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
Yakima River Coho Restoration

BPA project number   9603302

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Yakama Indian Nation

Sponsor type   WA-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameLynn Hatcher
 Mailing addressP.O. Box 151
Toppenish, WA 98948

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   3.1D.1, 7.4A

Short description
Restore the population of naturally spawning coho in the Yakima River basin by transferring adult and/or juvenile coho from appropriate lower river hatcheries to selected habitats or acclimation ponds.

Project start year   1996    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   0

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects

Project history
Provide any background relevant to prioritization (e.g. historic costs if the activity was previously funded under other project numbers, cost shares received from other agencies, major non-biological products or conclusions.) There are separate spaces below for biological products, reports, and need for the project.

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications
By experimenting with releases at different life stages and release locations, more knowledge will be gained about the benefits of acclimation and the rearing of hatchery-influenced fish in more natural environments. This knowledge will help the region to make better decisions about how best to implement supplementation to further rebuilding goals throughout the Columbia River basin.

Specific measureable objectives
Increase the number of adult coho available for harvest and natural spawning in the Yakima River basin as measured by dam counts at Prosser and Roza dams on the Yakima River and by spawning ground surveys.

Testable hypothesis

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Other projects and improved enforcement of existing laws will result in improvements to habitat and water quality and quantity. Ocean survival of coho will remain within historical ranges. Ocean and river harvest will be managed to allow sufficient escapement of Columbia River coho populations.

Using early stock coho from lower river hatchery facilities, transport available fish in federal, state, or tribal tanker trucks to suitable habitats in the Yakima River basin. Identified habitats include: the upper Yakima River from Keechelus Dam to the Cle Elum confluence; Taneum Creek; the Little Naches drainage above Salmon Falls; the American River above approximately river mile 4.0; small sections of the upper Naches above the Tieton including the Rattlesnake, Little Rattlesnake, Nile, and Barton Creeks; portions of the Teanaway drainage; and Cowiche Creek below the forks. Fish may either be transferred as adults to spawn naturally or spawned and reared at the hatchery to desired life stage prior to transfer. All juveniles resulting from transfers would be marked appropriately prior to outmigration. Juvenile counting facilities are available at Prosser and adult counting facilities are available at Prosser and Roza dams. Additional data on health and survival of transferred fish would be collected using techniques such as electroshocking and spawning ground surveys.

Brief schedule of activities

Biological need
Mullan (1984) estimated historical populations of 50,000 to 70,000 annually in the Yakima River drainage. Primarily due to habitat degradation and high exploitation rates, Yakima River coho were virtually extirpated with very few if any coho counted at Prosser Dam in the early- to mid-1980s. Under the U.S. versus Oregon Columbia River Fish Management Plan (CRFMP) an average of 650,000 coho smolts have been released annually in the lower Yakima River since 1987. Acclimation of these releases began in 1994. These releases have resulted in an increase in adult counts at Prosser Dam to over 600 coho in 1995.

Critical uncertainties
The upper Yakima and Naches river basins contain a lot of excellent spawning habitat, and many brushy pools, side channels and “sloughs” for summer rearing and overwintering. This proposal seeks to directly increase the number of coho available to utilize these habitats. However, the basin also has many habitat problems which primarily affect the coho migration corridor. These problems include sedimentation, blocked access to habitat, destruction of pool habitat and riparian cover, inadequate summer discharges and high summer temperatures. Fortunately many programs are already in place to address these problems. Ongoing habitat improvement efforts include: constructing fences and planting native trees, shrubs, and grasses in riparian areas; conserving water for instream flows; regrading and revegetating stream banks to reduce erosion and sedimentation; creating velocity and hiding cover for juveniles via construction of rock barb and woody structures; excavating existing or new juvenile rearing alcoves; and researching ways to reduce agricultural pollutants in waters throughout the basin. Additional focus on habitat programs such as these will increase the benefits resulting from this proposal.

Summary of expected outcome
This project is “low tech” with approximately $700,000 required over the first five years to cover transportation, marking, feeding, acclimation, and additional acclimation site investigation. The increase in the population of naturally spawning coho in the Yakima River basin will also depend on the rate at which habitat and passage conditions are improved and also on ocean survival. However, dam counts at Prosser Dam in 1994 and 1995 suggest that improved care, placement, and timing in the acclimation and release of juvenile coho can increase the number of returning adults. As habitat and passage improvements “take hold”, it is expected that returning coho would eventually be self-sustaining.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
As mentioned, this project is directly related to other projects seeking to improve habitat conditions in the Yakima River basin including: Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (YRBWEP), Jobs for the Environment, Salmon Corps (AmeriCorps), Yakima River Salmon Habitat Enhancement Project, Yakama Nation Riparian Demonstration Projects, Adopt-A-Stream Volunteer Programs, Yakima Resource Management Cooperative, and the Washington State DOE Water Quality Research Project. It is also related to the Yakima Fisheries Project (YFP) which seeks to rebuild naturally spawning anadromous fish stocks historically present in the Yakima River basin. Other projects seeking to improve fish passage in the mainstem Columbia River will also impact the results of this proposal. Finally, the project is consistent with regional goals identified in the NPPC Fish and Wildlife Program, the U.S. versus Oregon CRFMP, and the NMFS Proposed Recovery Plan.


Monitoring activity
The Prosser (Chandler) smolt trap facility in the lower Yakima River will allow the evaluation of in-river survival for transferred releases. The Prosser adult counting facility will allow evaluation of smolt-to-adult survival. Spawning ground surveys will allow evaluation of natural escapement spawning success. Use of redd caps, electroshocking, and/or beach seines will allow evaluation of growth and survival of juvenile coho resulting from these releases. Approximately 40% of the annual budget is expected to be used for monitoring and evaluation purposes.

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: 143,360
1998: 151,200
1999: 157,920
2000: 164,640
2001: 171,360

* 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   Bonneville Dam - Priest Rapids Dam

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $143,360

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $143,360