December 10, 2001


Resident Fish Committee (RFC)


Joe Maroney, Chair


Draft Action Notes for the November 14, 2001, RFC Meeting

If there are no objections within five days, these actions will be considered final.

Resident Fish Committee Meeting

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

November 14, 2001

Boise, ID

Draft Action Notes


Dave Ward (ODFW), Joe Maroney (KT), Pete Hassemer (IDFG), Ron Morinaka (BPA), Ron Peters (CDAT), Vinny Pero (SPT), Dave Moser (SBT), Dave Statler (NPT), Lawrence Schawabe (BPT), Amos First Raised (SBT), Neil Ward (CBFWA)

By Phone:

Clint Muhlfeld (MFWP), Brian Marotz (MFWP), Robert Walker (NWPPC), Mike Faler (USFWS, Howard Schaller (USFWS), John Arterburn (CCT), Jeff Anderson (SBT), Jim Uehara (WDFW)

Time Allocation:

Objective 1. FY 2002 Renewal Process

Objective 2. Rolling Province Review and Subbasin Summaries

Objective 3. FY 2001 Adjustments





Review and Approve Agenda

Item 4 (i.e., Discussion regarding potential transfer of funds from one CDAT project to another to allow for construction of a new office)


Review the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP) Within-year Budget Modification Request

The MFWP requested a within-year budget modification (i.e., allocation of $28,250 from RFC placeholder) for Project 199101903 to allow for the evaluation of stock origin and life history of native migratory westslope cutthroat trout populations inhabiting the upper Flathead River drainage, Montana. For FY 2001, a total of $6,750 was allocated to accomplish this objective through the use of stable isotopes, a technique characterized by limitations that were unknown prior to 2001. Based on preliminary results, the MFWP proposes to utilize laser ablation coupled with plasma mass spectrometry for micro-elemental analyses. The RFC concluded that the request does not result in a change of scope or a new objective but instead will provide funding for an alternative technique that will allow the MFWP to address the existing stock identification objective.


The RFC recommended that the MMG review/ approve and subsequently recommended that the NWPPC approve the request.


Review RFC comments/recommendations for Blue Mountain and Mountain Snake Provinces

During the October RFC Meeting, RFC members elected to review proposals submitted in the Blue Mountain and Mountain Snake provinces for funding consideration through the Rolling Provincial Review. For purposes of consistency, the reviewers performed the reviews by implementing the same criteria used by the subbasin review teams. Following each proposal title are the comments that were developed by the RFC.

28007 : Causes and effects of nonnative trout invasions in the Salmon and Clearwater River subbasins.

The project is designed to investigate the ecological and genetic impacts of nonnative trout invasions at various spatial scales in the Salmon and Clearwater River subbasins. The multi-spatial scale approach by the sponsors could provide comprehensive information on the dynamics of trout invasions.

The RFC agrees with the broad-scale modeling approach (i.e., data collection and analysis) of Phase 1 of the study and strongly encourage the sponsor to coordinate in a more deliberate fashion with other agencies and ongoing efforts in the North Fork Clearwater. In addition, the RFC suggests the sponsor should use available genetics information throughout the major study basins to reduce costs in Phase 3 of the study.

The RFC indicated that much of the data that would be collected as described within Table 1, Phase 1 and 2a (occurrence of non-natives and natives in watersheds and habitat/landscape characteristics) has been collected for the Clearwater National Forest. The RFC expressed concern relative to whether this project addresses the important issue. The RFC acknowledges that the science appears sound, but are unsure whether the results will have management implications? The most significant possibility of a project like this would be to develop models to help prioritize management alternatives (e.g., habitat restoration) that would benefit native species while not benefiting exotic species. The goals and objectives as stated in the proposal do not address this issue. The proposal should be rewritten to address management implications, and submitted through the innovative process. The RFC questions whether the BPA is the appropriate source of funding for the proposed work.

27015: Develop Long-term Management Plan for Snake River (Hells Canyon Reach) White Sturgeon.

The RFC suggests the proposed work could complement management actions and should be performed jointly with Project 199700900 (potential cost savings).

199700900: Evaluate Potential Means of Rebuilding Sturgeon Populations in the Snake River between Lower Granite and Hells Canyon Dams

The RFC suggests the timeframes in out years look long. In addition, a closer working relationship needs to be developed with IDFG, either by including a subcontract for their participation in analyzing and interpreting data or by a separate contract as in proposal 27015. The RFC expressed concerns that there may be opportunities for simultaneous work that are not mentioned. The harvest goal in the proposal is a NPT goal and is not shared by IDFG. A working group that monitors this project’s progress should be formed (IDFG, ODFW, NPT, IPC). Or they may be able to cooperate with the IPC WSTAC.

The BRAT Review identified catch and release fishing in the Hells Canyon reach as one of the major potential limiting factors for sturgeon here. Future proposals should clarify why this is not being investigated. USGS has put forth proposals to investigate these fishery affects, and this is the reach that seems most appropriate for the investigation.

Food availability was also listed in the BRAT review as a potential limiting factor. Bioenergetics work to describe available resources compared to those needed for sturgeon production seems appropriate but is not being pursued. While comments from the ISRP are probably valid given they have no contact with the project proponents, the RFC has confidence in the described methods and analyses. The RFC indicated that progress by project personnel in completing reports, making population information available, etc., is unclear.

28041: Dworshak Zooplankton Entrainment

This project uses hydroacoustic technology to monitor zooplankton movements in the forebay above Dworshak Dam, and then proposes to apply the information to manage dam operations to curtail zooplankton entrainment. The proposal further links zooplankton loss to problems with kokanee management, and ultimately suggests this as an impediment to bull trout recovery. The problem (zooplankton loss), is referenced as a "potential" negative impact, and was "suggested" as a "possible" explanation for poor kokanee growth in ’91 and ’92 in the proposal. The RFC suggests that the proposal fails to discuss the excellent kokanee growth rates observed in Dworshak in the past 5 years. As a result, the acceptance of zooplankton loss as a management issue is not compelling. There are questions as to whether the proposed methods will be able to differentiate Cladocerans from other zooplankters, suspended detritus, small fish, or Chaoborus spp.

The RFC believes that the proposal reads as a concept paper rather than a project proposal and suggest that the proposal be rewritten so that more detail is provided and a stronger argument is presented as for why entrainment is a limiting factor to the system.

The RFC suggests that a more acceptable approach to this issue may be to first conduct a problem assessment using conventional methods by sampling zooplankton drift in the tailrace. Loss could be quantified and related to gatewell selectors, and diel movement patterns could be inferred (see Novotny and Faler, 1982). An approach such as this could be done for less than ¼ of the existing project’s cost as proposed, and then analyzed to see if corrective measures are needed or feasible.

Novotny, J. and M. P. Faler. 1982. Diurnal Characteristics of Zooplankton and

Macroinvertebrates in the Tailwater Below a Kentucky Flood Control Reservoir.

Journal of Freshwater Ecology, Vol. 1, No. 4, April, 1982.

27024: Life History Strategies in Oncorhynchus mykiss: Interactions Between Anadromous and Resident Forms

This proposal evaluates the potential for using local stocks of resident rainbow trout to supplement steelhead broodstock at NE Oregon Hatcheries. For example, it is unclear where experimental progeny will be released. If they are released at Irrigon Hatchery, then juveniles will likely move past dams in search of suitable habitat whether they are emigrating or not.

Although the proposed work would provide a contribution to the fisheries science, the RFC suggests the study design, methods, and data analysis for each objective in the proposed project need to be strengthened.

For Objective 1, more detail is needed to describe the study design, methods and data analyses. For example: What conditions will mimic a steelhead smolt program? What times and locations will the author sample? What morphological and physical characteristics will be measured to assess smolt development? What kind of data analysis will be conducted (e.g. ANOVA, MANOVA, Chi-square goodness of fit)? Perhaps citations may be needed to demonstrate the strategies and techniques involved. The objectives are clearly defined, but there is little reference to how the tasks will be measured.

Objective 2 focuses on examining the relative proportions of known-origin anadromous and resident O. mykiss and unknown-origin juveniles that are produced by anadromous and resident forms. The RFC applauds the use of otolith microchemistry analyses to identify life history strategies and determine maternal origin and encourages the sponsor to summarize the microchemistry pilot work to strengthen the argument that otolith microchemistry would be a useful tool to address the objective. Again, the author should better define the study design, methods and data analysis in the tasks to strengthen the proposed objective. The approach is conceptually an excellent idea; however, more detail is needed to demonstrate the best use of the techniques and principles to address the objective.

28002: Fluvial Bull Trout Migration and Life History Investigations in the Upper Salmon River Subbasin

This proposal addresses data gaps in bull trout distribution and life history in the upper Salmon River Subbasin. The RFC suggests this information is needed for the development of recovery actions for the Salmon River Bull Trout Recovery Unit; however, the geographical scope of this project appears too large for the proposed approach, and the 50 fish radio tagging sample seems too small for the size of the subbasin.

The RFC suggests a more systematic approach would lend itself well to project success. The project could be strengthened by concentrating on one major drainage at a time. Each of the 3 drainages (Yankee Fork, Mainstem, and East Fork) should receive about 50 tagged fish and 2-3 years sampling effort. It appears the proponents need to include more specific information on telemetry equipment to be used, and details such as transmitter life, size, frequencies and costs. There may be remote tracking sites currently available in the subbasin that could be utilized for this project, and if so, the project efficiency could be greatly improved by utilizing them. If there are no remote sites currently in place, it would be wise to establish some. The use of data loggers would also narrow the focus of equipment manufacturers and save time and money in data collection. Specific plans for radio-tracking are lacking in the proposal. Some additional plans need to be prepared in regards to tracking methods, frequency, and approach.

