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Project Summary

Project 2010-030-00 - Yakima Steelhead VSP Project
Project Number:
2010-030-00
Title:
Yakima Steelhead VSP Project
Summary:
Improved tracking of the Upper Yakima and Naches population distributions is the primary focus of this objective. Redd surveying efforts led by the USFWS and WDFW have been conducted in the Naches watershed since 2004. These surveys have focused primarily on the tributaries of the Naches and have significantly expanded our knowledge of this population’s spawning distribution but more effort is needed for mainstem spawning locations. The mainstem Naches in its entirety, and portions of the Yakima are areas that presumably support some level of steelhead spawning activity. These areas have been extremely difficult to survey due to lack of resources and/or inability to detect redds due to survey conditions. As a result, spawning activity in the mainstem Naches and Yakima River are not well understood. More precisely put, little to nothing is known regarding the downstream extension and potential spatial/temporal overlap between the Naches and Upper Yakima populations. We are proposing a three year radio telemetry study (Work Task 1A) to improve tracking of the Upper Yakima and Naches distributions and increase our understanding of mainstem spawners and their respective role within Yakima steelhead population dynamics. This is a recommended RM&E activity outlined in the chapter 7 of the 2009 Yakima Steelhead Recovery Plan. The study will also contribute valuable information needed for other Work Tasks. In addition to the radio telemetry study, spawner surveys will be expanded in the Naches (Work Task 1B) and Upper Yakima watersheds (Work Task 5B) for status and trend monitoring of spatial structure and MSA occupancy post telemetry era.
We propose to conduct a three year radio telemetry project in the Yakima River Basin (upstream of Prosser Dam). We will use methods similar to those described in Karp et al. (2009). Key issues the study would address would include:
1) Ground truth and refine GSI based population-specific abundance estimates.
2) Address uncertainties regarding the extent, distribution, and contribution of mainstem spawners.
3) Estimate the proportion of steelhead from each population that overwinters in the mainstem Yakima River versus tributaries.
4) Estimate survival to spawning rates for steelhead that overwinter in the mainstem versus tributaries of the Yakima River.
5) Describe prespawn migration patterns of steelhead.
6) Determine the timing and spawning distribution in each population.
7) Estimate the number of redds constructed per female.
8) Estimate the survival to kelting rates for each population.

**********BELOW IS THE COPIED NARRATIVE FROM THE OTHER PROJECT, USE FOR REFERENCE/EXAMPLE***********************************

A unique well coordinated standardized monitoring and evaluation program(s) exists in the Upper Columbia River Basin. Monitoring and evaluation programs are funded by a combination of federal (BPA, BOR, USFWS), State, Tribal, and regional (PUDs) entities. WDFW will be the research lead for the project and obtain all necessary environmental compliance permits for the project. Colville Confederated Tribes will be the primary contractor for the Okanogan Basin. While all these various program contribute data to estimate VSP parameters for steelhead and spring Chinook salmon, these programs also share common deficiencies related to precision and accuracy of the abundance estimates. Existing M & E activities combined with recent advances in PIT tag technology provide an opportunity to improve the quality of the data generated in order to make proper management decisions concerning ESA listed species. The overall objectives of the project are to: 1) evaluate precision and accuracy of the smolt monitoring methodology for both steelhead and spring Chinook , 2) estimate the proportion of hatchery steelhead in each primary population, 3) estimate the precision of redd counts for both steelhead and spring Chinook and 4) evaluate the accuracy of the steelhead spawning ground survey design. We also intend to conduct a steelhead radio telemetry study to independently validate estimates generated from PIT tags and to estimate steelhead population characteristics (overwinter survival, number of redds per female). These tasks address in part or fully the critical uncertainties identified under Supplementation in the Columbia River Basin Research Plan (2006-03) and steelhead population characteristics (abundance, productivity, and ratio of hatchery fish) under the Fish and Wildlife Program. Additionally, all of the studies in this proposal are directly consistent with RPAs for the FCRPS BiOp.

Additionally, in collaboration with PTAGIS managers and other researchers (e.g., Chris Jordan, NMFS; Pat Connolly, USGS) we will develop a request for proposals (i.e., subcontract) for the development of an automated process that would not only assist, but standardize how data from in-stream PIT tag arrays is analyzed. Because many PIT tag arrays are already online with
Proposer:
Proponent Orgs:
Yakama Confederated Tribes (Tribe)
Starting FY:
2011
Ending FY:
2025
Stage:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Plateau Yakima 100.00%
Purpose:
Programmatic
Emphasis:
RM and E
Focal Species:
Chinook - Mid-Columbia River Spring ESU
Coho - Unspecified Population
Cutthroat Trout, Westslope
Lamprey, Pacific
Sockeye - All Populations
Steelhead - Middle Columbia River DPS
Trout, Interior Redband
Trout, Rainbow
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Special:
None

Description: Page: 10 Figure 1: Map of the Yakima River Basin including PIT tag interrogation sites, proposed future interrogation sites, and streams targeted for O. mykiss tagging.

Project(s): 2010-030-00

Document: P123255

Dimensions: 974 x 753

Description: Page: 15 Figure 2: Map showing the relative location of tributary index monitoring sites.

Project(s): 2010-030-00

Document: P123255

Dimensions: 975 x 756


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 $569,408 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY23 SOY Budget Upload 06/01/2022
FY2024 Expense $594,462 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY24 SOY Budget Upload 06/01/2023
FY2025 Expense $594,462 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY25 SOY 05/31/2024

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
2023
2022
2021
2020 $0 0%
2019 $0 0%
2018 $0 0%
2017 $0 0%
2016 $0 0%
2015 $0 0%
2014 $129,000 18%
2013 $108,720 16%
2012 $0 0%
2011 $48,000 7%

