BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal
Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget
see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations
Title of project
PATH - Facilitation, Tech Assistance & Peer Review
BPA project number 9600600
Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Essa Technologies Ltd.
Sponsor type WA-Consultant
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
|Mailing address||ESSA Technologies Ltd.
1765 West 8th Ave., Suite 300
BPA technical contact Jim Geiselman, EWI 503/230-5732
Biological opinion ID
NWPPC Program number
PATH (Plan for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses): an iterative process of defining and testing hypotheses underlying key salmon management decisions in the Columbia River Basin with scientists/managers from BPA, NPPC, NMFS, state and tribal agencies, as well as independent peer reviewers.
Project start year 1996 End year 2000
Start of operation and/or maintenance
Project development phase Maintenance
PATH began in 1995. In 1993 and 1994, funding was provided to facilitate cooperative efforts by the Bonneville Power Administration, the Northwest Power Planning Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service and various state and tribal agencies to compare and enhance the models they use to evaluate salmon management options. Results from these model comparison activities and associated peer-review efforts showed that each modeling system has different strengths and weaknesses, several common patterns of model behavior, and some significant differences. In 1994, an independent scientific review panel (coordinated by Dr. Larry Barnthouse, then of Oakridge National Laboratory) completed an interim report in which they concluded that there were three major differences between modeling systems: 1) the distribution of survival over the life span; 2) the effect of flow on survival; and 3) the benefit of transportation. The panel felt that as long as these differences exist the models were going to give different answers in a fairly predictable fashion. This would result in conflicting advice to decision makers and would make further analysis of details of model behavior relatively unproductive. The panel concluded that it would be more fruitful to focus on describing and attempting to resolve the fundamental issues, through hypothesis formulation and testing using Bayesian approaches. The 1995 NMFS Biological Opinion on operation of the federal Columbia River Power System (pg. 124, Rec. 17) stated that “The BPA shall participate with NMFS in activities to coordinate the regional passage and life cycle models and to test the hypotheses underlying those models.” NMFS noted that the emphasis should shift to analyses that test the different assumptions underlying the models, rather than refining our understanding of how the models are different. NMFS concurred with the recommendation of the Scientific Review Panel (SRP) to conduct an analysis of alternative hypotheses, and worked with BPA to ensure that this work was funded out of the $30 million envelope dedicated to actions arising out of the Biological Opinion (instead of the CBFWA funding envelope). This was the genesis of the Plan for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses (PATH). Critical to the success of PATH are three components: 1) facilitation of the interagency scientific working groups, 2) specialized expertise in Bayesian statistics, multivariate analysis, and salmon population dynamics; and 3) external, independent peer review.
Biological results achieved
PATH is developing a rigorous framework to maximize the rate of learning and the potential to develop management actions to recover endangered Columbia River salmon populations. This will ultimately benefit fish populations by making the best use of limited resources for fish population expenditures. Several participants commented that the first PATH workshop was the best workshop held in the last decade in the Columbia River basin, and managers are keenly interested in the progress made to date.
Annual reports and technical papers
Marmorek, D.P. and I. Parnell (eds.). 1995. Plan for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses (PATH): Information package for Workshop 1 - Design of retrospective analyses to test key hypotheses of importance to management decisions on endangered and threatened Columbia River salmon stocks. Prepared by ESSA Technologies Ltd., Vancouver, BC with contributions from ANCOOR (Analytical Coordination Working Group) and Dr. R. Deriso, 88 pp. and appendices.
Marmorek, D.R, I, Parnell, L. Barnthouse and D.R. Bouillon. 1995. PATH - Plan for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses. Results of a Workshop to Design Retrospective Analyses. Prepared by ESSA Technologies Ltd. Vancouver, BC for Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, 71 pp. and appendices.
Marmorek, D.R., I. Parnell, and D.R. Bouillon. (eds., in prep). PATH - Plan for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses: Draft Report on Retrospective Analyses. Prepared by ESSA Technologies Ltd., Vancouver, BC for Bonneville Power Administration, Portland OR.
The logical framework developed in PATH will greatly assist in providing the scientific basis for appropriate management decisions concerning the Columbia River Basin anadromous salmon ecosystem. By rigorously assessing the value of additional information from research studies, monitoring, and adaptive management experiments, PATH will provide a scientific basis for prioritizing expenditures given increasingly limited resources. The design of this adaptive management framework is already in progress: it is being driven by the management questions of interest, the alternative hypotheses relevant to these questions and the data available to test these hypotheses.
Specific measureable objectives
1. Publish peer-reviewed reports and journal articles demonstrating the overall level of support for key alternative hypotheses based on existing information. Provide guidance to management agencies based on these outputs. Propose other hypotheses and/or model improvements that are more consistent with the data.
2. Publish peer-reviewed reports and journal articles which assess the ability to distinguish among competing hypotheses from future information. In generating these outputs, develop a quantitative adaptive management framework for development and implementation of a regional salmonid recovery program. Advise various institutions (NMFS, NPPC, BPA, USFW) on research, monitoring and adaptive management experiments which would maximize the rate of learning and clarify decisions.
A number of testable hypotheses will be developed and tested as part of the PATH process. For the retrospective analyses, these hypotheses fall into three groups: 1) Level 1 Hypotheses are exploratory analyses to assess patterns of change in stock indicators over space and time to identify differences in trends among species and stocks, without investigating mechanisms to explain those differences; 2) Level 2 Hypotheses attempt to explain trends in stock indicators in terms of changes in either the survival of particular life history stages, or the stresses affecting life stage survivals, thereby providing inferences on where to focus management actions; and 3) Level 3 hypotheses explain mechanisms associated with observed trends in survival of key life stages identified at Level 2, and link directly to management decisions on hydro, harvest, habitat or hatcheries.
Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The PATH process is designed to specifically address underlying assumptions and critical constraints of previous research and modeling, and explore the response of salmonid populations under a wide variety of conditions. Indeed, this is the first systematic effort in the Columbia Basin to link critical assumptions directly to decisions and data using advanced statistical approaches. The most critical underlying assumption affecting the success of PATH is that analytical expertise within the agencies will not be significantly diverted from productive activities by lawsuits.
PATH consists of an iterative series of workshops, analytical activities and reporting steps, coordinated by an interagency PATH Planning Group. The PATH activities directly relate to a number of components in both the 1994 NPPC Fish and Wildlife Program, the NMFS Biological Opinion and the NMFS Proposed Recovery Plan. The following description (for FY96) is indicative of the approach to be taken in subsequent years.
Workshop 1: The first workshop was held in October 1995, focusing on retrospective analyses. The objectives of the first workshop were to: review the hypotheses framework developed for the meeting; develop specific approaches for testing stated hypotheses; examine existing data available to apply these approaches; develop testing approaches for both life-stage specific hypotheses, and aggregate hypotheses encompassing the complete life cycle; work out methods of integrating hypotheses tests across different levels of analyses; formulate specific plans for data analyses, model runs to quantify hypotheses, and prototype framework development; and establish dates and protocol for exchange of preliminary results. Analyses dealt with existing data only. A workshop report was produced summarizing the workshops discussions and conclusions working within the hypothesis framework. This report is serving as a quarterly work plan to guide analytical activities by ANCOOR and outside experts.
Retrospective Report: Following the first workshop, a series of works groups (including both ANCOOR members, outside technical participants, and others) carried out a series of analyses as determined at the first workshop. The product of these analyses will be a retrospective report describing the supporting evidence for alternative hypotheses regarding salmon survival in the Columbia River. The report will present the results of hypotheses tests and their implications for: the relative level of support for alternative hypotheses; the structure and assumptions of current passage and life cycle models; current management actions; and future data collection and adaptive management experiments. Of particular importance is the development of decision trees for different components of the Columbia River system. The report will be peer reviewed by a panel of scientific experts coordinated by Dr. Larry Barnthouse.
Workshop 2: The second workshop will be take place after the completion of the retrospective report. This workshop will be guided by the retrospective analyses but will take a more prospective approach. It will use the retrospective report and modeling/statistical framework as a basis for examining future data collection, including field and laboratory experiments, tagging studies, and adaptive management experiments. The basic driving question addressed at this workshop will be: 1) how can we improve current data sets and our abilities to distinguish among existing hypotheses; 2) what are the implications of the retrospective analysis for decisions to be made in the year 1999/2000; and 3) what would you need to observe over 5, 10, and 20 years to be able to distinguish among competing hypotheses with a high level of confidence? Consideration of alternative management actions, different weather scenarios, and different levels of monitoring and experimentation. The group will design a series of modeling experiments to simulate possible outcomes and a set of statistical procedures to analyze these simulations and determine their consequences for both testing alternative hypotheses and promoting stock recovery. Workshop discussions, conclusions and work schedules will be summarized in a workshop report. This report will serve as a second quarterly work plan for analytical activities.
Prospective Report: This report will contain the results of work proposed at workshop two and will recommend research , monitoring and adaptive management strategies which will allow managers to tailor future data collection to maximize learning and improve their ability to gauge the relative credibility of competing hypotheses. This would include procedures to periodically update the amount of support for alternative hypotheses. It would explicitly address the ability of different management actions such as transportation, flow augmentation, drawdown, and hatcheries.
