FY 2007 Solicitation Homepage

Project Proposal Request for FY 2007 - FY 2009 Funding

Proposal 199502700: Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Project

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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 9, 2006 Finalized Deanne Pavlik-Kunkel

Proposal Type: Ongoing
Proposal Number: 199502700
Proposal Name: Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Project
BPA Project Manager: Jonathan McCloud
Agency, Institution or Organization: Spokane Tribe
Short Description: Project goals are to restore natural recruitment, implement an interim aquaculture program until natural recruitment is restored, and continue to collect baseline stock assessment data to identify and evaluate restoration and management activities.
Information Transfer: The information gathered by this program will be used to guide recovery efforts for white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt and the upper Columbia River. The project works in tandem with the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative, which is investigating white sturgeon in the upper Columbia River. Information and data is shared across the International border to allow synthesis throughout the transboundary reach. Information collected through this program will be available to other white sturgeon recovery projects in the basin. This project will assist managers with developing management decisions for Lake Roosevelt white sturgeon, which will be documented through updates to the Lake Roosevelt Fisheries Guiding Document. These data will be compiled into databases, analyzed and synthesized into annual reports and peer reviewed journal publications. The data will be housed in Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Project databases and will be transferred to the Resident Fish Stock Status above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dam Project (BPA 1997-004-00) database.
 
Project Proposal Contacts
Contact Organization Address Phone/Email Roles Notes
Form Submitter
Deanne Pavlik-Kunkel Spokane Tribe of Indians Alex Sherwood Bldg., Main St. P.O. Box 100
Wellpinit WA 99040
Ph: 509.258.7020
Fax: 509.258.9600
Email: deannep@spokanetribe.com
Form Submitter
All Assigned Contacts
Deanne Pavlik-Kunkel Spokane Tribe of Indians Alex Sherwood Bldg., Main St. P.O. Box 100
Wellpinit WA 99040
Ph: 509.258.7020
Fax: 509.258.9600
Email: deannep@spokanetribe.com
Form Submitter

Section 2: Project Location
Sponsor Province: Intermountain ARG Province: No Change
Sponsor Subbasin: Columbia Upper ARG Subbasin: No Change
Location(s) at which the action will be implemented
Latitude Longitude Waterbody Location Description County/State Subbasin Primary?
Lake Roosevelt - Spokane Arm Lake Roosevelt -Spokane Arm from the Confluence to Little Falls Dam (approximately 29 river miles) Lincoln and Stevens, Washington Spokane No
Lake Roosevelt Lake Roosevel from Grand Coulee Dam to approximately river mile 143 Lincoln, Ferry and Stevens, Washington Columbia Upper Yes

Section 3: Focal Species
Focal Species:
Primary Secondary Additional Species
White Sturgeon Upper Columbia River Population

Section 4: Past Accomplishments
Past Accomplishments for Each Fiscal Year of This Project
Fiscal Year Accomplishments
2005 Continued the adult stock assessment, larval and predator sampling, juvenile stock assessment, telemetry and aquaculture activities. Initiated egg sampling to confirm spawning.
2004 Interim hatchery program released 6000 sturgeon, completed the 2003 annual report, initiated the adult stock assessment and began pilot egg/free embryo/larvae collections and predator survey, continued juvenile assessment and telemetry work.
2003 Start up of interim hatchery program which released 2000 juvenile sturgeon, completed 2002 Annual Report to BC Freshwater Fisheries Society, Lake Roosevelt Recovery Project began operations with juvenile stock assessment and the adult telemetry project.
2002 Completed Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Plan (UCWSRP 2002) in conjunction with Canadian partners. Also, worked in conjunction with Canadian researchers to complete initial surveys to assess the transboundary juvenile populations.
2001 Project did not begin in official start-up year. Revenue was deferred.
2000 Project did not begin in official start-up year. Revenue was deferred.
1999 Project did not begin in official start-up year. Revenue was deferred.
1998 Project did not begin in official start-up year. Revenue was deferred.
1997 Project did not begin in official start-up year. Revenue was deferred.
1996 Project did not begin in official start-up year. Revenue was deferred.
1995 Project did not begin in official start-up year. Revenue was deferred.

