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
Idaho Supplementation Studies (ISS)

BPA project number   8909800

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   ID-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameAl Van Vooren
 Mailing addressIdaho Department of Fish and Game
Boise Office
600 South Walnut Street
Boise, ID 83707

BPA technical contact   Tom Vogel, EWN 503/230-5201

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   3.1D.1, 7.3B.2

Short description
Determine the best method to maintain and rebuild Idaho's spring and summer chinook salmon by determining optimum supplementation practices to increase and maintain natural production in the Salmon and Clearwater basins. Compare survival between life stages, productivity, adult returns, and genetic composition between supplemented and unsupplemented populations.

Project start year   1989    End year   2007

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1994

Project development phase   Maintenance

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
ISS is a cooperative project among the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Tribe, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the University of Idaho. Each cooperating agency has responsibility for investigation of different streams within Idaho. All cooperators meet together to plan project activities and discuss adaptive changes necessary to maintain project relevancy and effectiveness.

Nez Perce Tribe Project number: 89-098-02

Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Project number: 89-098-03

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Project number: 89-098-01

Steelhead Supplementation Studies in Idaho Rivers: 90-055
This project is currently funded under the same contract as ISS.

Intensive Smolt Monitoring (ISM) Project number: 91-73
ISM collects data in the upper Salmon River and Crooked River which is used by ISS.

Lower Snake River Compensation Plan (LSRCP)
LSRCP is funded by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and shares information with ISS.

Project history
ISS began in 1989 with the development of the experimental design, published by BPA in 1991. ISS was designed as a cooperative project between the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Tribe, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the University of Idaho. Although the focus of ISS is chinook salmon, information on steelhead and resident species is also collected.

Full implementation of ISS was to be phased in over a period of 2-3 years. Beginning in 1991, large capital outlay items (e.g. traps, weirs, PIT tagging equipment, ...) were purchased. Full implementation of the experimental design was never achieved. In addition, decreasing returns of adult chinook salmon to historical lows have prohibited scheduled hatchery releases (treatments) due to limited hatchery production. Budget reductions in the 1996 budget impacted our ability to continue collecting data in important headwater production areas of the Salmon and Clearwater Rivers. A 5-year report is currently being prepared that will synthesize data collected by all cooperators and will review impacts due to low adult returns and failure to fully implement the ISS design.

Biological results achieved
Estimates of juvenile chinook outmigration and survival to lower Snake River projects have been made for six streams, rearing parr population estimates have been made for 16 streams, returns to weirs have been documented in five streams, redd counts have been conducted in 19 streams, and rearing parr have been tagged in six streams. (For example, during the 1994 field season, about 34,000 juvenile chinook were trapped, 17,000 were PIT tagged, 7,000 were observed during snorkeling, 70 miles of stream were walked during redd counts, and 282,000 hatchery chinook were released for ISS. A substantial number of steelhead are also trapped and PIT tagged every year by ISS personnel for the IDFG Steelhead Supplementation Studies project.) Genetic work was conducted on chinook juveniles from seven streams and two hatcheries in 1993 and 1994 respectively. ISS captured parr and collected tissue samples for additional genetic analysis conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 1995. Returns of adult chinook from releases of ISS hatchery fish began in 1994.

Annual reports and technical papers
Bowles, E. and E. Leitzinger. 1991. Salmon Supplementation Studies in Idaho Rivers, Experimental Design. U.S. Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Leitzinger, E., Plaster, K., and Bowles, E. 1993. Idaho Supplementation Studies, Annual Report 1991-1992. U.S. Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration, Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Leitzinger, E., Plaster, K., and Hassemer, P. Draft. Idaho Supplementation Studies, Annual Report 1993.

Nemeth, D., Plaster, K., and Hassemer, P. Draft. Idaho Supplementation Studies, Annual Report 1994.

Nemeth, D., Plaster, K., and Hassemer, P. Draft. Idaho Supplementation Studies, Annual Report 1995.