Workshop 3: This workshop will involve both concluding activities and future planning. The concluding aspect will involve reviewing and finalizing reports on previous activities and preparing a succinct set of recommendations for future research and monitoring by the sponsoring agencies . The workshop would include an outside peer review by an independent panel of experts. The future planning aspect would be to solidify the design of an adaptive management framework and set of procedures to continually evaluate results of research monitoring and adaptive management experiments with respect to determining the support for various hypotheses and alternative decision paths. This work would continue through the year 2000, as this is the period where many critical decisions must be made.
Brief schedule of activities
This schedule is very preliminary:
Fall 96: Respond to reviewers comments with respect to both the retrospective analysis, the prospective analysis and the adaptive management framework. Link planned research and monitoring designs (as well as management experiments) directly into the framework to show the implications for alternative decision paths. Work out the implications of the work in FY96 for the use of models in future decision making (e.g. Bayesian weighting of competing model predictions based on retrospective analyses, structural revisions, inclusion of uncertainty, convergence of assumptions). Fill critical data gaps where possible, and advise managers on priority needs for further data collection and experiments.
Winter/Spring 97: Design and implement a more meaningful structure for analytical support to management decisions (e.g. biological opinions) on hydrosystem, hatcheries, harvest, and habitat. This would use existing models, linked to Bayesian statistical frameworks developed in FY96 that show the level of empirical support for each model. Move towards integration of the different modeling systems by building a single modular framework. Incorporate the results from research and monitoring experiments completed in FY96, and assess the implications for research, monitoring and adaptive management priorities in the next fiscal year.
Summer 97: Work with managers and researchers to develop a revised decision path for each of the 4 H’s, based on the results to date.
FY98-2000: Continue to improve and integrate the adaptive management framework, the region’s research and monitoring designs and decision support tools. Adapt the set of hypotheses and tools as new information is acquired.
Salmon populations in the Columbia River Basin have been in decline since the early days of western settlement. The annual production of the Snake River spring/summer chinook during the late 1800’s was probably in excess of 1.5 million fish or 39% to 40% of all Columbia River spring/summer chinook (NMFS Biological Opinion, 1995). Today the population of Snake River spring/summer chinook is approximately 0.5% of its historic abundance, with approximately 1,800 spring/summer chinook returning to the Snake River. The story is similar for the Snake River fall chinook. From 1938, when the gates closed on the Bonneville dam, to 1950, the returns of Snake River fall chinook fell from approximately 72,000 to 29,000. Today, approximately 350 Snake River fall chinook return. Such declines have led to both races of Snake River chinook being listed under the Endangered Species Act, though both have continued to decline since listing (NMFS, Proposed Recovery Plan for Snake River Salmon, 1995). Past efforts to halt the decline have been ineffective because they have not shared common objectives, authorities, or jurisdictions and have not been adequate to the task of balancing resource allocation decisions (NMFS, Proposed Recovery Plan for Snake River Salmon, 1995). Therefore, there is an urgent need for coherent, defensible guidance to decision makers.
Litigation: Substantial progress has been made in FY96 due to a reduction in litigation. The amount of future litigation is highly uncertain.
Rates of Learning: There are serious limitations on how quickly we can improve the existing data base, due to both the serious condition of the stocks (which limits the possible range of experimentation and monitoring), and the time needed to accumulate sufficient statistical power to have ‘comfortable’ levels of confidence in decision paths taken. Decisions will need to be made under considerable uncertainty; PATH can help to maximize the learning associated with chosen decision paths, though the acceptable level of risk will ultimately be a political choice, not a scientific one.
Summary of expected outcome
Improved prioritization of research, monitoring, and adaptive management expenditures.
Increased consensus among scientists in different agencies on the state of knowledge, range of possible trajectories of endangered stocks, and appropriate management actions.
Improved consolidation of decision support tools, and stronger links of these tools to empirical evidence.
Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Budget envelope into which PATH is placed (i.e. compulsory tasks associated with Biological Opinion, or CBFWA envelope).
Lawsuits which divert time of key analytical personnel.
PATH currently involves NMFS, BPA, NPPC, ODFW, IDFG, WDFW, CRITFC, USFS, CBFWA, CORPS, as well as experts from a number of academic institutions (U.Washington, Simon Fraser University, UC Davis, UBC, U. Rhode Island) and private firms (ESSA Technologies, Paulsen Environmental Research, Don Chapman Consultants).
The project does not involve any field work, and has no risks. The risk of not implementing the project is that decisions may be taken (or not taken) which result in less learning than would have been possible with PATH, less effective use of limited resources, and ultimately a slower rate of recovery of endangered stocks.
The project’s progress is being monitored by both the PATH Planning Group and a senior policy group (CPT), to whom the Planning Group regularly reports.
|Historic costs||FY 1996 budget data*||Current and future funding needs|
* 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.
CBFWA funding review group System Policy
Recommendation Tier 1 - fund
Recommended funding level $450,000
BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget) $450,000