Contracts

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
BPA-005546 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $17,211 10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011
52040 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP YN PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $346,105 10/15/2010 - 12/14/2011
50628 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP WDFW PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $213,396 11/1/2010 - 10/31/2011
BPA-006179 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $24,238 10/1/2011 - 9/30/2012
55510 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP YN PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE FOR YAKIMA STEELHEAD MPG Closed $284,395 10/15/2011 - 10/14/2012
54906 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 WDFW PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE FOR YAKIMA STEELHEAD MPG Closed $275,010 11/1/2011 - 10/31/2012
46273 REL 39 SOW National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2010-030-00 EXP NOAA ANALYSIS TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $29,972 3/15/2012 - 3/14/2013
BPA-006948 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $26,317 10/1/2012 - 9/30/2013
56662 REL 9 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP YN PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE FOR YAKIMA STEELHEAD MPG Closed $290,319 10/15/2012 - 10/14/2013
59895 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP WDFW PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $216,325 11/1/2012 - 10/31/2013
46273 REL 65 SOW National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $30,000 3/15/2013 - 3/14/2014
BPA-007745 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $26,271 10/1/2013 - 9/30/2014
56662 REL 46 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP YN PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $253,892 10/15/2013 - 10/14/2014
64137 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP WDFW PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $231,230 12/18/2013 - 10/31/2014
46273 REL 84 SOW National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2010-030-00 EXP NOAA VSP YAK R STEELHEAD Closed $25,000 4/1/2014 - 3/31/2015
BPA-008149 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $33,605 10/1/2014 - 9/30/2015
56662 REL 67 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP YN PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $282,570 10/15/2014 - 10/14/2015
66986 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP WDFW PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $247,765 11/1/2014 - 10/31/2015
BPA-008940 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $35,099 10/1/2015 - 9/30/2016
56662 REL 87 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP YN PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $348,542 10/15/2015 - 3/31/2017
70353 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP WDFW PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $421,980 11/1/2015 - 3/31/2017
BPA-009541 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $35,267 10/1/2016 - 9/30/2017
56662 REL 133 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP YN PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $251,327 4/1/2017 - 3/31/2018
75719 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP WDFW PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $238,906 4/1/2017 - 3/31/2018
BPA-010027 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $36,247 10/1/2017 - 9/30/2018
74314 REL 31 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE WDFW Closed $204,125 4/1/2018 - 3/31/2019
56662 REL 158 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP YKFP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $239,523 4/1/2018 - 3/31/2019
BPA-010777 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags/Readers - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $39,615 10/1/2018 - 9/30/2019
56662 REL 186 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $239,719 4/1/2019 - 3/31/2020
74314 REL 63 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $226,654 4/1/2019 - 3/31/2020
BPA-011711 Bonneville Power Administration PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Active $37,645 10/1/2019 - 9/30/2020
56662 REL 207 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $203,805 4/1/2020 - 9/30/2021
74314 REL 94 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE WDFW Closed $226,447 4/1/2020 - 3/31/2021
BPA-012095 Bonneville Power Administration FY21 Pit Tags Active $19,800 10/1/2020 - 9/30/2021
56662 REL 237 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Closed $266,202 4/1/2021 - 3/31/2022
74314 REL 125 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE WDFW Closed $241,146 4/1/2021 - 3/31/2022
BPA-012916 Bonneville Power Administration FY22 PIT tags Active $36,720 10/1/2021 - 9/30/2022
56662 REL 254 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE YKFP FY 22 Closed $290,663 4/1/2022 - 3/31/2023
74314 REL 158 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE WDFW FY 22 Closed $240,770 4/1/2022 - 3/31/2023
BPA-013272 Bonneville Power Administration FY23 PIT Tags Active $38,759 10/1/2022 - 9/30/2023
56662 REL 280 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE YKFP FY 23 Issued $290,000 4/1/2023 - 3/31/2024
84042 REL 28 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE WDFW FY 23 Issued $241,146 4/1/2023 - 3/31/2024
BPA-013825 Bonneville Power Administration FY24 PIT tags Active $38,760 10/1/2023 - 9/30/2024
56662 REL 307 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Issued $301,231 4/1/2024 - 3/31/2025
84042 REL 61 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Issued $253,231 4/1/2024 - 3/31/2025
CR-372693 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Pending $253,231 4/1/2025 - 3/31/2026
CR-372694 SOW Yakama Confederated Tribes 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Pending $301,231 4/1/2025 - 3/31/2026



Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):30
Completed:27
On time:27
Status Reports
Completed:128
On time:75
Avg Days Late:17

                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
BPA-5546 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2010 09/30/2011 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
52040 55510, 56662 REL 9, 56662 REL 46, 56662 REL 67, 56662 REL 87, 56662 REL 133, 56662 REL 158, 56662 REL 186, 56662 REL 207, 56662 REL 237, 56662 REL 254, 56662 REL 280, 56662 REL 307, CR-372694 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Yakama Confederated Tribes 10/15/2010 03/31/2026 Pending 56 144 0 0 3 147 97.96% 2
50628 54906, 59895, 64137, 66986, 70353, 75719, 74314 REL 31, 74314 REL 63, 74314 REL 94, 74314 REL 125, 74314 REL 158, 84042 REL 28, 84042 REL 61, CR-372693 2010-030-00 EXP PROJECT TO PROVIDE VSP ESTIMATE Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 11/01/2010 03/31/2026 Pending 59 112 8 0 0 120 100.00% 2
BPA-6179 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2011 09/30/2012 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
46273 REL 39 46273 REL 65, 46273 REL 84 2010-030-00 EXP NOAA VSP YAK R STEELHEAD National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 03/15/2012 03/31/2015 Closed 12 13 0 0 0 13 100.00% 0
BPA-6948 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2012 09/30/2013 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-7745 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2013 09/30/2014 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-8149 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2014 09/30/2015 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-8940 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2015 09/30/2016 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-9541 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2016 09/30/2017 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-10027 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2017 09/30/2018 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-10777 PIT Tags/Readers - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2018 09/30/2019 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-11711 PIT Tags - VSP Estimates for Yakima Steelhead Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2019 09/30/2020 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-12095 FY21 Pit Tags Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2020 09/30/2021 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-12916 FY22 PIT tags Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2021 09/30/2022 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-13272 FY23 PIT Tags Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2022 09/30/2023 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BPA-13825 FY24 PIT tags Bonneville Power Administration 10/01/2023 09/30/2024 Active 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Project Totals 127 269 8 0 3 280 98.93% 4


