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
Hungry Horse Mitigation/Habitat Improvements

BPA project number   9101903

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   MT-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameBrian Marotz
 Mailing addressMontana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
490 N. Meridian Road
Kalispell, MT 59901

BPA technical contact   Ron Morinaka, EWP 503/230-5365

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   10.3A.4

Short description
Hungry Horse mitigation is a cooperative effort administered by MFWP and CSKT in cooperation with the USFWS. This project is responsible for habitat restoration, fish passage improvement, off-site mitigation and monitoring as directed by NPPC program amendments 1993.

Project start year   1992    End year   est. 2022

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Projects 9101901 and 9101904 are other aspects of the Hungry Horse mitigation program conducted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and USFWS, respectively. Project 9101903 Flathead River IFIM is planned to balance river needs with the existing reservoir model (HRMOD). Project 9501200 is planned to assess the effectiveness of the IRCs for Hungry Horse after implementation.

Project history
Research phase began in 1982. Results incorporated in computer model (HRMOD). Integrated Rule Curves (IRCs) completed 1994, refined 1996. Non-operational mitigation began in 1992, ongoing. Loss assessment approved by NPPC; mitigation direction adopted in NPPC program. Cost-share projects established with U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Technical Assistance Program, funding passage projects, zooplankton entrainment project), U.S. Forest Service (passage project funding, reservoir revegetation), Flathead Basin Commission (passage project budgets), National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (off-site lake rehabs, fish passage projects), Trout Unlimited (Bootjack spawning inlet). IRCs adopted by NPPC but not implemented.

Biological results achieved
Selective withdrawal structure completed on Hungry Horse Dam August 1995. Will function June-October annually. Returns natural river temperatures to 47 river miles of Flathead River. Mitigates thermal pollution from Hungry Horse Dam. Phase I Hay Creek project complete reconnecting 14.5 miles of bull trout spawning/rearing habitat to North Fork Flathead River; Phase II must deal with beaver activity. Taylor's Outflow hung in design/contract phase but will soon reconnect 2 miles of trout habitat to main stem Flathead River (est. 1996) eradication of eastern brook trout 95 percent successful, needs retreatment. Riparian area recovering. Rogers Lake rehab 100 percent successful due to late treatment of rotenone just prior to ice formation. Reestablishes lake population of arctic grayling, removes illegally introduced yellow perch. Lion Lake rehab 100 percent successful also due to late fall treatment. Establish excellent trout fishery, removes four illegally introduced species. Devon Lake 100 percent successful, removes eastern brook trout from bull trout range.

Annual reports and technical papers
(1) Hungry Horse Fisheries Mitigation Plan. MFWP and CSKT, 1991. (2) Hungry Horse Implementation Plan. MFWP and CSKT, 1993. Also MFWP will draft a basin-wide plan for habitat and passage during 1996. (3) Bi-annual Report for Hungry Horse mitigation. 1994, 1996 report(s) in preparation. (4) Flathead River Creel Report. 1995. (5) Model Development to Establish Integrated Operation Rule Curves for Hungry Horse and Libby Reservoirs, Montana. January 1996. (6) Aquatic Modeling: Hungry Horse Selective Withdrawal. 1995. (7) Kokanee Stocking and Monitoring - Flathead Lake 1993-1994. MFWP, CSKT and USFWS, 1995. (8) Kokanee Stocking and Monitoring - Flathead Lake. 1995. In Press 1996.

Management implications
The upper South Fork Flathead River and Hungry Horse Reservoir harbor self-sustaining, stable populations of bull trout and westslope cutthroat, considered one of the strongest native species assemblages in the lower 48 states. The contiguous Flathead River system below Hungry Horse Dam is experiencing an alarming reduction in bull trout and westslope cutthroat. Habitat projects were initiated to reclaim additional spawning and rearing habitat to enhance juvenile recruitment. Eradication projects were initiated to reduce the threat of non-native species on this weakening native species assemblage. Stream restoration and revegetation projects will benefit terrestrial wildlife species.

Specific measureable objectives
Create spawning habitat by installing upwelling zones in suitable substrate (redd count to check). Reduce concentration of fine materials in spawning gravels through bank revegetation and stabilization (sediment coring/scoring). Restore riparian vegetation through fencing and bank stabilization (establish photo points for comparison pre- and post-test). Reestablish migration routes in blocked areas through culvert upgrades, installation of fish ladders, gabions, etc. (compare spawning runs, electrofishing, redd counts). Enhance juvenile rearing habitat through pool and cover installation (stream survey pre- and post-test, snorkeling, electrofishing). Stop expansion of non-native eastern brook trout, n. pike and perch; erradicate where possible. Improve fish growth potential in Flathead River using selective withdrawal system on H.H. Dam.

Testable hypothesis
Specific habitat improvement techniques vary in effectiveness (as compared by pre- and post-treatment criteria). Cost-effectiveness will be assessed to direct future habitat projects through adaptive management.

Adfluvial spawning runs can be initiated when suitable tributary habitat is reconnected.

Increased juvenile recruitment from tributaries will result in larger adult returns during the spawning run.

Reduced fines in spawning gravels will increase egg to fry survival.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Habitat restoration is the most cost-effective way to protect and enhance self-sustaining populations of native species.

Projects involving eradication of non-native species and reestablishment native species are dependant on achieving a total kill or reinvasion may result. A critical constraint is the failure by companies to relicense Antimycin for use by fishery personnel. This chemical has achieved the greatest success in running waters, but can not be used at this time.

In the Flathead system below Hungry Horse Dam, the effects of non-native species (ie. predation, competition, hybridization) is expected to confound efforts to protect and enhance populations of targeted species.

Improved spawning, rearing and overwintering habitat will increase carrying capacity in a given stream.

Improved fish access to tributary habitat blocked by man-caused barriers will initiate spawning runs of fluvial and adfluvial stocks.

By restoring a more natural river function and reducing reservoir surface fluctuation (IRCs), riparian vegetation will stabilize shorelines and banks, channels will stabilize with adequate cover and pool habitat, naturalized flows will provide cues for spawning migrations and create a spring freshet to resort and cleanse river sediments.

Improved public awareness and compliance will focus harvest and angling pressure away from critical native fish restoration sites.

(1) Pre- and post-treatment surveys are used to compare various habitat restoration, passage improvement and off-site mitigation efforts. Photo points measure the success of revegetation and bank stabilization projects (camera). Habitat surveys quantify shifts in cover, pool-riffle run ratio and substrate (boots, notepad). Population assessment compare species relative abundance, population structure, survival recruitment (mark-recapture, two-pass electrofishing, snorkeling, netting). Redd surveys estimate adult spawning population and describe habitat requirements (annual monitoring of index streams, periodic basin-wide efforts). Migration counts compare strength of spawner population (weirs, box traps). (2) Computer modeling/data analysis involves linear and non-linear regression, multi-variate and step-wise analysis. ANOVA, multiple range tests, etc. All statistics reviewed by University statistical consultants. (3) Bull trout, westslope cutthroat, all Flathead species.

Brief schedule of activities
(1) Test groundwater dams in stream reach that runs subsurface during low flow periods; reconnect habitat. (2) Use woody debris collector to deflect erosive flow from mass waste on streambank; level toe, revegetate to stabilize. (3) Stabilize/monitor fish passage structure at Taylor's Outflow. (4) Continue cost-share partnership with U.S. Forest Service to repair slumps and road erosion above critical spawning areas. (5) Monitor effectiveness of various revegetation and habitat improvement techniques. (6) Initiate high priority projects identified in the basin-wide plan. (7) Complete off-site lake rehabilitation projects as scheduled. (8) Implementation Plan contains a schedule through 1997 including decision trees to direct the hatchery component, species specific recovery plans will be developed. (9) A basin-wide habitat improvement plan is in first draft. (10) The 5-year kokanee test reaches its decision point in 1998.

Biological need
This project is needed to address NPPC program measures regarding Hungry Horse mitigation, adopted in 1993; the losses attributed to Hungry Horse were adopted by NPPC and incorporated in Amendment 903(h)(2)(C): (1) "replace lost annual production (minimum of 65,000 westslope cutthroat annually) from the inundated 43 miles of tributaries and 35 miles of South Fork Flathead River using a mix of habitat improvement, improvement in fish passage and hatchery production"; (2) "replace lost annual production of 250,000 young bull trout in the lost stream sections using a mix of the above fisheries techniques"; (3) "replace lost production of 100,000 kokanee adults initially through hatchery production and pen rearing in Flathead Lake, partially replace lost forage for lake trout in Flathead Lake"; balance Hungry Horse Dam operation with the reservoir and river fishery, ESA actions to recover the endangered Snake River salmon and protect critical unlisted stocks (e.g. bull trout westslope cutthroat trout, mountain whitefish, arctic grayling, etc.). Bull trout and cutthroat populations downstream of Hungry Horse are experiencing an alarming decline due to habitat loss and interactions with non-native species. ESA actions for salmon recovery as directed by NMFS must be balanced with resident fish requirements.

Critical uncertainties
The reservoir fishery may not reach full potential because of high numbers of northern squawfish which experienced a population explosion after the reservoir filled. Fish populations in the Flathead system below Hungry Horse Dam are in a state of flux due to interactions with non-native species. It remains uncertain whether mitigation efforts can overcome past damages. Operations dictated by the NMFS Biological Opinion could cause irreversible damages to resident fisheries and impact mitigation activities.

Summary of expected outcome
IRCs will be implemented, improving reservoir and river productivity. Temperature control through the newly installed selective withdrawal device will improve trout growth potential two to three times in the affected reach of the Flathead River. Improved temperatures may influence the presence of lake trout in the Flathead River and thus reduce predation on juvenile bull trout and westslope cutthroat. Increased recruitment of juvenile bull trout and cutthroat trout from newly improved habitat, plus improved growth due to selective withdrawal, will result in greater adult returns to the spawning areas. Improved conditions in spawning areas will increase egg to fry survival.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
The mitigation program is a cooperative effort with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Flathead Basin Commission, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, Flathead Fishing Association, Trout Unlimited and others. IRCs are best applied using the Corp's VARQ flood control strategy embodied in the IRC concept. The Corps has not yet agreed to implement VARQ. The NMFS Biological Opinion on Snake River salmon recovery actions must be modified to recognize the needs of resident fish.

Habitat projects are subject to hang-ups in permitting and contracting. We must move ahead simultaneously on multiple projects to assure a constant string of completed projects. Continued environment damage from other activities (eg. mining, logging, road construction, illegal fish introductions and increased human use, etc.) can counter or reverse progress toward mitigation. Reinvasion or range expansion of non-native fish species could cause genetic introgression, competition or extirpation of desirable native species. Failure to achieve a total kill on rotenone rehabilitation projects could require retreatment (sometimes on a regular basis). Natural disasters such as flood or forest fire may destroy completed projects. Legal and illegal fish introductions could reverse progress toward recovering weakened stocks.

Monitoring activity
Monitoring is approximately 25 percent of the project cost to document the kokanee recovery test, changes in fish growth, survival and relative abundance; shifts in habitat are recorded via photo points, redd counts, surveys, frequency of dewatering and insect community dynamics. Project 9501200 is scheduled to assess the effectiveness of the IRCs after implementation. Monitoring is cooperative with CSKT, USFWS and occasionally USFS. A legislative mandate for FWP to fund university research, resulted in an inventory of insect production in the Flathead River (Yellow Bay Biological Station). Results are a portion of actions to monitor the effectiveness of selective withdrawal at Hungry Horse Dam.

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
1992: 81,500
1993: 274,300
1994: 896,579
1995: 0
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 260,000
Planned: 260,000
1997: 382,400
1998: 470,000
1999: 480,000
2000: 490,000
2001: 500,000

* 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   Resident Fish

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $382,400

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $382,400