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 - Creston Fish Recovery

BPA project number   9101904

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   MT-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameWade Fredenberg/Mark Maskill
 Mailing addressU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
780 Creston Hatchery Road
Kalispell, MT 59901

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

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   10.3A.12

Short description
Produces fish to mitigate losses to Flathead as identified in the HH Mit pln for HHD that was approved by the NPPC. coordinates kok reintroduction and multiagency monitoring, and research on supplementation techniques for affected native fish BT & WCT.

Project start year   1992    End year   Ongoing

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
9101901, CSKT M&E

Project history
Initiated in 1992 after NPPC adopted Hungry Horse Mitigation Plan (November 1991, see NPPC program:10.3A.10). Implementation as per NPPC direction upon adoption of Hungry Horse Implementation Plan (March 1993, see NPPC program:10.3A.11). Project 9101900 - Fish Production Coordinator - was merged with this program beginning in FY96. Significant cost-sharing to this mitigation program has been contributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including dedication of 70% of fish rearing capacity at Creston National fish hatchery and contribution of resources for project management and monitoring.

Biological results achieved
Project stocked 210,000 yearling (6-7 inch) kokanee into Flathead Lake in June 1993; 802,000 in June 1994 (1st year of scheduled 5-year Test); 502,000 in June 1995. Additional test of 409,000 3-inch fingerlings stocked in June 1995. Project holding about one million yearlings for stocking in 1996. Successful development of captive kokanee broodstock was achieved, producing 2-3 million eggs per year to ensure future egg supplies. Successful bull trout incubation and rearing experiments were conducted with eggs collected from wild bull trout. Collection of 1,000 wild bull trout from 26 streams was used in completing a basinwide genetic evaluation. Bull trout imprinting, rearing, and brood development research is partially accomplished (in progress).

Monitoring indicates lake trout consumed large numbers of planted kokanee in 1993 and 1994 (see 93/94 Monitoring Report). Adaptive management strategy was employed to select a different stocking site in the south end of the lake in 1995. Gillnet sets in 1995 indicated improved survival. Two trap nets set at stocking locations in the fall of 1995 captured over 300 adult kokanee (200-400 mm), all in excellent condition, indicating that Flathead Lake has the necessary food base to produce kokanee. Reopening of the fishing season is proposed for 1996.

Annual reports and technical papers
Fisheries Mitigation Plan for Losses Attributable to the Construction and Operation of Hungry Horse Dam; Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Kalispell and Pablo; March 1991; 71 pp.

Genetic Sampling Plan for Bull Trout in the Flathead River Drainage; Wade Fredenberg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Creston National Fish Hatchery; December 1992; 19 pp.

Planning Considerations for Development of a Low-Cost Bull Trout Isolation and Rearing Facility; Wade Fredenberg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Creston National Fish Hatchery; February 1993; 20 pp.

Hungry Horse Dam Fisheries Mitigation Implementation Plan; Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Kalispell and Pablo; March 1993; 43 pp.

Gas Supersaturation Monitoring Report, Creston National Fish Hatchery; Wade Fredenberg and Don Edsall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, CNFH; November 1993; 17 pp.

Collection of Juvenile Bull Trout in the Flathead River Drainage, Montana; Wade Fredenberg, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Creston National Fish Hatchery; December 1993; 26 pp.

Flathead Lake Angler Survey; Les Evarts, Barry Hansen, and Joe DosSantos, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Pablo; February 1994; 38 pp.

Hungry Horse Dam Fisheries Mitigation, Biennial Report, 1992-1993; Hungry Horse Implementation Group; June 1994; DOE/BP-60559-2, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon; 15 pp.

Evaluation of Thyroxine Content as an Indicator of Imprint Timing in Juvenile Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus); H. Galloway, A. Scholz, J. Hendrickson, R. White, M.B. Tilson, and W. Fredenberg; July 1994; Upper Columbia United Tribes Fisheries Center Fisheries Technical Report No. 50; Cheney, Washington; 35 pp.

Experimental Bull Trout Hatchery Progress Report, 1993-1994; W. Fredenberg, P. Dwyer, and R. Barrows; June 1995; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kalispell, Montana; 29 pp.

Kokanee Stocking and Monitoring, Flathead Lake - 1993 and 1994; M. Deleray, W. Fredenberg, and B. Hansen; July 1995; DOE/BP-65903-6, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon; 47 pp.

Management implications
Monitoring of the kokanee program has provided conclusive evidence that lake trout predation is THE limiting factor to successful reestablishment of a kokanee fishery in Flathead Lake. Adaptive changes to stocking program have resulted in continuing improvement of survival of stocked fish, due to selection of stocking sites where predation is minimized. Initial results also indicate adaptive changes in fish size at stocking, using smaller fish, should be further examined.

Initial efforts to develop a bull trout culture program were successful. However, a proposal to list bull trout under the ESA, and concurrent development of a Montana bull trout Restoration Program have considerably raised the profile of the species (legal, social, political) and heightened concerns over supplementation. These actions have precluded opportunities to conduct field supplementation experiments on bull trout, but we have learned enough about culture techniques to increase our confidence in our capability to culture the species if adaptive strategies are called for in the future.

Specific measureable objectives
As listed in the 1993 Implementation Plan:
"Criteria for Determining Success of Kokanee Reintroduction: We would propose that the kokanee supplementation program be considered initially successful if it establishes a fishery by 1998 that produces statistical values roughly equivalent to about 25 percent of 1981-1982 levels. These standards would include: 1) Post-stocking survival of 30 percent of planted kokanee one year after stocking. 2) Yearling to adult kokanee survival of 10 percent (100,000 adult salmon from a plant of 1 million). 3) Annual kokanee harvest of 50,000 or more fish; including a catch rate of 0.5 fish per hour for kokanee-specific anglers, average length at harvest of 11 inches or longer, and 100,000 or more hours of angler effort.
Success will be measured by a programmed creel census, currently proposed for 1998 or after.

An Independent Scientific Group (ISG) review of the Mitigation Program, conducted in 1995, suggested that program objectives were optimistic and should be revised downward.

Testable hypothesis
1. Stocked yearling kokanee can survive to maturity in Flathead Lake.
2. A kokanee fishery can be developed by stocking 1 million yearling fish per year into Flathead Lake.
3. Bull trout and/or westslope cutthroat trout populations and fisheries can be enhanced by supplementation.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Preliminary assumption was that one million kokanee yearlings could be produced annually at Creston National Fish Hatchery. This has not yet been achieved due to facility constraints and other factors. It is assumed that yearling kokanee stocked into Flathead Lake will be able to locate sufficient food supplies for growth and survival. The primary constraint identified through monitoring is excessive lake trout predation on stocked fish.

Annual stocking of +/- 1.0 million yearling kokanee into Flathead Lake from Creston National Fish Hatchery. Monitoring developed through adaptive management, with most successful methods to date employing gill net and trap net sampling and analysis of lake trout stomach samples to evaluate growth and survival of oxytetracycline-marked hatchery fish. Hydroacoustic estimates, trawling, and angler creel methods expected to be employed in future. Quantitative results will be achieved through programmed creel census.

Brief schedule of activities
Stocking methods and locations will continue to be refined through adaptive management. As currently projected, emphasis will remain on stocking kokanee in shallow south end of the lake to avoid lake trout predation. Angler creel survey will become an increasingly useful tool for monitoring in FY 1997, leading up to a full programmed lakewide creel in FY 1998 or after. As kokanee program success is refined, increasing emphasis will be placed on imprinting and stocking techniques to increase likelihood of reestablishing self-sustaining populations. Bull trout and cutthroat trout supplementation efforts have been reduced, pending development of suitable introduction opportunities through habitat projects and accepted protocols for use of hatchery fish in native species recovery.

Biological need
The losses attributed to Hungry Horse Dam were adopted by NPPC and incorporated in Amendment 903(h)(2)(C):

1.) "Replace lost annual production (minimum of 65,000 westslope cutthroat trout 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."

Critical uncertainties
Are kokanee goals achievable based on current stocking levels, especially in light of heavy lake trout predation? Will establishment of a kokanee population result in the desired fishery? Will introduced kokanee successfully reproduce in the wild? Can biological, social, and political obstacles to supplementation of native species (bull trout, cutthroat trout) be resolved in order to make supplementation a viable mitigation approach?

Summary of expected outcome
Replacement of losses identified above; 65,000 juvenile westslope cutthroat trout, 250,000 juvenile bull trout, 100,000 adult kokanee.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Future dependencies include hatchery capital expenditures for permanent upgrades to replace low-cost and temporary facilities. ESA listing status of bull trout and possibly westslope cutthroat trout will affect ability to work with these species. This project already represents an unprecedented cooperative effort between State, Federal and Tribal governments in this basin. In addition, a complementary mitigation effort in Flathead Lake, conducted as a condition of FERC relicensing of Kerr Dam, will occur in the near future. A biological objective of the Kerr program is to replace losses of 131,000 pounds of salmonids annually in Flathead Lake, which is roughly equivalent to the kokanee objective for the existing Hungry Horse mitigation program. The combined fish stocking efforts of these two mitigation programs will greatly enhance the likelihood of both programs reaching their respective objectives.

The ecological perturbation of the Flathead Lake food chain resulting from the introduction of Mysis shrimp has resulted in an unpredictable outcome for kokanee reestablishment. The 1995 ISG Review of the Hungry Horse Mitigation Implementation Program highlighted that uncertainty and predicted failure for the kokanee effort. However, the Hungry Horse Implementation Group feels that criticism is not supported by the facts and through employment of adaptive management, and based on monitoring results, they are making progress on kokanee restoration. The ISG also suggested that kokanee restoration goals may be optimistic; that suggestion is being evaluated. Lake trout predation appears to be the key threat to kokanee restoration. Risks of bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout supplementation are more closely linked to genetic, social, and legal concerns. While a comprehensive basinwide genetic survey of bull trout was initiated under this project, little progress has been made in the rest of those arenas.

Monitoring activity
Monitoring of the kokanee restoration program is being accomplished primarily through netting, angler contacts, and hydroacoustic surveys. The key monitoring activity to determine success is the programmed lakewide creel survey scheduled to occur in FY98 or later. Since bull trout and cutthroat trout supplementation projects have not yet progressed to the outplant phase (everything to date has been experimental in the laboratory) no monitoring activities have been needed.

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: 64,457
1993: 200,699
1994: 326,362
1995: 327,919
1996: 462,855
Obligation: 463,125
Authorized: 600,000
Planned: 601,621
1997: 465,000
1998: 484,000
1999: 503,000
2000: 523,000
2001: 544,000

* 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   $465,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $465,000