat surveys. Estimation of sea lion abundances admittedly is a challenging task, but additional efforts to characterize the variance of these estimates would strengthen the research. More information is needed about the statistical analyses of the functional responses and abundance estimates from the tandem boat surveys. Additionally, better goals and criteria are needed for the lethal removal effort. The ISRP requests responses to the following:

1.      More detail is needed about the statistical methods used for the conditional Lincoln-Peterson estimators of sea lion abundance from the tandem boat surveys. How would abundance estimates differ if a sequence of additional observation boats were used (e.g., 2, 3, 4 or more) for a reach? Might drones be used?

2.      The estimation of abundance, distribution, and predation of sea lions is described as a continuation of the previous measurements with tandem boat observation and accelerometers. Additional information should be provided to describe how these two measurements or their analyses will be changed or improved by the proposed research. How will these results be synthesized and reported? How will they evaluate their methods with comparisons to measures by other research groups or modifications of their protocols? More detail is needed about the functional responses fit to the predation data.

3.      How will culling of sea lions be evaluated? What criteria will be used to assess whether it is effective at reducing sea lion abundance and predation on adult salmonids? What factors will be considered when determining how many animals will be culled?

4.      Although lethal removal has been controversial to date, it is likely going to get much more so with increased culling. Is there a CRITFC or NOAA public relations plan in place to address a public response to the culling program?

5.      What are the culling techniques and what do they plan to do with the carcasses? Will the meat, hides, and bones be used? If so, is there concern about possible contaminants in the meat?

6.      A brief description of how adaptive management occurs is needed.

Comment:

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

The proposal identifies three objectives: (1) continue boat-based hazing below Bonneville Dam, (2) estimate abundance, distribution, and predation of salmon by sea lions in the lower Columbia River, and (3) remove nuisance sea lions from the Columbia River. The only objective that is quantifiable is the second objective. The boat hazing and lethal removal objectives describe only implementation of the measures and do not provide quantifiable outcomes of anticipated results. The proposal simply indicates that these activities will occur. The ISRP has questioned the continuation of boat hazing in previous reviews because the proponent's studies indicated it was not effective. The hazing objective will be discontinued if CRITFC is authorized to lethally remove sea lions from the lower Columbia River, assuming that hazing is not a condition for removal under a new NOAA authorization.

The investigators propose to continue surveying sea lion occurrences below Bonneville Dam using tandem boat observation. These observations will be used to estimate abundance of sea lions from Bonneville Dam to Astoria (RM 12) and estimate predation based on a functional response model. They also will use accelerometer tags attached to the heads of sea lions to estimate individual predation rates, but this method is still in the early stages of development and has been applied successfully to only seven individual sea lions.

2. Results and Adaptive Management

The description of objectives, deliverables, and timelines is brief and largely a continuation of previous work. Overall, the project objectives were met in most cases. Non-lethal hazing is not that effective and only temporary. Tandem boat surveys are relatively efficient for estimating abundance and distribution. Acoustic telemetry of individual sea lions gives information on differences in behavior of California versus Stellar sea lions in the lower river. Functional responses give estimates of predation by California sea lions below Bonneville. No obvious trend of increasing or decreasing predation was observed.

It appears that the main benefit of non-lethal hazing is deterring sea lions from areas around the entrance to the Bonneville fish ladder (Tidwell et al. 2019). The estimates of sea lion abundance from 2013-2016 were reported in a table, but the results were not discussed or interpreted. Abundances tended to be greatest in mid to late March but varied greatly between years and zones with no obvious trends.

The section on adaptive management identifies only changes that have been made over the course of the project. It does not identify a decision-making process for adaptive management of the overall project.

3. Methods: Project Relationships, Work Types, and Deliverables

The field observation methods and statistical analyses are described only briefly in the proposal but were described in more detail in their 2017 Annual Report to BPA. The estimates are based on observed animals only but do not include sea lions in areas that are not surveyed. The researchers plan to develop spatial analyses to adjust their estimates for areas surveyed, but the proposal does not describe these plans.

