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
Kootenai River White Sturgeon Study and Experimental Aquaculture

BPA project number   8806400

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Kootenai Tribe

Sponsor type   ID-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NamePaul Anders
 Mailing addressKootenai Tribe of Idaho
P.O. Box 1269
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
 Phone208/267-3519

BPA technical contact   Rick Westerhof, EWI 503/230-5061

Biological opinion ID   USFWS BO Incedental Take

NWPPC Program number   10.4B.1, 10.8B.14

Short description
Design, construct, and operate a sturgeon hatchery on the Kootenai Reservation, Idaho. Look at alternative uses for the hatchery all year round. Monitor and evaluate natural spawning of white sturgeon in response to Libby Dam discharge.

Project start year   1988    End year   2007

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1998

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Projects are 8346700, 8806500, 9401200 and 9404900. All work is performed in the Kootenai River system and is coordinated through the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee.

Project history
The project started in 1988 in response to the virtual absence of white sturgeon recruitment in the Kootenai River since 1974. Since then the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho began designing, building and operating an experimental aquaculture facility to address factors responsible for the lack of natural white sturgeon recruitment. This experimental facility, an integral part of this project, has confirmed that gametes of male and female white sturgeon are viable, and that Kootenai River water quality is sufficient to rear young fish. Beginning in 1993, the Tribe and IDFG have coordinated monitoring and evaluation of natural spawning of white sturgeon in response to experimental flow releases from Libby Dam. Year classes of white sturgeon were successfully produced in the Kootenai Hatchery during every year that the facility was in operation.

Biological results achieved
1989-1994: Construction of an Experimental Hatchery that has demonstrated eggs and sperm from Kootenai River white sturgeon are viable, can be raised to a size large enough to be PIT tagged and released into the river. Developed broodstock collection techniques and spawning methodologies for white sturgeon. Successfully, hand stripped 140,000 eggs from 2 females this year (1995) for the conservation aquaculture program. Reared disease free rainbow trout in the hatchery. Tracked transmittered hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon in the Kootenai River. Tracked transmittered hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon in the Kootenai River. In coordination with IDFG and MDFWP monitored and evaluated sturgeon flow proposals 1993, 94, and 95. Finished first year of water quality and sediment sampling in the Kootenai River. Completed kokanee spawning ground surveys in Kootenai River tributaries below Kootenai Falls (1993, 94 and 95). Obtained Section 10 permit from the USFWS and served on the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee and USFWS Kootenai River white sturgeon Recovery Team.

Annual reports and technical papers
Monthly reports 1990-1995. Annual Reports FY 1990, 1991,1992, 1993. "Natural Spawning of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) in the Kootenai River, Idaho, 1994." Preliminary Report of Research. KTOI, IDFG and MDFWP. FY 1994 and 1995 Annual Reports are ready for publication.

Management implications
This project will provide the necessary means to prevent extinction of the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon population.

Specific measureable objectives
1) Annual production of 4-8 families of white sturgeon progeny, produced in a manner to protect and potentially enhance the Kootenai River white sturgeon populationís genetic diversity. 2) Determination of whether altered hydrographs and thermographs produced downstream from Libby Dam can result in natural life cycle completion for Kootenai River white sturgeon.

Testable hypothesis
Can altered hydrographs and thermographs produced downstream from Libby Dam result in natural life cycle completion for Kootenai River white sturgeon.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
1) That the post-dam Kootenai River is capable of completing the white sturgeonís life cycle in the wild.
2) That river discharge manipulations can restore natural life cycle completion for endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon.
3) International treaties and flood control responsibilities may prohibit creation of pre-dam conditions in a post-dam ecosystem which allowed white sturgeon to complete their life cycle naturally.

Methods
Kootenai Hatchery: 1) Conservation aquaculture will produce 4-8 families of Kootenai River white sturgeon in the Kootenai Hatchery following genetic preservation protocol outlined by Dr. Harold Kincaid. 2) Presently, statistical analyses are not used on the hatchery portion of this project. However, in the future statistics concerning genetic variation among individuals, and on the effects of releasing juveniles from the hatchery to the wild population will be performed. 3) Only adult white sturgeon from the Kootenai River will be used to produce progeny to maintain genetic variability and protect this population from extinction.

Monitoring and Evaluation of natural spawning: 1) D-ring nets, artificial substrate mats, predator stomach analysis, and in-river experiments with egg and larval survival will monitor success and failure of natural recruitment in order to determine appropriate recovery measures for endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon. Sampling protocol will be standardized to test for differences in reproductive success among years.
2) Statistical tests of natural recruitment will occur among years , testing results of different flow regimes and other experimental system changes on annual white sturgeon reproduction in the Kootenai River. 3) This work includes wild juvenile and adult white sturgeon in the Kootenai River. Also included is research on growth, survival, habitat use and diet selection/food availability using hatchery reared white sturgeon.

Brief schedule of activities
FY 97-2000 (1) Participate in the recovery plan of the Kootenai River white sturgeon under the ESA. (2) Continue to monitor natural spawning and recruitment of white sturgeon relative to experimental discharge from Libby. (3) Perform field investigations to refine age distributions, age and growth characteristics and growth rates of sturgeon. (4) Monitor hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon released into the Kootenai River for habitat, growth and distribution information. (5) Acquire IFIM model to evaluate sturgeon data collected during experimental releases. (6) Determine senility rates of female sturgeon. (7) Collect and return broodstock unharmed to the river. Rear progeny in at least two separate locations, refine non-surgical egg collection techniques, develop cryopreservation techniques, refine and implement a genetically sound conservation program for white sturgeon at the existing hatchery. (8) Develop permanent tagging and marking techniques for artificially propagated sturgeon. (9) Provide space for IDFG burbot and rainbow trout projects. (10) Investigate kokanee fishery improvement opportunities by collecting baseline information in the lower tributaries. (11) Sub contract to qualified laboratory to analyze water and sediment samples from the Kootenai River. (12) Provide hatchery reared sturgeon to labs and universities for research projects.

Biological need
The Kootenai River population has had failed recruitment for most of itís 21 post-impoundment years. In the absence of the Conservation Breeding program proposed by the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, all management and research activities in the Kootenai River have failed to result in the natural completion of the white sturgeonís life cycle, and reduction of the extinction threat. The Kootenai Hatchery is the only currently known, proven means to protect this population from extinction.

Critical uncertainties
The Post-dam Kootenai Riverís ability to allow natural life cycle completion for white sturgeon.

Summary of expected outcome
Annual production of white sturgeon in the Kootenai Hatchery, 1996-2005. Determination of post-dam Kootenai Riverís ability to allow natural life cycle completion of white sturgeon. Operate Libby Dam consistent with previous determinations.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Participation in Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee and the federal Kootenai River White Sturgeon Recovery Team will expedite hatchery production and simultaneous ecosystem restoration. Research will guide restorative measures.

Risks
The risk of extinction of the Kootenai River white sturgeon population is greater than risks of project implementation.

Monitoring activity
All work is coordinated with KTOI, IDFG, MDFWP and BC at the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee meetings convened by BPA. This reduces the cost to BPA by each agency assisting the other sometime during the year and eliminating duplication of effort. COTR monitors the project by reviewing monthly progress and financial reports and at the Steering Committee meetings.

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
1988: 117,653
1989: 156,104
1990: 236,430
1991: 150,000
1992: 179,723
1993: 649,573
1994: 378,553
1995: 952,387
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 32,886
Planned: 70,386
1997: 460,000
1998: 580,000
1999: 610,000
2000: 630,000
2001: 650,000

* 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   Resident Fish

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $460,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $460,000