FY 2007 Solicitation Homepage

Project Proposal Request for FY 2007 - FY 2009 Funding

Proposal 198806500: Kootenai R White Sturgeon Inve

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Table of Contents
Part 1. Administration and Budgeting
Section 1: General Administrative
Section 2: Project Location
Section 3: Project Species
Section 4: Past Accomplishments
Section 5: Relationship to Other Projects
Section 6: Biological Objectives
Section 7: Work Elements
Section 8: Budget
Section 9: Project Future
Section 10: Documents
Part 2. Reviews
Part 1 of 2. Administration and Budgeting
Section 1: General Administrative Information
Process Information:
Date Proposal Submitted & Finalized Status Form Generator
January 4, 2006 Finalized Vaughn Paragamian

Proposal Type: Ongoing
Proposal Number: 198806500
Proposal Name: Kootenai R White Sturgeon Inve
BPA Project Manager: Virgil Watts III
Agency, Institution or Organization: Idaho Department of Fish & Game
Short Description: The main goals of this Kootenai River investigation is to determine limiting factors of key fish species, including thretened and endangered, and provide recommendations to their recovery as well as ecosystem rehabilitation through nutrient restoration.
Information Transfer: Recommendation and findings are brought to federal, state, tribal, and provincial managing agencies through the Kootenai River White Sturgeon Recovery Team, KVRI Burbot Recovery Committee, Sate of Idaho and Regional Fish Managers, and other cooperators in a decision making process. Information is also transfered through quarterly reports, oral and poster presentations (including lay groups), annual reports, white papers, and through scientific peer reviewed journal publications.
 
Project Proposal Contacts
Contact Organization Address Phone/Email Roles Notes
Form Submitter
Vaughn Paragamian Idaho Department of Fish and Game 2750 Kathleen Ave.
Coeur d Alene, Idaho 83815
Ph: (208) 769-1414
Fax: (208) 769-1418
Email: vparagamian@idfg.idaho.gov
Form Submitter This is for an ongoing Kootenai River Fisheries Recovery Investigations
All Assigned Contacts
Conan Chiu Idaho Department of Fish and Game 1075 Park Blvd.
Boise, Idaho 83707
Ph: (208) 287-2813
Fax: (208) 334-2148
Email: cchiu@idfg.idaho.gov
Administrative Contact
Vaughn Paragamian Idaho Department of Fish and Game 2750 Kathleen Ave.
Coeur d Alene, Idaho 83815
Ph: (208) 769-1414
Fax: (208) 769-1418
Email: vparagamian@idfg.idaho.gov
Form Submitter
Project Lead
This is for an ongoing Kootenai River Fisheries Recovery Investigations

Section 2: Project Location
Sponsor Province: Mountain Columbia ARG Province: No Change
Sponsor Subbasin: Kootenai ARG Subbasin: No Change
Location(s) at which the action will be implemented
Latitude Longitude Waterbody Location Description County/State Subbasin Primary?
048 41' 58.09"N 116 18' 37.19"W Kootenai River and tributaries and Kootenay Lake Kootenai River and tributaries downstream of the Idaho Montana border and including Kootenay Lake Boundary, Idaho Kootenai No

Section 3: Focal Species
Focal Species:
Primary Secondary Additional Species
Burbot
Interior Redband Trout
White Sturgeon Kootenai River DPS
Bull Trout
Kokanee
Mountain Whitefish
Northern Pikeminnow
Other Resident
Rainbow Trout
Westslope Cutthroat

