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
Idaho Water Rental - Resident F&W Impacts - Phase III

BPA project number   9106700

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   ID-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameEric Leitzinger
 Mailing addressIdaho Department of Fish and Game
600 South Walnut Street, Box 25
Boise, ID 83707

BPA technical contact   Deborah Docherty, EWN 503/230-4458

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   2.2E.7, 5.5A.1

Short description
Quantify changes in resident fish and wildlife habitat in the upper Snake basin resulting from the release of water from upper Snake River reservoirs (upstream of Hellís Canyon Dam complex) for anadromous fish flow augmentation. Develop a monitoring plan to routinely track water releases and habitat changes.

Project start year   1991    End year   2000

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
9501400 - Resident Fish Loss Assessment. The data and models developed will be used in the loss/gains assessment project by addressing operational losses at the federal storage/hydropower facilities. Operational losses include in-reservoir, and downstream losses due to current operating procedures.

Project history
This project is part of and subject to the terms of the Non-Treaty Storage Fish and Wildlife Agreement (June 1990) between BPA and CBFWA and is related to the Non-Treaty Storage Agreement between the U.S. and Canada. Phase I summarized resource information and provided management recommendations to protect and enhance resident fish and wildlife habitat relative to storage releases for the improvement of anadromous fish migration. Phase II summarized biological, legal, and political developments, provided a biological appraisal of an area between American Falls Reservoir and the city of Blackfoot, and included an accounting of the 1993-94 salmon flow augmentation releases out of the upper Snake, Boise, and Payette River systems.

Biological results achieved
Phase I of the project was completed in October 1992 and included the identification of existing resident fish and wildlife resources in the upper Snake River basin, habitat conditions, management recommendations, and water release strategies designed to protect or enhance resident fish and wildlife and their habitats. Phase II began in February 1993 and focused on a biological appraisal (IFIM) of resident fish and wildlife habitat in the upper Snake River between American Falls reservoir and the city of Blackfoot. The of this appraisal was to gather fish and wildlife habitat data on a portion of the Snake River that had been dewatered in 1992 due to irrigation diversions. The appraisal mapped fish and wildlife habitat, developed habitat versus flow curves for several species of fish (rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and whitefish) and wildlife (Canada goose, mallard duck, beaver), and validated the findings of an earlier Shoshone-Bannock flow study. Phase III is concentrating on developing a model in which annual rtequests for salmon flow augmentation and impacts to resident fish and wildlife are quantified through time using weighted usable area and habitat units.

Annual reports and technical papers
Phase I Water Rental Pilot Project: Snake River Resident Fish and Wildlife Resources and Managment Recommendations. October 1992

Phase II Water Rental Pilot Project: Snake River Resident Fish and Wildlife Resources and Management Recommendations. November 1994

Management implications
Fisheries managers can assess and quantify impacts to resident fish and wildlife habitat in the upper Snake Basin resulting from the water released for anadromous fish migration. Once the impacts are determined, timing and volume of flows can be shaped to maximize the benefits to resident fish and wildlife.

Specific measureable objectives
The objective is to be able to quantify changes in resident fish and wildlife habitat in the upper Snake basin upstream of Brownlee Reservoir resulting from the water released for juvenile salmon migration. Develop and recommend optimal water release strategies to benefit resident fish and wildlife.

Testable hypothesis
Increased flows in the upper Snake River basin significantly affect resident fish and wildlife habitat.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The major constraint is paucity of existing habitat versus flow relationships. These relationships are needed to quantify habitat changes resulting from increased flow. Habitat versus flow relationships will have to be estimated or extrapolated from existing relationships. Existing information is accurate and adequate to quantify habitat changes.

Quantify habitat versus flow relationships using existing data. We want to extrapolate to areas where data does not exist using regression techniques, simple expansion or extrapolation to areas with similar habitat, or PHABSIM models. Develop a monitoring program through linking with the Bureau of Reclamationís (BOR), Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR), and US Geological Surveyís (USGS) flow databases (using real - time flow data) in order to track the water through the system. We will verify this with field observations. Habitat changes will be quantified for sturgeon, bull trout, cutthroat trout, redband trout, whitefish, Canada goose, mallard duck, and beaver (and perhaps other wildlife as well). Impacts to reservoir fisheries will also be monitored. Recommendations will be developed for the volume and timing of releases to maximize benefits to resident fish and wildlife. This data will be used in the development of loss assessments, biological and integrated rule curves, as well as biological objectives for the management of the Snake River basin.

Brief schedule of activities
1997 - The major tasks are to quantify habitat changes from the 1996 flow releases, implement the monitoring plan, and make flow recommendations for future releases.

1998 - 2000 - Activities are the as for 1997 with the addition of the development of biological objectives based on the data and habitat versus flow relationships for the Snake River and tributaries, quantification of changes to reservoir habitat, use this data to develop biological and integrated rule curves and begin operational loss assessments for federal hydropower projects in the Snake River.

Biological need
In its biological opinion, the National Marine Fisheries Service has instructed the BOR to release 427,000 AF of water per year from the upper Snake River basin (upstream of Hellís Canyon Dam complex) to aid juvenile salmon migration. The timing, volumes, duration, and locations of the water released is critical to the health and stability of the Snake River watershed. Releasing water at the wrong time, or at the wrong volume, or for the wrong length of time could have very serious detrimental impacts to the resident fish and wildlife in the upper Snake River and tributaries. On the other hand careful, planned releases taking into consideration fish and wildlife impacts could greatly benefit the fish and wildlife in the Snake River basin. This project will determine what is the best way to release the water to maximize the benefits to resident fish and wildlife upstream of the Hellís Canyon Dam complex.

Critical uncertainties
The water released for salmon will actually make it through the system to benefit salmon.

Summary of expected outcome
A model that relates changes in flow to changes in resident fish and wildlife habitat, a monitoring plan that tracks the water through the system, and a set of guidelines that show when, where, and how much water should be released to maximize benefits to resident fish and wildlife. The latter is, in essence, biological rule curves . Also, biological objectives for the Snake River and several tributaries should be ready for the Council to adopt into the Fish and Wildlife program. The data and models generated here will be incorporated into the resident fish loss assessment project (#9501400).

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Phase I and II involved the following cooperators, the BOR, IDWR, USGS, Idaho Parks and Recreation, Idaho Division of Environmental Quality, Idaho Water Users Association, University of Idaho, Idaho Power, and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Phase III has dealt primarily with habitat versus flow relationships, so the cooperators have been reduced to a technical team of biologists from IDFG, BOR, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho Power, and the Idaho Water Users Association.

One risk is that Idaho Power or the BOR do not work with us when deciding how and when and where to release the water.

Monitoring activity
A monitoring plan is being developed to track the water through the system to make sure it is benefitting resident fish and wildlife.

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
1991: 85,123
1992: 0
1993: 145,470
1994: 119,770
1995: 46,381
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 128,000
Planned: 128,000
1997: 114,720
1998: 125,000
1999: 125,000
2000: 125,000
2001: 125,000

* 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   $114,720

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $114,720