BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal

Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Title of project
1996-97 Evaluation of Juvenile Fall Chinook Stranding on the Hanford Reach

BPA project number   5503800

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   WA-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NamePaul Wagner
 Mailing addressKennewick Field Office
500 North Morain, Suite 1200B
Kennewick, WA 99336

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   XII Incidental Take Statement (page 162, #11)

NWPPC Program number   7.5B.3

Short description
Year 1 - Finalize workplan in cooperation with NBS (Project # 91029). Year 2 - Conduct series of controlled river elevation reductions to assess juvenile fall chinook stranding as well as effect on resident fish and benthic community.

Project start year   1996    End year   1998

Start of operation and/or maintenance   0

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
BPA # 91-029 NBS has collected data pertaining to juvenile fall chinook habitat utilization which will be incorporated into the proposed work.

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications

Specific measureable objectives
Year 1

1) Identify primary juvenile chinook production and rearing areas.

2) Conduct field surveys (aerial, boat, ground) to assess and classify the type and amount of habitat present on the Hanford Reach in the primary production and rearing areas.

3) Develop the statistical parameters necessary to complete the study.

Year 2

1) Collect basic information on river basin slope and substrate composition.

2) Evaluate the extent of juvenile post-emergent fall chinook stranding and entrapment on the Hanford Reach below Priest Rapids Dam resulting from river elevation reductions.

3) Collect information on the effect of river elevation reductions on juvenile and adult resident fish and benthic community on the Hanford Reach below Priest Rapids Dam.

4) Identify critical habitat zones where juvenile fall chinook are abundant and are more susceptible to stranding and entrapment as a result of river elevation reductions.

5) Establish a mechanism to seasonally estimate the primary period of vulnerability of juvenile fall chinook to stranding/entrapment due to river elevation reductions.

Testable hypothesis
1) Juvenile fall chinook are stranded/entrapped as the result of power peaking operations and subsequent sudden river elevation reductions on the Hanford Reach.

2) Resident fish are stranded/entrapped as the result of power peaking operations and subsequent sudden river elevation reductions on the Hanford Reach.

3) The benthic community is negatively impacted as the result of power peaking operations and subsequent sudden river elevation reductions on the Hanford Reach.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Completion of this project is contingent upon the implementation of controlled river elevation reductions which will require system wide coordination.

The effect of river elevation reductions will be measured in index areas only.

Year 1 - Coordination with NBS and literature review. Finalize study design, sampling protocol, and statistical parameters.

Year 2 - Multiple index sampling areas representing each habitat type will be established on the Hanford Reach. On specific test days, discharge from Priest Rapids Dam will be reduced and the river elevation will be lowered. Both the rate and magnitude of the test flow reductions will be controlled. One sampling crew per sampling area will then collect data pertaining to the number of chinook fry stranded on the substrate surface (direct counts) and beneath cobble substrate (excavation of subsampling areas and extrapolation) and the number of fry entrapped in backwater depressions (electroshocking). Similar data will also be collected for juvenile and adult resident fish. Benthic sampling will also be conducted. Predator activity will be documented. Dissolved oxygen levels, water temperature, and rate of drainage of entrapment areas will also be measured. The equipment needed to complete the field work will include: 3 boats to access sampling sites, backpack electroshocking equipment, temperature/dissolved oxygen meters, and miscellaneous smaller field equipment (chestwaders, shovels, waterproof field notebooks, etc.).

Brief schedule of activities
Year 1

March 1, 1996 - November 30, 1996 - Assess Hanford Reach habitat, identify chinook production and rearing areas, coordinate with the NBS, establish transects, sampling zones, and statistical design.

December 1, 1996 - December 31, 1996 - Finalize and distribute workplan for 1997 field season.

Year 2

January 1, 1997 through March 15, 1997 - Recruit and hire field personnel, purchase equipment.

March 16, 1997 through June 30, 1997 - Conduct field/lab work and computer data entry.

July 16, 1997 - November 30, 1997 - Analyze data, write report.

December 1, 1997 - Draft report completed.

Year 3

February 15, 1998 - Final report completed.

Biological need
The focus of this project is to identify the impact of power peaking activities in the Hanford Reach area on rearing juvenile fall chinook and resident fish. Information will also be collected regarding the impact on the river ecology (including benthic biota) which will be applicable to Snake River mitigation planning.

Critical uncertainties
The sampling areas will be established to index juvenile fall chinook stranding and entrapment in high production and susceptibility locations. No attempt will be made to extrapolate the data collected from these location to provide estimates of losses resulting from river elevation reductions for the entire Hanford Reach.

Summary of expected outcome
1) Determination of the effects of rapid diel river elevation reductions resulting from power peaking activities on rearing juvenile fall chinook, resident fish, and general river ecology in the Hanford Reach.

2) Creation of a juvenile fall chinook stranding susceptibility model.

3) Recommendations for corrective action.

4) Annual monitoring for corrective action implementation.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
The field work schedule (year 2) will be dependent upon the incubation and emergence timing of wild fall chinook. Completion of this project will be contingent upon the implementation of controlled river elevation reductions on the Hanford Reach below Priest Rapids Dam. Coordination of this work through the Grant Count Public Utility District (GCPUD), the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Columbia River power network will be necessary. Coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy for access to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation will also be necessary. Coordination with the National Biological Service Columbia River Research Laboratory will be necessary during the first year of the study to identify and assess juvenile fall chinook production and rearing habitat.

The controlled river elevation reductions (year 2) will be conducted to simulate real power peaking operations. The primary risk associated with these controlled tests will be the potential for massive stranding of juvenile fall chinook throughout the Hanford Reach. To minimize this risk, both the rate and magnitude of flow reductions will be set at conservative levels during the initial tests. Movement to greater magnitude flow reductions at faster rates will occur after the effect of the initial tests have been determined. If the impact of these tests is determined to be unacceptable, termination of the entire project may be necessary.

Monitoring activity
If a stranding problem is identified then a susceptibility model will be created. Annual monitoring of incubation, emergence, and rearing timing in accordance with the model will therefore be necessary for proper implementation of protective action.

Section 3. Budget

Data shown are the total of expense and capital obligations by fiscal year. Obligations for any given year may not equal actual expenditures or accruals within the year, due to carryover, pre-funding, capitalization and difference between operating year and BPA fiscal year.

Historic costsFY 1996 budget data*Current and future funding needs
(none) New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 200,000
1998: 10,000
1999: 5,000
2000: 5,000
2001: 5,000

* For most projects, Authorized is the amount recommended by CBFWA and the Council. Planned is amount currently allocated. Contracted is the amount obligated to date of printout.

Funding recommendations

CBFWA funding review group   Mainstem

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $200,000