Section 4: Past Accomplishments
Past Accomplishments for Each Fiscal Year of This Project
Fiscal Year Accomplishments
2005 Bathymetry and sediment transport studies mainly completed - sturgeon spawning at locations of accelerated velocities sediments very low post Dam. Burbot demographics - A=67%, 20 recruits/yr, and pop est 50 fish left. Nutrient restoration begins P added.
2004 Sturgeon demographics - no adults in 20 years and no hatchery fish will be mature, A = 10%, and only 10 wild recruits/yr. Habitat spawn location main issue. Total of 3 burbot caught in Boundary CK, may be a third spawning location. RBT & creel low Catch
2003 Adult sturgeon spawners transported to suitable habitat, four eggs are found but no larval fish detected, some adults moved back down strea.Circumstantial evi. suggests burbot spawned 2000-2001. PSD for RBT incresed for 2nd year in a row since reg change
2002 Bathymetric studies begin on KR sturgeon spawning reach. Gravel found burried by post dam sand. Burbot telem analysis suggests Q must be <12KCFS and for Nov-Feb. Outmigrant RBT from Boulder CK at about 6,000 and N & S Calahan important to BLT spawners.
2001 Gill nets capture 426 juv. sturgeon only 7 are wild. Analysis- sturgeon spawn on increasing temp. and best above 40KCFS and often on descending Q. Temp decrease can end spawn. Test Q for burbot not provided. Telemetry indicates most RBT spawn in MT.
2000 Exp. release of sturgeon larvae indicates our gear can capture wild if they were there. Ambush Rock appears to be a second burbot spawning location if conditions permit. Deep Ck RBT are adfluvial, study indicates tribs above BF inadequate recruitment.
1999 Telemetry suggests flows for sturgeon not timely, only 184 eggs collected. Target 8 C and > 25KCFS. Hatchery sturgeon survival better than expected few wild fish caught. Eight post spawn burbot cap. at BFall in diff. stages of reproduction high Q disrupts
1998 3 exp mats (of 75) capture 19% of total eggs suggests eggs are moving with sand. Many hatchery juv. sturg cap and very few wild. Pop. of burbot est. at 540, Duncan L. gen. similar to KR. fish, larval burbot caught. RBT 40,000 fry outmigrate from Deep CK.
1997 High Q impairs egg sampling, sturgeon very mobile and spend much time in K Lake. Sturgeon are recruitment limited but spawn on sand substrate. Telemetered burbot test and Q - conclusive inhibited by high Q and most movement in Jan. No larval burbot found
1996 High Q and 348 sturgeon eggs collected and spawn in cool water. Pop est. at 1,469 adults - 87 juv. Burbot test Q not provided, ripe burbot captured at Goat River only known spawn location for burbot, mtDNA shows differences in above and below K Falls.
1995 KR sturgeon listed as Endangered in Sept. 04. Shorty's Island found to be major spawning location. Telemetered burbot show negative responce to high discharge and Goat River important to spawn. RBT numbers low and MWF low to pre-dam. Tribs important.
1994 Experimental Q started sampling for eggs was extended to Shorty's and 213 sturgeon eggs captured over sand substrate none upstream. Seven burbot were caught telemetered burbot were tracked, no evidence of spawning. A change in the fish community noted.
1993 Egg mats were used and adults telemetered. Eggs (3) were collected over cobble gravel substrate but most adults stayed in the Shorty's reach with sand substrate.No larval fish were captured. Burbot and trout population study began, 17 burbot captured.
1992 Egg mats were used and adults telemetered. No eggs with low flows. Sturgeon responed to an increse and decrease in flow, abandoned river when flow decreased. Experimental culture continued with the release of hatchery fish for first time.
1991 Egg mats were used and adults telemetered. Eggs (14) were collected over cobble gravel substrate but most adults stayed in the Shorty's reach with sand substrate. Tissue was collected and KR sturgeon were found to have a narrow genetic diversity.
1990 Mark and recaptures continued with radio and sonic transmitters attached to adults. Most fish stayed in the Shorty's Island reach. Several mature adults were mainted to initiate experimental sturgeon culture to determine if eggs were viable.
1989 The first year of study began with white sturgeon to describe some of the basic population statistics. Study began with marking and recapturing of pre-spawn adults. A simple Schnabel type mark and recap estimated about 880 fish and limited recruitment.