"The USFWS feels if the proposal can meet the above concerns and those raised by the ISRP, there are elements of the project that warrant funding."

28022: Evaluate Bull Trout Life History In Dworshak Reservoir, North Fork Clearwater River Drainage, ID.

This proposal is directly tied to hydrosystem impacts and Terms and Conditions set forth in the FCRPS BiOp. The addition of a fixed telemetry site in Dworshak Tailrace substantially strengthened the project as a whole, in addition to the success of meeting Objective 4.

In past studies, the proponents have been used 400 kHz PIT tags. It is unclear in the proposal if the project intends on switching over to 134 kHz PIT tags if awarded funding. Switching over to the 134 kHz tags would likely provide additional interrogations of entrained fish below Dworshak Dam, and would also strengthen the proposal.

Through the Subbasin Team Review, Objective 4 of this proposal received a "High Priority" ranking while the other objectives were categorized as "Recommended Action." The RFC suggests that Objective 4 cannot be completed without making the following Objectives/tasks High Priority: Task 1.1, Task 1.3, Task 2.1, Objective 3, Objective 4 for a total of approximately $133,000. The remaining proposed work should be categorized as Recommended Action.

The USFWS indicates that the proposed work "will help implement reasonable and prudent measure 10.A.3.2 and terms and conditions 11.1 and 11.2 in the FCRPS biological opinion."

28023: Evaluate and Control Brook Trout Populations – Addressing Competition and Hybridization Threats in the Clearwater River Drainage, Idaho.

The RFC suggests this project addresses one of the primary extinction threats to bull trout. The decline and local extirpation of bull trout stocks has been closely tied to invasion, competition, and hybridization with brook trout. Much work remains to be done on this issue, and this project evaluates one approach to the problem that may prove effective in areas where native fish have been displaced by introduced species.

The concept of using an introduced species to combat another introduced species is not uniformly accepted as a viable approach among the RFC. It would have been beneficial to the RFC if a more thorough summary of IDFG’s existing tiger musky programs were included in the proposal. Without this summary, the RFC can only recommend a slower approach, looking at longer-term effects of the current program before a more aggressive program is implemented.

One issue worthy of discussion is the long-term management of the treatment lakes when/if the program is successful. The proposal could be strengthened if an additional objective were added to re-establish native species (bull and cutthroat trout) after eradication/control is complete. In addition, it would not be acceptable to continue the stocking of tiger muskies if a sport fishery develops as a result of this effort.

The RFC suggests Task 5.1 and 5.2 should be performed prior to any other objectives and indicated that the proposed stocking efforts would likely be subjected to the Three-Step Review process.

199405400: Characterize Migratory Pattern, Bull Trout, Blue Mountain Province

The RFC indicates that the proposal does not provide a review of all the diet studies conducted for bull trout in anadromous and non-anadromous waters within the Blue Mountain Province. The RFC proposes that revisions of the proposal should include a more thorough review of previous diet studies. The majority of the hypotheses may have been answered by previous studies.

The USFWS suggests that "this project would be complimentary to proposal 27017 and provide additional needed information in the Grande Ronde. The objectives will characterize the fine-scale population structuring of bull trout within the Grand Ronde River subbasin; investigate the seasonal movements of fluvial bull trout of the Lostine and Imnaha rivers and Catherine Creek; describe the diet of fluvial bull trout in streams with relatively few anadromous salmonids present; and employ EMAP protocols to monitor and evaluate the status and trends in bull trout populations. This project will help implement reasonable and prudent measure 10.A.3.1 and terms and conditions 1.1, 11.2, and 11.A.2.2.b in the FCRPS biological opinion. The USFWS recommends the funding of this proposal, particularly the EMAP protocols for monitoring and evaluating and seasonal movement component be funded. The USFW believes that Proposal 27017 and 199405400 are complimentary and will assist in assessing bull trout recovery and implementation of the Biological Opinion."

28058: Restore Fish Passage and Habitat on the Upper East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River.

The RFC expressed concern relative to the lack of inclusion of fisheries information. The RFC suggests that without specific goals and objectives related to fisheries benefits this project should not be funded. If specific fisheries goals and objectives can be determined than this project could be considered as a recommended action if the proponents address information about downstream effects and hazards as a result of this large scale project. Until downstream effects are better addressed the RFC questions whether possible downstream damage might out weigh up stream gains. In addition, the RFC questions whether the work could be completed in one year as proposed. The RFC believes the tie to the Federal Hydropower system is unconvincing.

