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 Natural Prod. Monitoring/Eval 83-7 (ESA)

BPA project number   9107300

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   ID-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameAl Van Vooren
 Mailing addressIdaho Department of Fish and Game
Boise Office
600 South Walnut Street
Boise, ID 83707

BPA technical contact   Tom Vogel, EWN 503/230-5201

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   3.1D.1, 7.3B.2

Short description
This project intensively evaluates and monitors chinook salmon and steelhead trout smolt production from 6-8 important indicator streams in Idaho. This project has developed models to estimate the number of wild/natural chinook salmon and steelhead trout smolts that will arrive at Lower Granite Dam the following spring. This project will continue to update and refine these models annually. This project will compare smolts/female production from indicator drainages within the Snake River Basin with other drainages in the Columbia River Basin and the Pacific Northwest.

Project start year   1984    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1997

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
ISS (90-055) and SSS (89-098) work cooperatively in field data collection times. Each project uses other projectís data in their analysis.

1. Sockeye--Work cooperatively with this project and ISS in a Stanley Basin smolt trapping and PIT tagging team.
2. Sawtooth and Clearwater Hatcheries--assist each other with activities that require additional manpower.
3. Smolt monitoring--(8332300) We use their PIT tag data to estimate smolt migration survival to the head of Lower Granite Pool.
4. NMFS Genetic Monitoring (BPA 89-096)-- We collect samples for this project in rearing areas we study.
5. NMFS & FPC--Smolt survival and transportation studies. Their projects use the smolts that we have PIT tagged as part of their data sets.
6. Idaho Supplementation Studies -- Key production stream studies on wild populations provide controls for supplementation study.

Project history
In 1984, Idaho Department of Fish and Game undertook a comprehensive evaluation and monitoring project for Snake River anadromous fish. This project had the following goals.

1. Evaluate habitat improvement projects for anadromous fish in the Clearwater and Salmon River drainages.
2. Help resource managers determine escapement needs for both salmon and steelhead to fully seed available habitat in the Snake River drainage.
3. Estimate smolt-to-adult survival rates necessary for recovery of Snake River chinook salmon and steelhead
trout stocks.

Biological results achieved
Project efforts have resulted in the production of an additional 15,000 spring chinook salmon and 6,000 summer steelhead trout naturally produced smolts.

Annual reports and technical papers
Annual project reports have been completed 1984-1993.

Emigration characteristics of spring chinook from Crooked River and Upper Salmon River, Idaho.

American Fisheries Society Chinook Salmon Smolt Migration Symposium, Moscow, Idaho. February 26 to 28, 1992.

Management implications
A. Project has estimated what proportion of sand or finer materials in spawning gravels results in reduced egg-parr survival.
Project found that most hatchery adult chinook salmon released above Sawtooth Hatchery to supplement natural production were spawning in areas where egg-to-parr survival was half that of the areas where wild adults were spawning. This project has outplanted 341 (155 female) hatchery adult chinook salmon to vacate high quality spawning areas in the Upper Salmon River that resulted in approximately 15,000 more naturally produced smolts.
B. Arrival timing at Lower Granite Dam of PIT tagged wild/natural chinook salmon and sockeye salmon smolts from this project has helped managers decide to extend the period for smolt passage improvement measures in the Lower Snake River hydroelectric system.
Outplants of hatchery adult steelhead trout in Crooked River to estimate carrying capacity have resulted in an estimated 6,000 naturally produced smolts.
Showed that naturally produced chinook salmon smolt production can be increased by outplanting hatchery adults directly into vacant spawning habitat close to spawning time, instead of just releasing them above the trapping weir when captured.
Showed that complex and bolder instream structures can increase steelhead trout juvenile carrying capacity, and that connecting off-channel ponds can increase chinook salmon juvenile carrying capacity.
Beginning in fall 1995 project has and will continue to estimate the number of chinook salmon and steelhead trout smolts that can be expected to arrive at Lower Granite Dam the following spring.
Project will estimate smolt-to-adult survival rates necessary to recover wild/natural Snake River chinook salmon and steelhead trout populations.
Project is evolving into part of a system wide monitoring and evaluation program that will be able to measure the effectiveness os Snake River recovery efforts.
Project will estimate the number of wild/natural adults and hatchery adults that will return to particular drainages for broodstock and weir management decisions.
As populations recover, this project is designed to estimate the number of spawners necessary to fully seed rearing habitat.
Project will be capable of precisely measuring response of changes in migration corridor.

Specific measureable objectives
1. Accurately estimate wild/natural smolt production for chinook salmon and steelhead trout from indicator streams and the entire Snake River Basin.
2. Estimates of smolt-to-adult survival rates necessary to recover wild/natural Snake River chinook salmon and steelhead trout stocks.
3. Accurately estimate wild/natural and hatchery adult return to indicator drainages.
4. As population recovers, determine number of spawners necessary to fully seed available rearing habitat.

Testable hypothesis
1. Study stream parr abundance can be predicted from adult escapement numbers and environmental factors (water temperature and flow).
2. Study stream smolt production to Snake and Clearwater rivers confluence can be predicted from parr abundance.
3 Snake River wild/natural smolt production can be predicted from adult escapement numbers and egg-to-parr survival estimates form study streams.
4. Adult returns to study streams and hatcheries can be predicted from smolt production estimates and Snake River basin-wide SAR for wild/natural and hatchery smolts based on PIT tagged juveniles smolt-to-adult return rates.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
1. Enough adults return to study streams to produce juvenile populations large enough to risk collecting and PIT tagging an adequate sample group.
2. PIT tags can be used to accurately estimate smolt-to-adult return rates.
3. Significant improvement to juvenile migrant survival will occur in the immediate future.

A. Study streams:
Adult escapement will be estimated using adult trapping weirs and/or redd counts. Snorkel counts will be used to estimate parr abundance and egg-to-parr survival. Summer parr will be PIT tagged and subsequent detections will be used to estimate parr-to-smolt survival and smolt production. Juvenile outmigrant traps and PIT tags will be used to determine emigration characteristics and to provide a more accurate estimate of smolt production when we are able operate the traps throughout the emigration seasons.

B. Basin-Wide
Use adult escapement estimates at Lower Granite Dam, Snake River Basin hatchery records, and harvest records to estimate adults available for natural reproduction in the basin. Use egg-to-parr survival estimates from study streams as an adjusting variable in model. Use model project as developed for estimating the number of naturally produced smolts/female that can be expected to arrive at Lower Granite Dam two years after the adult escapement.

2. Methods described in Hankin and Reeves 1988, will be used to estimate parr abundance in study streams and calculate egg-to-parr survival. The Snake River Basin smolt production model will be evaluated and adjusted annually. The goal is for the predicted smolt production estimate to be within 33% of the actual production for naturally produced chinook salmon and 50% for naturally produced steelhead trout.

3. The majority of fish handled will be juveniles (parr, pre-smolts, and smolts)., in a few study streams adults will be handled to remove from traps, measure, and release upstream. Juveniles will be captured, anesthetized, PIT-tagged, and released with proven methodologies that have resulted in less than 5% mortalities in all years of the project history. Up to 10,000 juveniles could be marked in a year with good production. We will not tag at all in a given stream if we do not believe we can capture representative sample.

Brief schedule of activities

1. Continue general Parr monitoring program in priority one monitoring locations.

2. Assess annual adult escapement and juvenile production in 7 to 9 key production streams in Idaho. PIT tag a representative sample of emigrants from key production streams annually.

3. Cooperatively develop and implement a compatible monitoring program at mainstem dams and in downstream production areas.

4. Conduct salmon and steelhead redd counts in representative streams.

5. Analyze effects of project and system operations on migrant survival and stock productivity.


1997 Add Johnson Creek weir and rotary screw trap.
Add coordinated approach to collecting compatible data at mainstem dams and production streams not affected by dams.

1998-2001 No significant changes

Biological need
1. Clearly identify responses of important indicator naturally reproducing stocks in Idaho to Fish and Wildlife Program recovery measures.

2. Identify limiting factors to recovery of naturally reproducing stocks in the Snake River Basin.

3. Provide an accurate estimate of the numbers of naturally produced smolts that can be expected to arrive at Lower Granite Dam the following spring.

4. Provide accurate return estimates for both naturally produced and hatchery adults to those drainages where both production occurs.

5. Accurately estimate the smolt-to-adult return rates necessary for recovery of Snake River naturally reproducing stocks to occur.

Critical uncertainties
1. Will more effective juvenile migration survival measures be implemented in the next 2 to 5 years?

2. Will the genetic integrity of these highly evolved upriver stocks be sustained until migrant survival can be improved?

Summary of expected outcome
1. Project will be able to define the effect and adequacy of measures and management changes on the productivity of naturally reproducing stocks in the Snake River Basin.

2. Project will develop predictive models that will estimate natural smolt production basin-wide, adult returns, and smolt-to-adult return rates necessary for recovery of naturally reproducing stocks to occur.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Basin-wide production models require accurate estimates of smolt and adult passage at Lower Granite Dam for naturally produced fish.
This projectís information becomes more powerful if compatible adult-to-smolt and smolt-to-adult production data is collected from other basins in the Columbia River system.

Without improvements in smolt-to-adult survival, stock productivity will remain low and the monitoring system this project is becoming part of would not yield intended results.
Extreme runoff conditions could jeopardize adult weirs and juvenile traps and the production data for that year class.

Monitoring activity
The following display of outputs with a percentile achievement rate in annual reports would serve as suitable parameters for success.
--Determine parr density in core set of GPM streams
--Determine parr/smolt production in key production streams
--Determine adult spawner escapement in production streams
--Determine smolt survival rates to Lower Granite dam
--Determine smolt-to-adult survival rates for key production streams
--Predict wild/natural smolt emigration numbers
--Predict adult returns to key production streams

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: 498,456
1992: 558,447
1993: 547,921
1994: 1,191,526
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 649,825
Planned: 649,825
1997: 550,000
1998: 550,000
1999: 550,000
2000: 500,000
2001: 420,000

* 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 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $550,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $550,000