Management implications
The results of this research will determine the best method of increasing natural production of chinook salmon through supplementation, and will guide the use of hatchery chinook and chinook broodstock management for the state of Idaho. ISS is conducted throughout the Salmon and Clearwater River basins in streams of different geologies, productivities, and habitat quality. As data is collected, the role of ISS will increase over time and by project completion, results of ISS will direct management of chinook supplementation in the primary production areas of Idaho and provide information for chinook supplementation throughout the Northwest.

Specific measureable objectives
Objective 1. Determine the utility of chinook supplementation to increase natural populations of chinook in the Salmon River and Clearwater River basins.

Objective 2. Determine which supplementation strategies (life stage at release, broodstock composition) provide the quickest and highest response in naturally-reproducing populations without adverse effects on productivity.

Objective 3. Determine any changes in genetic composition and natural productivity of target and adjacent chinook populations following a period of supplementation to ensure that supplementation activities maintain a high degree of productivity in naturally-reproducing populations.

Objective 4. Identify any impacts on naturally-produced juveniles and escapement of naturally-produced adults due to supplementation.

Objective 5. Recommend specific implementable recommendations for the management of hatchery broodstocks and their progeny to prevent extirpation of Idaho's spring and summer chinook salmon populations.

Testable hypothesis
H01a: Supplementation-augmentation of existing chinook salmon populations in Idaho does not affect natural production.
Corollary: Rejecting H01a indicates that supplementation can enhance or deter natural production.

H02a: Supplementation-augmentation of existing chinook salmon populations in Idaho does not reduce productivity of target or adjacent populations below acceptable levels (e.g. replacement).
Corollary: Rejecting H02a indicates that supplementation can adversely affect survival and performance of existing natural populations.

H02b: Supplementation does not lead to self-sustaining populations at some enhanced level (e.g. 50% increase in abundance maintained over time).
Corollary: Rejection of H02b indicates that certain supplementation strategies are successful in establishing self-sustaining populations or enhancing the level at which populations maintain themselves.

H03a: Utilization of existing hatchery broodstocks in Idaho is not an effective strategy to supplement existing populations of chinook salmon within local or adjacent subbasins.
Corollary: Rejection of H03a indicates that established hatchery broodstocks within Idaho can be used successfully to supplement existing natural populations of chinook salmon in local or adjacent subbasins.

H03b: Development of new, local broodstocks with known natural component for supplementation does not provide an advantage over utilization of existing hatchery broodstocks for supplementation within the local or adjacent subbasin.
Corollary: Rejection of H03b indicates that development of new supplementation broodstocks from the target populations can be more successful for supplementation than utilization of existing hatchery broodstocks.

H03c: The effects of supplementation on natural production and productivity does not differ among life stages (parr, presmolt, smolt) of hatchery fish released.
Corollary: Rejecting H03c indicates which supplementation release strategies (life stage) are most effective (or least deleterious) in rebuilding natural populations.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
1. Management implications across the widest breadth of stream productivities and geologic types requires that adult salmon returns will be, for the most part, above the 1995 return level.

The ISS experimental design is split into three main approaches. The first and main level of evaluation are large scale population production and productivity studies designed to provide statewide inferences. The second level utilizes study streams as individual "case histories" to evaluate specific supplementation programs. The third level represents small-scale studies designed to evaluate specific hypotheses. Levels one and two focus on measuring population responses to supplementation and hence are long-term in nature. The third level will determine specific impacts of supplementation such as competition, dispersal, and behavior. These studies are relatively short-term and will be conducted in laboratory streams or "controlled" field environments.

There are two categories of case histories, supplementation of existing natural populations (predominantly in the Salmon River basin) and supplementation of extirpated populations (predominantly in the Clearwater basin). Supplementation effects will be evaluated by comparing the following parameters in supplemented and unsupplemented streams of similar ecological parameters (e.g. productivity, geology, habitat quality, etc): weir returns, redd counts, juvenile production, juvenile survival (egg to parr, parr to smolt, smolt to adult, smolt to Lower Snake River projects), fecundity, age structure, emigration timing, genetic structure and variability, and ultimately adult to adult survival.

