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
Evaluation of Carrying Capacity

BPA project number   9301200

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratories

Sponsor type   WA-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameDuane A. Neitzel
 Mailing addressPacific Northwest National Laboratory
K6-85
P.O. Box 999
Richland, WA 99352
 Phone509/376-0602

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

Biological opinion ID   NMFS BO RPA Sec. 13b,d &e

NWPPC Program number   7.1A.2

Short description
Evaluate salmon survival in the Columbia River, its estuary and in the near-shore ocean. Provide increased understanding of the ecology, carrying capacity, and limiting factors that influence salmon survival under current conditions. Identify the critical uncertainties and research needed to develop a study plan.

Project start year   1995    End year   1996

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Planning

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Project 9301200 is related to other Program measures: Comprehensive Environmental Analysis (7.0D), Improved Propagation at Existing Facilities (7.2E.2), management measures for estuarine production (7.1B.3). It is also related to the Columbia River Bi-State Study by the Environmental Protection Agency. This work is related to existing BPA Fish and Wildlife activities including hatchery practices, watershed planning, and supplementation. This work does not duplicate or overlap any of these other efforts; it is complementary to them.
BPA funded a study in which NMFS, University of Washington, and Oregon State University produced a research plan for spring chinook salmon in the Columbia Estuary and nearshore ocean. (NMFS. Quality and Behavior of Juvenile Salmonids in the Columbia River Estuary and Nearshore Ocean. UW and OSU. Effects of the Ocean Environment on the Survival of Columbia River Juvenile Salmonids. Final report to the Bonneville Power Administration, May 1989, Contract DE-AI79-88BP92866. Publication No. DOE/BP-92866-1). The plan dealt with investigating the relationship between smolt quality, estuarine and nearshore ocean environmental conditions, and adult production. The researchers who produced this plan were invited to the workshop. The reports that we submitted to BPA built upon this work.

Project history
The systemwide and cumulative impacts of artificial production and carrying capacity measure was introduced into the Strategy for Salmon in 1994 as measure 6.2E. The measure scope was broadened in the December, 1994 amendments to include an evaluation of tributary, mainstem, estuary, plume, near-shore ocean and marine salmon survival, ecology, carrying capacity and limiting factors.

