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
Flathead River Instream Flow Study

BPA project number   9502500

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.18

Short description
Conducts IFIM study on Flathead River from South Fork confluence to Flathead Lake. Determine effects of flow fluctuations on fish habitat, predator prey interactions, sediment deposition and fish migrations. Links river model to existing reservoir model (HRMOD).

Project start year   1997    End year   1999

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Project 9101903 Hungry Horse Mitigation: fieldwork to expand utility of reservoir and river model HRMOD. Project 8446500 Libby and Hungry Horse Tech. Analysis: modeler funded here serves dual role on all model advancements; programs optimization model to link IFIM model to HRMOD. Operational mitigation measures must be balanced between reservoir and river needs.

Project history
This project is scheduled to start in 1997. This effort is similar to the ongoing work in Libby Reservoir and Kootenai River.

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers
Project has not begun. This product will link with the IRCs described in: Model Development to Establish Integrated Operational Rule Curves for Hungry Horse and Libby Reservoirs, Montana. January 1996.

Management implications
The effects of rapid or unnatural flow fluctuations of riverine biota is well document in the literature. Thermal control (selective withdrawal) coupled with a nearly natural flow regimen is critical to riverine health in the Flathead River. Improved prey production and fish growth efficiency will aid in the recovery of weakened native fish populations (e.g. bull trout and westslope cutthroat).

Specific measureable objectives
Determine seasonal thresholds for allowable flow fluctuations (ramping rates). Define the required flow (augmented by Hungry Horse Dam) for stream channel maintenance (to clean stream substrate and maintain insect production). Evaluate the feasibility of using flows and temperatures as a tool to reduce predation on juvenile bull trout and westslope cutthroat.

Testable hypothesis
Rate of flow change X is more beneficial to riverine biological production than is flow change Y (X and Y are rates selected from the continuum from minimum to maximum flows).

The effect of ramping rates varies seasonally (due to the presence or absence of critical life stages of resident fish).

River flows effect: (1) the movements of fish; (2) the availability of suitable habitat, and; (3) food production.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
IFIM modeling (as modified and applied to suit site-specific conditions in the Flathead River) is robust enough to estimate the usable area of habitat under various flow regimes.

Results can be used to devise a flow regimen for the Flathead River than improves conditions for fish without placing unacceptable constraints on the power system.

(1) Standard application of Instream Flow Incremental Methodology in three reaches of the Flathead River (PHABSIM and HABSP). Optimization program to link the river IFIM and the reservoir model HRMOD will draw heavily from ongoing modeling in the Kootenai system. (2) Modeling typically uses the simplest mathematical tools to make maximal use of available empirical data. Non-linear regression multi-variate analysis, etc. the IFIM will be subcontracted to a competitive contractor. Project design and statistical analyses will be reviewed/edited by University statistical consultants. (3) Target species include bull trout, westslope cutthroat and northern squawfish (native), lake trout and northern pike (non-native).

Brief schedule of activities
Planning will be completed through bid process in FY96. Bid will be awarded in FY97; project implementation will begin immediately. (1) Establish IFIM transects for hydraulic measurements. (2) Initiate data collection at all transects. (3) Compile and proof data sets. Project will move from macro to microhabitats during the first three-year project, the fourth year will be used for implementation and reporting. A validation plan will also be developed.

Biological need
The NPPC program calls for consultations with MFWP and CSKT when conflict occurs between reservoir and river requirements. River flows and flow fluctuations cause important changes in food production, habitat availability and fish movements. An annual flow regime with tolerable flow fluctuations is needed to maximize the effectiveness of the selective withdrawal structure and to balance riverine productivity with hydropower production.

Critical uncertainties
Ongoing actions for recovery of the endangered Snake River salmon as directed by the NMFS Biological Opinion could influence the timing of water released from Hungry Horse Dam. Unless we understand the effects of these releases, recovery actions may counter or reverse mitigation efforts to balance the needs of resident and anadromous fish.

Summary of expected outcome
Project will recommend an annual regime of flows and allowable flow fluctuations to balance riverine fish production with hydropower generation. River model will be linked with the existing reservoir model to assess tradeoffs when reservoir and river requirements conflict.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
See Critical Uncertainty. The ability to implement an appropriate flow regimen is dependant on a balanced system operation. River work compliments ongoing research on selective withdrawal and predator prey interactions. Partnerships can be formed with the Flathead Basin Commission, Bureau of Reclamation, Flathead River action groups and landowners along the river. Partnerships have already been demonstrated with BOR and BPA (including ramping rates, minimum flows and kokanee spawning flows).

Limits to flow fluctuations or seasonal flow constraints may have minor to moderate impacts on power generation at Hungry Horse Dam and Kerr Dam at the outlet to Flathead Lake.

Monitoring activity
The IFIM model will be empirically calibrated. Recommended changes in the flow regimen will be accompanied by specific monitoring strategies to evaluate their effectiveness.

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
(none) New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 95,600
1998: 100,000
1999: 100,000
2000: 100,000
2001: 0

* 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   $95,600

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $95,600