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
Wenatchee and Methow River Coho Restoration

BPA project number   9604000

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Yakama Indian Nation

Sponsor type   WA-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameLynn Hatcher
 Mailing addressP.O. Box 151
Toppenish, WA 98948
 Phone509/865-6262

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   7.1H, 7.3B, 7.4A

Short description
Restore the population of naturally spawning coho in the Wenatchee and Methow River basins by transferring adult and/or juvenile coho from appropriate lower river hatcheries to selected habitats or acclimation ponds.

Project start year   1996    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1997

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications
By experimenting with releases at different life stages and release locations, more knowledge will be gained about the benefits of acclimation and the rearing of hatchery-influenced fish in more natural environments. This knowledge will help the region to make better decisions about how best to implement supplementation to further rebuilding goals throughout the Columbia River basin.

Specific measureable objectives
Increase the number of adult coho available for harvest and natural spawning in the Wenatchee and Methow River basins as measured by dam counts at Priest Rapids, Rock Island, and Wells dams on the Columbia River and by spawning ground surveys.

Testable hypothesis

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Other projects and improved enforcement of existing laws will result in improvements to habitat and water quality and quantity. Ocean survival of coho will remain within historical ranges. Ocean and river harvest will be managed to allow sufficient escapement of Columbia River coho populations.

Methods
Using early stock coho from lower river hatchery facilities, transport available fish in federal, state, or tribal tanker trucks to suitable habitats in the Wenatchee and Methow River basins. Identified acclimation sites in the Methow River include the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery and Fulton Irrigation Canal. Acclimation sites and water use agreements in the Wenatchee River will be identified and developed as part of this proposal. Fish would either be transferred as adults to spawn naturally or spawned and reared at the hatchery to desired life stage prior to transfer. All juveniles resulting from transfers would be marked appropriately prior to outmigration. Adult counting facilities are available at Priest Rapids, Rock Island and Wells dams and at the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery. Additional data on health and survival of transferred fish would be collected using techniques such as electroshocking and spawning ground surveys.

Brief schedule of activities

Biological need
Mullan (1984) estimated historical populations of 23,000 to 31,000 annually in the Methow River drainage and 6,000 to 7,000 annually in the Wenatchee River drainage. Primarily due to the construction of dams, unscreened irrigation diversions, general habitat degradation and high exploitation rates, these coho runs have been extirpated with very few if any coho counted at Priest Rapids Dam since 1983.

Critical uncertainties
The Wenatchee and Methow river basins contain a lot of excellent spawning habitat, and many brushy pools, side channels and “sloughs” for summer rearing and overwintering. This proposal seeks to directly increase the number of coho available to utilize these habitats. However, these basins also have many habitat problems which primarily affect the coho migration corridor. These problems include sedimentation, blocked access to habitat, destruction of pool habitat and riparian cover, inadequate summer discharges and high summer temperatures. Fortunately many programs are already in place to address these problems. Needed habitat improvement efforts include: constructing fences and planting native trees, shrubs, and grasses in riparian areas; conserving water for instream flows; regrading and revegetating stream banks to reduce erosion and sedimentation; creating velocity and hiding cover for juveniles via construction of rock barb and woody structures; excavating existing or new juvenile rearing alcoves; and researching ways to reduce agricultural pollutants in waters throughout the basin. Additional focus on habitat programs such as these will increase the benefits resulting from this proposal.

Summary of expected outcome
This project is “low tech” with approximately $1,700,000 required over the first five years to cover transportation, marking, feeding, acclimation, and additional acclimation site investigation. The increase in the population of naturally spawning coho in the Wenatchee and Methow River basins will also depend on the rate at which habitat and passage conditions are improved and also on ocean survival. However, data from the Umatilla and Yakima Rivers in 1994 and 1995 suggest that improved care, placement, and timing in the acclimation and release of juvenile coho can increase the number of returning adults. As habitat and passage improvements “take hold”, it is expected that returning coho would eventually be self-sustaining.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
As mentioned, this project is directly related to other projects seeking to improve habitat conditions in the Wenatchee and Methow River basins. Other projects seeking to improve fish passage in the mainstem Columbia River will also impact the results of this proposal. This project is consistent with regional goals identified in the NPPC Fish and Wildlife Program, the U.S. versus Oregon CRFMP, and the NMFS Proposed Recovery Plan.

Risks

Monitoring activity
Adult counting facilities at Priest Rapids, Rock Island, and Wells dams and at the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery will allow evaluation of smolt-to-adult survival rates. Spawning ground surveys will allow evaluation of natural escapement spawning success. Use of redd caps, electroshocking, and/or beach seines will allow evaluation of growth and survival of juvenile coho resulting from these releases. Approximately 40% of the annual budget is expected to be used for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

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: 324,800
1998: 340,480
1999: 364,000
2000: 380,800
2001: 399,840

* 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   Priest Rapids Dam - Chief Joseph Dam

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $324,800

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $324,800