The proponents state the project is complementary to other sea lion interaction work that is currently being conducted, but they only described hazing or lethal removal activities of USACE and the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. No collaborations on estimation of sea lion abundance and predation rates with other agencies or researchers are described. Such collaboration would be beneficial and improve synthesis of the results of these different studies. It is possible such collaborations are occurring, but the proposal provides no information about them. No information was presented on how lethal removals will be evaluated, in terms of whether they are effective at reducing sea lion abundance and predation on adult salmonids. It should be determined if the project's actions led to shifts in sea lion distribution patterns (numerical responses) and feeding habits. For example, will remaining sea lions switch to eating more salmon per capita?

The description of data management does not indicate the project provides open or online access to the summary data and research products. QA/QC appears to be limited to proofed field data sheets prior to entry into Excel spreadsheets. Data potentially are shared if requested, but policies and criteria for sharing are not described. Key findings were shared via project reports, but peer-reviewed publications reporting results of boat surveys of abundance and functional response models have not been completed yet would be highly useful to other investigators and managers.

Literature cited:

Tidwell, K.S., B.A. Carrothers, K.N. Bayley, L.N. Magill, and B.K. van der Leeuw 2019. Evaluation of Pinniped Predation on Adult Salmonids and other Fish in the Bonneville Dam Tailrace, 2018. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, Fisheries Field Unit. Cascade Locks, OR. 65pp.

Modified by Michael Ferrante on 4/11/2019 11:51:36 AM.
Documentation Links:
Review: Fish Accord ISRP Review

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2008-004-00-ISRP-20100323
Project: 2008-004-00 - Sea Lion Non-Lethal Hazing
Review: Fish Accord ISRP Review
Completed Date: None
First Round ISRP Date: 12/12/2008
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:
The proposal is insufficient for technical review. The ISRP finds that none of the proposed project objectives have been technically justified (see comments in sections B-D, below).

The ISRP recommends the elimination of the proposed non-lethal hazing of sea lions (Objective 1) as a stand-alone objective. The ongoing cooperative hazing activities have not been justified by any documented positive results of reducing predation on salmonids. However, the effects of non-lethal hazing on feeding behavior of sea lions could be studied through responses of acoustic tagged individuals and therefore, could be incorporated as an element of Objective 3 – see below.

The ISRP also recommends eliminating the video monitoring portion of the proposal (Objective 2). The rationale for the proposed video monitoring to estimate sea lion predation is weak (i.e., the study design is incomplete and metrics undefined), and to attempt estimates outside the current observation area below Bonneville Dam (~150 river km) may take years to develop with a high risk of failure in collecting quantitative data.

However, the proposed acoustic telemetry project (Objective 3) is a good idea, and the ISRP encourages further development of this part of the proposal. To accomplish this, a much more detailed study design is needed, including methods and monitoring protocols for acoustic tagged sea lions, and some specific statements of how the resulting data will be applied towards management of this predation problem (see comments in section F, below).
Documentation Links:
Review: RME / AP Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2008-004-00-NPCC-20110427
Project: 2008-004-00 - Sea Lion Non-Lethal Hazing
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal: RMECAT-2008-004-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 6/10/2011
Recommendation: Fund (Qualified)
Comments: Implement through FY 2016 per August 12, 2009 Council decision.
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 Recommendation was made by the Council at its meeting on August 12, 2009. Based on the ISRP review (ISRP document 2009-21), and the confidence that the sponsor understands the need to address the items raised by the ISRP in the implementation of this project, the Council supports this project for implementation.

2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Assessment

Assessment Number: 2008-004-00-BIOP-20101105
Project Number: 2008-004-00
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-2008-004-00
Completed Date: None
2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Rating: Supports 2008 FCRPS BiOp
Comments: BiOp Workgroup Comments: No BiOp Workgroup Comments

The BiOp RM&E Workgroups made the following determinations regarding the proposal's ability or need to support BiOp Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RME) RPAs. If you have questions regarding these RPA association conclusions, please contact your BPA COTR and they will help clarify, or they will arrange further discussion with the appropriate RM&E Workgroup Leads. BiOp RPA associations for the proposed work are: (69.1 69.2 69.3)
All Questionable RPA Associations ( ) and
All Deleted RPA Associations ( )
Proponent Response:
Review: Fish Accord Review

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Douglas Hatch Project Lead Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)
Anne Creason Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Christine Golightly Interested Party Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)
John Whiteaker Technical Contact Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)
Daniel Gambetta Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Zachary Penney Supervisor Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)
Chris Roe Administrative Contact Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC)