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
Travel Time and Survival Smolt Physiology

BPA project number   8740100

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
National Biological Service

Sponsor type   WA-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameAlec Maule
 Mailing addressColumbia River Research Center
5501A Cook-Underwood Road
Cook, WA 98605
 Phone509/538-2299

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

Biological opinion ID   NMFS BO RPA 13a and 16

NWPPC Program number   5.9A.1

Short description
Provides annual information on smoltification and prevalence of disease in groups of juvenile salmon and steelhead used in integrated Smolt Monitoring Program and other mainstem passage monitoring and research projects.

Project start year   1987    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects

Project history
This project was initiated in 1987 to provide a reliable time series of information on smolt condition to assist the in-season management of the Water Budget and other flow augmentation to the best advantage of emigrating juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Specific objectives of the project have been to:
1) Develop and use non-lethal techniques to monitor smolt condition
2) Collect, analyze, and report biological information on the condition and smoltification of wild- and hatchery-reared juvenile salmon ans steelhead migrants in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
3) Report smolt condition data real-time to the Fish Passage Center (FPC) to improve the scientific information on which to base in-season flow and spill management decisions directed toward improving passage conditions for juvenile salmon and steelhead in the lower Columbia River.
4) Analyze the collected data and utilize the gained knowledge and learning to improve the effectiveness of hydrosystem operations to protect juvenile salmonids and improve their passage survival through the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS).

In fall 1994, tasks were added to develop a monitoring and research program on the effects of gas bubble trauma (GBT) on migrating juvenile salmonids. Non-lethal ways for assessing GBT were developed. Tasks associated with GBT are now in a separate project entitled: Gas Bubble Trauma Monitoring and Research of Juvenile Salmonids.

Biological results achieved
This project provides an annual assessment of smolt condition to assist the management of the Water Budget and other flow augmentation to the best advantage of emigrating juvenile salmon and steelhead. Ideally, the information this SMP project provides would be tracked from its use in decision-making for mainstem flow and spill management to effects of these actions on smolt survival and subsequent adult returns. The benefits of this project, in terms of improvements to in-river smolt survival have not been directly measured. However, the time series information this project provides, will certainly contribute to the evaluation of the relationship between the environmental conditions, smolt condition, smolt survival and adult production once we have adequate evaluation tools to measure survival through the different life stages. In the mean time, as evaluation of the effectiveness of yearly downstream migration protection actions contained in the annual project reports and 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. A relative measure of progress can be obtained by comparing the results of these reports over the years. The project has developed several non-lethal methods to assess smolt condition, general fish health and gas bubble trauma. Analyses of adult return data for branded hatchery release groups will be used to determine if smolt and fish health data collected from migrants is predictive of long term survival.

Annual reports and technical papers
Smolt condition data is provided to the Fish Passage Center for input into real-time in-season water management decisions. A series of quarterly and annual reports under the titles “Correlation of biological characteristics of smolts with survival and travel time” and “Assessment of smolt condition for travel time analysis” have and continue to be produced by this project. The BPA publication numbers for the Annual Report series follow: Annual Report 1987 DOE/BP-35245-1 June 1988; Annual Report 1988 DOE/BP-35245-2 December 1989; Annual Report 1989 DOE/BP-35245-3 November 1990; Annual Report 1990 DOE/BP-35245-4 December 1991; Annual Report 1991-1992 DOE/BP-35245-5 May 1994; 1993-1994 and 1995 draft reports.

Other Scientific Reports and Publications:

Beeman, J. W., D. W. Rondorf, and M. E. Tilson. 1994. Assessing smoltification of juvenile spring chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) using changes in body morphology. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 51:836-844.

Beeman, J. W., D. W. Rondorf, M. E. Tilson, and D. A. Venditti. 1995. A nonlethal measure of smolt status of juvenile steelhead based on body morphology. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 124:764-769.

Beeman, J. W. and D. W. Rondorf. In review. Estimating the effects of river flow and smoltification on the travel time of juvenile salmonids in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society.

Haner, P. V., J. C. Faler, R. M. Schrock. D. W. Rondorf, and A. G. Maule. 1995. Skin reflectance as a non-lethal measure of smoltification for juvenile salmonids. North American Journal of Fish Management 15:814-822.

Jeney, Z., G. Jeney, and A.G. Maule. 1992. Cortisol measurements in fish. pages 157-166. in J. S. Stolen, T. C. Fletcher, S. L. Kaattari, and A. F. Rowley (eds.) Techniques in Fish Immunology, 2. SOS Publications, Fair Haven, NJ.

Maule, A.G., and M.G. Mesa. 1994. Efficacy of electrofishing to assess plasma cortisol concentration in juvenile chinook salmon passing hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 14:334-339.

Maule, A.G., D. Rondorf, J. Beeman, and P. Haner.1996. Incidence and severity of Renibacterium salmoninarum in spring chinook salmon in the Snake and Columbia rivers. Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 8:37-46.

Maule, A.G., R. M. Schrock, C. Slater, M. S. Fitzpatrick, and C. B. Schreck. in press. Immune and endocrine responses of adult spring chinook salmon during freshwater migration and sexual maturation. Fish and Shellfish Immunology.

Schrock, R. M., J. W. Beeman, D. W. Rondorf, and P. V. Haner. 1994. A microassay for gill sodium, potassium-activated ATPase in juvenile pacific salmonids. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:223-229.

Management implications
Measurements of physiological variables can provide information on the short term effects of management actions. For example, travel time of juvenile salmonids decreases as water flow increases, the positive effects of flow are greatest in fish with the highest level of smoltification. This information allows managers to maximize benefits of water manipulations. We have also begun analyses of adult return data to determine if measures of smoltification in migrating juveniles are predictive of long-term survival.

Specific measureable objectives
(1) Determine the smolt condition, prevalence and severity of Renibacterium salmoninarum (RS), and general health of spring/summer and fall chinook salmon and steelhead released from selected hatcheries in the Columbia River basin. (2) Determine non-lethally the level of smoltification in 20% to 25% of emigrating spring/summer and fall chinook salmon, steelhead, and sockeye that receive PIT-tags at Rock Island Dam and at smolt traps in the Snake River basin. (3) Determine the feasibility of computer-linked photo-reflectance as indices of smoltification.

Testable hypothesis
(1) Smolt condition, prevalence and severity of RS, and general health of hatchery spring/summer and fall chinook salmon and steelhead are correlated to smolt behavior (i.e., travel time) and long term survival. (2) Smolt condition, prevalence and severity of RS, and general health of migrating spring/summer and fall chinook salmon and steelhead are correlated to smolt behavior (i.e., travel time) and long term survival. (3) Computer-linked photo-reflectance measurements of skin and eye are accurate and reproducible indices of smoltification.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
River management will continue in its current form requiring the monitoring of migrating fish to ensure operations are optimal for fish survival. The Smolt Monitoring Program continues to monitor emigrating salmonids. Spill at dams and regulation of water flow continue to be management actions.

Methods
Selected physiological measures of fish health, smoltification and stress have been collected from juvenile salmonids of hatchery origin prior to their release, and from those of hatchery, wild, and natural origin during their seaward migration. These biological factors and physical factors, including river flow and water temperature, are used in our analyses. All sample collections and analyses are completed using standard methods. Our objectives and associated methods are:

1) Building a long-term database of biological attributes of juvenile salmonids prior to release from hatcheries in the Columbia basin. We collect tissue samples for determinations of disease state including Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD) and smoltification via gill Na+-K+ ATPase activity. We have also collected samples to determine stress level including plasma cortisol, glucose, and osmolality. Tag-return data from the release groups will be completed in the next couple of years. Beginning in 1996, we will analyze these data using multiple regression to determine the value of in-river measures to predict adult survival. Numbers of fish used under this objective in 1996 are listed in Table 1.

2) Estimate the relative effects of smolt condition and river flows on travel time. Multiple regression techniques are used to determine factors influencing migration rates. Fish used under this objective are migrants collected, tagged, and sampled at mainstem dams and floating traps operated by various state and federal agencies.
Fish used under this objective in 1996 are listed in Table 2.

3) Develop indices of smolt condition and health. To date we have: (a) used principal component and discriminant function analyses to develop a successful measure of smoltification based on changes in body shape of juvenile chinook salmon and steelhead; (b) found significant correlations between skin reflectivity measured using a computer-based method and smoltification based on ATPase activity; © used modern laboratory techniques to drastically reduce the amount of tissue needed to determine ATPase activity; (b) begun investigations into the use of lysozyme in fish mucus, a non-specific immune factor, as a non-lethal index of fish health. No additional fish are required for this objective; fish for other objectives are used for this research.


Table 1. Numbers of fish to be sampled in pre-release sampling of Columbia and Snake river hatcheries for 1996. Only fish sampled for BKD will be killed.

Hatchery Species Release Site BKD ATPase Total
Dworshak SpCh Clearwater R. 60 30 60a
Sawtooth SpCh Salmon R. 60 30 60
Rapid R. SpCh Rapid R. 60 30 60
McCall SuCh So.Fk. Salmon 60 30 60
Lookingglass Spch Lkgglass Crk. 60 30 60
Dworshak Sthd Clearwater R. 30 30
Leavenworth SpCh Wenatchee R. 60 30 60
Winthrop SpCh Methow R. 60 30 60
Ringold SpCh Columbia R. 60 30 60
Entiat SpCh Entiat R. 60 30 60
Wells SuCh1 Columbia R. 30 30
SuCh0 Columbia R. 30 30
Priest Rapids FaCh Columbia R. 30 30
Turtle Rock FaCh Columbia R. 30 30
Total 690
a- Some fish sampled for BKD will also be sampled for ATPase.

Table 2. Maximum numbers of spring (yearling) chinook (SpCh), steelhead (Sthd), summer/fall (subyearling) chinook (Sum/FaCh) salmon and sockeye salmon (Sock) to be sampled, but not killed, in the Columbia and Snake rivers in 1996.

Site Wild SpCH HatchSpCh WildSthd HatchSthd Sock Sum/FaCh Total
Snake River
Salmon Trap 450 450 450 450 0 0 1800
Snake Trap 450 450 450 450 0 0 1800
Lower Granite 200 200 336 336 0 0 --1
Dam
Totals 900 900 900 900 0 0 3600

Columbia River
Rock Isl Dam n.a. 750 300 450 750 500 2750
GRAND 900 1650 1200 1350 750 500 6350
TOTALS

n.a. - not applicable because Columbia River hatchery fish are not uniquely marked.
1 -not included in total because these fish will have already been sampled at an upstream trap (i.e., they are a subset of fish sampled at the traps)


4) Determine the effects of severity of BKD infection on the ability of spring chinook salmon to successfully migrate to the ocean.

The results of this research should be completed in FY 1996. During FY 1997, results will be analyzed and articles will be written for journal submission.

5) Provide physiological data on fish used for estimating survival in the Snake River. This is a cooperation between this project and “Survival estimates for the passage of juvenile salmonids through dams and reservoirs” by Dr. Robert N. Iwamoto et al. of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Seattle, WA. Since 1993, we have provided measures of disease, smoltification, and stress on groups of fish used in their study.

6) Develop methodologies, protocols and experimental designs to monitor and conduct research on gas bubble trauma in juvenile salmonids migrating through the Snake and Columbia rivers. This task is now a separate project entitled: Gas Bubble Trauma Monitoring and Research of Juvenile Salmonids.

Brief schedule of activities
1997 - Sample juvenile salmon and steelhead at hatcheries before releaseMonitor salmonids at PIT-tagging sites for smolt condition
Continue analysis of 1988-92 data and adult returns

1998 - Sample juvenile salmon and steelhead at hatcheries before releaseMonitor salmonids at PIT-tagging sites for smolt condition
Continue analysis of 1988-92 data and adult returns

1999 - Sample juvenile salmon and steelhead at hatcheries before releaseMonitor salmonids at PIT-tagging sites for smolt condition
Continue analysis of 1988-92 data and adult returns

2000 - Sample juvenile salmon and steelhead at hatcheries before releaseMonitor salmonids at PIT-tagging sites for smolt condition
Continue analysis of 1988-92 data and adult returns

2001 - Sample juvenile salmon and steelhead at hatcheries before release
Monitor salmonids at PIT-tagging sites for smolt condition
Continue analysis of 1988-92 data and adult returns

Biological need
Research and monitoring programs must consider the biology of the animals with which they are working. Data from this study indicated flaws in the design of survival estimates conducted in the late 1980s due to differences in biological measures of control and test fish (1987 annual report). Knowledge of the biology of the fish is needed to evaluate the outcome of research studies and management actions.

Critical uncertainties
(1) Fish collected at dam bypass systems and at in-river smolt traps are representative of the fish in the river.
(2) Data collected from branded hatchery releases (1988 through 1992) before release and at downstream dams can be correlated to the return (fishery and hatchery) of adults from those same groups.

Summary of expected outcome
Non-lethal measures of fish health and smoltification will be developed; the relative influence of various biological and physical variables on fish migration will be described; physiological measures from juvenile salmonids will be correlated to adult return rate. These data will be used to aid managers in choosing river management actions for the benefit of juvenile salmonids.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Funding must be received by the start of the project year (April 1) to ensure time to prepare for field work each year. This project currently cooperates with the Smolt Monitoring Program and a study entitled “Survival estimates for passage of juvenile salmonids through dams and reservoirs”, by Dr. Robert Iwamoto, NMFS, Seattle, WA.

Risks
The risks inherent in this project will change annually. For example, in 1996 there is a risk that the locations where fish are sampled do not accurately reflect problems in the river. Research conducted in our lab and proposed research by others will address that risk and the monitoring program will be adapted as needed.

Monitoring activity
All tasks are planned, scheduled and integrated as part of the annual coordinated Smolt Monitoring Program. Milestones are defined and delivery dates for 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 thought the FCRPS and 2) improving the management and conservation of Columbia River fishery resources.

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
1987: 109,199
1988: 260,130
1989: 281,998
1990: 295,092
1991: 303,761
1992: 363,186
1993: 420,043
1994: 685,997
1995: 465,468
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 750,000
Planned: 750,000
1997: 469,000
1998: 480,000
1999: 492,000
2000: 504,000
2001: 517,000

* 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   $469,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $231,816