28042 : Timing and Location of Spawning by Pure and Introgressed Cutthroat Trout in the North Fork Clearwater River

The objective of the proposed research project is to identify the timing and location of spawning by pure and introgressed westslope cutthroat trout (WCT) using radio-telemetry in the North Fork Clearwater drainage, Idaho. The project objectives will aid with recovery efforts and is consistent with the goals of the Northwest Power Planning Council’s 2000 Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, Idaho Fish and Game, and the Nez Perce Tribe.

The construction/implementation budget seems high for the proposed work statement, especially since only 40 fish will be monitored annually. It is unclear why the supporting agency needs to contract out these services to a subcontractor for $227,774 during FY 2002 and 2003; possibly hiring a well-trained seasonal technician will reduce costs. A more detailed justification is needed to address the cost breakdown. Clearly, the PI’s are well-established authorities in the field of radio-telemetry. The sponsor should reconsider using a subcontractor to perform the described duties. The RFC views the concept of the proposal as a High Priority.

28024: Dworshak Dam Impact Assessment and Fisheries Investigation

This project has a long history of past accomplishments and publications (proposed activities are either a continuation of tasks or are a result of work performed through Projects 198709900 and 20001739). Past work has focused on testing strobe lights in off-site lakes with high densities of kokanee, and the results are encouraging. Currently, the principal investigators are testing the use of strobe lights on one turbine of the dam. Results of this study will demonstrate if future mitigation efforts should include installing strobe lights on the reservoir outlets, and ultimately full implementation on the dam. Therefore, it is important to complete Objective 1 in order to direct future mitigation efforts.

Objective 2 will determine if bull trout are being entrained through the dam, assess if strobe lights repel bull trout, and correlate dam operations with the abundance and distribution of bull trout in the reservoir. The contention that bull trout are vulnerable to entrainment when kokanee are concentrated near the dam seems intuitively logical and needs further investigation. The objective would be more justified if the authors could cite a reference for the statement that "entrainment losses of bull trout may exceed 30% of the population per year.

Objective 3 requires collection of limnological data to characterize the productivity of the reservoir to assess the feasibility of improving growth and average size of kokanee. This objective seems logical and funding is warranted; however, a more detailed description is needed to determine the feasibility of nutrient enhancement to improve growth and survival of kokanee. As stated, this should be clarified in the future as information is obtained and analyzed.

198740700: Dworshak Integrated Rule Curves/M&E

The RFC suggests that past investments in this project would be lost if the model were not completed. The resulting tool will be useful in assessing tradeoffs between biological impacts in Dworshak Reservoir and the river downstream. Although the federal Biological Opinions (BiOps) and electrical generation tend to drive the system, models of this type have been useful in the development and implementation of BiOps on the operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System.

27017: Bull Trout Population Assessment and Life History Characteristics in Association with Habitat Quality and Land Use: Template for Recovery Planning

This USFWS suggests that this proposal be designed to develop techniques to assess recovery planning and provide information for implementing the biological opinion. The proposed work would assess bull trout population density, abundance, and life history characteristics for core areas of the Imnaha Subbasin and evaluate relationships to habitat quality and land use based on field evaluations and mark/recapture techniques. The USFWS suggests the proposed work would "also provide the technical information to develop a template for bull trout recovery planning." The USFWS indicated that the proposed work is "needed to evaluate population response to recovery measures within and outside of the tributaries." According to the USFWS, the proposed work would help implement reasonable and prudent measure 10.A.3.1 and terms and conditions 11.1, 11.2. and 11.A.2.2.b in the FCRPS biological opinion..

The RFC suggests objectives of this project could possibly be conducted and funded through Project 199405400 since it is a complementary project accomplishing similar tasks but in a different watershed? The RFC requests budget clarifications regarding Section 5 (Implementation) and 7 (M&E), Objectives 1 (marking/recapture) and 2 (habitat assessment). Because potential restoration projects have already been identified (e.g., fence portions of Big Sheep Creek and Imnaha river) the RFC questions why these activities should be conducted? The RFC suggests that the USFS should already be funding and collecting baseline fisheries information prior to timber sales.

The USFWS views the proposed work "as an extremely important project for assisting in determining bull trout population status and habitat conditions" and believes there is a "need to systematically collect critical tributary information on bull trout to help in assessing the effects of FCRPS operation." The USFWS supports the funding of this proposal.


Discuss Potential Transfer of Funds between CDAT Projects

The CDAT recently contacted the BPA (Mark Shaw) with a request to transfer funds from one project to another to allow for the construction of a new office; however, Mark Shaw indicated that the CDAT needed to submit the request through CBFWA. Ron Peters indicated that sufficient funds are available that could be transferred between the projects to allow for the needed construction. The RFC viewed the request as a change of scope since the funds that are available were originally earmarked for purposes other than the construction of an office. The RFC recommended that the CDAT continue to work with BPA on this issue.