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 198605000 Evaluate Sturgeon Physical Hab Past research activities completed by the White Sturgeon Mitigation and Restoration in the Columbia and Snake Rivers Project answered many questions on methods, life history, biology, habitat use, and recruitment that benefit ongoing recovery efforts throughout the basin. The project has moved away from research into mitigation and monitoring, but projects conducting research activities currently will assist this project by continuing to increase knowledge of factors limiting sturgeon populations.
BPA 198806400 Kootenai R White Sturgeon Research on white sturgeon was recognized in several recovery plans in the basin as a critical need. Interaction between these projects allows information sharing with other sturgeon recovery efforts and provides for efficient data collection and synthesis for all sturgeon research and recovery efforts in the basin.
BPA 198806500 Kootenai R White Sturgeon Inve Research on white sturgeon was recognized in several recovery plans in the basin as a critical need. Interaction between these projects allows information sharing with other sturgeon recovery efforts and provides for efficient data collection and synthesis for all sturgeon research and recovery efforts in the basin.
BPA 199404300 Lake Roosevelt Data Collection The Recovery Project will provide data on white sturgeon populations above Grand Coulee Dam which is critical to completion of the Lake Roosevelt Fisheries Evaluation Program objectives to guide management decisions for white sturgeon and to incorporate future direction for white sturgeon into the Lake Roosevelt Fisheries Guiding Document.
BPA 199700400 Resident Fish Above Chief Joe The Joint Stock Assessment project has developed a Universal Database System that will incorporate all blocked area data sources regardless of collector, which is available to blocked area managers to use for management and the identification of data gaps that form the basis for future project solicitation and research.
BPA 199700900 Eval Sturgeon Pop - Snake R (L Research on white sturgeon was recognized in several recovery plans in the basin as a critical need. Interaction between these projects allows information sharing with other sturgeon recovery efforts and provides for efficient data collection and synthesis for all sturgeon research and recovery efforts in the basin.
Other: Idaho Power N/A Hells Canyon Dam Project Idaho Power has investigated ways of rebuilding white sturgeon populations in several reservoirs upstream from Hells Canyon Dam. Research on white sturgeon was recognized in several recovery plans in the basin as a critical need. Interaction between projects will increase knowledge of factors limiting sturgeon populations through information sharing.
Other: Douglas County PUD N/A Wells Reservoir fisheries investigations Douglas County PUD has completed fisheries investigations in Wells reservoir. Interaction between projects will increase knowledge of factors limiting sturgeon and other fish populations through information sharing.
Other: Chelan County PUD N/A Rocky Reach and Rock Island fisheries investigations Chelan County PUD has completed fisheries investigations in Rocky Reach and Rock Island reservoirs. Interaction between projects will increase knowledge of factors limiting sturgeon and other fish populations through information sharing.
Other: Grant County PUD N/A Wanapum and Priest Rapids fisheries investigations Grant County PUD has completed fisheries investigations in Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs. Interaction between projects will increase knowledge of factors limiting sturgeon and other fish populations through information sharing.
Other: BC Hydro, CRIEMP, CBFWCP, FFSBC, etc. UCWSRI Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative The Upper Columbia River White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative is funding projects to characterize white sturgeon population status, investigate spawning and recruitment, determine causes of recruitment failure, and develop supplementation alternatives. The Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Project is part of these efforts and benefit by data sharing for the transboundary reach.

Section 6: Biological Objectives
Biological Objectives of this Proposed Project
Biological Objective Full Description Associated Subbasin Plan Strategy Page Nos
Spokane 1A1 Complete assessments of resident fish losses throughout the Subbasin resulting from the FCRPS construction and operation in terms of the various critical population characteristics of key resident fish species, through the evaluation of altered habitat, carrying capacity, and competition. Intermountain Strategy a) using existing databases, identify data gaps and critical information needs, b) continue filling data gaps in the Subbasin through ongoing investigations and new investigations. 26-5,6
Spokane 1C3 Maintain and implement restoration activities consistent with the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Plan. Intermountain Strategy a) implement Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Plan. 26-11
Spokane 2A1 Conduct baseline investigations to determine native resident fish stock composition, distribution, and relative abundance in the Subbasin. Intermountain Strategy c) continue populating existing databases and develop new databases as appropriate. 26-12,13
Spokane 2C2 Assess need for conservation aquaculture facilities to assist with enhancing or re-establishing healthy, self-sustaining native fish populations for reproduction, recreation, and subsistence by year 2012. Intermountain Strategy a) enhance populations of sensitive native resident fish in concert with recovery plans, and b) develop technical and policy work groups to identify problems and implement solutions. 26-15
Support Work Element There is no specific objective that fits this work element, rather other work elements require this to be done to complete program objectives. Intermountain N/A N/A
Upper Columbia 2A1 Protect the genetic integrity of all focal and native fish species throughout the Subbasin. Intermountain Strategy a) determine genetic distribution of native focal species, identify limiting factors, and develop strategies to address limiting factors, and d) develop technical and policy work groups to identify problems and implement solutions. 34-13
Upper Columbia 2A2 Maintain, restore and enhance wild populations of native fish, and subsistence species to provide for harvestable surplus. Intermountain Strategy c) implement marking program to identify hatchery-produced fish from wild fish and for potential selective harvest regulations. 34-13,14
Upper Columbia 2C1 Artificially produce enough fish to supplement consistent harvest to meet state and tribal management objectives. None Strategy c) enhance white sturgeon populations through habitat improvements and artificial production in concert with the Upper Columbia Sturgeon Recovery Plan, and f) develop technical and policy work groups to identify problems and implement solutions. 34-15

Section 7: Work Elements
Work Elements and Associated Biological Objectives
Work Element Name Work Element Title Description Start Date End Date Estimated Budget
02: Produce Environmental Compliance Documentation Complete BPA environmental compliance documentation and CITES Permit Process. Complete Bonneville Power Administration environmental compliance documentation and the WDFW, BC Import and Transfers Committee, and USFWS (CITES) permitting process to allow transfer of CITES Appendix II/threatened/endangered species (white sturgeon in Canada) across international borders. Complete environmental permitting for interim broodstock activities at Sherman Creek Hatchery, including: WDFW Hydraulics Project Approval Permit, Ferry County Shorelines Permit, and Washington Department of Ecology Short-Term Non-Consumptive Water Right. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $8,304
Biological Objectives Metrics
Support Work Element
No Metrics for this Work Element

03: Manage and Administer Projects Manage and Administer Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Project Manage on the ground white sturgeon recovery work. Project coordinator must administer subcontracts with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Colville Confederated Tribes, and other subcontractors to ensure project work elements and milestones are completed. Prepare financial estimates and invoices as requested by Bonneville Power Administration. Prepare statement of work, implementation plans and budgets for Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Project outyears. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $77,405
Biological Objectives Metrics
Support Work Element
No Metrics for this Work Element

04: Coordination Coordination of Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Project Participate in the transboundary Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative (includes members from both the United States and Canada) and coordinate with Lake Roosevelt Recovery Project participants (Spokane Tribe of Indians, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Colville Confederated Tribes) to facilitate project assessment and direction. Coordinate with other research activities in the project area to ensure collection efforts are not duplicated and data is shared. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $6,583
Biological Objectives Metrics
Spokane 2C2
Upper Columbia 2A1
Upper Columbia 2C1
No Metrics for this Work Element

05: Develop RM&E Methods and Designs Develop study plans for Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Program Study plans will be developed for white sturgeon broodstock, egg, larval, predator, and juvenile sampling and telemetry monitoring. Study plans will include maps with sample sites, lists of selected sample sites for each gear type, schedules for implementation, biological data collection protocols, sample sizes, and datasheets. See Background for complete details of study plan needs and justifications. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $3,420
Biological Objectives Metrics
Support Work Element
No Metrics for this Work Element

06: Mark/Tag Animals PIT tag and scute mark hatchery white sturgeon. Mark each individual hatchery white sturgeon to be released in the upper Columbia River with a unique PIT tag and a broodyear specific scute mark. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $253,032
Biological Objectives Metrics
Upper Columbia 2A2
Primary R, M, and E Type: Uncertainties Research