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: 2022 Anadromous Fish Habitat & Hatchery Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2010-030-00-NPCC-20230316
Project: 2010-030-00 - Yakima Steelhead VSP Project
Review: 2022 Anadromous Fish Habitat & Hatchery Review
Approved Date: 4/15/2022
Recommendation: Implement
Comments: Bonneville and Sponsor to take the review remarks into consideration in project documentation.

[Background: See https://www.nwcouncil.org/2021-2022-anadromous-habitat-and-hatchery-review/]

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-030-00-ISRP-20230323
Project: 2010-030-00 - Yakima Steelhead VSP Project
Review: 2022 Anadromous Fish Habitat & Hatchery Review
Completed Date: 3/23/2023
Final Round ISRP Date: 2/10/2022
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:

The Yakima Steelhead VSP Project provides valuable information for tracking the viability of ESA-listed steelhead in the Yakima subbasin while also evaluating the effects of critical factors such as flow and habitat quality in the Yakima River mainstem, climate change, survival in the mainstem Columbia and at sea, and the important contribution of resident trout to steelhead production. This steelhead VSP project is closely aligned with the 199506325 Yakima Klickitat Fisheries Project - Monitoring and Evaluation, and other Yakama Nation projects, but it is a separate project at the request of BPA. This project strives to track steelhead population trends in relation to ESA recovery goals.

Overall, this is a strong project that shows adaptive decision making and application of advanced analytical protocols. This project provides important data collection and analyses including telemetry, PIT-tag detection arrays, and life-cycle modeling to monitor and assess steelhead escapement and outmigration survival for all four populations of the Yakima subbasin. The direct connection with gathering VSP data to supply information needs for assessing Yakima steelhead MPGs makes this proposal highly relevant to the recovery of Middle Columbia River Steelhead.

The proponents recognize the importance of steelhead and trout density, which expresses a strong relationship. For example, the project annual report states that productivity appears to peak at about 1,000 to 1,500 spawners and declines at higher spawner abundances. This information could be used to evaluate changes in steelhead capacity in response to ongoing restoration efforts in the subbasin. The project report notes problems with aging of steelhead in the past, which is critical for evaluating productivity trends in response to environmental stressors.

M&E matrix - support.

As habitat projects and monitoring projects are not presented as part of an integrated proposal or plan, the need for a crosswalk to identify the linkages between implementation and monitoring is extremely important for basins or geographic areas. The ISRP is requesting a response from the Yakima Basin Habitat Project (199705100) to summarize the linkages between implementation and monitoring projects in the Yakima River basin. During the response loop (September 24 to November 22, 2021), as a key M&E project and partner in the basin, we ask your project to assist them in creating the summary and provide information to them about what, where, and when your monitoring occurs and what is being monitored for and shared with implementation projects in the basin. A map or maps of locations of monitoring actions would be helpful in this regard.

To strengthen future proposals, annual reports, and work plans, the proponents should address and include the following elements:

  1. SMART objectives. An explicit statement of the Goal and Objectives of this specific project was not provided, but instead the reader was referred to more generalized proposals for these important statements. The proposal should be a standalone document with a Goal, SMART Objectives, and Methods clearly stated in the proposal at hand. Laying out objectives as SMART objectives (see proposal instructions) and linking those with methods, results, and analysis and interpretations is tailor-made for this project and is needed. Because of the track record of past work and the strong indications of continued science-based work, it is believed that the addition of a Goal, explicit SMART Objective format, and Methods for each Objective will not take too much time to develop and that little to no surprises will result.
  2. VSP parameters. A table of what the VSP parameter are being collected and a summary of how data collection and analysis are being done for each parameter would be helpful. At times it was hard to figure out which VSP parameters were being addressed and why. One could use distribution of juvenile rearing, and this could be done at the population level or the MPG level looking at all four populations at once. Same thing with diversity: diversity can be biological or genetic or related to habitat conditions. Mapping life history trajectories should consider estuary and ocean as well. Is there enough tagging data to indicate when Yakima steelhead exit the Yakima system and their migration strategies in the lower River and ocean?
  3. Critical data. The ISRP could not find several types of important data, such as age composition, size, and number of repeat spawners.
  4. Methods descriptions. Trying to assess the methods was challenging after being referred to several locations that were not that helpful, e.g., project 199506300. It is important to clearly explain how fish are aged and how sources of error and bias are addressed. It will be important to develop an accurate aging protocol to use for each year as the project moves forward. 
  5. Management of resident rainbow and steelhead. In the upper Yakima subbasin, the State promotes a high-quality resident rainbow trout catch and release fishery. Can the resident portion of the population be managed to help and not diminish steelhead production?
  6. Basin comparisons. It would be useful to the ISRP for the proponent to compare their work and findings in the Yakima subbasin to those in the Klickitat subbasin, especially because many of the same players are involved. 

Q1: Clearly defined objectives and outcomes

The vision for this project is to provide long-term population monitoring for steelhead in the Yakima MGP and to document their status relative to recovery objectives. Specific recovery objectives are outlined in the Yakima Steelhead Recovery Plan and in the Middle Columbia Steelhead Recovery Plan. The minimum delisting threshold is to achieve a 10-year average spawner abundance of greater than 500, 250, 1500, and 500 fish for the Status, Toppenish, Naches, and Upper Yakima populations, respectively. In addition, two of the populations should achieve a “viable” rating. The remaining populations should at minimum, be rated as “maintained” in their status assessments.

The proposal provides an excellent summary of past work and outcomes, which formed a solid basis for understanding the future direction of the project. The ISRP commends the definitive and direct connection of their work with recovery goals of Yakima MGPs for steelhead and the Middle Columbia River Steelhead Recovery Plan.

Explicit statements of the project’s Goal and Objectives are not provided. Instead, the reader is referred to other and more generalized documents for these important ingredients. While at the grand scale the objectives are to see certain levels of steelhead abundance, productivity, etc., this project's objectives are not to help populations achieve this but to monitor how they are doing. The proponents should provide an appropriate number of stated Objectives with a description of the expected outcomes on an annual basis for the next five years (e.g., re-runs of models with an additional year of data, reports produced).

The following is an example of a SMART Objective (X=1,2,3,….N) coupled with a set of Implementation Objectives:

Objective X. Document status and trends of adult steelhead abundance by MPG on an annual basis.

Implementation Objective X.1. Generate an annual adult abundance with Coefficient of Variation (CV) for each MPG from the available data.

Implementation Objective X.2. Conduct analyses to assess status and trends of adult steelhead abundance by MPG on an annual basis using all available years of data available.

Key monitoring actions for population-level monitoring include 1) documenting status/trend of natural-origin spawners, 2) determining proportion of hatchery-origin returns, 3) documenting age structure, 4) determining harvest mortality, and 5) understanding the influence of population supplementation efforts.

Q2: Methods

This is a well-established monitoring and evaluation project for steelhead. The introductory information on outcomes produced is excellent. The discussion provides a broad and complete description of information needs, which includes 1) adult and juvenile life history status and trend monitoring, 2) use of the DABON patch occupancy model, 3) a disentangling of the genetic and environmental drivers by modeling the survival and migration histories of PIT tagged O. mykiss, 4) an analysis to evaluate how the proposed action changes water flows throughout the Yakima basin during outmigration, and 5) survival relationships to estimate steelhead survival in seven contiguous river reaches from Roza Dam on the Yakima River to McNary Dam on the Columbia River.

