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
Captive Rearing Initiative for Salmon River Chinook Salmon

BPA project number   9700100

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding

Sponsor type   ID-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameDavid Cannamela
 Mailing addressIdaho Department of Fish and Game
P.O. Box 25
Boise, ID 83707

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   Hatchery Biological Opinion

NWPPC Program number   7.3B, 7.4D.2

Short description
Rear juvenile chinook to adulthood in captivity and release adults back into natal streams to spawn with each other and naturally returning adults (if any) in order to maintain a minimum level of natural spawners each year. Implement associated M&E to assist future management decisions about the use of hatcheries to preserve salmon populations.

Project start year   1997    End year   2000

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1999

Project development phase   PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
[Important definitions:
- Captive breeding: rear adults from juveniles, artificially spawn them, and rear their progeny to the juvenile stage for release or to the adult stage for more broodstock;
- Supplementation: collect adults, artificially spawn them, and rear their progeny to the juvenile stage for release.
- Captive Rearing: collect juveniles, rear them to adulthood and release adults to natal streams to maintain a population of natural spawners (prevent cohort collapse.]

Grande Ronde Basin Spring Chinook captive Broodstock Program (new project proposed by ODFW, and Tribes): Evaluates use of captive breeding techniques to reduce probably of extinction, preserve genetic resources of targeted populations, and boost production in Catherine Creek, the upper Grande Ronde and Lostine Rivers.

Research and Recovery of Snake River Sockeye Salmon (91-72): Evaluates use of captive breeding techniques to reduce probability of extinction, and boost production of the Snake River sockeye population.
Idaho Supplementation Studies (89-098): Evaluation of supplementation strategies to enhance chinook natural production in the Salmon and Clearwater basins.

Lower Snake River Compensation Program: Artificial propagation and evaluation program for salmon and steelhead mitigation in the Snake River Basin.

Project history
Concept: A broad goal, supported by the Endangered Species Act (ESA), is to achieve sustainable recovery of Snake River salmon. The first challenge to meeting this goal is to preserve current stock structure in order to maintain options for future recovery. NMFS has identified about 30 chinook populations in Idaho that are part of the listed Snake River ESU; there are another (about) 10 populations that are also important. Idaho Department of Fish and Game focused on management interventions that would affect multiple populations and minimize the risks (to target and non-target populations) associated with artificial propagation techniques: the captive rearing strategy represents such an approach. Captive rearing, if successful, will enable us to maintain as much locally evolved genetic material as possible until system productivity increases to the point where recovery activities are appropriate. TheShoshone-Bannock Tribe is participating in the planning and implementation of this initiative; the Nez Perce Tribe although, not actively involved at this time, is monitoring the process.

One key objective of the captive rearing initiative is to avoid extreme demographic, environmental, and genetic risks to specified cohorts. Our goal is to maintain a minimum number of ten spawning pairs per year in the wild for each targeted population. Annual collection of progeny is dependant on the likelihood of natural populations to maintain the minimum spawner goal on their own. The concept is untested but potential benefits include the ability of the strategy to address more target populations than captive brood stock programs, which require substantially more space because of juvenile fish needs. Captive rearing minimizes the risk of altering native stock structure through our inadvertent directional selection, behavioral modifications, and gross family size discrepancy between hatchery and natural cohorts. The captive rearing approach is not designed to overwhelm low system productivity and production by producing large numbers of fish.

Implementation: Juvenile fish (BY 94) were collected from the Lemhi River, upper East Fork Salmon River, and the West Fork Yankee Fork Salmon River for this captive rearing initiative during the late summer, 1995. Low 1994 adult chinook returns to the Snake River Basin, the lowest on record at the time, prompted collection of these fish. Collection was supported by Idaho Supplementation Studies ( ) and Lower Snake River Compensation Program. Fish are currently being held at Sawtooth Fish Hatchery. Planning was initiated during the summer, 1995. A comprehensive plan for the brood year 1994 juveniles will be completed by Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Lower Snake River Compensation Program (USFWS-LSRCP) by May 1, 1996. Funding for planning through February, 1996 has been provided by the USFWS-LSRCP.

Biological results achieved
Up to 215 chinook parr have been collected from each of three upper Salmon River populations. Chinook parr collected from the wild have been successfully trained to artificial feed for long term captivity. Mortality has been very low and all fish have been PIT tagged.

Annual reports and technical papers
-Recovery Plan Recommendations for Hatchery Production, an issue paper by Ed Bowles, IDFG, September 1994.
-Emergency Section 10 application - IDFG, June 12, 1995.
-Section 10 application for captive rearing initiative - IDFG, May 1996 (in preparation).
-Comprehensive Plan for Captive Rearing Initiative - (in preparation).

Management implications
Chinook populations are at risk of extinction in the Snake River (see BIOLOGICAL NEED). Currently, dramatic and unprecedented efforts will be needed to prevent extinction as well as preserve future options for recovery of an intact Snake River ESU. We hope to determine the efficacy of captive rearing as a means to preserve natural populations when extinction is imminent and multiple populations are affected. If successful, this technique could be applied to other complexes of salmon or even resident populations, that may be in need of “safety-net” intervention. It is crucial to develop our knowledge now to position the Region to make critical management decisions in response to potentially lower returns in 1998-99 when progeny of the lowest runs to date (1994, 1995) return to spawn.

Specific measureable objectives
1. Evaluate the utility of captive rearing to prevent cohort collapse.
-Develop facilities capable of supporting captive rearing.
-Determine optimum operational criteria to meet the goal.
-Assess program ability to achieve the specified adult brood stock objectives; (the appropriate number, size, time of maturity, age characteristics, genetics, behavior). Success of the program ultimately relates to the ability of captively-reared adults to be self-sustaining.
2. Maintain populations that face the highest risk of extinction.