07: Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Conduct white sturgeon sampling and monitoring, data entry, and data quality control. Collect data for use in calculating standard indices and statistics that will allow for inference on the population status, fish condition (growth), reproduction, larval behavior, predation on larvae, adult and hatchery juvenile movements, hatchery juvenile survival, and hatchery juvenile diets. These data will refine our knowledge of white sturgeon population characteristics and habitat use in the Roosevelt Reach. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $844,515
Biological Objectives Metrics
Spokane 1A1
Upper Columbia 2A1
Primary R, M, and E Type: Uncertainties Research

08: Create/Manage/Maintain Database Database Maintenance for Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Project. Maintenance of databases used to complete annual/final research reports and for maintaining records. This work element includes maintenance of a master data set of current and historical data collected by the Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Program. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $3,082
Biological Objectives Metrics
Spokane 2A1
No Metrics for this Work Element

09: Analyze/Interpret Data Analysis of data collected by the Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Project for annual reports. Complete data analysis from white sturgeon sampling and telemetry monitoring to produce standard indices and statistics that will allow for inference on the population status, fish condition (growth), reproduction, larval behavior, predation on larvae, adult and hatchery juvenile movements, and hatchery juvenile survival. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $62,907
Biological Objectives Metrics
Support Work Element
Primary R, M, and E Type: Uncertainties Research

10: Produce Plan Maintain sturgeon sections of the Lake Roosevelt Fisheries Guiding Document. Review and update Lake Roosevelt Fisheries Guiding Document white sturgeon sections based on research findings, following the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Plan (UCWSRI 2002) as a benchmark. This document is a tool to guide and document adaptive management activities. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $2,215
Biological Objectives Metrics
Spokane 1A1
Spokane 2C2
Upper Columbia 2A1
Upper Columbia 2C1
No Metrics for this Work Element

11: Produce Status Report Produce Quarterly Status Reports Complete quarterly updates detailing project progress, including accomplishments, major purchases, and deviations from schedule, budget or work statement. Subcontractors quarterly status reports will be incorporated into a single Project Quarterly Status Report submitted to Bonneville Power Administration. 4/1/2007 1/31/2010 $2,215
Biological Objectives Metrics
Support Work Element
No Metrics for this Work Element

12: Produce Annual Report Produce Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Project annual report(s). Annual reports will provide background, introductory information, a detailed description of methods, results of analyses and a discussion of the results in the context of other related research findings from the published literature. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $74,998
Biological Objectives Metrics
Support Work Element
No Metrics for this Work Element

13: Disseminate Raw/Summary Data and Results Provide summary data to Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Project participants and Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative. Provide summary reports, tables and figures to display the progress made by the project participants and interested Recovery Initiative participants including presentation of data and results at public meetings and professional conferences. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $3,099
Biological Objectives Metrics
Support Work Element
No Metrics for this Work Element

14: Provide Technical Review Provide technical review for other Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative projects and reports. Provide technical review for other Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative projects and reports. Project proposals and draft reports will be required to have completed a thorough review by Initiative members and project coordinator prior to submission to Bonneville Power Administration. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $5,919
Biological Objectives Metrics
Support Work Element
No Metrics for this Work Element

15: Outreach and Education Lake Roosevelt Sturgeon Recovery Project Outreach and Education Facilitate the development of a U.S. community outreach program that includes tribes, regulatory agencies, public representation and others interested in sturgeon recovery. This group would provide local and traditional knowledge, advice on potential social and economic impacts of proposed recovery measures, and communicate issues and findings to their respective constituencies. Maintain involvement with the Student Discovery Week for white sturgeon awareness outreach. This program allows local school kids to assist with release sturgeon into the Columbia River/Lake Roosevelt. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $14,645
Biological Objectives Metrics
Spokane 2C2
Upper Columbia 2A1
Upper Columbia 2C1
* # of students reached: Approximately 550 students

16: Produce Hatchery Fish Produce hatchery fish for release into Lake Roosevelt and the upper Columbia River, WA. Collect wild white sturgeon broodstock (5 of each sex in advanced stages of gonadal development) from the Northport, WA spawning site and transport them and hold at Sherman Creek Hatchery, Kettle Falls, Washington. Spawn enough fish to produce three unique families (1 male: 1 female matings). Transfer 45,000 eggs (15,000 per family) from Sherman Creek Hatchery to the WDFW Columbia Basin Hatchery, Moses Lake, WA. The eggs will be incubated and juveniles reared to produce 6,000 white sturgeon (three families comprised of 3,000 individuals) from the US sub-population for release into the Upper Columbia River. The program will follow protocols identified in the Upper Columbia River White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative plan, including breeding protocols. 4/1/2007 3/31/2010 $146,801
Biological Objectives Metrics
Spokane 2C2
Upper Columbia 2C1
* Broodstock collection: # of non-clip (natural origin) fish: Collect 10 spawning sturgeon adults annually
* Incubation: # fertilized eggs into incubation program.: 45,000 white sturgeon eggs annually
* Rearing: # juveniles (presmolt) into program: 6,000 juvenile sturgeon released annually


Section 8: Budget

Itemized Estimated Budget
Item Note FY 2007 Cost FY 2008 Cost FY 2009 Cost
Personnel PTE Only $35,008 $57,792 $46,032
Fringe Benefits Mngr/Bio (18%), Tech (15%) $5,641 $9,268 $7,405
Supplies PIT tags, Office, field, lab supplies $68,900 $67,480 $67,355
Travel Sampling, Coordination $9,650 $9,650 $9,650
Other Insurance (project boat) $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Overhead Calculated at 17.6% $10,136 $14,536 $12,116
Other Subcontractor/Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife $366,828 $262,160 $269,573
Other Subcontractor/Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife-Hatchery $33,174 $34,832 $36,574
Other Subcontractor/Colville Confederated Tribes $13,680 $21,600 $21,600
Other Public Outreach/Subcontractor $2,500 $5,000 $5,000
Totals $547,517 $484,318 $477,305

Total Estimated FY 2007-2009 Budgets
Total Itemized Budget$1,509,140
Total Work Element budget$1,509,140

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
BC Hydro VR2 Receivers (7) $8,400 $8,400 $8,400 In-Kind Confirmed
BC Hydro V16 Transmitters $5,250 $5,250 $5,250 In-Kind Confirmed
WDFW Hatchery Equipment $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 In-Kind Confirmed
WDFW Personnel $12,946 $13,366 $13,804 In-Kind Confirmed
WDFW Boats $30,000 $30,000 $30,000 In-Kind Confirmed
Totals $66,596 $67,016 $67,454

Section 9: Project Future
Project Future Costs and/or Termination
FY 2010 Est Budget FY 2011 Est Budget Comments
$551,325 $576,972 White sturgeon sampling and interim hatchery activities on Lake Roosevelt.
Future Operations & Maintenance Costs
The outyear budget for this project will strongly depend on findings from FY2007-2009. If a substantial adult population is identified in the lower reservoir, extensive sampling to complete substrate mapping and invertebrate assessments would need to be conducted. Additionally, extensive public outreach will be necessary if predators are identified as a limiting factor to sturgeon recruitment.
 
Termination Date Comments
N/A
 
Final Deliverables

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: [none]


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

FY 2007 Budget
$547,517
FY 2008 Budget
$484,318
FY 2009 Budget
$477,305
Total NPCC Rec
$1,509,140
Budget Type:Expense
Budget Category:ProvinceExpense
Recommendation:Fund
Comments: ISRP fundable (qualified): sponsors should consider the ISRP comments for the next project review. Work element associated with artificial production triggers step reviews. See project 200737200.


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

FY 2007 Budget
$547,517
FY 2008 Budget
$484,318
FY 2009 Budget
$477,305
Total NPCC Rec
$1,509,140
FY 2007 MSRT Rec
$ 0
FY 2008 MSRT Rec
$ 0
FY 2009 MSRT Rec
$ 0
Total MSRT Rec
$ 0
Budget Category:ProvinceExpense
Comments:
NPCC Staff Comments: ISRP fundable (qualified): sponsors should consider the ISRP comments for the next project review. Work element associated with artificial production triggers step reviews. See project 200737200.

Local or MSRT Comments: No change to proposed budget.


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

Recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)
NPCC Comments: This is a proposal for white sturgeon rehabilitation in Lake Roosevelt that is reasonable in broad view, but the initial proposal lacked perspective from other white sturgeon research, did not adequately document the status of the population, and did not adequately justify a conservation aquaculture program. The first two of these three deficiencies were amply remedied by an excellent response. The response addressed the ISRP's identified concerns explicitly with an abundance of data, analysis, and intentions for the proposed research. The response provides convincing evidence that sponsors are gaining an understanding of the dynamics of the sturgeon population upstream from Lake Roosevelt and perhaps beginning to determine the mechanisms limiting recruitment to the older age classes. An expanded reference list was provided. The ISRP appreciates the thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and objectivity with which the sponsors provided their response. The reporting of results of the project has been good with Annual Reports to BPA produced for each year of the study.

The relationships of the Lake Roosevelt stock to other components of the Columbia River Basin white sturgeon were described both genetically and geographically. The research and analysis to date on stock status was described quantitatively and appropriate results were presented. As requested, the response demonstrated an understanding of the sturgeon population in the context of other populations and ongoing research and management in the basin and throughout the species' range. The initially unclear relationships among existing projects were appropriately clarified. The response provided evidence that the population assessments conducted to date and those planned for the future are intended to be quantitative and have statistical rigor.

Despite the fine response, the ISRP has some suggestions for sponsors’ consideration in the areas of population status and stock assessment. Sponsors conclude with a statement that the historic stock structure is not germane to the current problem of poor recruitment, and that the population will remain isolated for the foreseeable future because of impoundment of this section of the river. This may be true, although the ISRP provides another view for consideration. The ISRP receives proposals from various reaches throughout the Columbia River basin that implicitly treat each impoundment as an isolated unit. It could be, however, that before the hydrosystem was constructed white sturgeon migrated among segments of the Columbia and Snake Rivers (exclusive of the Kootenai, which has been isolated for thousands of years). Coupled with episodic and localized successful recruitment interspersed with many years of failed reproduction, the abundance and geographic distribution of sturgeon may have depended on movement of individuals, young and old, among river reaches. The fragmentation of the system may itself be a causal mechanism in the decline in recruitment in some segments. If this is the case, then efforts to mitigate the mechanisms for recruitment failure may be a necessary but insufficient solution to recover these populations. Any artificial production to support white sturgeon needs to consider this possibility.

Sponsors provided a very helpful summary of their stock assessment efforts, and their conclusions to date. If this proposal is funded and the current round of tasks are accomplished, it would be helpful for reviewers in the next proposal cycle if the sponsors provided a more thorough justification of additional stock assessments. There need to be explicit assessments outlined that will provide convincing abundance and survival estimates. The conclusion that a standardized survey needs to be conducted every three years could to be better justified, also. Future proposals should more thoroughly develop the need for continued population status monitoring and at what time intervals.

The sponsors' justification for the conservation hatchery was still based too much on the UCWSRI (2002) and recovery plan recommendations, plus the citing of supplementation ongoing in the lower Columbia River (The Dalles reservoir) and in the Kootenai River. The ISRP examined the upper Columbia plan and found no compelling evidence that a conservation aquaculture program was well justified other than that the Canadians were successfully rearing and releasing juvenile white sturgeon into the Keenleyside Reach since 2002. All of the supplementation efforts are at such an early stage that it is unknown if supplementation will help or hurt these populations. This is too much like a bandwagon approach. The rationale for trying conservation aquaculture was presented as a temporary response to the longer time frame of likely research and management advances for restoring habitat deficiencies likely responsible for low recruitment. An informative set of projected population trajectories with and without hatchery supplementation was provided. Nonetheless, the ISRP suggests the supplementation approach be more thoroughly developed and justified, which remains a qualification for the fundable recommendation.


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

Recommendation: Response requested
NPCC Comments: This is a very locally focused proposal for white sturgeon rehabilitation in Lake Roosevelt that is reasonable in broad view, but lacks perspective from other white sturgeon research, does not adequately document the status of the population, and does not adequately justify a conservation aquaculture program. Each of these three deficiencies necessitates a response.

The technical and scientific background provides adequate evidence of recruitment failure for the white sturgeon population in the upper Columbia River. However, the background does not provide an adequate summary of the status of the population. Is this population part of a larger Columbia River metapopulation? What is the structure of stocks and ESUs of this species? Where does this population fit in this larger picture? A number of stock assessments have been conducted in the last few years, but the sponsors do not provide any data on the estimated population size, and estimates of yearly decline, or how long this population will last. What is needed in a response is a summary of the desired stock assessment, how much is completed, and what is going to be accomplished by the work in this proposal.

The background is almost exclusively local and does not consider the broader perspective of white sturgeon research in the rest of the Columbia River basin (although later sections add some further relationships). There is an adequate description of mostly local literature with some lower Columbia information included for comparison. The proposal does not mention similar problems in the Kootenai River nearby (many published papers by Paragamian and co-authors) or papers that attempt to sort out the same reproductive bottleneck throughout the species’ range (e.g., Coutant 2004, Reviews in Fisheries Science 12:23-73). There is a good description of the joint US/Canada interaction, however. A response is needed to summarize how this population and this environment compare to the basinwide situation with respect to white sturgeon declines.

The background does not sufficiently justify a conservation aquaculture program. The proposal introduces the concept that a conservation aquaculture program is one of the major solutions for recovering this population and cites the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Plan (UCWSRP) recommendation that "the immediate implementation of a conservation aquaculture program was required to preserve the remaining demographic and genetic diversity of the population and rebuild the natural age-class structure lost during the persistent recruitment failures of the last 30 years (UCWSRI 2002, Recovery Plan Measure 5.5.3)." The ISRP examined this plan and found no compelling evidence that a conservation aquaculture program was well justified other than that the Canadians were successfully rearing and releasing juvenile white sturgeon into the Keenleyside Reach since 2002. A response is needed to justify this approach.

The rationale section is fairly well done and clear links are described to the Spokane Subbasin Plan, the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program, the Upper Columbia United Tribal Measures, the UCWSRP, and the Lake Roosevelt Recovery Project. Several projects funded by BPA that this project interacts with are given. The relationships are however not clear. Projects 199404300 and 199700400 are apparently stock assessment and data management projects for resident fish in Lake Roosevelt. The data that this project contributes to those is not clear, and neither is the services those projects provide for 199502700. Sponsors assert that the research proposed in this project will benefit 198806400, 198806500, and 199700900. Specifically what 199502700 will contribute to these others is not identified. This contribution should be addressed in the response.

A general description of project activities and results is given in the project history section. Sponsors provide a succinct summary of the tasks they have completed since the project began active work in about 2003. What is lacking is evidence that the assessments that have been completed to date are sufficient for statistical analysis and will provide information needed to make management decisions. The response should address this issue.

The primary objective of this project is found in the abstract: to restore natural recruitment of white sturgeon. The tasks are to continue interim aquaculture activities and stock assessments. Most of the numerous objectives are not biological objectives and are tasks or information transfer functions (e.g. objectives # 10-14 are to produce annual reports, quarterly reports, disseminates raw data, outreach, etc.).

Methods are quite detailed and well done for objectives # 5, and especially #6, which is the real essence of this project. The stock assessment elements serve as trend monitoring, but the aquaculture portion does not have clear monitoring and evaluation endpoints. The plan for information transfer is solid, with annual reports and peer reviewed literature to be produced. It is good to see that annual reports have been done regularly in this ongoing project but there are no open-literature publications.

The project appears headed toward benefit to white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt, but there is much to do before it is clear that there will be benefit. Putting too much stock in the artificial production element may be a waste of resources and compromise the future genetic diversity and fitness of the remaining population.

The proposal needs to do a better job of zeroing in on what they think is the major factor limiting recruitment. They end up at a vague hint that predation on early life stages may be the main problem but don't quite get there.

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