Adult returns, age structure, and fecundity information will be obtained from redd and carcass counts and weir returns, productivity and emigration timing information, will be collected through juvenile trapping and snorkeling.

Juvenile survival comparisons will be made through the use of PIT tag detections.

Supplementation effects will be evaluated using repeated measures profile analysis (split plot through time) to test the response of populations to treatments over time as compared to untreated streams. To help partition variability, some hypotheses utilize a block design. Depending upon the specific hypothesis, blocks may include status of existing population, brood source, life stage out-planted, and stream productivity.

This study is concerned with spring and summer chinook salmon in the Salmon and Clearwater River basins. The number of fish used is proportional to the amount of production in any given year.

Brief schedule of activities
Production monitoring will continue as outlined in the experimental design. The scope of the evaluation will only be changed as funding changes. Refinements in methods will be an ongoing process.

Annual field activities are outlined below.

Biological need
Between 1977 and 1989, 33.5 million hatchery-produced spring and summer chinook salmon have been released into Idaho yet adult returns continue to decline, and 1995 returns were the lowest on record. Throughout the Northwest the utility of supplementation as a recovery tool has been much debated. Fueling the debate has been the absence of studies designed with treatment and control streams under different ecological parameters, evaluating not only adult returns but the productivity of those adults, their ability to produce offspring that will return, and genetic and ecological factors as well. The Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program affirmed the need for this information in sections 206(b)(1)(D), 703(h)(1), and 204(D).

Including efforts of cooperators, ISS represents the largest and most comprehensive effort in the Columbia Basin, and perhaps the Northwest, to scientifically and rigorously address these questions.

Critical uncertainties
1. The ability of hatchery-produced adults under different environmental and ecological parameters to produce young in the wild which survive to return as adults.

2. Life stage at release which most effectively increases natural production with minimal detrimental species interactions and produces young which return and successfully reproduce, in the wild under different environmental and ecological conditions.

3. The effects of supplementation on life history characteristics (emigration timing, age structure, genetic composition and genetic variability, etc.). of the supplemented population and adjacent unsupplemented populations.

4. The ability of naturally-produced chinook populations which are regularly supplemented to maintain the genetic variability and characteristics of the wild/natural population.

5. Differences between survival rates of wild/natural chinook from different stream systems and between supplemented chinook.

Summary of expected outcome
This research will demonstrate the best method for increasing natural production using supplementation and the best method for re-establishing naturally reproducing populations in streams where chinook have become extirpated. Because study streams have different ecological characteristics, supplementation effects and recommendations will likely be different for different streams. ISS will also attempt to identify survival rates between different juvenile life stages.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
ISS is a cooperative effort between the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The bulk of streams studied flow through land managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). USFS special use permits and NEPA analysis may be required for some study streams, however most of the required permitting has already been accomplished.

Streams identified to be supplemented for ISS already have on-going hatchery programs. Consequently, ISS hatchery protocols should pose a minimal ecological risk, if any, to the chinook populations in these streams. Risks are primarily associated with not conducting ISS, and failing to identify and implement the best supplementation-based recovery measures resulting in the continued decline or extirpation of populations and adversely impacting wild/natural populations through the use of supplementation due to a lack of information.

Monitoring activity
Juvenile chinook production will be measured annually with screw traps, and snorkel counts, adult returns will be measured annually through redd counts and returns to weirs, survival will be measured with PIT tag detections at Lower Snake dams.

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
1989: 634,790
1991: 126,383
1992: 617,310
1993: 708,400
1994: 849,632
1995: 850,002
1996: 791,004
Obligation: 791,004
Authorized: 791,010
Planned: 791,010
1997: 875,000
1998: 956,750
1999: 1,004,588
2000: 1,054,817
2001: 1,107,558

* 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   $875,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $875,000