Section 5: Relationships to Other Projects
Other Current Projects Related to this Project (any funding source)
Funding Source Related ID Related Project Title Relationship
BPA 198806500 Kootenai R White Sturgeon Inve The KRFRI is comprised of several companion studies with inter agency cooperation with other related studies. Other FWP cooperators include the KTOI (198806400 and 199404900), MFWP (199101903), and the BCME. The KRFRI has targeted white sturgeon, burbot, rainbow, cutthroat, and bull trout, and mountain whitefish in the Kootenai River and its tributaries to determine factors limiting these depressed populations. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) is also a cooperative study by IDFG, KTOI, BCME and MFWP. The nutirent restoration process is a cooperative effort between IDFG and the KTOI. The long-term goal is ecosystem rehabilitation. Large-scale sampling is coordinated with the four cooperating agencies to achieve the common goal. In addition, we work cooperatively with the BCME subcontract through our study. The Kootenai River within Idaho and BC is divided into work zones and the data is shared in a common file. We now know white sturgeon, burbot, and rainbow trout are transboundary populations. Study with BCME includes larval tows for white sturgeon and burbot in Kootenay Lake, adult white sturgeon sampling, sonic and radio telemetry for burbot and sturgeon, hoopnet sampling for burbot and juvenile sturgeon, and angler tag returns of rainbow trout tagged in Idaho and creeled in Kootenay Lake. Cooperative trout telemetry between Montana and Idaho is also part of our trout recovery efforts with MFWP.Work completed by the USGS involving seismic and flow studies will be used to help explain historic changes in white sturgeon spawning habitat. We also cooperate with the KTOI (198806400 and 199404900) in achieving goals to improve the Kootenai River ecosystem, recover Kootenai River white sturgeon (the primary charge of the KTOI is the short-term goal to prevent extinction of white sturgeon by stocking hatchery fish), and other fish species. The KRFRI also cooperates with MFWP (199101903) within various aspects of study. All agencies meet frequently to avoid duplication of effort (as outlined in the Kootenai River Subbasin PLan), to coordinate efforts, and share information. At present the KRFRI has the most complete long-term database on white sturgeon and the most complete database on year around telemetry. In addition the burbot investigations are unique and have compiled the most detailed behavioral data on record.[Relationship field left blank]

Section 6: Biological Objectives
Biological Objectives of this Proposed Project
Biological Objective Full Description Associated Subbasin Plan Strategy Page Nos
Increase native fish populations to Kootenai R. Increase the rainbow trout, mountain whitefish and other native fish populations to the 1980-81 levels. Specifically, the objective is to increase the mountain whitefish populations to 14,000 – 16,000 fish for the 3 km historical monitoring reach. attain a 2 fold increase in rainbow trout densities to 0.11 rainbow trout per 100 m2 (about 100 rainbow trout per km in the 3 km historical monitoring reach. Focal species targeted for recovery also includes Kootenai River are white sturgeon, bull trout, and burbot (each of which has individual measurable objectives previously stated). Kootenai SMP Obj. RBT2: Restore productivity to improve trout survival and growth. BT5: Research link betwn productivity and bull trout abundance. WST1: Document effects of nutrient additions on native fish populations. Evaluation of all trophic levels. 47, 50, 61, 65
Recover the Kootenai River bull trout population a Monitor bull trout spawner abundance and trends by redd surveys, and determine the genetic integrity of bull trout in the Kootenai drainage of Idaho. Kootenai Bull Trout Objective BT5 – continue to track bull trout population trends through …monitoring indices (e.g. redd counts); Bull Trout Objective BT1 - Characterize, conserve, and monitor genetic diversity and gene flow among local populations 47, 42
Rehabilitate Kootenai River Burbot Because of the small population size of burbot it will be neccessary to introduce burbot of a similar genetic and behavioral stock. Sequencing has shown burbot in Beads and Sullivan Lakes, WA, are genetically very similar and anecdotal information suggests the lake burbot were brought in by anglers from the Kootenai River, Idaho. Other sequencing indicates Duncan and Trout Lake burbot are also genetically similar. Kootenai Rehabilitation through and restoration of natural recruitment through introduction of genetically similar adult burbot BUR3 and BUR4. 68, 70
Rehabilitate Kootenai River Burbot o a self sustai There are fewer than 50 burbot, a Conservation Strategy (CS) has been prepared. This investigation will monitor population status, implement, monitor and evaluate, and design research strategies based on CS measures. Kootenai Rehabilitation through CS; BUR1- SB startegy prescribes M&E of the burbot pop. numbers and size structure and potential benefits from nutrient rest. BUR2 rehabilitate w/hydro and temp changes BUR3 restore natural recruitmnent BUR4 gen. sim reintroduction 66, 67, 68, 70
Rehabilitate Kootenai River Burbotto a self sustai Prepare a comprehensive annual report Kootenai Rehabilitation through CS; BUR1- SB startegy prescribes M&E of the burbot pop. numbers and size structure and potential benefits from nutrient rest. BUR2 rehabilitate w/hydro and temp changes BUR3 restore natural recruitmnent BUR4 gen. sim reintroduction 66, 67, 68, 70
Rehabilitation of burbot and white sturgeon Coordination of white sturgeon & burbot studies with BC Ministry of Water/Land/Air Protection Kootenai Rehabilitation through CS; BUR1- SB startegy prescribes M&E of the burbot pop. numbers and size structure and potential benefits from nutrient rest. BUR2 rehabilitate w/hydro and temp changes BUR3 restore natural recruitmnent BUR4 gen. sim reintroduction 66, 67, 68, 70
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and Although specific causes of recruitment failure remain unclear, years of study consistently indicate that mortality occurs between embryo and larval stages. This assertion is based on three key observations. First, almost no recruitment has occurred during the last 30 years. Second, recovery of many viable embryos from 9 to 20 spawning events occurs annually. Finally, no larvae and very few wild juveniles have been collected during recent decades despite years of intensive sampling. Concurrently, post-release hatchery reared juveniles (as young as 9 months of age at release) consistently exhibit successful growth and survival. Current recruitment failure appears to be due, at least in part, to fish spawning where or when conditions are not suitable for incubation and early rearing. Research to date suggests that egg and/or larval suffocation, predation, and/or other mortality factors associated with these early life stages contribute to persistent recruitment failure. Kootenai White Sturgeon Objective WST1 - Increase productivity White Sturgeon Objective WST1 - Food and YOY survival White Sturgeon Objective WST2 - Natural Recruitment White Sturgeon Objective WST 3 - Early life stage research White Sturgeon Objective WST 3 - 61-63, 25-28
Restore or improve habitat or fish passage on at l Evaluate available habitat and barriers preventing access to suitable habitat. Restore habitat or remove barriers where feasible and evaluate success. Kootenai Tributary Objective T1 – Periodically evaluate and update habitat condition; Tributary Objective T7b – Improve habitat and restore connectivity and opportunities for migration; Bull Trout Objective BT1 – Restore fish passage… 29, 36, 42

Section 7: Work Elements
Work Elements and Associated Biological Objectives
Work Element Name Work Element Title Description Start Date End Date Estimated Budget
Install Fish Passage Structure Evaluate success of structure. Evaluation of the passage structure or habitat improvement project to determine if was beneficial to the target salmonid population. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $45,580
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore or improve habitat or fish passage on at l
No Metrics for this Work Element

Install Fish Passage Structure Identify barriers or degraded habitat Identify limited spawning habitat due to migration barriers or degraded habitat 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $131,093
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore or improve habitat or fish passage on at l
No Metrics for this Work Element

Coordination agency and public coordination for fish work work with other agencies and members of the public on fish habitat improvement 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $12,060
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore or improve habitat or fish passage on at l
No Metrics for this Work Element

Coordination Coordination of burbot studies with BC Ministry of Environment Coordinate burbot and white sturgeon studies with the BC Ministry of Environment and partially fund through sub-contracts 10/1/2007 9/30/2009 $90,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Rehabilitate Kootenai River Burbot o a self sustai
No Metrics for this Work Element

Coordination Coordination of nutrient restoration efforts with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho a. Since nutrient restoration is a cooperative project with the KTOI, and management efforts and decisions involving nutrient additions are shared between both agencies, coordination with KTOI will occur on a daily basis throughout the years of treatment. b. In addition to this, the nutrient restoration project is monitored intensely throughout the season and evaluated by the International Kootenai River Ecosystem Recovery Team prior to the beginning of each field season. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $222,289
Biological Objectives Metrics
Increase native fish populations to Kootenai R.
No Metrics for this Work Element

Coordination Coordination of white sturgeon studies with BC Ministry of Environment Coordinate white sturgeon studies with the BC Ministry of Environment and partially fund through sub-contracts 10/1/2007 9/30/2009 $150,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and
No Metrics for this Work Element

Produce Annual Report Burbot Annual Report and publications Produce a comprehensive burbot annual report for each year of study 10/1/2007 9/30/2009 $45,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Rehabilitate Kootenai River Burbotto a self sustai
No Metrics for this Work Element

Produce Annual Report Ecosystem Rehabilitation Annual Report Data collected will be analyzed and discussed in a comprehensive annual report pertaining to the results of the nutrient additions to the Kootenai River. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $31,612
Biological Objectives Metrics
No Metrics for this Work Element

Produce Annual Report White sturgeon Annual Report and publications Prepare a comprehensive annual report pertaining to white sturgeon related studies 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $60,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and
No Metrics for this Work Element

Produce/Submit Scientific Findings Report Write reports Produce quarterly and annual progress reports. Produce manuscripts for peer reviewed journals. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $49,020
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore or improve habitat or fish passage on at l
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data 1135 project - field and lab data Monitor and evaluate biological response to new habitat structure(s) 4/1/2008 3/31/2010 $374,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Bull trout genetics inventory Collect and analyze bull trout genetics samples to characterize the population. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $4,720
Biological Objectives Metrics
Recover the Kootenai River bull trout population a
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Bull trout redd surveys Conduct bull trout redd surveys in established index stream reaches to monitor population trends 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $4,890
Biological Objectives Metrics
Recover the Kootenai River bull trout population a
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Habitat evaluation Modeling historic flows and conditions 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $299,689
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Habitat use relative to changes in flows. Measure movement patterns and changes in habitat use relative to winter flows 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $209,520
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore or improve habitat or fish passage on at l
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Manage Nutrient Restoration Manage daily inputs of nutrients to the upper Kootenai River 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $52,500
Biological Objectives Metrics
Increase native fish populations to Kootenai R.
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Monitor and evaluate burbot Conservation Strategy and provide estimate of population, recruitment/survival Monitor and evaluate the burbot Conservation Startegy by implementation of measures in the startegy 10/1/2007 9/30/2009 $258,383
Biological Objectives Metrics
Rehabilitate Kootenai River Burbot o a self sustai
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Monitor and evaluate burbot donor stock contribution to wild stock Monitor and evaluate measures implemented through the Burbot Conservation Strategy with emphasis on evaluating contribution of a donor stock to the issue of stock number limitations and recruitment. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $ 0
Biological Objectives Metrics
Rehabilitate Kootenai River Burbot o a self sustai
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Monitor and evaluate burbot donor stock contribution to wild stock Monitor and evaluate measures implemented through the Burbot Conservation Strategy with emphasis on evaluating contribution of a donor stock to the issue of stock number limitations and recruitment. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $63,500
Biological Objectives Metrics
Rehabilitate Kootenai River Burbot o a self sustai
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Nutrient restoration biomonitoring Sample post treatment periphyton, zooplankton, and fish populations following nutrient additions. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $185,626
Biological Objectives Metrics
Increase native fish populations to Kootenai R.
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Ontogenetic behavior studies Determine embryonic and larval drift rates and distances 4/1/2007 3/31/2008 $60,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Recruitment and early life history studies Fertilized egg release experiment 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $350,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and
No Metrics for this Work Element

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Rock Structure - Pilot study Monitoring behavior with vemco V-rap system 4/1/2007 3/31/2008 $350,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and
No Metrics for this Work Element

Mark/Tag Animals Monitoring white sturgeon vital statistics IDFG core monitoring and evaluation program 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $465,000
Biological Objectives Metrics
Restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon and
No Metrics for this Work Element


Section 8: Budget

Itemized Estimated Budget
Item Note FY 2007 Cost FY 2008 Cost FY 2009 Cost
Personnel Four permanent and nine temporaries $305,600 $320,880 $327,298
Fringe Benefits Includes permanent and temps $147,750 $155,138 $158,241
Supplies [blank] $400,560 $410,560 $411,075
Travel [blank] $36,000 $36,500 $36,500
Capital Equipment Includes Vwrap VEMCO sonic system, replacement boat, replacement recievers, antenae, scale press $77,000 $41,000 $38,000
Overhead .223 overhead charges $198,450 $205,846 $208,084
Totals $1,165,360 $1,169,924 $1,179,198

Total Estimated FY 2007-2009 Budgets
Total Itemized Budget$3,514,482
Total Work Element budget$3,514,481

Cost sharing
Funding Source or Organization Item or Service Provided FY 2007 Est Value ($) FY 2008 Est Value ($) FY 2009 Est Value ($) Cash or in-kind? Status

Section 9: Project Future
Project Future Costs and/or Termination
FY 2010 Est Budget FY 2011 Est Budget Comments
$1,180,000 $1,180,000 These are estimates based on inflation.
Future Operations & Maintenance Costs
Estimated O M & E will be about $1,100,000 annually
 
Termination Date Comments
Unknown - Termination of this program is contingent on cooperation from the BPA and the USACE with reference to rehabilitation and/or recovery of burbot and white sturgeon to a delisting status for white sturgeon and bull trout and population traits of burbot that represent a self sustained adult population of 2,500 adult burbot. Implementation measures for rehabilitation must be achievable and repeatable with wild recruitment to the white sturgeon and burbot populations. Ecosystem rehabilitation will be an ongoing management activity when results achieve a satisfactory rainbow trout and mountain whitefish fisheries.
 
Final Deliverables
Deliverables will continue to be quarterly technical reports, annual reports and publications in peer reviewed journals.

Section 10: Narrative
Document Type Size Date

Part 2 of 2. Reviews of Proposal
Administrative Review Group (ARG) Results
Account Type:
Expense
Location:
Province: No Change
Subbasin: No Change
Primary Focal Species
No Change
ARG Comments:


NPCC Final Funding Recommendations (October 23, 2006) [Full NPCC Council Recs]

FY 2007 Budget
$1,142,052
FY 2008 Budget
$982,736
FY 2009 Budget
$966,942
Total NPCC Rec
$3,091,730
Budget Type:Expense
Budget Category:ProvinceExpense
Recommendation:Fund
Comments:


NPCC Draft Funding Recommendations (September 15, 2006) [Full NPCC Council Recs]

FY 2007 Budget
$1,142,052
FY 2008 Budget
$982,736
FY 2009 Budget
$966,942
Total NPCC Rec
$3,091,730
FY 2007 MSRT Rec
$ 0
FY 2008 MSRT Rec
$ 0
FY 2009 MSRT Rec
$ 0
Total MSRT Rec
$ 0
Budget Category:ProvinceExpense
Comments:


Independent Scientific Review Panel Final Review (August 31, 2006) [Download full document]

Recommendation: Fundable
NPCC Comments: This proposal is long and rambling, and covers so many species it is a challenge to provide a quality evaluation. The title (on white sturgeon) does not represent the content of the proposed work. This proposal is so broad in scope -- covering sturgeon, burbot, salmonids, and ecosystem rehabilitation -- that it is difficult to follow the logic of the sponsors. It would be easier to evaluate if each species had a stand-alone proposal. There is much redundancy among proposal sections. There appears to be a mix of stock assessment, habitat assessment, aquaculture, and nutrient enhancement. The connection between sturgeon, burbot, and salmonids is not established, and why ecosystem rehabilitation is a separate category is not clear. The proposal is to address species and problems identified in the subbasin plan and regional and recovery plans for sturgeon and burbot, but one gets the impression that the project staff wants to do anything and everything related to fish in the Kootenai (which may be true, since this is IDFG’s portion of the overall large Kootenai River effort). Sponsors would be better served if they had submitted a succinct proposal that is half the length and twice as clear.

