FY07-09 proposal 200300600

Jump to Reviews and Recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Proposal titleEffectiveness Monitoring of Estuary Restoration in the Grays River and Chinook River Watersheds
Proposal ID200300600
OrganizationColumbia River Estuary Study Taskforce (CREST)
Short descriptionThis project will evaluate the effectiveness of a suite of estuary restoration projects in the Grays River and Chinook River watersheds.
Information transfer
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
Form submitter
Robert Warren Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce rwarren@columbiaestuary.org
All assigned contacts
Ian Sinks Columbia Land Trust isinks@columbialandtrust.org
Robert Warren Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce rwarren@columbiaestuary.org
Robert Warren Columbia River Estuary Study Taskforce rwarren@columbiaestuary.org

Section 2. Locations

Province / subbasin: Columbia Estuary / Columbia Estuary

N 46 18' 13.2" W 123 57' 55.8" Chinook River Lower reaches of the Chinook River.
N 46 18' 29.1 W 123 41' 3.3 Grays River Lower tidally influenced reaches of the Grays River

Section 3. Focal species

primary: Chinook Lower Columbia River ESU
primary: Chum Columbia River ESU
primary: Coho Lower Columbia River ESU
secondary: Coastal Cutthroat Southwest Washington/Columbia River ESU
secondary: Other Anadromous
secondary: Resident Fish

Section 4. Past accomplishments

2005 Initiated prey resource and utilization components above and below the existing tide gate structure and trap netting in an adjacent reference/comparision site
2004 Established length of residence (and associated growth rates) for hatchery and natural origin salmonids in the lower Chinook River and Estuary; documented timing and magnitude of juvenile migration events; and documented seasonal variation in WQ parameter
2003 Initiated all project elements including deployment of water quality instruments, operation of rotary screw migrant traps, and lower river seining

Section 5. Relationships to other projects

Funding sourceRelated IDRelated titleRelationship
BPA 200301000 Historic Hab Food Web Link Sal Collaborative effort to evaluate estuary restoration in the Grays River
Other: NFWF 2005-0127-003 Columbia River estuary wetland restoration and monitoring: Youngs Bay, Oregon and Baker Bay, Washington Similar monitoring approach for estuary restoration projects in Oregon and Washingon
BPA 200301100 Columbia R/Estuary Habitat Significant contributor to restoration of sites to be monitored
Other: USACE na Movements of coastal cutthroat trout in the lower Columbia River: tributary, mainstem, and estuary use Collaboration with respect to PIT tagging and PIT tag detection in the Chinook River

Section 6. Biological objectives

Biological objectivesFull descriptionAssociated subbasin planStrategy

Section 7. Work elements (coming back to this)

Work element nameWork element titleDescriptionStart dateEnd dateEst budget
Manage and Administer Projects Manage project implementation and completion Manage project jointly between CREST and CLT 10/1/2007 9/30/2009 $46,296
Biological objectives
Produce Annual Report Complete annual reports Project managers and biologist will develop comprehensive report of monitoring findings. 7/1/2007 9/30/2009 $13,335
Biological objectives
Produce Status Report Complete project status reports Status reports will be submitted quarterly 10/1/2006 7/30/2009 $4,666
Biological objectives
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Analyze fall out trap and bentic core samples Analysis to be performed by UW WET. 6/1/2007 9/30/2009 $67,650
Biological objectives
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Analyze stomach content samples from juvenile salmon Analysis will be performed by UW WET - 1050 total samples anticipated 6/30/2007 9/30/2009 $94,500
Biological objectives
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Capture and process juvenile salmon Using rotary screw migrant trap, fyke nets, and beach seine to capture and process juvenile salmon in migration corridors (Chinook and Grays) restoration sites, and reference sites twice monthly at 5 sites. 10/1/2006 9/30/2009 $232,774
Biological objectives
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Collect stomach content samples from juvenile salmon and invertebrates from sample sites A representative subset of all species of captured salmon will provide stomach content sample via non-lethal gastric lavage. Invertebrates will also be collected using fall out traps and benthic cores. 10/1/2006 9/30/2009 $22,539
Biological objectives
Create/Manage/Maintain Database Manage database to house all collected data Create and maintain database to house all project data 10/1/2006 9/30/2009 $10,078
Biological objectives

