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
Pittsburg Landing Portable Acclimation/Release Facility

BPA project number   5521400

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Nez Perce Tribe

Sponsor type   ID-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameR. Ed Larson
 Mailing addressNez Perce Tribe
P.0. Box 365
Lapwai, ID 83540

BPA technical contact   ,

Biological opinion ID   F/NW and F/NWO3

NWPPC Program number   7.5B.1, 7.5B.2

Short description
Install, operate, maintain and disassemble a portable acclimation facility to assist in recovery and restoration of fall chinook salmon in the Snake River. This facility will be used to acclimate approximately 150,000 yearling fall chinook from Lyons Ferry Hatchery from early March to late April, beginning in 1996 (See LSRCP Application). The yearling salmon (12 fish per pound) will be reared in sixteen 20' x 4' fiberglass tanks located ona gravel parking lot near the river bank. Snake River water will be pumped at a rate of up to 3.6 cubic feet per second (cfs), or 1600 gallons per minute (gpm), into the tanks and discharged back into the river. A thorough description of construction and installation of the facilities is provided in Weller (COE 1995) and Stelle (NMFS 1995). The fish will be reared and acclimated in the temporary facility for four to six weeks to a size if approximately 10 fish per pound before release into the Snake River. Releases will occur during rising stream flow conditions and at night to minimize predation by birds or other fish. Fish will be released at the same time or slightly preceding fall chinook salmon releases at Lyons Ferry Hatchery.The Pittsburg Landing site was selected dur to it's accessibility and because of the proximity of spawning habitat for returning adults; fall chinook salmon are known to spawn and rear in the free-flowing Hells Canyon portion of the Snake River (Garcia et al. 1994).

Project start year   1996    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1997

Project development phase   Maintenance

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Temporary Fall Chinook Acclimation Facility - Clearwater River at Big Canyon Creek, (Planned implementation in 1997)Temporary Fall Chinook Acclimation Facility - Rogersburg, above the mouth of the Grande Ronde River, Snake River (Planned implementation 1997)

Project history
This project is part of a funding package ($5.0 million add-on) provided by the Corps of Engineers headquarters to the Walla Walla District to comply with the language in a Senate conference report (Senate Report, 103-672,P7) describing desired work to be accomplished under the Lower Snake River Fish and Wildlife Compensation Plan. Planning, engineering, and construction were funded by the COE in 1996. All O&M and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) funds for 1996 and beyond are expected to come from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) as part of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) identified Draft Recovery Plan actions.

Biological results achieved
Acclimation and release of yearling smolts from other LSRCP projects for the past 10 years has yielded higher adult return rates than direct (unacclimated) stream or subyearling releases. Natural production of fall chinook salmon has been severely limited

Annual reports and technical papers
Pittsburg Landing Biological Assessment/Biological Opinion

Management implications
This project is designed to test the success of acclimation facilities and their contribution to increased adult returns and increases natural spawning. Through this and similar projects we hope to recover fall chinook salmon in the Snake River basin.

Specific measureable objectives
Increased smolt survival during outmigration, increased adult returns back to the release site and increased natural spawning measured through redd counts.

Testable hypothesis
Acclimation facilities located near optimal spawning habitat will increase smolt outmigrant survival, increase adult return rates and lead to increased natural spawning.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
It is assumed that the portable acclimation facility constructed by the COE at Pittsburg Landing below Hells Canyon complex will allow fall chinook salmon presmolts from Lyons Ferry to recover from transportation stress, acclimate to the specific water chemistry at the release site, outmigrate at a higher rate than transported direct released fish, and return to the release site at a higher rate, have an improved homing instinct, and to spawn and distribute at a higher rate than actions taken to date. One possible constraint is the temperature of water released from Hells Canyon Dam may be cold and cause limited growth of presmolts at the release site. Some water release agreements may be negotiated with Idaho Power Company.

The acclimation facility will be set up in February of each year, operated between March 1 and April 15, and disassembled and removed by May 1. The facility will consist of 16 circular fiberglass tanks, 4 diesel pumps, 4 grit separators, 2 distribution boxes with nitrogen stripping stacks, PVC piping, 2 diesel generators with light towers for emergency lighting, two 650-gallon diesel fuel tanks with spill containment devices, 2 metal storage containers, and 2 camping trailers. Between 100,000 and 150,000 yearling fall chinook from Lyons Ferry Hatchery will be acclimated and released from the facility each year after construction. Operation of the facility will include; 1) moving fish from Lyons Ferry Hatchery to the facility, 2) daily inventory and feeding, 3) monitoring fish health, 4)coordinating with Tribal, state and federal agencies in conducting monitoring and evaluation studies, and 5) reporting activities to cooperating and funding agencies as required. Fish will be held at a density of 11 lbs./cubic foot and released at approximately 10/lb. into the Snake River. The release will coincide with an ascending hydrograph to assist in smolt outmigration.

Brief schedule of activities
1997: Set up and test facility in February, transport 150,000 fall chinook salmon yearlings from Lyons Ferry Hatchery in early March, operate and maintain the facility until the release of the fish in late April, release fish in late April, disassemble, repair and store the facility in May, evaluate and analyze data collected during O&M, write annual operating report due in June.1998 and beyond: Same as above.

Biological need
This project is part of a funding package provided by the Corps of Engineers headquarters to the Walla Walla District to comply with the language in a Senate conference report (Senate Report, 103-672,P7) describing desired work to be accomplished under the Lower Snake River Fish and Wildlife Compensation Plan. Snake River fall chinook salmon have been listed as an endangered species by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under an emergency interim rule. The number of returning adults for the last 10 years has been at record low levels. The goal of the project is to get more adult fall chinook to return to the Snake River upstream of Lower Granite reservoir for natural spawning rather than returning to Lyons Ferry Hatchery. The conference report language directs the Corps to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service , the NMFS, and the affected state and Tribal hatchery managers to develop this project.The Nez Perce Tribe hopes to recover the weak population of Snake River fall chinook salmon to a self-sustaining run of fish and eventually develop population sizes capable of sustaining Tribal and non-Tribal Harvests.

Critical uncertainties
Portable acclimation facilities of this type have never been used stream side and the success of an operation of this type have not been measured to date. The operation of this facility in 1996 will be monitored and evaluated and techniques learned will be applied in later years. Pre-transport testing of facility of the facility will be done two weeks prior to the arrival of fish to flush out any mechanical glitches that could occur. This worse scenario is if the system fails the fish would be released earlier than planned.

Summary of expected outcome
Presmolts will be reared from 12/lb. to 10/lb. streamside and upon smoltification and increasing hydrograph will be released. We expect increased outmigrant survival due to reduced pre-release stress, increased homing ability, increased adult survival and return and an increase in natural spawning at return location.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
US Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla, WAWashington Department of Fish and Wildlife - Lyons Ferry HatcheryUSFWS - LSRCP, Boise, IDUSFWS - Fish Health Lab, Dworshak Hatchery Complex, Ahsahka, IDIDFG - Boise, ID

Extinction of existing species and populations if supplementation is not undertaken within the next year.Violation of Nez Perce Tribal Treaty Rights as a result of extinction of salmon species; this has already occurred for sockeye, coho, and summer chinook(yearling migrant).

Monitoring activity
The monitoring and evaluation of Lyons Ferry Hatchery fall chinook salmon yearlings acclimated and released at Pittsburg Landing will be a cooperative effort between the Nez Perce Tribe (NPT), Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). Post release dispersal, migration timing, and release group survival between Pittsburg releases and Lyons Ferry releases will be evaluated through the use of PIT tags and assessing physiology at release and during migration. Smolt-to-adult survival will be estimated and compared between Pittsburg releases and yearling on-station releases at Lyons Ferry Hatchery. The foremost monitoring and evaluation goal will be to assess adult escapement from the Pittsburg Landing releases back to the spawning grounds and the contribution to natural production.

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: 0
1998: 253,000
1999: 261,000
2000: 269,000
2001: 277,000

* 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   Snake River

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $0