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
Monitoring the Smolt Migrations of Wild Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon

BPA project number   9102800

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   WA-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameGene Matthews, Steve Acord
 Mailing addressNational Marine Fisheries Service
2725 Montlake BLVD East
Seattle, WA 98112

BPA technical contact   Pat Poe, EWI 503/230-4043

Biological opinion ID   NMFS BO RPA 13a and 13f

NWPPC Program number   5.9A.1

Short description
Collects time series information to examine migrational characteristics of wild ESA-listed Snake River chinook salmon stocks. Mark wild spring/summer chinook parr with PIT tags; intercept and decode tagged smolts as they pass Snake and Columbia Rivers dams.

Project start year   1991    End year   2001

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects

Project history
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) initiated a cooperative study with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) in 1988 to PIT tag wild Snake river spring/summer chinook salmon parr as part of the COE transportation research program. This project continued through mid-1991, with outmigrating smolts monitored during spring and summer 1989-1991 as they passed Lower Granite, Little Goose, and McNary Dams. Beginning in 1992, this work became part of the BPA funded Fish and Wildlife Program and a 6-year study to examine the migrational characteristics of wild, ESA-listed Snake River spring/summer chinook salmon over a series of years spanning different environmental conditions was initiated. The study involves collecting and PIT tagging wild parr in their natal streams during summer and monitoring them as they pass downstream through the hydropower complex the following spring. The study also provides data for real-time management decisions in relation to flow augmentation, spill, and transportation efforts.

Biological results achieved
Results have demonstrated that migration timings of wild smolts differ markedly from those of hatchery smolts. Wild migrations tend to vary considerably between years and streams and are protracted, whereas those of hatchery fish are consistent within groups and between years and tend to be constricted. The overall timings of wild fish migrations also appear to be heavily influenced by seasonal climatic conditions and water temperatures, particularly during the early portions of the outmigrations, whereas those of hatchery fish are not. In addition, the data has been invaluable to NMFS and the Fish Passage Center for managing these ESA-listed stocks, particularly during periods of unfavorable flow conditions.

Annual reports and technical papers
A series of quarterly and annual reports under the title "Monitoring the Migrations of Wild Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon Smolts" have been produced by this project. The BPA publication numbers for the Annual Report series follow:
Annual Report 1992 DOE/BP-18800-1 September 1994
Annual Report 1993 DOE/BP-18800-2 January 1995
Annual Report 1994 DOE/BP-18800-3 September 1995
Annual Report 1995 DOE/BP-18800-4 (draft)

A paper detailing results of similar studies conducted from 1989 through 1991 under COE funding has been accepted for publication by the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

Management implications
Information gained from this project has proved invaluable to NMFS and the Fish Passage Center for managing these ESA-listed stocks, particularly during periods of low flow conditions. For example, data from wild fish migrations indicate water reserved for fish migrations may benefit wild fish in most years if it is released after about mid-May, particularly in low flow years.

Specific measureable objectives
Gather data related to smolt migrational timings of individual and combined populations of wild fish. Provide information on a yearly basis and determine differences between years related to seasonal climatic conditions and water temperatures, particularly during the early portions of the outmigrations. This information is necessary for NMFS and the Fish Passage Center for managing these ESA-listed and other stocks, particularly during drought conditions.

Testable hypothesis
Null Hypothesis (Ho): Run-time distributions at Lower Granite Dam are not significantly different within years among wild spring/summer chinook salmon smolt populations in the Snake River drainage.

Null Hypothesis (Ho): Run-time distributions for fish from individual or combined streams or tributaries at Lower Granite Dam are not significantly different among years. Significance will be set at P < 0.05.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The underlying assumptions or critical constraints for the continuation of this project are the availability of sufficient numbers of chinook salmon parr in the streams for tagging to generate meaningful migration timing data and/or continuation of collectors permits from the State of Idaho. In some years, such as 1995, wild chinook salmon parr PIT tagging may be greatly reduced due to low numbers of parr in the streams.

1) Chinook salmon parr are collected in 17 streams of the Salmon River drainage in July and August of each year using backpack electrofishers and seines. Portable PIT-tagging stations are used for tagging fish and are designed specifically for use beside streams in the field. Station components, setup, and PIT-tagging techniques have been described by Prentice et al. in Fish-Marking Techniques, American Fisheries Society Symposium 7 Manual. Fish are dipped from live cages with sanctuary dip nets and poured into plastic pans containing anesthetic; after anesthetizATION, chinook salmon parr greater than 54 mm in fork length are PIT tagged. Fish are allowed to recover after tagging for a minimum of 0.5 h before release into the stream at the same location where they were collected. About 10% are held in live cages for 24-h for delayed mortality and tag loss information. 2) Surviving PIT-tagged wild chinook salmon smolts are subsequently detected at downstream dams the following spring and summer. The following statistical analyses have been used in Annual Reports.
a. Length distributions (at tagging) vs. length distributions for detected fish (at tagging)---Chi-square.
b. Mean length at tagging vs. length of detected fish (at tagging), overall and during segments of the outmigration---one and two-sample Z-tests.
c. Diel timing at dam fish facilities---Chi-square.
d. Comparison of detection rates at dams for fish PIT tagged and released under different water temperature scenarios---two-sample Z-tests.
e. Comparison of arrival timing distributions for fish from individual streams at Lower Granite Dam---Student-Newmann-Keuls multiple comparison method.
3) Wild Snake River spring/summer chinook salmon are used in this study. The minimum number of wild fish PIT tagged per stream is about 1000, the maximum about 3,000. This produces about 30-300 smolts detected at Lower Granite Dam for timing purposes.

Brief schedule of activities
FY 97 and beyond:
1) Continue to assess the migrational characteristics of wild Snake River spring/summer chinook salmon smolts from selected streams.
2) Continue to assess what environmental factors control migrational timings.
3) Continue to provide data for inseason management decisions related to flow augmentation, spill, and transportation.

Biological need
Information on wild Snake River spring/summer chinook salmon migratory behavior during the smolt migrations are of paramount importance for protection of these fish through inseason management decisions related to flow augmentations, dam operations including spill, and transportation.

Critical uncertainties
As long as adequate numbers of wild chinook parr can be PIT tagged and PIT-tag monitoring systems operate at the dams during spring and summer each year, the probability of accomplishing the stated major objectives is very high. Adequate numbers of wild chinook salmon parr for tagging is critical.

Summary of expected outcome
The study will provide basic information for management of hydrosystem operations to improve the survival of ESA-listed Snake River wild spring/summer chinook salmon as they pass through the FCRPS.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Continued close coordination with and cooperation by the Idaho Department of Fish & Game is important, including the continued issuance of state collector permits.

There is always some inherent risk associated with collecting and tagging fish; however, once tagged, the fish require no further handling for data retrieval. Our overall handling, tagging, and delayed mortality of 2% or less is very low and suggests little impact to the population.

Monitoring activity
All tasks are planned, scheduled, and coordinated with the Smolt Monitoring Program. Milestones are defined and delivery dates specified. Project progress toward milestones is monitored through quarterly progress reports. Progress will also be measured by assessing whether or not we are obtaining the necessary data through peer reviews of the added value of the acquired information to: 1) improve the protection and the passage survival of ESA-listed Snake River wild spring/summer chinook salmon through the FCRPS and 2) improve the management and conservation of these sensitive wild populations.

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
1991: 216,900
1992: 311,700
1993: 113,500
1994: 231,400
1995: 0
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 313,225
Planned: 313,225
1997: 303,800
1998: 167,500
1999: 348,800
2000: 184,800
2001: 196,000

* 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   $303,800

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $303,800