Section 8. Budgets

Itemized estimated budget
Personnel [blank] $85,216 $85,216 $85,216
Supplies [blank] $4,500 $4,500 $4,500
Other Sample Processing $53,550 $53,550 $53,550
Travel [blank] $3,492 $3,492 $3,492
Overhead [blank] $17,188 $17,188 $17,188
Totals $163,946 $163,946 $163,946
Total estimated FY 2007-2009 budgets
Total itemized budget: $491,838
Total work element budget: $491,838
Cost sharing
Funding source/orgItem or service providedFY 07 est value ($)FY 08 est value ($)FY 09 est value ($)Cash or in-kind?Status
TBD Personnel $20,000 $20,000 $20,000 Cash Under Development
Totals $20,000 $20,000 $20,000

Section 9. Project future

FY 2010 estimated budget: $165,000
FY 2011 estimated budget: $165,000
Comments: Continuation of long-term monitoring project of restoring estuary restoration sites

Future O&M costs:

Termination date: 2009

Final deliverables: Comprehensive scientific report of project findings.

Section 10. Narrative and other documents

20030600n-2 Jul 2006
Devil's elbow 05-06 Jul 2006

Reviews and recommendations

FY07 budget FY08 budget FY09 budget Total budget Type Category Recommendation
NPCC FINAL FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS (Oct 23, 2006) [full Council recs]
$0 $0 $0 $0 Expense ProvinceExpense Do Not Fund
NPCC DRAFT FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS (Sep 15, 2006) [full Council recs]
$0 $0 $0 $0 ProvinceExpense
Comments: OR and WA same
NPCC DRAFT FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS (Sep 15, 2006) [full Council recs]
$0 $0 $0 $0 ProvinceExpense
Comments: OR and WA same


Recommendation: Response requested

NPCC comments: Although there is solid justification for this work, the proposal requires improvement in several areas. In particular, the sponsors need to provide a better explanation of past accomplishments, organized by objective in the original proposal, and a far better explanation of objectives and methods. The proponents need to provide further information on study sample sites relative to the restoration projects shown in Table 1 and how the sample sites were chosen, status of the tide gate restoration initiative (slated for removal in 2006), and evidence that annual reports are being made available. The technical background is adequate and the rationale for the project is clearly defined. The project seeks to continue monitoring the effectiveness of restoration projects in the Chinook River and to begin monitoring in the Grays River. Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: The proposal clearly addresses elements of the lower Columbia estuary subbasins plans and the Plan for Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Salmon in the Columbia River Estuary. It also is related to a number of RPA’s in the 2000 Biological Opinion. The Grays River and Chinook River estuary complex is important in that it is potentially available to all juvenile salmonids rearing in or moving through the lower Columbia River estuary. Relationships to other projects: The sponsors will continue to collaborate with University of Washington researchers working in the estuary complex at the Grays River mouth (project #20030100). The two projects seem to be well integrated, and the current proposal almost provides a service function to #20030100. The project appears to have excellent collaborative relationships with CREST and a number of federal and state agencies and private entities. The collaboration includes data sharing, consistency of methods, and joint participation in projects. Project history: A good set of baseline data has been obtained on juvenile salmon ecology but the information has not been published and is still considered preliminary by the proponents. The sponsors need to summarize results by objective in the original proposal to enable evaluation of how well each objective was accomplished. The sponsors also need to explain the results presented in the Tables and Figures. What is the data telling us? What conclusions can be drawn at this point? Do the tables and figures provide all data collected to date? What has been learned about pre-restoration baseline conditions? One problem with the original design of the work is that a specific tide gate has not been modified to increase flooding in the Chinook River estuary. The proposal states one out of three gates will be engineered in April 2006. The proposal does not state if this will provide sufficient water exchange to satisfy the original goal. Objectives: The sponsors need to provide a much better explanation of objectives. Obtaining baseline data on juvenile salmon ecology (residency, feeding, apparent growth) is a measurable objective. Benefits to salmon from restoration activities are more difficult to quantify and were not mentioned in the proposal. Will any of the work from the original proposal be continued such as the monitoring work in the Chinook? If so, what are the objectives and methods? What is the rationale for selecting the Grays River sites? What were the pre-restoration baseline conditions? When were restoration actions taken and what were they? Have any data been obtained so far at these sites? A better explanation of the reference sites and why they were chosen is needed. Tasks (work elements) and methods: Most of the methods appear adequate for accomplishing the objectives. Several questions, however, need to be addressed. More detail is required on sampling locations and rationale for their choice. How frequently will sampling occur? How will the sponsor decide which type of tagging to employ? The trapping methods are adequate. The sponsors state that the scale samples will be analyzed, if possible. The sponsors need to assure that the scales will be analyzed. The scales will provide critical information on age and life history and will be important in assessing life history diversity. How will the data be analyzed? After several years of data collection, the sponsor should be able to adequately address the question of data analysis. The request to continue sampling until 2013 when an apparent dynamic equilibrium is established is not supported by any scientific rationale -only a quote from "some researchers". The proponents should explain what they mean by a "dynamic equilibrium" and how it will be evidenced. Monitoring and evaluation: The purpose of the proposal is effectiveness monitoring. However, there are so many uncertainties related to project objectives and past accomplishments that it is difficult to determine whether the project will be a viable M&E. The proponents state that an additional seven years of monitoring is required. A rationale for this time frame is required. Facilities, equipment, and personnel: Facilities and equipment are adequate. The supervisory personnel do not have extensive experience in reporting. Information transfer: To date, the information from the project has not been widely disseminated, presumably because the proponents view the data as preliminary. Some data sharing has occurred with University of Washington researchers. The proposal states that annual reports are prepared but they are not cited. A database is being maintained by CREST. Benefits to focal species: An evaluation of the restoration projects in the lower Columbia River estuary will benefit focal species especially fall chinook and chum. The benefits will be sustained in the long term, but periodic monitoring will be required for the engineered restoration projects (e.g., will the tide gate continue to allow access by fish?) Benefits to non-focal species: Habitat restoration should benefit non-focal species. It is not clear if endangered biota besides salmon will be affected by the flooding of restored areas. Trapping in the river could affect non-focal fish species and mammals if precautions are not taken.

ISRP FINAL REVIEW (Aug 31, 2006)

Recommendation: Not fundable

NPCC comments: The sponsors did not provide a systematic and explicit response to the ISRP's comments. Instead, they submitted a revised proposal that was only marginally improved over the original proposal. They provided more data describing results but very little interpretation as requested by ISRP. Although the sponsors organized the results of past work (project history) according to the objectives of the original proposal as the ISRP recommended, the results should have been better explained. The sponsors simply re-iterated the results of their baseline data gathering but did not add any further interpretation or show how the data would be used to evaluate success or failure of the restoration. The abundance and residence of hatchery and naturally spawning fish were not distinguished, as called for in the original objectives, nor did the sponsors differentiate results from pre- and post restoration activities. The data given in several graphs were not interpreted adequately (e.g., water quality graphs) and some graphs received no interpretation at all. The narrative of the main proposal has errors in figure numbering, making the document difficult to follow. The sponsors did not adequately present overall conclusions derived from the first three years of work. Based on the results presented by the sponsors, it does not appear that the objectives of the original proposal were achieved satisfactorily. The objectives of the current proposal are improved somewhat over the original proposal, but essential information is still missing. For example, the sponsors appear to be evaluating fish use of restored sites by comparison with reference sites, although they do not say so explicitly. If this is the case, the sponsors should have provided a more complete description of both the restoration and reference sites to demonstrate that the reference sites are similar in physical characteristics to the restored sites prior to initiation of restoration activities. They refer to the reference sites as “undeveloped” but do not describe what “undeveloped” means. Does it mean relatively pristine or disturbed with no restoration actions taken? The sponsors propose to compare fish use of mainstem sites with wetland sites. It is unclear what this comparison will reveal since fish could move regularly between the mainstem and wetlands. The rationale for selection of the trapping and seining sites is not given. The information given on some key elements such as characteristics of the habitat to be restored is sketchy. The broad vegetation types are provided, but important data are lacking. The description of Devils Elbow, one of the areas to be restored, is not put in the context of the main proposal. The sponsors propose to measure prey utilization by fish and prey abundance in the wetland areas, but they do not describe the analytical methods that will be used to link the two. The proposal has no objective for measuring physical changes in the habitat. The sponsors rely on the assumption that, "Restoration of historic habitat diversity will restore life history diversity within populations (salmon will occupy restored estuarine habitats and derive survival benefits from that use)." The sponsors proposed possible life history patterns of salmon in the Chinook River but did not explain these patterns or describe how they were derived. Overall, the objectives and approach do not appear to have been adequately thought through; therefore, it is doubtful whether meaningful results can be obtained from this work.