The proposal does not provide a description of methods to be used associated with each SMART objective (also lacking—see above). The methods provided are incomplete summaries of what the proponent plans to do over the next five years, and the reader is referred to protocols under the PNAMP website rather than describing them in the proposal at hand. A number of protocols are referenced, as is the monitoring guidance document issued by NMFS for monitoring of ESA-listed salmonids. Additional description of the overall sampling strategy for monitoring VSP would have been useful in the proposal to show how the overall effort worked together to provide VSP metrics. For example, residence time (age) of steelhead in fresh water and at sea is key for documenting productivity (smolts per spawner; adult return per spawner), but aging methods are not described.

The project report notes that age was not determined every year (at least in the past) and average age is used when developing recruitment curves. This approach will affect trends, as noted by the proponents. Aging methodology should be described.

An earlier ISRP review raised questions about adequate sample sizes. The ISRP finds few details on sample sizes in this proposal or much in the way of details about other methods. There is considerable discussion of PIT tagging but not much in the way of details other than locations. The proposal references Project 199506325 for methods, but relevant methods are not covered by that project.

Q3: Provisions for M&E

This VSP monitoring and evaluation project is closely aligned with the YKFP and benefits from the management structure of the larger YKFP project. The YKFP management structure includes a Monitoring and Implementation team (MIPT) made of project specialists from both internal project staff as well as external entities (Tribal, State, Federal, higher ed, and private). The MIPT group reviews project progress annually and advises the project on issues of concern, project implementation, and technical matters. The project participates in the annual YKFP internal project reviews. The project disseminates project information to a wide audience by submitting annual technical reports that are published on the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Website, peer reviewed literature, and via numerous oral presentations at professional/scientific conferences and meetings.

The proponents describe a process that should allow for adjustments to the project. For example, the proponents show model results of how climate change may impact the probability of O. mykiss emigration (i.e., steelhead) while also showing how a 10% improvement in habitat conditions may offset adverse climate impacts.

The project proponents have nimbly adjusted their project actions to meet a full spectrum of information needed for tracking status and trends of steelhead in the Yakima subbasin. The proponents are to be commended on their climate change analysis and how they used EDT to incorporate scenarios for different climate changes. The proponents clearly work hard at refining methods and making adjustments.

One of the things that would be helpful is a table that summarizes how they are measuring (and what they are measuring) for the VSP parameters. For example, adult spawner distribution is only one of the ways to look at spatial structure. One can also use distribution of juvenile rearing, and this could be done at the population level or the MPG looking at all four populations at once. Same thing with diversity, for example, diversity can be biological or genetic or related to habitat conditions. Mapping of life history trajectories should consider estuary and ocean as well.

Q4: Results – benefits to fish and wildlife

The project provides both qualitative life history information and quantitative data regarding abundance and productivity of steelhead in relation to quantitative recovery goal objectives. Key metrics include adult natural and hatchery-origin steelhead for the subbasin and in select tributaries (no hatchery steelhead released since 1993), juvenile abundance and productivity, spatial distribution, and diversity. Using genetic analyses, the project has demonstrated significant contributions of resident O. mykiss to steelhead production, especially in years when SARs are low. However, smolts that include one or two resident parents tend to have lower survival, potentially a result of past hatchery stocking of trout that have lower fitness in nature.

Recent abundance trends (return years 2018-2021) show a significant, persistent decline in nearly all steelhead populations in the Yakima subbasin. Although survival at sea is an issue, the project also shows adverse effects of regulated flows on smolt survival from Roza Dam to McNary Dam.

The proponents report encouraging production potential for the upper Yakima steelhead population when favorable environmental conditions are encountered, and they suggest recovery delisting thresholds are achievable. However, the findings also indicate the severity and consequential effects that low outmigration survival (mainstem Yakima River) can have on adult abundance, particularly if migratory smolts encounter less than favorable Columbia River conditions and/or ocean conditions simultaneously. Poor survival across the migratory and ocean rearing life-stages highlights the importance of achieving or maintaining habitat quality and quantity in the Yakima subbasin to sustain a high level of intrinsic freshwater productivity, which may allow for population persistence and resiliency against major environmental perturbations.

