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
Assessment of Fishery Impr. Moses Lake

BPA project number   9502800

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
WDFW

Sponsor type   WA-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameDoug Fletcher
 Mailing addressWashington Dept of Fish & Wildlife
600 Capitol Way N.
Olympia, WA 98501-1091
 Phone360/902-2328

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

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   10.8B.23

Short description
Complete a baseline investigation of the Moses Lake resident species fishery to establish management objectives and identify fishery enhancement measures that will increase the amount of recreational fishing opportunity produced. Project compensates for lost of recreational fishery opportunity above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dams.

Project start year   1994    End year   2001, ongoing O&M

Start of operation and/or maintenance   2001

Project development phase   Planning, Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
This project is unique and does not directly relate to any other FWP measure.

Project history
This project was originally submitted in 1992. Funding has been delayed until WDFW provided the council with a rational that "there is no other higher priority project". The Council has accepted WDFW rational and this project is WDFW's highest priority for resident fish substitutions, because of the large potential benefit to the regions resident species fishery.

Biological results achieved
The WDFW has maintained a modest study program in cooperation will local residents to identify factors currently limiting fish production in Moses Lake, and to identify management objectives and enhancement strategies. These projects include the enhancement of sunfish populations by eliminating carp from spawning habitat, creel census, biological surveys, net pen projects and fish stocking activities. However, without a more comprehensive baseline study, little progress in restoring the fishery in Moses Lake has been achieved.

Annual reports and technical papers
Annual Federal Aide (DJ/WB) reports including the results of fish management and research activities on Moses Lake are available for each year since 1972.

Management implications
Funding for this project will enable WDFW to conduct the first comprehensive investigation of a large mixed-species reservoir for the purpose of restoring and enhancing a mixed-species fishery in the state of Washington. The process and investigational techniques developed for this purpose will be applied to other large waters in the future.

Specific measureable objectives
To develop a process and investigational techniques to assess the condition, limiting factors, fishery management objectives, enhancement opportunity and best overall management strategy for large mixed-species lakes and reservoirs.

To develop a management plan, including measurable objectives for production, harvest and habitat protection for Moses Lake
To implement a management plan that will restore, enhance and maintain a high quality recreational fishery for Moses Lake on a continuing basis.

Testable hypothesis
The objective of this project is to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the all factors affecting the maintenance of a high quality mixed-species recreational fishery in Moses Lake. And, to restore conditions that perpetuated a high quality fishery for crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass and rainbow trout prior to the mid-1980's.

To accomplish this objective, a five-step process will be employed. Step 1 will involve the development of the comprehensive study plan to examine and compare habitat and fishery conditions prior to the fishery decline with current conditions. Step 2 will involve the collection of fishery and habitat data needed to evaluate current and historic conditions. Step 3 will be to evaluate data, establish management objectives and identify specific management strategies to restore and enhance conditions. Step 4 will be to implement management plan, and Step 5 will be to monitor and evaluate results.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The principle underlying assumptions for this project are: 1) that Moses Lake is still capable of providing a high quality recreational fishery with better understanding and reasonable modifications to habitat and/or fish management; and 2) that factors limiting current production can be identified and overcome.

Methods
See Testable Hypothesis section for a brief description sequence of activities. Experimental design will be developed during Step 1.

The project will require 3.5 years to complete, involve 3 full-time staff positions and require the purchase of an electro-fishing boat, hydrolab, vehicle, computer, nets and other sampling equipment.

Brief schedule of activities
Step 1 - Development of experimental design and study plan, hiring of staff and procurement of equipment - 6 months

Step 2 - Data collection - 24 months

Step 3 - Data analysis and management planning - 12 months

Step 4 - Permitting and begin implementation - 6 months

Step 5 - Evaluation and monitoring - 5 yrs

Biological need
The loss of recreational, commercial and tribal fishing opportunity in the Columbia River above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dams as a result of hydropower development has been substantial and well documented in the Council's Program. This project represents an opportunity to substantially enhance recreational fisheries for resident species to partially compensate for losses of anadramous fisheries above these hydropower projects.

The recreational fishery for bass, crappie, bluegill sunfish and rainbow trout in Moses Lake has declined to a fraction of the levels sustained from the 1960's through the mid-1980's. Despite some small scale studies designed to determine the cause for this decline, these fisheries have remained at very low levels. This project is needed to investigate the reason(s) for the decline, identify management objectives, and implement strategies to restore and enhance these important recreational fisheries.

The restoration of these fisheries will provide an estimated three-fold increase in recreational angling opportunity over current levels.

Critical uncertainties
While several theories have been purported as reasons for the decline of these fisheries, the cause(s) of the decline remain unknown.

Summary of expected outcome
We expect to identify the reason or reasons for the decline in warmwater species abundance and rainbow trout survival in Moses Lake. After identifying management objectives for these species based on this new understanding of limiting factors, a set of specific management actions to restore and enhance the survival and productivity of these stocks will be implemented. In the end, we hope to affect a three-fold increase in recreational fishing opportunity in Moses Lake and discover techniques that can be applied to the management of other large, mixed-species fisheries.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
This project will be undertaken in cooperation and consultation with the Grant County Fisheries Advisory Committee, the Moses Lake Irrigation and Rehabilitation District, Big Bend Economic Development Council, and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Adoption of a Management Plan and implementation of some management strategies will require environmental review either through NEPA or SEPA.

Risks
Very few, if any, risks associated with this project. Implementation of recommendations resulting from this project will be thoroughly evaluated prior to implementation.

Monitoring activity
The results of this project will be evaluated by comparing several measurable parameters between the current condition with the same parameters post implementation. Those parameters which will likely be used include population abundance, total angling effort, catch per unit of effort, size distribution, recruitment and angler satisfaction. Each of these parameters will be measured on an annual basis by periodic biological and creel sampling.

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
(none) New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 273,894
1998: 198,400
1999: 206,800
2000: 105,300
2001: 47,500

* 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 2 - fund when funds available

Recommended funding level   $273,894