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
Salmon River Habitat O&M/Monitoring & Evaluation

BPA project number   9405000

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Shoshone-Bannock Tribes

Sponsor type   ID-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameMike Rowe
 Mailing addressShoshone-Bannock Tribe
Fort Hall Indian Reservation
P.O. Box 306
Fort Hall, ID 83203

BPA technical contact   Allyn Meuleman, EWP 208/334-1005

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   7.6B.5

Short description
Maintain habitat improvements and evaluate benefits.

Project start year   1994    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1989

Project development phase   O & M/Monitoring & Evaluation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Monitor natural production of anadromous salmonids

Project history
Historic hunting and fishing areas of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes included central and southern Idaho. Rights to continue traditional activities were guaranteed to the Tribes by the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868. The downward trends in returns of anadromous fish are a concern of the Tribes. For many years the Tribes have been working to improve anadromous fish runs back to the traditional fishing areas. These efforts have taken various forms, including: sponsorship of habitat enhancement projects; development of low-tech, bioenhancement facilities; coordination and oversight of human activities in the Salmon River drainage; especially activities on state and federal land; cooperation and information sharing with other fisheries and land management agencies and groups; and tribes on fisheries-related issues.
The Tribes continue to monitor and evaluate the three systems (Bear Valley Creek, Yankee Fork, and East Fork) in which habitat improvement projects have been performed. Continued monitoring is needed to determine benefits of habitat improvement to fishes and if further modification or improvements are needed to obtain objectives. In addition, natural production monitoring has been performed on the North Fork Salmon River, Panther Creek, and Middle Fork Salmon River in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. For evaluating fish benefits we are concerned with increasing rearing capacity of juvenile fish and improving habitat for spawning. Benefits are eventually judged by increasing adult returns. Monitoring and evaluation has also concentrated on increases in numbers of resident salmonids, improvement of habitat features known to be important to salmonids, and general improvement in the impacted stream ecosystems.

Biological results achieved
FY 95:
1. Reduction of sediment input into Bear Valley Creek which has resulted in more preferred habitat for resident salmonids and juvenile chinook salmon and has also improved spawning habitat.

2. Development of additional rearing habitat in the lower Yankee Fork which has resulted in much use by juvenile chinook salmon.

3. Removal of a dam blocking migration of anadromous salmonid to high quality habitat in Big Boulder Creek. Attempts to restore fish runs to this creek have been implemented by stocking adult steelhead; adult returns from these stockings are due back in 1996.

Annual reports and technical papers
1984-1994 Annual Reports are available. The 1995 Annual Report is in preparation.

Management implications
1. Improvement of habitat has been performed in drainages where much potential benefit (i.e., increased quality of rearing and/or spawning habitat = more adult returns) was determined through assessments prior to implementation of improvement. Therefore, habitat improvement would increase the number of adults returning and aid in the restoration of chinook salmon populations to fishable levels and provide more steelhead trout for harvest.

2. Monitoring of chinook salmon populations is necessary to inform managers about the status of specific populations. This information is critical for determining management options for the preservation, protection, and recovery of chinook salmon populations.

Specific measureable objectives
Objective: Enhancement of degraded habitat to increase production of wild anadromous salmonids.

Testable hypothesis
1) Adult chinook salmon\steelhead trout returns are greater after habitat improvement than before. More realistically, considering the high rate of passage mortality at hydroelectric projects, this hypothesis should be stated as: Adult returns are declining at a slower rate after habitat improvement than before.
2) Where habitat was made available to previously blocked passage the hypothesis is: Adults are returning to habitat made available.
3) Habitat is of better quality for the production of chinook salmon and steelhead trout after habitat improvement than before. This hypothesis is measured by higher survival of life-stages associated with freshwater rearing.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Although we can measure benefits to anadromous salmonids from our projects, true benefits are the results of increased number of adults returning. With current high rates of mortality experienced by the fish out-of-basin and decreasing numbers of anadromous salmonids, true benefits will never be seen unless out-of-basin survival is increased.

1) Snorkeling to determine juvenile production.
2) Redd counts to determine escapement.
3) Habitat measures to determine changes in habitat quality.

Brief schedule of activities
1) Monitor juvenile and adult anadromous salmonid abundance in the three project areas.
2) Monitor juvenile anadromous salmonid abundance in the Middle Fork Salmon River and other upper Salmon River streams.
3) Finish work on Big Boulder Creek habitat enhancement project.
4) Evaluate alternatives to improve flows in Yankee Fork off-channel rearing ponds.
5) Continue to establish riparian vegetation in Herd Creek.
6) Stock steelhead trout adults into Big Boulder Creek.
7) Monitor habitat features associated with enhancement projects.

Biological need
Chinook salmon are currently listed as an endangered species under the ESA of 1973 and steelhead trout are declining in abundance throughout the Salmon River drainage. We do not propose that habitat improvement will recover declining stocks of these fish alone. However, habitat improvement will provide better or additional habitat for those adults currently returning and will provide improved or additional habitat that will increase production levels if escapement levels increase.

Critical uncertainties
For this project to assess benefits to chinook salmon and steelhead populations in the project areas, populations must increase in size or stay the same (i.e., not become extinct). The objective of this project (increase production of wild anadromous salmonids) cannot be achieved unless improvements in out-of-basin survival occur.

Summary of expected outcome
1) Habitat becomes more favorable for the production of anadromous salmonids.
2) Survival to life stages associated with freshwater rearing should increase to higher levels than before habitat improvement and therefore, result in increased adult escapement.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
We currently work with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game during some of our snorkeling surveys of juvenile abundance and coordinate with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management when collecting habitat data. Several agencies have been included on task force teams for the planning and implementation of improvement projects.


Monitoring activity
Physical and biological features are monitored to determine benefits of projects to chinook salmon and steelhead trout and to determine if additional manipulations are needed to meet project objectives.

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
1994: 360,488
1995: 234,812
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 253,000
Planned: 253,000
1997: 268,000
1998: 281,000
1999: 295,000
2000: 310,000
2001: 325,000

* 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   $268,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $268,000