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

Project 2010-034-00 - Upper Columbia Spring Chinook and Steelhead Juvenile and Adult Abundance, Productivity and Spatial Structure Monitoring
Project Number:
Upper Columbia Spring Chinook and Steelhead Juvenile and Adult Abundance, Productivity and Spatial Structure Monitoring
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. While all these various program contribute data to estimate VPS 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. In summary, this project seeks to build on the existing programs in all the subbasins and provide information and equipment needed for long term monitoring of VSP parameters with a known level of accuracy and precision. The project consists of two contracts based on the Agency performing the monitoring and evaluation activities in the respective subbasins. WDFW is the primary contractor for the project and conducts extensive work in the Wenatchee and Methow subbasins. In the Okanogan Basin, the Colville Confederated Tribes will be the lead Agency because most of the M & E is conducted by the CCT under OBMEP. The Entiat subbasin is not specifically addressed in this project, but activities funded ISEMP in the Entiat follow identical protocols/methods and will benefit directly from this project.
Proponent Orgs:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) (Govt - State)
Starting FY:
Ending FY:
Implementation - Project Status Report
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Cascade Entiat 5.00%
Methow 35.00%
Okanogan 25.00%
Wenatchee 35.00%
RM and E
Focal Species:
Chinook - Upper Columbia River Spring ESU
Chinook - Upper Columbia River Summer/Fall ESU
Coho - Unspecified Population
Cutthroat Trout, Westslope
Lamprey, Pacific
Sockeye - Lake Wenatchee ESU
Sockeye - Okanogan River ESU
Steelhead - Upper Columbia River DPS
Sturgeon, White - All Populations except Kootenai R. DPS
Sturgeon, White - Lower Columbia River
Trout, Bull
Whitefish, Mountain
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  (FY2019 - FY2021)

Acct FY Acct Type Amount Fund Budget Decision Date
FY2019 Expense $575,114 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY19 WDFW SOY Budgets 12/14/2018
FY2019 Expense $250,000 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) April 8th Transfers 04/09/2019
FY2020 Expense $975,114 From: BiOp FCRPS 2008 (non-Accord) FY20 SOY 06/05/2019

Pending Budget Decision?  No

Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2020
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
2017 $55,000 (Draft) 7 % (Draft)
2016 $53,000 6 %
2015 $37,078 4 %
2014 $209,393 20 %
2013 $217,287 24 %
2012 $250,706 25 %
2011 $174,636 20 %


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
74314 REL 74 SOW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 2010-034-00 EXP WDFW UPPER COLUMBIA VSP STEELHEAD &SPRING CHINOOK Issued $825,114 7/1/2019 - 6/30/2020
73548 REL 63 SOW Colville Confederated Tribes 2010-034-00 EXP CCT OKANOGAN-VSP SST & CHS MONITORING Issued $150,000 7/1/2019 - 6/30/2020

Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):20
On time:18
Status Reports
On time:35
Avg Days Late:3

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
48256 53112, 57340, 61612, 65556, 69256, 72904, 73548 REL 10, 73548 REL 33, 73548 REL 63 2010-034-00 EXP CCT-UPPER COLUMBIA - OKANOGAN- SPRING CHINOOK Colville Confederated Tribes 07/2010 07/2010 Issued 37 61 8 0 5 74 93.24% 1
47950 53250, 57779, 59817, 61740, 61794, 65731, 69402, 72749, 74314 REL 5, 74314 REL 38, 74314 REL 74 2010-034-00 EXP UPPER COLUMBIA SPRING CHINOOK Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) 07/2010 07/2010 Issued 44 112 16 0 3 131 97.71% 3
Project Totals 81 173 24 0 8 205 96.10% 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: Fast Track ISRP Review 2010

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-034-00-ISRP-20100623
Project: 2010-034-00 - Upper Columbia Spring Chinook and Steelhead Juvenile and Adult Abundance, Productivity and Spatial Structure Monitoring
Review: Fast Track ISRP Review 2010
Completed Date: None
First Round ISRP Date: 2/24/2010
First Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
First Round ISRP Comment:
This proposal describes work that will be very useful in characterizing the population status of upper Columbia Chinook and steelhead. It seems well integrated into the ISEMP M&E effort, and it will also help describe the status of wild production and hatchery survival. The work is consistent with efforts of the UCRTT to improve RM&E methodologies and outputs. A few more details about the quantitative and statistical methods for some work elements would have been helpful, but overall the project is scientifically justified.

The needs as outlined in the existing objectives are well articulated in clear language by the proponents. Many aspects of this project, however, seem to require well-developed quantitative skills, statistical skills, and other specialized skills related to PIT tagging arrays. Overall, the resumes of the personnel do not seem to indicate the necessary quantitative and statistical backgrounds to adequately implement, or even necessarily evaluate efforts on, some of the more quantitative objectives. The enlisting or a well-qualified statistician and other quantitative expertise as well as other experts in PIT tag applications will be necessary. It did not seem that this expertise had yet been identified. It might have been beneficial to have such expertise in on the proposal itself. This expertise should be enlisted at the earliest possible time, e.g., to critically evaluate past studies that lead to the need for this effort and to complete a design for locating the arrays. Is the statistician a WDFW statistician or an outside contract person? The proposal is unclear on this point.

Similarly, the roles of NMFS and other specialist in the development of an “automated analytical tool for data collected at in-stream PIT tag interrogation systems” (Objective 3) are not clear. There does not seem to be the expertise listed in the proposal to deal with this objective. Should the PIT tag analytical tool be developed by PITAGIS, i.e., at a more centralized site (than in this regional proposal) and coordinated more broadly in the basin.

The objective related to spawning ground surveys will fill an identified gap in the Okanogan Basin.

The proposal is directed toward several specific objectives necessary for improving precision and accuracy of estimates. However the proponents are also aiming at RPAs 56.1, 57.1, 57.4 - "tributary or in some cases reach specific migration patterns, survival rates, residence time, and limiting factors could be assessed in relationship to habitat restoration actions." The proposal would be improved by more coordination with habitat restoration projects in the subbasins they propose to work in. The installation of all this technology could be helpful to habitat restoration evaluation.

1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships
The proposal is technically well justified, adequately linked to the BiOp's RPAs for the upper Columbia, subbasin plans, and well integrated into existing Chinook and steelhead monitoring efforts in the eastern Cascade Mountains. The close connection to ISEMP (some parts of this project were actually designed by ISEMP staff) is beneficial. The proposed work is significant because of the proponents' need to understand the variance of smolt trap population estimates, improve spawning ground population estimates and document migration routes of steelhead and Chinook.

Working relationships are stated to be good, and the proponents claim there is good coordination already. The Colville Confederated Tribes will be the lead agency in the Okanogan. Does that mean that WDFW will be the lead agency for the other three basins—the Wenatchee, Entiat, and Methow?

There does seem to be overlap between this project and 201002800 (Rotating Panel) and possibly others in this package. It would be helpful to clarify that such overlaps do not exist. Is there adequate communication and working relationships among the various proponents in various sub-basins testing the use of “rotating panels” (i.e., a design of trapping smaller tributaries on a rotational basis) to improve steelhead escapement estimates?

This is a new project, but it obviously builds on previous work.

2. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods
The objectives and work elements seemed reasonable and none involved untried technologies or untested field methods. Work elements for each of the seven objectives are summarized in a series of tables. While these tables and the supporting text do a good job of describing what would be done, in some cases few details were given regarding how the work would be done, by whom, and over what periods in the field. The tasks in support of Objective 5 (estimate observer efficiency...) were adequately described, however.

Objective 1 Develop variance estimates for smolt abundance estimates

This objective is narrowly defined around variance estimates for individual abundance estimates. This is a valid, important objective to meet. Although there is no component of this study aimed at assessing whether the smolt sampling arrays in the various rivers adequately cover the basins, this is also an important aspect affecting the overall abundance estimates and the usefulness of the data. It might be, as a minimum, worthwhile for the statistician to look at how adequacies or inadequacies in the overall array might affect overall abundance estimates in the Upper Columbia in relation to variance of individual estimates investigated in this proposed work.

The proposal would be improved by more details on the existing smolt abundance estimates and how they are determined and compared. What is "our current method" (3rd line from bottom, page 2)? "The current method to calculate variance produces high variance estimates, despite good results for (e.g., r2 > 0.7) estimates of trap efficiency" (mid page 2). What is being correlated? More background information on the specifics of statistical adequacies and inadequacies would make the proposal more convincing.

Objective 2 Estimate the proportion of hatchery steelhead on the spawning grounds

The abstract mentions that this project will build on recent advances in PIT tag technology. The proposal would be improved by inclusion of details on what these advances are. Additional details on where the "additional PIT temporary and permanent arrays" are to be located would also be helpful. How many arrays are needed to complete coverage? Is this a statistical question or is it simply a matter of having an array at the mouth of every tributary where steelhead spawn? Or are they the designated minor spawning aggregations, as mentioned in 201002800?

On page 3, relative to this objective, the following statement is made: "While radio telemetry may provide information on distribution and origin composition in the short term (RPA 50.4), it can also be used to verify PIT tag estimates will be used in the long term." This sentence should be re-worded for clarity.

The proposed work should assist resolution of the major issue of multiple counts of the same spawner, i.e. "As a result, both wild and hatchery steelhead may be counted in one of more non-natal tributaries prior to spawning which would introduce a positive bias in abundance estimates." On page 13, the text should presumably read “in one or more non-natal…”

Objective 3 Develop an automated analytical tool for data collected at in-stream PIT tag interrogation systems.

It is not clear why this tool is not being developed by PTAGIS directly as it clearly has application beyond the boundaries and scope of the present proponents. There may be some definite advantages in having this objective addressed at a more centralized site and coordinated broadly in the basin rather than in this proposal. It would be worthwhile for the proponents to explain the rationale for retaining this particular objective in this proposal.

Objective 4. Estimate the accuracy of steelhead spawning grounds surveys in the Upper Columbia Basin

There is significant overlap between this proposal and 201002800 (Rotating panel on small tributaries of the Tucannon and Snake Rivers.) Has there been communication between the proponents? Or is the work so habitat specific that it has to be done independently in the various sub-basins?

Objectives 5 Estimate observer efficiency in conducting redd surveys and calculate a variance estimate for selected tributaries

Again, there is significant overlap between this proposal and 201002800 (Rotating panel on small tributaries of the Tucannon and Snake Rivers). Has there been communication between the proponents? Or is the work so habitat specific that it has to be done independently in the various sub-basins?

Objective 7 Estimate the annual abundance and age composition of wild and hatchery steelhead upstream of Priest Rapids Dam

In the proposal, “systematic sampling of the steelhead migrating pass Priest Rapids Dam would be conducted on a weekly basis (Tuesday and Thursday) throughout the run (July – October). The results would then be expanded. Overall, this proposal deals with issues of accuracy and precision. However, this sampling design (two days in seven, and only one day apart (Tuesday and Thursday)) for this last objective gives the appearance of being designed more for sampling convenience than for accuracy and precision. What information is available that the proposed sampling design is the best choice and that it will yield the desired accuracy and precision?

Results will feed into ISEMP and other regional data bases. The proponents do not promise annual reporting or journal papers but presumably data obtained in the study will be generally accessible.
Documentation Links:
Review: RME / AP Category Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2010-034-00-NPCC-20110627
Project: 2010-034-00 - Upper Columbia Spring Chinook and Steelhead Juvenile and Adult Abundance, Productivity and Spatial Structure Monitoring
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal: RMECAT-2010-034-00
Proposal State: Pending BPA Response
Approved Date: 6/10/2011
Recommendation: Fund (Qualified)
Comments: See Programmatic issue #2. Also see Fast Track April-May,
Council Condition #1 Programmatic Issue: RMECAT #2 Habitat effectiveness monitoring and evaluation—.
Council Condition #2 Per the Council decision regarding the 2010 April-May Fast Track projects - Prior to contracting sponsors to consider ISRP suggestion to have a statistician review the study design.

2008 FCRPS BiOp Workgroup Assessment

Assessment Number: 2010-034-00-BIOP-20101105
Project Number: 2010-034-00
Review: RME / AP Category Review
Proposal Number: RMECAT-2010-034-00
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 50.4 50.6 56.1 57.1 57.4 72.2)
All Questionable RPA Associations ( ) and
All Deleted RPA Associations (50.1 50.1 50.2 50.3 71.4 )
Proponent Response:

Project Relationships: None

Name Role Organization
John Arterburn Technical Contact Colville Confederated Tribes
Todd Miller Technical Contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Brenda Aguirre Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration
McLain Johnson Supervisor Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Ben Truscott Project Lead Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Peter Lofy Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Jay Deason Technical Contact Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Tabatha Rood Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration