BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1998 Proposal

Section 1. Summary
Section 2. Goals
Section 3. Background
Section 4. Purpose and methods
Section 5. Planned activities
Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation
Section 7. Relationships
Section 8. Costs and FTE

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Summary

Title of project
Kootenai River White Sturgeon Study and Aquaculture

BPA project number   8806400

Short description
Design, construct, and operate a sturgeon hatchery on the Kootenai Reservation, Idaho. Produce 4-8 families of white sturgeon progeny per year for preservation stocking using breeding protocol outlined by Dr. Harold Kincaid. Look at alternative uses for the hatchery all year round. Monitor and evaluate natural spawning of white sturgeon in response to Libby Dam discharge.

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Kootenai Tribe of Idaho

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameSue Ireland, Fisheries Biologist/Administrator
 Mailing address
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
 Phone208/267-3620
 Email
   

Sub-contractors
Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Section 2. Goals

General
Supports a healthy Columbia basin; maintains biological diversity; maintains genetic integrity; increases run sizes or populations; adaptive management (research or M&E)

Target stockLife stageMgmt code (see below)
White sturgeonN/A(L)
KokaneeN/AW

 

Section 3. Background

Stream area affected

Stream name   Kootenai River
Hydro project   Libby Dam
Subbasin   Kootenai

History
The project started in 1988 in response to the virtual absence of white sturgeon recruitment in the Kootenai River since 1974. Since then the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho began designing, building and operating an experimental aquaculture facility to address factors responsible for the lack of natural white sturgeon recruitment. This facility, an integral part of this project, has confirmed that gametes of male and female white sturgeon are viable, and that Kootenai River water quality is sufficient to rear young fish. Now the conservation aquaculture program has been identified by USFWS as a Priority 1 action to prevent extinction of the Kootenai River white sturgeon. With the exception of 1996, year classes of white sturgeon have been successfully produced in the Kootenai Hatchery every year that the facility was in operation. Additionally, the Tribe and IDFG have coordinated monitoring and evaluation of natural spawning of white sturgeon in response to experimental flow releases from Libby Dam.

Biological results achieved
1989-1996: Construction of an Experimental Hatchery that has demonstrated eggs and sperm from Kootenai River white sturgeon are viable, can be raised to a size large enough to be PIT tagged and released into the river. Developed broodstock collection techniques and spawning methodologies for white sturgeon. Successfully produced offspring for the conservation aquaculture program every year the facility has been in operation, with the exception of 1996. Reared disease free rainbow trout in the hatchery. Tracked transmittered hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon in the Kootenai River. Tracked transmittered hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon in the Kootenai River. In coordination with IDFG and MDFWP monitored and evaluated sturgeon flow proposals 1993, 94, 95, and 96. Finished second year of water quality and sediment sampling in the Kootenai River. Completed kokanee spawning ground surveys in Kootenai River tributaries below Kootenai Falls (1993, 94, 95, and 96). Obtained Section 10 permit from the USFWS and participated in the development of the USFWS Kootenai River whtie sturgeon draft recovery plan.

Project reports and papers
Monthly reports 1990-1996. Annual Reports FY 1990, 1991,1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995. "Natural Spawning of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) in the Kootenai River, Idaho, 1994." Preliminary Report of Research. KTOI, IDFG and MDFWP.

Adaptive management implications
This project will provide the necessary means to prevent extinction of the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon population.

Section 4. Purpose and methods

Specific measureable objectives
1) Annual production of 4-8 families of white sturgeon progeny, produced in a manner to protect and potentially enhance the Kootenai River white sturgeon population's genetic diversity. 2) Determination of whether altered hydrographs and thermographs produced downstream from Libby Dam can result in natural life cycle completion for Kootenai River white sturgeon.

Critical uncertainties
The Post-dam Kootenai River's ability to allow natural life cycle completion for white sturgeon.

Biological need
The Kootenai River population has had failed recruitment for most of it's 22 post-impoundment years. With the exception of the conservation breeding program proposed by the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, all management and research activities on the Kootenai River have failed to result in the natural completion of the white sturgeon's life cycle, and reduction of the extinction threat. The Kootenai Hatchery is the only currently known means to protect the genetic diversity of this population and prevent extinction.

Hypothesis to be tested
The conservation aquaculture program and preservation stocking program will preserve the existing gene pool and begin to re-establish natural age structure of the population.

Alternative approaches
N/A

Justification for planning
N/A

Methods
Kootenai Hatchery: 1) Conservation aquaculture will produce 4-8 families of Kootenai River white sturgeon in the Kootenai Hatchery following genetic preservation protocol outlined by Dr. Harold Kincaid. 2) Presently, statistical analyses are not used on the hatchery portion of this project. However, in the future statistics concerning genetic variation among individuals, and on the effects of releasing juveniles from the hatchery to the wild population will be performed. 3) Only adult white sturgeon from the Kootenai River will be used to produce progeny to maintain genetic variability and protect this population from extinction.
Monitoring and Evaluation of natural spawning: 1) D-ring nets, artificial substrate mats, predator stomach analysis, and in-river experiments with egg and larval survival will monitor success and failure of natural recruitment in order to determine appropriate recovery measures for endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon. Sampling protocol will be standardized to test for differences in reproductive success among years. 2) Statistical tests of natural recruitment will occur among years, testing results of different flow regimes and other experimental system changes on annual white sturgeon reproduction in the Kootenai River. 3) This work includes wild juvenile and adult white sturgeon in the Kootenai River. Also included is research on growth, survival, habitat use and diet selection/food availability using hatchery reared white sturgeon.

Section 5. Planned activities

Phase PlanningStart 1996 End unknownSubcontractor
(1) Participate in the recovery plan of the Kootenai River white sturgeon under the ESA. (2) Continue to monitor natural spawning and recruitment of white sturgeon relative to experimental discharge from Libby. (3) Perform field investigations to refine age distributions, age and growth characteristics and growth rates of sturgeon. (4) Monitor hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon released into the Kootenai River for habitat, growth and distribution information. (5) Acquire IFIM model to evaluate sturgeon data collected during experimental releases. (6) Determine senility rates of female sturgeon. (7) Collect and return broodstock unharmed to the river. Produce 4-8 families per year following genetic preservation protocol outlined by Dr. Harold Kincaid. Rear progeny in at least two separate locations, refine non-surgical egg collection techniques, develop cryopreservation techniques, refine and implement a genetically sound conservation program for white sturgeon at the existing hatchery. (8) Develop permanent t
Phase ImplementationStart 1996 End unknownSubcontractor
(1) Participate in the recovery plan of the Kootenai River white sturgeon under the ESA. (2) Continue to monitor natural spawning and recruitment of white sturgeon relative to experimental discharge from Libby. (3) Perform field investigations to refine age distributions, age and growth characteristics and growth rates of sturgeon. (4) Monitor hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon released into the Kootenai River for habitat, growth and distribution information. (5) Acquire IFIM model to evaluate sturgeon data collected during experimental releases. (6) Determine senility rates of female sturgeon. (7) Collect and return broodstock unharmed to the river. Produce 4-8 families per year following genetic preservation protocol outlined by Dr. Harold Kincaid. Rear progeny in at least two separate locations, refine non-surgical egg collection techniques, develop cryopreservation techniques, refine and implement a genetically sound conservation program for white sturgeon at the existing hatchery. (8) Develop permanent t
Phase O&MStart 1996 End unknownSubcontractor
Operate Kootenai River whtie sturgeon hatchery to produce 4-8 families per year for preservation stocking until evidence is available to show that natural reproduction is yielding adequate recruits to sustain the genetic variability of the population.

Constraints or factors that may cause schedule or budget changes
The risk of extinction of the Kootenai River white sturgeon population is greater than risks of project implementation.

Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation

SUMMARY OF EXPECTED OUTCOMES

Expected performance of target population or quality change in land area affected
Annual production of white sturgeon in the Kootenai Hatchery. Determination of post-dam Kootenai River's ability to allow natural life cycle completion of white sturgeon. Operate Libby Dam consistent with previous determinations.

Present utilization and convservation potential of target population or area
The white sturgeon population in Kootenai River is listed as endangered and is not utsed for recreational, subsistence, or cultural purposes. Kokanee populations from the lower tributaries to the Kootenai River are considered "functionally extinct" and are no longer used for recreational, subsistence, or cultural purposes.

Assumed historic status of utilization and conservation potential
Historically, both white sturgeon and kokanee provided recreational, subsistence, and cultural opportunities.

Long term expected utilization and conservation potential for target population or habitat
Long term objectives are to provide suitable habitat conditions and restore an appropriate age-class structure and effective population size to ensure a self-sustaining Kootenai River population of white sturgeon. Long term objectives for kokanee are to restore the populations to historic levels to allow for sustainable harvest for recreational, subsistence, and cultural purposes.

Contribution toward long-term goal
Kootenai River white sturgeon and kokanee

Indirect biological or environmental changes
Actions taken to recover white sturgeon and kokanee could have positive effect on other native species such as burbot, westslope cutthroat, redband trout, and bull trout.

Physical products
N/A

Environmental attributes affected by the project
Water temperature, flow, floodplain

Measure of attribute changes
N/A

Coordination outcomes
1989-1996: Construction of an Experimental Hatchery that has demonstrated eggs and sperm from Kootenai River white sturgeon are viable, can be raised to a size large enough to be PIT tagged and released into the river. Developed broodstock collection techniques and spawning methodologies for white sturgeon. Produced progeny from 4 families to be used in the preservation stocking program. Reared disease free rainbow trout in the hatchery. Tracked transmittered hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon in the Kootenai River. In coordination with IDFG and MDFWP monitored and evaluated sturgeon flow proposals 1993, 94, 95, and 96. Finished second year of water quality and sediment sampling in the Kootenai River. Completed kokanee spawning ground surveys in Kootenai River tributaries below Kootenai Falls (1993, 94, 95, and 96). Obtained Section 10 permit from the USFWS and served on the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee and USFWS Kootenai River white sturgeon Recovery Team.

FY 96: (1) Participate in the recovery plan of the Kootenai River white sturgeon under the ESA. (2) Continue to monitor natural spawning and recruitment of white sturgeon relative to experimental discharge from Libby. (3) Perform field investigations to refine age distributions, age and growth characteristics and growth rates of sturgeon. (4) Monitor hatchery reared juvenile sturgeon released into the Kootenai River for habitat, growth and distribution information. (5) Aquire IFIM model to evaluate sturgeon data collected during experimental releases. (6) Determine senility rates of female sturgeon. (7) Collect and return broodstock unharmed to the river. Rear progeny in at least two separate locations, refine non-surgical egg collection techniques, develop cryopreservation techniques, refine and implement a genetically sound conservation program for white sturgeon at the existing hatchery. (8) Develop permanent tagging and marking techniques for artificially propagated sturgeon. (9) Investigate kokanee fishery improvement opportunties by collecting baseline information in the lower tributaries and implement measures necessary to recover kokanee to sustainable harvestable levels. (10) Sub contract to qualified laboratory to analyze water and sediment samples from the Kootenai River. (11) Provide hatchery reared sturgeon to labs and universities for research projects. (12) Establish experimental broodstock with progeny from the Kootenai Sturgeon Hatchery.

1994-unknown: Reestablish white sturgeon year classes in the Kootenai River during this period either through natural production or from aquaculture practices. 1994-unknown: Determine the most effective adaptive river management operations to ensure repeatable natural spawning and recruitment of white sturgeon in the Kootenai River.

MONITORING APPROACH
(See Methods section)

Information feed back to management decisions
Kootenai River white sturgeon recovery team will evaluate success of programs and determine delisting criteria.

Critical uncertainties affecting project's outcomes
Effective monitoring and evaluation of outplanted hatchery produced white sturgeon will provide information about growth, survival, and habitat use. The goal of the breeding program is to produce 4-10 breeding adults from each family.

Evaluation
Delisting of Kootenai River white sturgeon

Incorporating new information regarding uncertainties
Adaptive management will be used in the recovery of the Kootenai River white sturgeon. As new information becomes available, program objectives will be adjusted through the coordinating efforts of the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee and the Kootenai River White Sturgeon Recovery Team.

Increasing public awareness of F&W activities
The conservation aquaculture program at the Kootenai Tribal Hatchery has been an excellent opportunity to educate the public about the recovery of endangered species. Many groups visit the facility every year and the media frequently contacts the Kootenai Tribal fisheries department with questions about various aspects of the program.

Section 7. Relationships

Related BPA projectRelationship
8346700 All work is performed in the Kootenai River system and is coordinated through the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee.
8806500 All work is performed in the Kootenai River system and is coordinated through the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee.
9401200 All work is performed in the Kootenai River system and is coordinated through the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee.
9404900 All work is performed in the Kootenai River system and is coordinated through the Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee.

Opportunities for cooperation
Participation in Kootenai River Basin Steering Committee and the federal Kootenai River White Sturgeon Recovery Team will expedite hatchery production and simultaneous ecosystem restoration. Research will guide restorative measures.

Section 8. Costs and FTE

1997 Planned  $460,000

Future funding needs   Past obligations (incl. 1997 if done)
FY$ Need% Plan % Implement% O and M
1998620,000 10%50% 40%
1999680,000 10%50% 40%
2000720,000 10%50% 40%
2001800,000 10%50% 40%
2002840,000 10%50% 40%
 
FYObligated
1988117,653
1989156,104
1990236,430
1991150,000
1992179,723
1993649,573
1994378,553
1995952,387
199667,356
1997726,650
Total3,614,429

Other non-financial supporters
USFWS, MDFWP, IDFG, BC MELP, U of I, UCUT

Longer term costs   $840,000


Implementation and O&M

FY97 overhead percent   59.5%

How does percentage apply to direct costs
Applies only to personnel costs

Contractor FTE   6
Subcontractor FTE   1