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
Bull Trout Studies in Central and NE Oregon

BPA project number   9405400

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   OR-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameDave Buchanan
 Mailing addressOregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
28655 Hwy. 34
Corvallis, OR 97333

BPA technical contact   Ron Morinaka, EWP 503/230-5365

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   10.5A.2

Short description
Status, life history, genetic, habitat needs, and limiting factors for bull trout populations in the Deschutes, Hood, Grande Ronde, John Day, and Umatilla basins.

Project start year   1994    End year   2000

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1996

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects

Project history
Project initiated in late 1994. Beginning phases of the project included several cooperative meetings with local basin bull trout working groups comprised of Tribes, Utilities, Landowners, USFS, USFWS, BLM, and ODFW. Matching cost-share funding from permanent positions and capital will be provided by ODFW, USFS, PGE, and the Warm Springs and Umatilla tribes. A Steering Committee with representatives of BPA, ODFW, Tribes, USFS, USFWS and Native Fish Society will meet annually to technically review the project.

Biological results achieved
During the first field season over 42 bull trout populations were non-lethally sampled for mitochondria and nuclear DNA analysis. Important life history and distribution information from each population was also collected. This information will help future planned tasks and add to a statewide status report on Oregon’s bull trout that will be published in June 1996. Historical and current distributional patterns for bull trout were compiled throughout Oregon’s portion of the Columbia River system.

Annual reports and technical papers
Quarterly Report No. 1 1/15/95 Quarterly Report No. 4 10/20/95
Quarterly Report No. 2 4/15/95 Annual Report No. 1 Drafted
Quarterly Report No. 3 7/15/95

Management implications
This study will provide scientific data and information that will guide protection and recovery for bull trout in Oregon’s portion of the Columbia Basin. Bull trout are a sensitive species with category 1 federal status. Protection and recovery of this sensitive indicator species should help managers improve and identify habitat and other limiting factors for fish and wildlife that historically co-evolved in the same aquatic ecosystem. Examples of benefiting species include salmon, steelhead, redband trout, and tailed frogs. Implementation of recovery plans should provide additional cultural and recreational fisheries similar to the Metolius River/Lake Billy Chinook population which now provides a major featured species bull trout fishery on tribal and public lands.

Specific measureable objectives
Objective 1.0: Determine the genetic characteristics of bull trout within the 11 Oregon river basins of the Columbia Basin, and the structure of metapopulations within the Deschutes, Grande Ronde, and John Day, using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA analysis.
Objective 2.0: Determine seasonal distribution and develop protocols to establish indices of relative abundance of bull trout within the study subbasins.
Objective 3.0: Determine life history characteristics including migration patterns, spawning timing, and age at maturity.
Objective 4.0: Determine critical habitat for seasonal use of bull trout at selected life stages.
Objective 5.0: Determine the influence of physical factors such as temperature, elevation, geomorphology, and cover on distribution patterns of bull trout.
Objective 6.0: Determine the ecological relationships between bull trout and other sympatric species, such as anadromous salmonids, exotic trout, and other prey species.
Objective 7.0: Determine the populations to monitor and the criteria to measure to establish long-term status and trends of Oregon bull trout.

Testable hypothesis
1. All bull trout populations found in Oregon’s portion of the Columbia Basin are genetically similar.
2. Metapopulation theory can account for the genetic relationships found in Oregon’s portion of the Columbia Basin.
3. Seasonal distribution of bull trout does not vary between populations or between basins.
4. Life history characteristics are similar for all bull trout in the Deschutes, Hood, John Day, Umatilla, and Grande Ronde basins.

5. Critical bull trout rearing, migratory corridor and spawning habitat does not vary with season or life stage.
6. Physical factors such as temperature and elevation do not effect distribution patterns of bull trout.
7. Temperature variability does not exacerbate detrimental interactions of exotic brook trout to native bull trout.
8. There are no ecological relationships between bull trout and anadromous salmonids.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The project will be conducted from 1994-1999 to provide representative data over a variety of natural conditions including population, streamside habitat, basinwide habitat, and regional climatic variations. This project is a cooperative study with scientific inputs from BPA, ODFW, Tribes, USFS and USFWS. This is a bull trout project, however, ecological relationships between other sympatric species such as anadromous salmonids, resident salmonids, tailed frogs, and sympatric prey species will also be included. The project will not harm threatened or endangered fish and wildlife species.

All genetic samples will be collected locally using non-lethal caudal clips of material and sent to Fred Allendorf’s genetic laboratory at Montana University for analysis. Currently operated upstream and downstream trapping sites will include samples of bull trout and all sympatric species. Spawning surveys will be conducted to identify spawning areas and life history characteristics. Radio tagging and/or PIT tagging will be used for planned movement and migration studies. Snorkeling will be used to determine distribution patterns. Electrofishing may be used in selected cases on small juvenile bull trout when injury is determined to be insignificant.

Brief schedule of activities
1996: All project objectives, tasks, and subtasks will be reviewed by the Steering Committee in March 1996. Field collection of new data will begin in May and continue throughout 1996. Summary information received from genetic analysis of 46 populations in June 1996 will help direct the schedule of activities throughout the project.
1997-1999: Project activities depend on what is discovered by genetic analysis and field studies in 1996.

Biological need
Bull trout are a sensitive native species listed as “sensitive” state status and “Category 1” federal status. Over 72 percent of the bull trout populations in the proposed study subbasins are classified as having a moderate or high risk of extinction. Maintaining the genetic diversity of bull trout throughout the Columbia Basin will require the continued existence of many populations because of the documented genetic differences among populations and to low genetic diversity within individual populations.

Critical uncertainties
None apparent. Data collected thus far and throughout the project will be used to scientifically protect and manage a native Columbia River species that has been weakened by altered habitat, exotic introductions, and overharvest.

Summary of expected outcome
Protection and recovery plans for bull trout and other native Columbia River species are being developed without clear scientific understanding as to population variability of genetic and life history characteristics or potential limiting factors and habitat needs. This study will provide scientific information that will help develop a protection and recovery plan for bull trout in Oregon’s portion of the Columbia Basin. This plan will also include the restoration of tribal and recreational fisheries.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
This project is dependent on close cooperation between the local bull trout working groups for each basin or subbasin and the project coordinators from ODFW, USFS, PGE, BPA, and the Warm Springs and Umatilla tribes.

None apparent.

Monitoring activity
Objectives have been established and will be annually monitored for success through a technical steering committee with representatives of BPA, ODFW, Tribes, USFS, USFWS, and the Native Fish Society.

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: 75,300
1995: 81,802
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 250,000
Planned: 241,849
1997: 239,000
1998: 250,000
1999: 200,000

* 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   $239,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $239,000