Nonetheless, the project has been exceptionally productive at evaluating problems with key species in the Kootenai River, and the work has been well reported in workshops, symposia, and the peer-reviewed literature. There are obvious linkages between this project and others in the Kootenai Subbasin. The overarching biological objectives -- to restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon, rehabilitate burbot, etc. are fine (although time elements are missing). Given the inherent uncertainties surrounding these species in the Kootenai Basin, the objectives are clear. Sponsors include hypothesized limiting factors and key strategies from the subbasin plan. What they are actually going to try to accomplish toward those objectives is less clearly presented.

There is status monitoring of the species but the portions of the project that include habitat manipulations do not have clear methods to evaluate effectiveness. What seems needed is a very brief problem statement, followed by the action that is going to address the problem, followed by the analysis that will permit evaluating whether the action actually contributed to solving the problem.

Additional information on the focal species obtained from the proposed work will add to the understanding of their limiting factors. However, with at least a decade of investigative work completed to date, little progress has been made to improve natural recruitment of either sturgeon or burbot. So, realistically, there is not a basis for optimism that solutions will be found in the near-term.

No response is requested, but in future ISRP reviews a more succinct and well-ordered proposal would be appreciated.

As a general comment, there are many projects in the Kootenai and several project sponsors. What is needed is a brief list of what needs to be done in the subbasin for these species in the near term and then a listing of which projects are completing which tasks. From the presentation in this proposal (and others, as well) it is difficult to know whether all the tasks are identified, and that a particular project(s) is actually completing the work. This was likely worked out in the subbasin plan, but a succinct presentation for proposal purposes would be helpful for reviewers and program administrators.


Independent Scientific Review Panel Preliminary Review (June 2, 2006) [Download full document]

Recommendation: Fundable
NPCC Comments: This proposal is long and rambling, and covers so many species it is a challenge to provide a quality evaluation. The title (on white sturgeon) does not represent the content of the proposed work. This proposal is so broad in scope -- covering sturgeon, burbot, salmonids, and ecosystem rehabilitation -- that it is difficult to follow the logic of the sponsors. It would be easier to evaluate if each species had a stand-alone proposal. There is much redundancy among proposal sections. There appears to be a mix of stock assessment, habitat assessment, aquaculture, and nutrient enhancement. The connection between sturgeon, burbot, and salmonids is not established, and why ecosystem rehabilitation is a separate category is not clear. The proposal is to address species and problems identified in the subbasin plan and regional and recovery plans for sturgeon and burbot, but one gets the impression that the project staff wants to do anything and everything related to fish in the Kootenai (which may be true, since this is IDFG’s portion of the overall large Kootenai River effort). Sponsors would be better served if they had submitted a succinct proposal that is half the length and twice as clear.

Nonetheless, the project has been exceptionally productive at evaluating problems with key species in the Kootenai River, and the work has been well reported in workshops, symposia, and the peer-reviewed literature. There are obvious linkages between this project and others in the Kootenai Subbasin. The overarching biological objectives -- to restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon, rehabilitate burbot, etc. are fine (although time elements are missing). Given the inherent uncertainties surrounding these species in the Kootenai Basin, the objectives are clear. Sponsors include hypothesized limiting factors and key strategies from the subbasin plan. What they are actually going to try to accomplish toward those objectives is less clearly presented.

There is status monitoring of the species but the portions of the project that include habitat manipulations do not have clear methods to evaluate effectiveness. What seems needed is a very brief problem statement, followed by the action that is going to address the problem, followed by the analysis that will permit evaluating whether the action actually contributed to solving the problem.

Additional information on the focal species obtained from the proposed work will add to the understanding of their limiting factors. However, with at least a decade of investigative work completed to date, little progress has been made to improve natural recruitment of either sturgeon or burbot. So, realistically, there is not a basis for optimism that solutions will be found in the near-term.

No response is requested, but in future ISRP reviews a more succinct and well-ordered proposal would be appreciated.

As a general comment, there are many projects in the Kootenai and several project sponsors. What is needed is a brief list of what needs to be done in the subbasin for these species in the near term and then a listing of which projects are completing which tasks. From the presentation in this proposal (and others, as well) it is difficult to know whether all the tasks are identified, and that a particular project(s) is actually completing the work. This was likely worked out in the subbasin plan, but a succinct presentation for proposal purposes would be helpful for reviewers and program administrators.

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