Biological results achieved
During 1995, we conducted a workshop in Portland, Oregon with ten ecologist and fisheries biologist from around the United States and discussed the implications of studying carrying capacity as a means of increasing our understanding of ecology, carrying capacity, and limiting factors that influence salmon survival under current conditions. Additionally, we conducted a review of existing data relative to Pacific salmon, other biota, and abiotic attributes of the Columbia River estuary and adjacent marine and riverine enviorns.
In addition to these activities we reviewed the ecological and fisheries literature relative to the questions asked in Measure 7.1A and concluded that the approach inherent in 7.1A will not increase understanding of ecology, carrying capacity, or limiting factors that influence salmon under current conditions. Measure 7.1A requires a definition of carrying capacity and a list of determinants of capacity. The implication or inference then follows that by asking what we know and do not know about the determinants will lead to research that increases our understanding of what is limiting salmon survival. It is then assumed that research results will point to management actions that can remove or repair the limiting factors. Most ecologists and fisheries scientists that have studied carrying capacity clearly conclude that this approach is an oversimplification of complex ecological processes (see Odum 1959, Paulik 1973, Hankin and Healey 1986, Moussalli and Hilborn 1986, Reeves et al. 1991, Hilborn and Walters 1992, Mobrand et al. in press). To pursue the capacity parameter, that is, a single number or set of numbers that quantify how many salmon the basin or any part of the basin can support, is meaningless by itself and will not provide useful information.
To increase understanding of ecology, carrying capacity, and limiting factors, it is necessary to deal with the complexity of the sustained performance of salmon in the Columbia River Basin. Density independent factors affect salmon performance, as well as density dependent factors. Factors that affect performance in one part of the salmon life cycle can manifest their effect in later phases of the life cycle. Factors can have different effects on different populations in different parts of the Columbia Basin or marine environment. Factors can affect different populations or stocks in different ways. There are potential negative impacts of focusing on abundance alone (National Research Council 1995). For example, how do the many populations and stocks of salmon affect one another? When we understand the ecological complexity of salmon performance, the region will be better able to make decisions to improve salmon survival in the basin.
We recommended that the region evaluate carrying capacity from more than one viewpoint. Platt (1964) provides a method for scientific inquiry and Pepper (1966) provides at least four views that can be used to define capacity in a way that helps identify critical uncertainties and research needs while remaining consistent with observations of animal populations. We recommend that the region use a contextualistic view for evaluating capacity. The analogy used to describe the contextualistic view is the historic event, not necessarily or primarily past events, but events that are going on now. Capacity, from the contextual view, is a component of salmon performance, and is inseparable from diversity and productivity. Capacity reflects the quality and the quantity of salmon and provides us with a relative measure of the size of a population. The Fish and Wildlife Program should incorporate the complex, interdependent relationship of diversity, productivity, and capacity into all measures.
Hankin, D.G., and M.C.Healey. 1986. Dependence of exploitation rates for maximum yield and stock collapse on age and sex structure of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) stocks. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 43:1746-1759.
Hilborn, R., and C.J. Walters. 1992. Quantitative Fisheries Stock Assessment: Choice, Dynamics and Uncertainty. Chapman and Hall, New York.
Mobrand, L.E., L.C. Lestelle, J.A. Lichatowich. (in press) A Practical Measure of Ecosystem Performance Based on Salmon as an Indicator Species. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society.
Moussalli, E., and R. Hilborn. 1986. Optimal stock size and harvest rate in multistage life history models. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 43:135-141.
National Research Council. 1995. Upstream. Salmon and Society in the Pacific Northwest. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
Odum, E.P. 1959. Fundamentals of Ecology. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA.
Paulik, G.J. 1973. Studies of the possible forms of the stock-recruitment curve, in B.B. Parrish (Ed) Fish Stocks and Recruitment. Rapports et Proces-Verbaux Reun. Cons. Int. Explor. Mer. 164:302-315.
Pepper, S.C. 1966. World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
Platt, J.R. 1964. Strong inference: certain systematic methods of scientific thinking may produce much more rapid progress than others. Science 146(3642):347-353.
Reeves, G.H., J.D. Hall, T.D. Roelofs, T.L. Hickman, and C.O. Baker. 1991. Rehabilitating and modifying stream habitats. Influences of Forest and Rangeland Management on Salmonid Fishes and Their Habitats. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 19:519-557.

Annual reports and technical papers
Neitzel, D.A., and G.E. Johnson. (ms submitted) Evaluation of Carrying Capacity: Measure 7.1A of the Northwest Power Planning Council’s 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program Report 1 of 4. Prepared by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon.
Neitzel, D.A., and G.E. Johnson. (ms submitted) Draft Study Plan For Evaluating Carrying Capacity: Measure 7.1A of the Northwest Power Planning Council’s 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program Report 2 of 4. Prepared by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon.
G.E. Johnson, D.A. Neitzel, W.V. Mavros, and N.B. Peacock. (ms submitted) Proceedings of the Workshop on the Ecological Carrying Capacity for Columbia Basin Habitats Report 3 of 4. Prepared by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon.
Costello, R.J. (ms submitted) A Literature Review, Bibliographic Listing, And Organization of Selected References Relative To Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) And Abiotic And Biotic Attributes Of The Columbia River Estuary And Adjacent Marine & Riverine Enviorns, for Various Historical Periods Report 4 of 4. Prepared by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon.

Management implications
Implementing an ecosystem approach requires knowledge of the Columbia River ecosystem. The evaluation of carrying capacity was written into the Fish and Wildlife Program as the means to increase understanding of the ecology, carrying capacity, and limiting factors that influence salmon survival under current conditions. Parts of the monitoring program identified in the evaluation are to be coordinated with measure 7.2D.2 under Improved Propagation at Existing Facilities. The study plan developed from the identification of critical uncertainties and research needs in scheduled for future funding under the Fish and Wildlife Program (measure 7.1A.2).

Specific measureable objectives
There were five specific measurable objectives for Project 9301200:
1. Establish a framework for compilation and summary of existing data, and conducting a regional workshop. This result is incorporated into the project reports to BPA (see Annual Reports and Technical Papers above).
2. Convene the workshop on carrying capacity. The results are reported to BPA [G.E. Johnson, D.A. Neitzel, W.V. Mavros, and N.B. Peacock. (ms submitted) Proceedings of the Workshop on the Ecological Carrying Capacity for Columbia Basin Habitats Report 3 of 4. Prepared by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon].
3. Compile and summarize existing data from published/unpublished reports and current research activities on the relationship of habitat carrying capacity to salmonid survival in the Columbia River, its tributaries and estuary, and in the nearshore and ocean. The results are reported to BPA [Costello, R.J. (ms submitted) A Literature Review, Bibliographic Listing, And Organization of Selected References Relative To Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) And Abiotic And Biotic Attributes Of The Columbia River Estuary And Adjacent Marine & Riverine Enviorns, for Various Historical Periods Report 4 of 4. Prepared by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon].
4. Analyze and synthesize these data, identify critical uncertainties, and formulate recommendations for management and for further activities which address data gaps. The results are reported to BPA [Neitzel, D.A., and G.E. Johnson. (ms submitted) Evaluation of Carrying Capacity: Measure 7.1A of the Northwest Power Planning Council’s 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program Report 1 of 4. Prepared by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon].
5. Develop a study plan based on the critical uncertainties and research needs identified in the above evaluation and present to the Council by December 1995. The results are reported to BPA [Neitzel, D.A., and G.E. Johnson. (ms submitted) Draft Study Plan For Evaluating Carrying Capacity: Measure 7.1A of the Northwest Power Planning Council’s 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program Report 2 of 4. Prepared by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon].

Testable hypothesis
The testable hypothesis for Project 9301200 is: capacity is a single number or set of numbers that quantify how many salmon the basin or any part of the basin can support.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The underlying assumptions for testing this hypothesis are:
1. “capacity” can be defined,
2. the determinants of capacity can be listed,
3. we can ask what we know and do not know about the determinants,
4. this will lead to research that increases our understanding of what is limiting salmon survival,
5. the research results will point to management actions that can remove or repair the limiting factors.

Methods
The methods used to meet the objectives for Project 9301200 are:
1. Establish a framework for compilation and summary of existing data,
2. Convene the workshop on carrying capacity,
3. Compile and summarize existing data from published/unpublished reports and current research activities on the relationship of habitat carrying capacity to salmonid survival in the Columbia River, its tributaries and estuary, and in the nearshore and ocean,
4. Analyze and synthesize these data, identify critical uncertainties, and formulate recommendations for management and for further activities which address data gaps,
5. Develop a study plan based on the critical uncertainties and research needs identified in the above evaluation.

Brief schedule of activities
Contract Start Date to June 30, 1995: Establish framework and plan for the workshop
April 1 to June 30, 1995: Plan and organize workshop
September 1995: Convene workshop
September 1995 to February 1996: Analyze, write, and review workshop proceedings
July 1995 to November 1, 1995: Review of BPA workshop results, data collected, and Council science reviews information for draft Study Plan
November 1995: Draft report and study plan to BPA
December 1995: Revise Draft Report
January 1996: Submit Revised Report of Evaluation and Study Plan to BPA

Biological need
Implementing an ecosystems approach requires knowledge of the Columbia River ecosystem. There were eight specific biological needs or elements listed in Measure 7.1A.1 for inclusion in the evaluation. They are:
1. Analysis of competition between non-native species and anadromous salmonids and competitive interaction resulting from hatchery management practices.
2. Estimate of current salmon carrying capacity for the Columbia River mainstem, tributaries, estuary, plume and nearshore oceans for juvenile fish.
3. Evaluation of the effects of the alteration and timing of the ocean plume on salmon survival caused by the construction and operation of the hydroelectric system.
4. Identification of residence time for juvenile salmonids and their level of smoltification.
5. Identification of management measures to protect and improve estuary habitat as well as increase the productivity of the estuary.
6. Recommendations for management responses to fluctuating estuary and ocean conditions such as adjusting total numbers of releases to take such conditions into account.
7. Identification of critical uncertainties and research needs, and estimates of incremental gains in survival from improvements in each area.
Monitoring program to identify optimal timing for residency in the estuary and nearshore environment

Critical uncertainties
Uncertainties underlie the assumptions for testing the hypothesis that capacity can be defined as a single number or set of numbers that quantify how many salmon the basin or any part of the basin can support. The critical uncertainties are:
1. A definition of capacity as a single number or set of numbers is useful for identifying research needs and management actions that will increase our underrating of ecology, carrying capacity, and limiting factors that influence salmon survival under current conditions.
2. The second critical uncertainty relates to the listing of determinants and is best stated by Odum (1959) “The problem...may well boil down to determining 1) whether one to several factors are primarily responsible [for the expression of population characteristics] or 2) whether causes are so numerous as to be difficult to untangle...”
3. If we can resolve the critical uncertainty stated by Odum (1959), the next uncertainty is: can we deal with the complexity of the issue?
4. Is this approach useful for identifying research that increases our understanding of what is limiting salmon survival?
Will the research results point to management actions that can remove or repair the limiting factors?

Summary of expected outcome
To pursue the capacity parameter as a single number or set of numbers that quantifies how many salmon the basin or any part of the basin can support, will not provide useful information to meet the objective of Measure 7.1A. This is the mechanistic view of salmon population dynamics and it will not work. To increase our understanding of ecology, carrying capacity, and limiting factors that influence salmon survival under current conditions, we must deal with the complexity of issues such as carrying capacity

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Project 9301200 is related to other Program measures: Comprehensive Environmental Analysis (7.0D), Improved Propagation at Existing Facilities (7.2E.2), management measures for estuarine production (7.1B.3). It is also related to the Columbia River Bi-State Study by the Environmental Protection Agency. This work is related to existing BPA Fish and Wildlife activities including hatchery practices, watershed planning, and supplementation. This work does not duplicate or overlap any of these other efforts; it is complementary to them.
BPA funded a study in which NMFS, University of Washington, and Oregon State University produced a research plan for spring chinook salmon in the Columbia Estuary and nearshore ocean. (NMFS. Quality and Behavior of Juvenile Salmonids in the Columbia River Estuary and Nearshore Ocean. UW and OSU. Effects of the Ocean Environment on the Survival of Columbia River Juvenile Salmonids. Final report to the Bonneville Power Administration, May 1989, Contract DE-AI79-88BP92866. Publication No. DOE/BP-92866-1). The plan dealt with investigating the relationship between smolt quality, estuarine and nearshore ocean environmental conditions, and adult production. The researchers who produced this plan were invited to the workshop. The reports that we submitted to BPA built upon this work

Risks
The risk of pursuing a study plan based on the assumptions listed for project 9301200 are high, that is a low probability of realizing the objectives of measure 7.1A and a high probability of developing a study plan that will not lead to an increased understanding of the ecology, carrying capacity, and limiting factors that influence salmon survival under current conditions. Those assumptions are: “capacity” can be defined, the determinants of capacity can be listed, we can ask what we know and do not know about the determinants, this will lead to research that increases our understanding of what is limiting salmon survival, and the research results will point to management actions that can remove or repair the limiting factors.
There are methods for pursuing the objectives in measure 7.1A and mitigate for the warnings provided by Odum (1959), Reeves et al. (1991), and others (see references listed above). Platt (1964) provides a method of scientific inquiry, that if applied to this problem, could provide the Council with a study plan to understand the factors that influence salmon survival under current conditions.

Monitoring activity
For monitoring and evaluation during project 9301200, we assessed whether we were on schedule and meeting the deliverables. For monitoring and evaluation after this study is complete, the region could assess whether the information and work products are being used.

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
1995: 295,956
1996: 0
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 93,500
Planned: 93,500
1997: 1,500,000
1998: 1,500,000
1999: 1,500,000
2000: 1,750,000
2001: 1,750,000

* 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   System Policy

Recommendation    Tier 3 - do not fund