The ISRP commends the project for its application of telemetry, PIT-tag detection arrays, and a life-cycle model to monitor and assess steelhead escapement and outmigration survival in all four populations. The direct connection with gathering VSP data to supply information needs for assessing Yakima steelhead MPGs makes this proposal highly relevant to the recovery of Middle Columbia River Steelhead. Furthermore, the degree of past documentation of approach and outcomes is exemplary and serves as an important guide for other work in the Columbia River Basin.

The project examined PIT tags versus radio tags for estimating steelhead abundance values in four tributaries. With greater sampling and tagging rate for PIT tagging vs. radio tagging, the expanded population estimates for PIT tags provided a higher level of precision compared to the radio-tagged expanded estimates. With the instream PIT-tag arrays performing at a high level, the project adopted the use of these and added additional PIT-tag arrays for the purpose of long-term steelhead abundance monitoring at the population scale. Does this mean that radio tags are no longer deployed so that funding can be used for other issues?

It would be useful to see greater coordination effort between the proponents of this proposal and the proponents from Washington Resource Conservation and Development and their proposal (200739800) for tributary access and habitat improvement. There is likely much mutual benefit to plan and work together to understand direct effects of the fish passage and habitat projects. For example, the installation of PIT-tag detectors and PIT tagging aligned with the boundaries and influence of these projects will go a long way to understand the benefits of the work.

Documentation Links:
Review: Fast Track ISRP Review 2010

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-030-00-ISRP-20100622
Project: 2010-030-00 - Yakima Steelhead VSP Project
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:

This proposal addresses several key uncertainties relative to population structure of Yakima River steelhead/rainbow population but this proposal lacked some details about methods - specifically, sample sizes, specific study locations, and the division of labor among cooperators. A revised proposal narrative providing this information is necessary to conduct a complete scientific review. The following modifications of the proposal are necessary for the ISRP to complete its review: 1) More information is required on the relationship of this project to ongoing efforts. A very clear description of how this project addresses specific RPA commitments is required. Some discussion of the relationship to the ISEMP work that is taking place in neighboring subbasins and to steelhead recovery efforts in the adjacent Wenatchee subbasin also should be added. 2) Information should be provided to specifically indicate how this project addresses gaps not addressed by project #19956325. Inclusion of a more detailed presentation of the results generated by project #19956325 to date would provide a much stronger justification for this project that is provided in the current proposal. 3) An indication of the number of samples to be collected for each work element, and some rationale as to why the project proponents feel this number of samples will be adequate, should be included in the proposal. 4) Provide more detail on the design and methods of the radio telemetry study for adult steelhead (Biological Objective 1). 5) Include more detail on the proposed GSI work including study design, number of samples and genetic markers types. 6) Provide a clear indication of the allocation of responsibilities among the organizations participating in this study. 1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships The justification for this project is framed in terms of existing recovery programs for steelhead in the Yakima River subbasin, but it needs to be more tightly linked to RPAs in the BiOp. It appears that this project generally responds to BiOp RPA 50 and 62, but the description of how this project will contribute to these RPAs is insufficient. Quite a few projects are listed as being related to this one but only in the most general way. A more thorough description of how this project will coordinate and share data, especially with project #199506325 should be included. The proposal also does not acknowledge the ISEMP work that is taking place in neighboring subbasins. It would have been helpful to discuss how this project relates to steelhead recovery efforts in the adjacent Wenatchee subbasin. 2. Project History and Results This is a new project, but it proposes to build on work that has been previously conducted in the Yakima watershed or is ongoing, especially project #199506325. A more thorough review of the results from project #199506325 would have given a more complete indication of the “gaps” in the current effort and provided a more compelling justification for this project. 3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods The proposal provides a reasonable description of the work that will be done for some of the objectives; however, there is insufficient information provided on a number of work elements to enable technical review. Failure to specify sampling effort for many of the work elements is a common issue. The number of fish to be fitted with radio transmitters, the numbers to be PIT-tagged, or the number of samples to be obtained for genetic analysis are often not provided in the proposal and when provided, little indication is given as to why this level of sampling effort is sufficient to answer the questions being asked. This deficiency makes it difficult for the ISRP to evaluate the adequacy of the sampling protocols. Obtaining adequate samples in a river system as large as the Yakima presents some daunting challenges. An indication of the number of samples to be collected for each work element, and some rationale as to why the project proponents feel this number of samples will be adequate, should be included in the proposal. For example, under work task 2B (calculate entrainment rates) it is stated that a pilot study will use acoustic tags and arrays to increase the precision of irrigation canal entrainment, but there are no details given regarding where this would take place or a ballpark figure of the number of acoustically tagged steelhead that will be needed. The Work Elements in Biological Objective 1 (Determine spatial distribution and major (MSA) and minor (MiSA) spawning areas of steelhead spawning populations in the Yakima MPG (RPA 50.6, 62.5)) require some additional elaboration. The radio telemetry study design and specific methods to be used are not well described. For example the proponents state that "We propose to conduct a three year radio telemetry project in the Yakima River Basin (upstream of Prosser Dam). We will use methods similar to those described in Karp et al. (2009)." A thorough description of these methods in the proposal, or at least a link to this document, is needed. It also is not clear why it was decided that 450 - 500 adult steelhead would be tagged. As noted above, some rationale as to why this number of tags was considered appropriate for this task should have been presented. Also, given that the average number of adult steelhead returning to the Yakima in recent years is 1,764 fish, this number of tags represents a significant proportion of the total population. As these fish are part of an ESA-listed ESU, it seems that there might be some concern about handling this many fish. No indication was given as to whether or not the required permits had been obtained for this activity. Also, an indication of how frequently ground surveys for acoustic tags (Work Element 1a) will be conducted should be included. The work proposed for GSI was also not described in sufficient detail to enable a thorough technical review. The discussion of GSI in the proposal is pretty generic. In addition to the problem noted above regarding a lack of specificity and justification on numbers of samples, more detail on marker types (microsats or SNPs) and details of the sampling design needs to be included in the proposal. Also, the Anderson et al (2008) and Kalanowski (2007) papers cited in the text are not included in the citations. Finally, it was unclear which organization would have the responsibility for the various aspects of field data collection or data analyses. Section I (key personnel) gives a list of the project staff members but does not identify their involvement in the various work elements of this project. More detail should be included regarding the division of labor.

Documentation Links:
Review: RME / AP Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2010-030-00-NPCC-20110627
Project: 2010-030-00 - Yakima Steelhead VSP Project
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal: RMECAT-2010-030-00
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.
Conditions:
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: RMECAT #2 Habitat effectiveness monitoring and evaluation—1
Council Condition #2 Per Fast Track April-May 2010 Council decision - The Council recommends this project for implementation. This recommendation is based on the condition that the capacity issue is resolved in contracting. In addition, the linkages to other projects are to be addressed in a form of an addendum as part of the RM&E/Artificial Production Category Review.

2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-030-00-BIOP-20101105
Project Number: 2010-030-00
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-2010-030-00
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: (50.3 50.6 )
All Questionable RPA Associations ( ) and
All Deleted RPA Associations ( 56.3 62.5 63.1)
Proponent Response:

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
Dave Fast (Inactive) Supervisor Yakama Confederated Tribes
Gabriel Temple Technical Contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Andrew Murdoch Technical Contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Chris Frederiksen Project Lead Yakama Confederated Tribes
Joanne Fernandez (Inactive) Administrative Contact Yakama Confederated Tribes
Russell Scranton Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Claire McClory (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Michele Palmer (Inactive) Interested Party Bonneville Power Administration
Russell Scranton Project SME Bonneville Power Administration
Catherine Clark Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration