BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal
Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget
see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations
Title of project
Marine Mammals in Lower Columbia River, Estuary and Nearshore Ocean
BPA project number 5517100
Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Sponsor type Placeholder
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
BPA technical contact ,
Biological opinion ID Research M&E Program; hyp C.1.3
NWPPC Program number 5.7B.26, 5.7B.28
Effects of marine mammals on adult salmon survival.
Project start year 1997 End year
Start of operation and/or maintenance 0
Project development phase PLANNING
Limited work by NMFS and Oregon and Washington state agencies on food habits of marine mammals is underway in the Columbia River estuary
Biological results achieved
Annual reports and technical papers
Several studies have documented high prevalences of marine mammal bites/scarring on adult salmon migrating in the Columbia and Snake rivers (e.g., 40+% at BON in 1994; 20+% at LGR in 1994). However, most accounts of marine mammal attacks are anecdotal, and there has yet to be a systematic survey or study of the problem.
Specific measureable objectives
HYPOTHESIS C.1.3: MARINE MAMMALS (I.E., CALIFORNIA SEA LIONS AND HARBOR SEALS) IN THE LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER, ITS ESTUARY, AND ADJACENT NEARSHORE OCEAN DO NOT REDUCE ADULT SALMON SURVIVAL.
Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
There are several possible approaches to documenting the scope of this problem for both juveniles and adults. The most productive might be a combination of the following: a systematic survey of returning adults to all Columbia Basin hatcheries and a careful evaluation of dam passage observations (see A. DEVELOPMENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE in the NMFS Research Monitoring and Evaluation framework) to document the magnitude of the problem in adults; a survey of marine mammal distribution in the estuary and lower river; and an evaluation of food habits (by gastric lavage and enemas) of populations suspected to be active predators (ideally this would serve to identify whether predation on smolts may also be a problem). If these studies document that marine mammal predation is a significant source of mortality to either juvenile or adult salmon, the more difficult question of lethal v. non-lethal control must be addressed (if non-lethal control is even feasible). The Recovery Plan [Tasks No. 2.8.b.4)-2.8.b.9)] recommends study of pinniped predation and control of that predation.
Brief schedule of activities
Summary of expected outcome
Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
1. Marine mammal abundance (see Hyp. C.1.3).
Marine mammals, protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act, are increasing at compound rates near 10%, which translate to population doubling each 7-8 years. Their role in reducing survival of adults may be substantial. At minimum, annual surveys should maintain data on population status of harbor seals and sea lions.
2. Adult monitoring at BON, MCN, LGR (see Hyp. C.1.3).
NMFS observers at LGR have recorded fractions of spring chinook bearing marine mammal scarring and wounding as approaching 30%. Incidence of scars and wounds appears much lower for other salmon run components. Adult condition and wound incidence should be recorded for each run component at BON, MCN, and LGR. These data may help clarify the degree to which wounded fish suffer higher mortality than intact fish.
|Historic costs||FY 1996 budget data*||Current and future funding needs|
|(none)||New project - no FY96 data available||1997: 500,000|
* For most projects, Authorized is the amount recommended by CBFWA and the Council. Planned is amount currently allocated. Contracted is the amount obligated to date of printout.
CBFWA funding review group System Policy
Recommendation Tier 2 - fund when funds available
Recommended funding level $500,000