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
Grande Ronde, Imnaha, John Day Rivers Radio Telemetry

BPA project number   9307000

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   OR-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameBruce McIntosh
 Mailing addressU.S. Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station
3300 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331

BPA technical contact   Mark Shaw, EWP 503/230-5239

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   6.1B.8

Short description
Determine the freshwater life history patterns and use of thermal refugia by adult spring chinook salmon in the John Day, Grande Ronde, and Imnaha basins.

Project start year   1993    End year   1999

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1994

Project development phase   Maintenance

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
9202601 Grande Ronde Model Watershed Plan, 929262 Washington Model Watershed Plans: Provides planning and implementation information

Project history
The listing of Snake River spring/summer chinook under the Endangered Species Act, during 1992, heightened the need for managers to understand the characteristics of critical habitats. There is little data on subbasin-specific life history patterns of adult spring chinook within the Snake River basin. This study will use radio- tagged spring chinook to investigate the patterns of distribution, migration, habitat utilization, and the use of thermal refu gia in the John Day, Grande Ronde, and Imnaha basins. In addition, we began in 1994 pioneering an approach to examine the spatial variability of stream temperatures using low altitiude, high resolution thermal infrared videography. With this technology, we have been able to map cold-water habitats and document there use by spring chinook. This work was jointly funded by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Preliminary results will allow us to expand and refine our efforts.

Biological results achieved
1. Habitat selection by spring chinook salmon differs among the drainages of the North Fork, Middle Fork and upper mainstem drainages of the John Day River, Imnaha and Upper Grande Ronde basins. This reflects differences in habitat structure and availability, and temperature.
2. High stream temperature limits the distribution of adult spring chinook salmon in the John Day basin.
3. Spring chinook adults in the Middle Fork JD are exposed to temperatures above the upper incipient lethal temperature for several hours daily during July and August.
4. The spatial character of holding and spawning distrubutions of spring chinook differed among tjhe study basins. In the North Fork, fish spawned over the same reaches used for holding. In contreat, fish in the Middle Fork and mainstem spawned in limited upstream reaches often far from holding locations. This may reflect habitat limitations due to warm stream temperatures and a lack of instream cover.
5. Spring chinook in the cooler streams, e.g., North Fork, Graninte Creek, Clear Creek, Inmaha, and Wenaha spawn earlier (mid August through September) than salmon in warmer streams such as the Middle Fork and mainstem (mid September through early October).
6. All radio-tagged fish were found in or frequented coldwater refugia in the Middle Fork John Day Basin. Coldwater refugia were associated with groundwater sources and cool tributrary junctions that we detected using foreward-looking infrared (FLIR) videography. Many of these refugia were pools.
7. The thermal patterns of the North Fork vs. Middle Fork John Day rivers were distinctly different. The North Fork was homogenously warm with isolated patches of cool water. The spring chinook salmon carrying capacity, with respect to tmeperature, of the North Fork per linear unit of stream is about tywice that of the Middle Fork.
8. The habitats used by the spring chinook salmon in the Millde Fork Hohn Day River were almonst exculsively pools. Pools were still important habitats in the North Fork, but 15% of the habitats occupied were in riffles. We suspect that the cool watert and better structures allows chinook salmon a greater diversity of adequate holding habitat in the North Fork.

Annual reports and technical papers
Annual Reports for 1993, 1994, and 1995 plus Torgerson, C.E., D.M. Price, H.W.Li, B.A. McIntosh. 1995. Thermal refugia and chinook salmon habitat in Oregon; applications of airborne thermal videography. In: Proceedings of the 15th Biennial Workshop on Color Photography and Videography in Resource Assessment, Terre Haute, Indiana. American Society for Photogrametry and Remote Sensing. Pages 167-171.

Management implications
Knowledge from this study will provide tributary -- specific habitat requirements for adult spring chinook. In addition, critical habitat, such as thermal refugia will be mapped and identified. This data will help prioritize habitat restoration and protection programs for listed salmon.

Specific measureable objectives
1. Determine sub-basin specific habitat utilization and availability of stream habitats for adult spring chinook.
2. Determine migration patterns and distribution of adult spring chinook in study basins.

Testable hypothesis
1. Freshwater life history patterns of adult spring chinook differ among and within river basins.
2. Life history patterns vary from year to year based on differences in flow (i.e., habitat availability) and stream temperatures.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
- At low escapements, returning fish are representative of populatioon as a whole.
- Over a 5-10 year study enough variability of the factors that effect life history patterns are represented.

Radio-tagged adults and untagged fish are used to identify habitat use within each tributary. Untagged fish are located randomly to minimize the bias of tagged fish, and are used to calibrate representativeness of tagged fish. Hankin-Reeves stream surveys provide habitat availability, while tagged/untagged fish provide habitat utilization data. Statistical techniques, such as Iv lev's Electivity Measure and Discriminant Function Analysis, will be used to detect differences. Tagged fish are provided by mainstem passage study, so number varies. A minimum of 25 random untagged observations are collected per study stream.

Brief schedule of activities
In 1996, we will begin our fourth year of monitoring of adult chinook in study basins. The three previous years have provided variable escapements and habitat conditions (flow/temperatures). 1996 should provide a different data point, given the flooding and icing of habitats this winter. In addition, we will focus more intensively on the use of thermal refugia, along with its structure and function. This research will be critical to protecting and restoring habitats for spring chinook in thermally impaired tributaries. To this end, we have been pioneering, the use of remote sensing to identify and map these habitats.

Biological need
There is little data on the sub-basin--specific habitat requirements of adult spring chinook in the study basins. An improved understanding of critical habitats is essential to the setting of management, restoration, and protection programs for these habitats. This study will provide this data across scales, from spawning tributaries to entire river basins.

Critical uncertainties
Will escapement levels be high enough for adequate sampling (sample size, representive).

Summary of expected outcome
Quantification, description, and mapping of critical tributary habitats for adult spring chinook in study basins. The role of thermal refugia in habitat requirements for adult chinook. Development of new monitoring techniques for stream habitats and stream temperatures.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Project is using tagged fish provided by University of Idaho mainstem study. Continuation of our study concurrently with the U of I provides significant data without the additional handling of listed fish. In addition, Warm Springs Tribe, National Forest System, and the Environmental Protection Agency have provided complimentary support which is conditional on continued BPA support.


Monitoring activity
Project is entirely designed to collect information which will have direct application to management and restoration projects in the effected subbasins.

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
1993: 131,340
1994: 167,204
1995: 170,422
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 65,000
Planned: 65,000
1997: 170,000
1998: 170,000
1999: 170,000

* 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 2 - fund when funds available

Recommended funding level   $170,000