Testable hypothesis
Naturally produced juvenile chinook can be artificially reared to adulthood to successfully spawn and contribute production in the natural environment. Captive rearing methods can produce a sufficient number of adults with the appropriate biological characteristics (e.g. morphological, genetic, behavioral) to prevent cohort collapse and preserve recovery potential of the stock.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Assumptions: a) System productivity will improve enough to support self-sustaining populations (i.e. captive rearing is and interim strategy). b) Suitable facilities can be developed. c) Successful techniques can be developed, i.e. survival, growth, maturation, genetic, behavioral, and gamete viability objectives can be achieved. d) Populations persist until successful techniques are developed.
Constraints: Money; facilities/water development; knowledge, time.

Between 200-300 juveniles will be collected annually from targeted populations. Criteria for population selection will include population resiliency, size, and production history (previous hatchery influence). Juveniles will be reared to the adult stage. Currently freshwater and saltwater rearing strategies are proposed. Fish will be returned to freshwater for the maturation phase and released back into their natal streams to spawn naturally. Monitoring and evaluation will be implemented to evaluate program efficacy and to provide recommendations for future initiatives. In addition, alternative management strategies (off-ramps) will be in place to make the best possible use of captive-reared fish, which do not meet natural spawner criteria. The captive rearing initiative will require extensive planning, development of water supplies (including treatment), construction of buildings, purchase of rearing containers, and a commitment to monitoring and evaluation.

Brief schedule of activities
FY1996-Complete comprehensive plan by May 1, 1996, submit Section 10 permit application for current fish, and prepare budget estimates for facility modifications, program development, and evaluations. Complete near-term modifications to selected rearing facilities (saltwater and/or freshwater) to transfer 1994 brood juveniles from Sawtooth FH by April 15, 1996. Begin facility design as needed to address rearing facilities for future fish and implement modifications for fish on hand to rear to adulthood such as large tank modification, well water development, providing effluent treatment where needed, etc. Collect BY 1995 juveniles for brood stock.

FY1997-Complete design and construction and begin full implementation of program. Collect BY1996 juveniles if necessary to prevent cohort collapse. Collect BY1997 eggs if necessary to avoid disease constraints. Evaluate production status of populations from BY1993 production (1995 smolt migration, adult returns in 1997-1998) and make decisions about populations for intervention.

FY1998-Continue rearing program and release mature adults, evaluate. Collect BY1997 juveniles if necessary to prevent cohort collapse. Collect BY 1998 eggs if necessary to avoid disease.

FY1999-Continue rearing program and release mature adults, evaluate. Complete first adult rearing cycle of BY1999. Collect progeny if deemed necessary.

FY2000-Continue program or develop new strategy. Evaluate.
FY2001-Continue program or implement new strategy. Evaluate.

Biological need
Chinook populations in the Snake River basin have declined leading to ESA listing as threatened in 1992. The return of spring and summer chinook to the Snake Basin in 1994 and 1995 were the lowest on record. Without significant productivity improvements populations will continue toward extinction. It is apparent that some populations currently need a “safety-net” to avoid extinction and potentially many more will be at risk when BY1994-95 adults return. The seriousness and urgency of the situation has put pressure on management agencies to consider more drastic intervention strategies than those presently in use (i.e. hatcheries, supplementation), even though our present and proposed actions are fraught with uncertainty. Managers are faced with decisions not only of how to preserve populations, but also of which “at-risk” populations to (try to) preserve for future recovery and restoration. New and additional intervention tools may be needed to help meet the goal of preserving stock structure (recovery potential) of the Snake River ESU for future recovery options.

Critical uncertainties
This whole thing is critically uncertain. It is unknown whether or not chinook salmon can be reared in captivity to meet our specific objectives.

Summary of expected outcome
We expect to evaluate the potential of captive rearing techniques to facilitate cohort persistence with minimal risk of change in natural stock structure for populations of low resiliency and number, and high risk of extinction. We expect the knowledge gained to provide guidance for future decisions. Our objective is to retain populations that can provide the basis for achieving our ultimate goal, restoration of self-sustaining populations to harvestable levels..

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
NEPA analysis may affect ability to modify facilities. Completion of comprehensive plan and acquisition of Section 10 permit is essential for success. Program requires cooperation of tribes, state, and federal agencies as well as integration into the Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan. Coordination is occurring with agencies, tribes, and experts in the region, particularly with respect to the plans for conserving the ESU breeding units (Table IV-1, recovery plan). “Suitable” rearing facilities may require immediate modification.

The captive rearing program is complementary to the captive breeding program proposed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Both incorporate preservation goals, but use approaches with different prioritizations. Captive rearing prioritizes preserving natural selection processes and genetic structure over risk of low number of fish in the population. The captive breeding program prioritizes high numbers of fish over natural genetic structure and selection processes. Both can be considered parts of the same experiment, just different “treatments”.

There is considerable risk for failing to develop techniques to preserve the genetic structure of the Snake River salmon complex. There is risk that captive rearing will not prevent extinction. There is risk that captive rearing is not attainable. There is risk that captive rearing (and brood stock) programs will build false hope for restoration among scientists, the publics, and decision makers and divert attention from the crucial limiting factors in the Snake River Basin.

Monitoring activity
A comprehensive monitoring and evaluation plan is currently being developed for this program.

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: 731,532
1998: 689,604
1999: 484,604
2000: 484,604
2001: 484,604

* 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 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $731,532

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $300,500