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

Project 2010-028-00 - Estimate Adult Steelhead Abundance in Small Streams Associated with Tucannon & Asotin Populations
Project Number:
Estimate Adult Steelhead Abundance in Small Streams Associated with Tucannon & Asotin Populations
Formerly titled: Implement a Rotating Panel Sampling Adult Steelhead in Small Tributaries of the Tucannon and Snake Rivers
Proponent Orgs:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) (Govt - State)
Starting FY:
Ending FY:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Plateau Snake Lower 100.00%
RM and E
Focal Species:
Steelhead - Snake River DPS
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%

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"

To see more detailed project budget information, please visit the "Project Budget" page

Decided Budget Transfers  (FY2023 - FY2025)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2023 Expense $0 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY23 SOY Budget Upload 06/01/2022

Pending Budget Decision?  No

Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2024   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
2015 $3,000 5%
2014 $2,750 5%
2013 $6,000 10%
2012 $6,500 11%


The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Closed, 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
49149 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 201002800 EXP EST. ADULT STEELHEAD ABUNDANCE IN TUCANNON & ASOTIN Closed $53,703 8/1/2010 - 11/30/2011
55446 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHEAD ABUNDANCE IN TUCANNON & ASOTIN R Closed $52,381 12/1/2011 - 11/30/2012
59759 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHEAD ABUNDANCE TUCANNON & ASOTIN RIVER Closed $45,668 12/1/2012 - 11/30/2013
63634 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHEAD ABUNDANCE TUCANNON & ASOTIN RIVER Closed $52,195 12/1/2013 - 11/30/2014
67136 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHEAD ABUNDANCE: TUCANNON-ASOTIN RIVERS Closed $51,286 12/1/2014 - 11/30/2015
70700 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHEAD ABUNDANCE: TUCANNON-ASOTIN RIVERS Closed $52,381 12/1/2015 - 11/30/2016
74615 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHEAD ABUNDANCE: TUCANNON-ASOTIN Closed $49,820 12/1/2016 - 11/30/2017
74314 REL 23 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHEAD ABUNDANCE: TUCANNON-ASOTIN Closed $52,381 12/1/2017 - 11/30/2018
74314 REL 56 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHD ABUNDANCE TUCANNON/ASOTIN RVRS Closed $52,380 12/1/2018 - 11/30/2019
74314 REL 89 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHD ABUNDANCE TUCANNON/ASOTIN RVRS Closed $52,378 12/1/2019 - 11/30/2020
74314 REL 121 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHD ABUNDANCE TUCANNON/ASOTIN WDFW Closed $53,036 12/1/2020 - 11/30/2021

Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):10
On time:9
Status Reports
On time:26
Avg Days Late:0

                Count of Contract Deliverables
Earliest Contract Subsequent Contracts Title Contractor Earliest Start Latest End Latest Status Accepted Reports Complete Green Yellow Red Total % Green and Complete Canceled
49149 55446, 59759, 63634, 67136, 70700, 74615, 74314 REL 23, 74314 REL 56, 74314 REL 89, 74314 REL 121 2010-028-00 EXP ADULT STEELHD ABUNDANCE TUCANNON/ASOTIN WDFW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 08/01/2010 11/30/2021 Closed 46 108 0 0 1 109 99.08% 6
Project Totals 46 108 0 0 1 109 99.08% 6

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: Fast Track ISRP Review 2010

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-028-00-ISRP-20100623
Project: 2010-028-00 - Estimate Adult Steelhead Abundance in Small Streams Associated with Tucannon & Asotin Populations
Review: Fast Track ISRP Review 2010
Completed Date: None
First Round ISRP Date: 2/24/2010
First Round ISRP Rating: Response Requested
First Round ISRP Comment:

Overall, this proposal outlines a worthwhile effort to obtain information on often-neglected small population units or minor spawning aggregations (mSAs). Most other projects have focused on rebuilding larger population units. Smaller tributaries and their contributions are sometimes inadequately understood or neglected. In this proposal, it is important to have a clear plan of how the anticipated results for the mSAs will relate to the monitoring and ultimately management of the larger system as a whole. That is, what are the proponents expecting to find out in these smaller tributaries that will be important for the management of the larger Asotin and Tucannon steelhead populations? Because some of the mSAs flow directly into the Snake River, how will results from those tributaries be interpreted in relation to the actual Asotin and Tucannon steelhead? What are the actual relations between Asotin and Tucannon fish and these direct Snake tributaries? Is that issue addressed? To address these issues a response memo is requested. The title of this proposal as worded does not clearly or effectively describe the proposal. It confused each of the reviewers until the proposal itself was read. Although the term “rotating panel sampling” has gained some acceptance, it sounds more like a device rather than a sampling design. 1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships The proposal has presented adequate technical justification for investigating the contribution of small populations (mSAs) of Asotin or Tucannon tributary steelhead. The proponents also adequately made the case that the relative abundances of hatchery and wild steelhead need to be better understood in these mSAs. The significance to the Fish and Wildlife Program and its need for escapement data to properly manage steelhead populations was clearly described, as were relationships to related projects. The project is consistent with BiOp, RPA, and subbasin plan requirements and should yield data on possible effects of hatchery fish interbreeding with wild individuals in small tributaries. Working relationships with other groups appear to be good. For successfully achieving their objectives for the genetics component, it is not clear if the genetics sampling is solely opportunistic or if it has been well coordinated and linked with funded work from other agencies. It would be useful to present some evidence that the actual linkage has been established with the agencies that will analyze genetic samples, and that the need for them and importance of their analysis is recognized. Otherwise, the genetic samples may languish. 2. Project History and Results According to the proposal, “This is a new project, however exploratory steelhead spawning surveys were conducted several years ago in some of the tributaries included in this proposal. Steelhead spawning was documented in most of the tributaries, but a few surveys were inconclusive (Mendel et al. 2004, 2004b).” The results of all earlier work should be described. For example, what did those earlier surveys suggest as to actual or estimated abundances by creek/stream and how might those results affect the sampling design? Absolutely no numbers regarding expected or assumed sizes of steelhead populations are provided in the proposal based on those studies (i.e., Mendel et al. 2004, 2004b) so it is difficult for reviewers to gauge the level of understanding of the steelhead population trends or status in these streams. Is it possible that there are truly minimal numbers of fish in these streams? Or do they possibly have fish in some years but not others? It was difficult for reviewers to know the answers to such basic questions based on the lack of information presented. The optimal sampling design could depend on the anticipated and actual numbers of fish in the small tributaries, as discussed in Section 3 below. 2. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods The narrative provided a reasonable technical justification for the adult monitoring proposed, which involved the trapping and sampling of tributary streams for adult steelhead abundance on a rotational basis, with location emphasis changing approximately every three years. There are some questions regarding justifying the best biological and statistical approach for meeting the monitoring objectives. As envisioned by the proponents, tributaries will be monitored for a few years, but the rotational approach will prevent the assembling of reliable long-term data series. It is questionable if this is the preferred approach, as opposed to, for example, maintaining some steady time series on the largest mSAs and just rotating sampling in what may turn out to be, based on preliminary analyses, the tributaries with the weakest runs? Some long-term index site sampling (including smolts out) with rotational random sampling may be a better strategy if viable mSAs exist. Which systems would these viable mSAs exist in? Or is that information not known? The concern is that under the proposed sampling design, no useful time series or patterns may emerge before in a particular stream before sampling rotates away from it. Have these alternative approaches (i.e., index or longer term versus rotational or mark/recapture snorkel surveys or aerial counts) been considered, and if so, what rationale was used for not recommending them? Some clarification would help here. It is assumed in the proposal that sampling will present no major problems. Temporary fish traps can be difficult to operate effectively in snow-melt systems. Population estimates may not be reliably obtained unless sufficient numbers are captured, marked, and recaptured. Some pilot testing may be necessary. Trap operations in the first year will very likely provide an indication whether or not this technique will work, or even be necessary, in particular tributaries. The proposed approach could be complemented by sampling for juveniles, via snorkeling or electrofishing. Are these approaches being considered? Secondly, beyond the biological basis, is there a statistical basis detailed for the specific rotation scheme proposed, (i.e., at least three years over a six to ten year period at five streams plus their tributaries on the Asotin and seven streams plus their tributaries on the Tucannon)? Because this approach is still experimental in nature on systems poorly studied, field results may influence the ultimate statistical design chosen. So for both reasons of sampling design and actual sampling, alternative methods should be carefully reviewed and considered. Objective 1 - Estimate the adult abundance and distribution of natural origin summer steelhead, as well as the proportion of hatchery steelhead, in currently unsampled portions of the Tucannon and Asotin steelhead populations The proponents indicate that that this approach “prioritizes the use of adult traps over spawning surveys.” This approach seems reasonable, but they should show that they have gone through an alternatives analysis and justified this approach. As the proposal is written, the proponents seem to want to do this as they go along. That is an acceptable approach, but some pre-design analysis would be helpful. In this regard, it would be helpful to have a description of the traps to be used as well as their documented successes and limitations from other applications. It would also be useful to have a better idea of the likelihood of washouts from high water, again based on other documented applications and comparisons of typical hydrographs. Objective 2 - Collect tissue samples from adult steelhead for baseline genetic analyses The approach outlines seems reasonable. Where and how will the data be stored? Is there a statistical basis for the number of samples to be collected? Has someone been identified and agreed to analyze the samples? What would be expected from the samples, and might it be of use in clarifying relationships among the Asotin, Tucannon, and direct-Snake tributaries being sampled, or just more broadly in relation to steelhead in other locations? Objective 3 - Compare steelhead spawning survey estimates of escapement with trap estimates, and test and evaluate several different spawning survey designs and determine their precision and accuracy. According to the proponents, the goal for testing different spawning survey sampling designs for estimating steelhead spawning escapement is to determine if spawning surveys could replace adult trap enumeration estimates in some Lower Snake River tributaries in the future and provide estimates of variance. Has there has been any juvenile assessment in the past that may be translated to adult escapement? Has mark-recapture with snorkeling been considered as an alternative? Have they considered this and other alternatives in any systematic way? More information on the specifics of the methods to be used would be very helpful, with appropriate literature citations. For this objective, the critical assumptions listed were: - That we will be able to successfully complete spawning surveys and accurate enumeration of redds for the entire spawning area, and spawning season, in at least one tributary where concurrent trapping is successful - That redds are accurately identified - That we can successfully georeference each redd locations - That enough redds will be documented to allow statistical analyses of several sampling designs - That WDFW staff in our Fish Conservation Section can complete the statistical comparison of several spawning survey design methods from our data collection in small tributaries of the Snake River and provide a final report "The probability of successfully addressing each of the critical assumptions associated with this objective is uncertain. However, we believe we have a good chance of success based on institutional knowledge and experience within WDFW, but we acknowledge that this objective is a test and has some probability of failure for some aspects." More could be done to address these critical assumptions in the proposal. For each assumption above, what are the factors that may or may not result in a given critical assumption being met? More detailed information on factors affecting redd counts in these systems would be useful. Some indication of the population sizes may clarify if enough redds are likely to be counted. Do the proponents have any particular survey designs in mind for the random draws? The proposal will contribute M&E data to regional data bases and is well positioned to do that. Annual technical reports are promised, to be subsidized by WDFW biologists' time. Regarding personnel, it is unclear what role Research Scientist Peter Hahn has in the project.

Documentation Links:
Review: RME / AP Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2010-028-00-NPCC-20110627
Project: 2010-028-00 - Estimate Adult Steelhead Abundance in Small Streams Associated with Tucannon & Asotin Populations
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal: RMECAT-2010-028-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 6/10/2011
Recommendation: Fund (Qualified)
Comments: See Programmatic Issue #2. Also See Fast Track April-May 2010 Council decision.
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: RMECAT #2 Habitat effectiveness monitoring and evaluation—.

2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-028-00-BIOP-20101105
Project Number: 2010-028-00
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-2010-028-00
Completed Date: None
2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Rating: Response Requested
Comments: BiOp Workgroup Comments: Please identify:
1. Why your data is "not electronically available"; and
2. What data sets will not be "electronically available" for various deliverables. Please specify the deliverable that is not electronically available. (Note a data set includes the raw data collected and additional data on analysis). For example if there is a deliverable for population adult abundance or habitat, we expect your raw and synthesized data to be made available electronically.
- Your response may help BPA identify funding needs for data repositories or identify an existing data warehouse that your data could be stored.

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: (50.5 50.6 50.7 62.4 62.5)
All Questionable RPA Associations ( ) and
All Deleted RPA Associations ( )
Proponent Response:

WDFW is striving to develop standard databases that could include the summarize data collected from this project, as well as others, but some of those databases remain under development.  The WDFW SaSi database is web accessable and will likely contain a portion (e.g. adults trapped or estimated total adult returns, or spawning survey data, for each stream included in this project) of the summarized data from this project in the future.  WDFW has a spawning ground database and spawning survey data from this project will be reported there, but it is generally not web accessible for the public.  A formal data request can be made for summaries of those data at :  WDFW does not provide raw or sensitive data on websites because we reserve the right to first publication, and raw data can be easily misinterpreted and misused with full understanding the limitations of the data and how it was collected.  Also, WDFW has a policy that restricts sharing sensitive data such as exact locations of nesting sites (e.g. redds) for ESA or sensitive species.  WDFW will also work with the local salmon recovery board to provide summaries of our adult trapping (e.g. number of hatchery and wild steelehad trapped per year, and/or spawning ground counts) available to the public through their website at, and check under adult counts.

We fully intend to make our appropriately summarized and analyzed data available and ccessible in our annual reports on the BPA and WDFW websites.  




Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Russell Scranton Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Joe Bumgarner (Inactive) Interested Party Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Brenda Aguirre Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
Ethan Crawford Project Lead Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Russell Scranton Project SME Bonneville Power Administration