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
Smolt Monitoring at Federal Dams

BPA project number   8401400

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   PSMFC

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NamePam Kahut
 Mailing address45 SE 82nd Dr., Suite 100
Gladstone, OR 97027-2522

BPA technical contact   Pat Poe, EWI 503/230-4043

Biological opinion ID   NMFS BO RPA Sec. 13a

NWPPC Program number   5.9A.1

Short description
Monitor migration of juvenile salmon and steelhead at Bonneville and John Day Dams.

Project start year   1984    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Smolt Monitoring Program coordinated by the Fish Passage Center, 94-033

Project history
This project was established to monitor mainstem fish passage by collecting and reporting real-time smolt monitoring data to the Fish Passage Center to improve scientific information with which to base in-season flow and spill management decisions in the Snake and Lower Columbia River. In the 1980s this NMFS project conducted the smolt monitoring at federal dams in the Snake and Columbia Rivers (i.e. Lower Granite, Lower Monumental, McNary, John Day, and Bonneville Dams). In the early 1990s the smolt monitoring at Snake River dams and McNary Dam was assumed by non-federal entities (i.e. mainly the states of Washington and Oregon) and this project continued the smolt monitoring at John Day, The Dalles (1989, 1990, and 1991) and Bonneville dams. These two sites are unique in tht they provide the only hourly dam passage (diel) information in the Smolt Monitoring Program.

Biological results achieved
Progress is measured by noting whether or not we are obtaining the necessary data. An evaluation of the effectiveness of downstream migration protection actions is contained in the annual reports of the FPC. The FPC reports analyze and synthesize the information from this project together with the information collected by all other SMP projects and other environmental information. Progress is measured by comparing the results of these reports over the years.
This project has been in place since 1984 and will continue indefinitely as part of the annual coordinated regional SMP. The project can undergo regional, technical peer review. Unique diel aspect of this project provides species specific fish behavior information regarding dam passage. Another advantage of hourly sampling is that there is virtually no delay to migrating smolts. Also, in 1995 PIT tag detections were useful in calculating survival estimates and since 1993 at John Day and 1995 at Bonneville, enabled us to collect fish specific condition information from PIT tagged sample fish.

Annual reports and technical papers
Monitoring data is sent daily during the migration season to the Fish Passage Center for input into realtime in-season water management decisions. A series of quarterly and annual reports under the title "Monitoring of Downstream Salmon and Steelhead at Federal Hydroelectric Facilities" have and continue to be produced by this project. The BPA publication numbers for the Annual Report series follow:
Annual Report 1984 November 1984; Annual Report 1985 DOE/BP-20733-1 May 1986; Annual Report 1986 DOE/BP-20733-2 March 1987; Annual Report 1987 DOE/BP-20733-3 May 1988; Annual Report 1988 DOE/BP-20733-4 May 1989; Annual Report 1989 DOE/BP-20733-5 February 1990; Annual Report 1990 DOE/BP-20733-6 March 1991; Annual Report 1991 DOE/BP-20733-7 April 1992; Annual Report 1992 DOE/BP-20733-8 May 1993; Annual Report 1993 DOE/BP-20733-9 April 1994; Annual Report 1994 (in-press).
"Seasonal and Diel Passage of Juvenile Salmonids at John Day Dam on the Columbia River" by D.A. Brege, R.F. Absolon, R.J. Graves., North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

Management implications
Data generated by this project has been and continues to be used to monitor and gauge the timing and magnitude of the smolt outmigration. This information enables managers to formulate System Operational Requests (SOR's) designed to maximize smolt survival by optimizing in river conditions. Smolt monitoring data is also used to calculate survival and travel time estimates used in formulating passage strategies, e.g. to transport or not. Especially useful in 1995 were the PIT tag detections which enabled researchers to calculate survival estimates and evaluate transportation studies, again affecting management decisions regarding flow management and the transportation program.

Specific measureable objectives
This project provides daily fish capture and condition data, as well as dam operations and river flow data real-time to the Fish Passage Center to improve the scientific information on which to base in-season flow and spill management decisions directed toward improving protection and passage conditions for juvenile salmon and steelhead in the lower Columbia river. This project is providing a historical time series of smolt monitoring information that contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between environmental conditions, smolt migration characteristics, smolt passage survival and adult production. Specifics on the yearly contributions of this project can be found in the reports referenced below.
Future objectives include full bypass PIT tag detection at John Day with the completion of the new sampler, scheduled for April of 1997. At Bonneville, a prototype flat plate PIT tag detection system installed in the first powerhouse bypass channel has the potential to provide full bypass PIT tag interrogation. Both systems should greatly expand the number of PIT tag detections in the lower river.

Testable hypothesis
Since this project is in the maintenance stage, testing a hypothesis does not really apply. However, the hypothesis of the program is that smolt migration travel time can be reduced by increasing flows through spill management and flow augmentation, resulting in greater smolt survival.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
There are several underlying assumptions, as follows:
1. Samples collected are not different from the population at large.
2. The Gas Bubble Disease monitoring protocol produces results that are not different from the level of GBT symptoms in the population at large.
3. Anesthetization and handling of smolts does not negatively affect post examination behavior or survival, or at least is at acceptably low levels.
4. Descaling and injury not attributable to predators, occurred at the project as a result of passing through the juvenile bypass system.
Critical Constraints may include: 1) At Bonneville Dam, smolt passage from Spring Creek Fish Hatchery releases may exceed levels that can be safely sampled, shutting down sampling operations, 2) High debris loads can cause orifice, trash rack, and screen plugging, increasing damage to fish and resulting in sampling interruptions while debris is cleared.

Again, since this project is in the maintenance stage it is considered monitoring, not research, so the experimental design is now a work statement. At Bonneville a wedge wire flume is lowered into the bypass channel and fish are diverted into a basket suspended at the end of the inclined screen.

At John Day Dam, an airlift pump system is used in one gatewell. A large rectangular funnel is submerged in a gatewell and aluminum pipe is stacked on top of the funnel apex. Compressed air is injected into the bottom of this aluminum pipe column, causing the water and fish to rise up the pipe and empty into a basket suspended at water level in the gatewell.

This system is scheduled to be replaced by a new sampling facility in 1997. The new facility will sample the entire bypass channel near the outfall. Sample fish will be diverted to the processing area by a series of dewatering screens, separators, and gates. The facility will have full PIT tag interrogation of all fish and diversion by code capability.

Once the sample fish are captured, they are transported to a holding tank and moved from their to the examination trough. The sample fish are identified and evaluated for scale loss. Three times per week fish are examined more closely for detailed condition information, and lengths are taken. A subsample of these fish is examined under a microscope for Gas Bubble disease symptoms.

Brief schedule of activities
The major project task scheduled for 1997 is the relocation of smolt monitoring from the airlift pump operation to the new bypass sampler facility. This move will have major management implications because for the first time there will be complete bypass system interrogation for PIT tagged fish. This should produce many times more PIT tag detections and enable managers and researchers to evaluate stock, rearing strategies, and reach specific survival and travel time estimates. I would expect similar operation of that new facility through the year 2001, and beyond.

Biological need
To reduce juvenile salmonid mortality associated with dam passage and migratory delays by providing real time, species specific data used in spill management, flow augmentation, and research evaluation.

Critical uncertainties
PIT tagged fish behavior and survival is no different than non-PIT tagged fish.
Use of MS-222 has no lasting affect on fish behavior or survival.
Fish collection and handling creates acceptably low levels of injury and mortality.
Higher river flows result in higher juvenile survival.

Summary of expected outcome
Improved information base for management of hydrosystem operations to improve protection and the passage survival of all Columbia and Snake River anadromous stocks of salmon and steelhead through the FCRPS.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Project dependent on continued funding and regional support for monitoring information and continued support in the NMFS adaptive management oriented Biological Opinion. Also dependent on issuance of ESA permit.

Possible injury to fish from sampling equipment, dewatering, handling, anesthetizing, etc.

Monitoring activity
All tasks are planned, scheduled and integrated as part of the annual coordinated Smolt Monitoring Program. Monitoring plans are reviewed annually and improvements made in data collection and operating and handling procedures as new equipment and technologies become available. Milestones are defined and delivery dates of reports are specified. Project progress toward milestones is monitored. The quality of the data collected is monitored within the project by staff training, testing and conducting spot accuracy checks. Progress will also be measured by determining whether or not we are obtaining the necessary data through peer reviews of the added value of the acquired information to: 1) improving the protection and the passage survival of all Columbia River anadromous stocks of salmon and steelhead through the FCRPS and 2) improving the management and conservation of Columbia River fisheries resources. Evaluation of the program is done yearly in the various reports and occasionally through the BPA program review process.

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
1984: 271,848
1985: 453,376
1986: 562,413
1987: 519,200
1988: 428,000
1989: 943,700
1990: 697,900
1991: 602,800
1992: 1,652,700
1994: 447,400
1995: 700,000
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 654,500
Planned: 633,500
1997: 800,000
1998: 810,000
1999: 900,000
2000: 1,000,000
2001: 1,000,000

* 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   Mainstem

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $800,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $500,000