BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal

Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Title of project
Feasibility of Sockeye Salmon Reintroduction to Wallowa and Warm Lakes

BPA project number   5521000

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Nez Perce Tribe

Sponsor type   ID-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameBilly D. Arnsberg
 Mailing addressNez Perce Tribe
P.O. Box 365
Lapwai, ID 83540
 Phone208/476-7296

BPA technical contact   ,

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   7.5A.3

Short description
Determine the feasibility of reintroducing Snake River sockeye salmon into Warm Lake, Idaho and Wallowa Lake, Oregon

Project start year   1997    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1999

Project development phase   Planning

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Project 9107100 is assessing Snake River sockeye salmon habitat in the Stanley Basin and this project would be assessing current habitat conditions for sockeye salmon in Warm Lake, Idaho and Wallowa Lake, Oregon. Project 9107200 is currently trapping and rearing sockeye broodstock from the Stanley Basin as part of the Snake River sockeye recovery program and this project would coordinate with appropriate agencies on broodstock selection and acquisition. Project 9204000 is currently conducting sockeye salmon broodstock research and this project would provide an opportunity to develop other areas of opportunity to increase sockeye salmon production through artificial propagation.

Project history
The Snake River sockeye salmon were listed as an endangered species on November 20, 1991 under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The present existence of Snake River sockeye salmon has been reduced to a remanent population in Redfish Lake in the Stanley Basin, Idaho. This study would determine current habitat conditions and if and how production of indigenous Snake River sockeye salmon could be restored to Wallowa Lake in Northeast Oregon and Warm Lake in central Idaho. Subbasin and system planners have recommended that kokanee salmon that exhibit anadromous tendencies or other donor stock be used as broodstock for reintroductions into Warm Lake. This approach was also recommended in the first phase of a detailed feasibility analysis for reintroducing sockeye salmon to Wallowa Lake (Cramer et al. 1990). This study is consistent with the Snake River Salmon Recovery Team Recommendations to the National Marine Fisheries Service that states that "Warm or Wallowa Lakes should prove to be substantial contributors to recovery" (Bevan et al. 1994).

Biological results achieved
The Snake River sockeye captive broodstock program has produced a substantial number of eggs and juveniles that are available for future supplementation in the Stanley Basin, Idaho. The sockeye salmon captive broodstock program has produced a surplus of juveniles over and above what the Stanley Basin lakes can support. Several state and federal agencies and Tribes have indicated that sockeye salmon should be restored in lakes where historical production was high and where they are now extinct.

Annual reports and technical papers
None to date

Management implications
This project will provide fishery managers the necessary habitat data and current limiting factors to determine the feasibility of reintroducing sockeye salmon into Wallowa Lake in Northeast Oregon and Warm Lake in central Idaho. Recommendations will be made for possible habitat improvements in Wallowa and Warm Lakes that may help in forecasting costs and to predict the probability of successful sockeye reintroductions. This project may also reduce the probability of extinction of the Snake River sockeye salmon by spreading the population out between two other primary productions areas.

Specific measureable objectives
Objective 1. Review the historical data to determine the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of Wallowa and Warm Lakes that were important to the indigenous sockeye salmon and identify appropriate donor stocks for reintroduction.
Objective 2. Identify the historical changes in the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of Wallowa and Warm Lakes, their primary spawning tributaries, and the anadromous migration route to them that may constrain reintroduction success.
Objective 3. Develop simulation models for Warm Lake and Wallowa Lake to measure the contribution of natural production that would result form various supplementation strategies, habitat modifications, and harvest management strategies.
Objective 4. Recommend an action plan for achieving the Grand Ronde River and Salmon River subbasin goals for sockeye recovery and restoration.

Testable hypothesis
H01: Primary and secondary productivity of Wallowa and Warm Lakes will not support sockeye salmon.
Ho2: Spawning habitat quantity and quality in Wallowa and Warm Lakes and their tributaries will not support sockeye salmon.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The general public will be supportive of sockeye reintroductions in Wallowa and Warm Lakes and any conflict of interests (e.g. irrigation dams, water rights, fishery concerns, etc.) can be resolved. Adult sockeye salmon migrating to and from the ocean will survive at an adequate rate to allow a high probability reintroduction success.

Methods
M1: 1) Review the historical records at area universities and fishery libraries to determine the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of Wallowa and Warm Lakes.
M2: 1) Conduct field studies to determine the physical habitat changes that may impede adult migration to Wallowa and Warm Lakes and to the spawning habitat. Document man-made or natural barriers for emigration and immigration and determine possible habitat modifications to improve migration.
M3: 1) Determine primary and secondary productivity of Wallowa and Warm Lakes by taking water, benthic invertebrate, and zooplankton samples. Sampling will be conducted seasonally to describe a yearly profile of the Lake's current productive state.
M4: 1) Review the historic fish sampling data on Wallowa and Warm Lakes and determine possible ecological interactions or competition between species that may prevent successful reintroduction of sockeye salmon. Additional data, if needed, on current fishes present in the lakes will be obtained through traditional fish sampling gear such as gill netting and electrofishing.
M5: 1) Model sockeye salmon natural production expected from Wallowa and Warm Lakes that
incorporates the lake's current productivity status, spawning habitat availability and quality, and potential competition between species.
M6: 1) Develop an action plan that specifies appropriate donor stocks and stocking strategies that will lead to sockeye salmon reintroduction success in Wallowa and Warm Lakes.

Brief schedule of activities
During the first year of study, we will review all historical and current data to determine the physical, chemical, and biological changes that have occurred in Wallowa and Warm Lakes. Field reconnaissance to determine the physical habitat barriers to the lakes and to the spawning areas will be conducted. We will determine the current productive state of Wallowa and Warm Lakes by reviewing recent data and taking additional samples if needed. Fish sampling data will be reviewed with additional sampling conducted to measure possible interactions with other species. A model will be constructed that incorporates Wallowa and Warm Lake's sockeye salmon production potential. An action plan and recommendations will be made that determines the feasibility of reintroducing sockeye salmon to Wallowa and Warm Lakes. Based on a positive analysis for sockeye salmon reintroduction success, future work will include the acquisition of sockeye broodstock, eggs and/or fry for reintroduction to Wallowa and Warm Lakes and monitoring and evaluation of the program.

Biological need
To evaluate the feasibility of reintroducing the endangered Snake River sockeye salmon to historical production areas that may help lead to recovery and restoration of the ESA listed stock.

Critical uncertainties
The availability of Snake River sockeye salmon eggs and/or fry will not be limited to the Stanley Basin lakes in the future. The genetic structure of Redfish Lake sockeye salmon will not restrain reintroduction success to Wallowa and Warm Lakes. The migration corridor will be sufficient to pass sockeye salmon adults and juveniles to and from the ocean.

Summary of expected outcome
A documentation of the physical, chemical, and biological conditions and notable historical changes that have occurred in Wallowa and Warm Lakes. A detailed description of physical habitat barriers to the lakes and to the spawning areas. A description of the current fishes present in Wallowa and Warm Lakes and possible interactions or competition of resources with sockeye salmon. A sockeye salmon production model will be available to fishery managers for Wallowa and Warm Lakes along with an action plan for sockeye salmon reintroduction and habitat improvement recommendations.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Cooperation and coordination will be needed with the National Marine Fisheries Service, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in developing a management plan for the reintroduction of sockeye salmon into Wallowa and Warm Lakes.

Risks
There is a risk of species interaction and competition between sockeye salmon and the resident fishes that are currently present in Wallowa and Warm Lakes.

Monitoring activity
Juvenile outmigration timing and survival to the mainstem dams will be monitored in the future for sockeye salmon reintroduced to Wallowa and Warm Lakes. Adult returns to the spawning habitat will be assessed to determine the best stocking strategies of sockeye into Wallowa and Warm Lakes. The genetic structure of introduced sockeye salmon into Wallowa and Warm Lakes will be monitored to determine opportunities to enhance the genetic integrity or variability of the Snake River stock.

Section 3. Budget

Data shown are the total of expense and capital obligations by fiscal year. Obligations for any given year may not equal actual expenditures or accruals within the year, due to carryover, pre-funding, capitalization and difference between operating year and BPA fiscal year.

Historic costsFY 1996 budget data*Current and future funding needs
(none) New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 225,000
1998: 250,000
1999: 275,000
2000: 275,000
2001: 275,000

* 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.

Funding recommendations

CBFWA funding review group   Snake River

Recommendation    Tier 2 - fund when funds available

Recommended funding level   $225,000