FY 2002 Blue Mountain proposal 27026

Additional documents

27026 Narrative Narrative
27026 Sponsor Response to ISRP Response

Section 1. Administrative

Proposal titleMonitoring and evaluation of aquatic resources in Wallowa Lake for the conservation and reestablishment of native fishes.
Proposal ID27026
OrganizationOregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
NameJim Ruzycki
Mailing address211 Inlow Hall, EOU, One University Blvd. La Grande, OR 97850
Phone / email5419623777 / jruzycki@eou.edu
Manager authorizing this projectRichard Carmichael
Review cycleBlue Mountain
Province / SubbasinBlue Mountain / Grande Ronde
Short descriptionProvide scientific information to aid conservation of native fishes of Wallowa Lake. Evaluate predatory and competitive impact of lake trout and Mysis relicta on kokanee and bull trout. Evaluate biological potential for sockeye reintroduction.
Target specieskokanee, lake trout, bull trout, Mysid shrimp
Project location
45.3133 -117.2076 Wallowa Lake
Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs)


Hydro RPA Action 107
Hydro RPA Action 118

Relevant RPAs based on NMFS/BPA review:

Reviewing agencyAction #BiOp AgencyDescription

Section 2. Past accomplishments


Section 3. Relationships to other projects

Project IDTitleDescription
199405400 Characterize the Migratory Patterns, Population Structure, Food Habits, and Abundance of Bull Trout from Subbasins in the Blue Mountain Province Complimentary. We will collect population status, food habits, and distribution information for bull trout in Wallowa Lake.

Section 4. Budget for Planning and Design phase

Task-based budget
ObjectiveTaskDuration in FYsEstimated 2002 costSubcontractor
Outyear objectives-based budget
ObjectiveStarting FYEnding FYEstimated cost
2003 2004 $0
Outyear budgets for Planning and Design phase

Section 5. Budget for Construction and Implementation phase

Task-based budget
ObjectiveTaskDuration in FYsEstimated 2002 costSubcontractor
Outyear objectives-based budget
ObjectiveStarting FYEnding FYEstimated cost
Outyear budgets for Construction and Implementation phase

Section 6. Budget for Operations and Maintenance phase

Task-based budget
ObjectiveTaskDuration in FYsEstimated 2002 costSubcontractor
Outyear objectives-based budget
ObjectiveStarting FYEnding FYEstimated cost
Outyear budgets for Operations and Maintenance phase

Section 7. Budget for Monitoring and Evaluation phase

Task-based budget
ObjectiveTaskDuration in FYsEstimated 2002 costSubcontractor
1. Implement the principles of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds (OPSW) to monitor fisheries and habitat in Wallowa Lake. a. Monitor distribution and abundance of fish populations in Wallowa Lake. $44,821 Yes
1 b. Monitor production of planktivorous forage utilized by fish populations in Wallowa Lake. $49,393 Yes
1 c. Monitor physical habitat conditions important to fisheries of Wallowa Lake. $13,879
1 d. Conduct creel survey to estimate exploitation of fish populations by recreational fishery. $18,373
2. Evaluate impact of introduced species on native fishes. a. Model predatory and competitive impacts. $5,978
Outyear objectives-based budget
ObjectiveStarting FYEnding FYEstimated cost
1. Implement the principles of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds (OPSW) to monitor fisheries and habitat in Wallowa Lake. 2003 2004 $272,219
2. Evaluate impact of introduced species on native fishes. 2003 2004 $12,868
Outyear budgets for Monitoring and Evaluation phase
FY 2004FY 2003

Section 8. Estimated budget summary

Itemized budget
ItemNoteFY 2002 cost
Personnel FTE: 1.45 $35,873
Fringe $15,411
Supplies $22,972
Travel $2,310
Indirect $18,759
PIT tags # of tags: 150 $337
Subcontractor $36,782
Total estimated budget
Total FY 2002 cost$132,444
Amount anticipated from previously committed BPA funds$0
Total FY 2002 budget request$132,444
FY 2002 forecast from 2001$0
% change from forecast0.0%
Cost sharing
OrganizationItem or service providedAmountCash or in-kind
ODFW personnel $3,600 in-kind
University of Washington personnel supervision $3,000 in-kind

Reviews and recommendations

This information was not provided on the original proposals, but was generated during the review process.

Fundable only if response is adequate
Sep 28, 2001


A response is needed. Objectives 1-11, which pertain to the ongoing research, is fundable, but Objectives 12 (EMAP component) and 13 (Wallowa Lake Study) are new work that has little direct scientific relationship to objectives 1-11. Objectives 12 and 13 each should be submitted as new projects.

The proposal fails to justify the need for Objective 12 and, in particular, why Objective 12.2 is necessary. It is unclear how the EMAP-based surveys directly support or complement the early life history research that constitutes the bulk of the proposal. How would these surveys differ from existing surveys and how does this work advance these assessments? How would the EMAP-based surveys fit into a long-term, province scale monitoring effort and how would this effort incorporate or build upon the ongoing early life history studies. A clearly defined monitoring plan for salmon in the Blue Mountain Province is necessary to provide context and justification the EMAP-based surveys.

Objective 13 is a worthwhile investigation. However, like objective 12, objective 13 has no direct connection to the ongoing early life history studies and should be incorporated into a new proposal. The issue at Wallowa Lake merits investigation. However, the goal of Objective 13 needs to be clarified. Is this a study in sockeye re-introduction or a study in kokanee assessment and restoration of the fishery? A general concern with this extensive sampling program, however, could be the degree of handling and sampling that occurs in these systems. Have the investigators considered how to maximize the efficiency of this sampling and/or are they concerned about the impact of repeated sampling of these fish. Are there ESA permit issues that should be considered? Further, while the proposal is highly dependent upon the use of PIT tags and applies thousands of them, there is not information on the determination of sample sizes or design used to determine how many tags to apply. Is there a statistical basis for determination of the number of tags released and fishes sampled, etc.? And finally, several times the text refers to the principles of the Oregon Plan. If these principles are determining sampling protocols and costs they should be described in the proposal and the proposed responses related to these principles.

Objectives 1-11 provide a comprehensive evaluation of spring chinook salmon and summer steelhead life-history variation. The proposal interacts with essentially all other NEOH proposals and is well integrated with the co-managers. Previous research has provided useful information on early life history diversity, egg-smolt survival, and smolt survival to LGR. The investigators propose to expand the project to include studies of the early life history of steelhead and an assessment of winter habitat for chinook. These additions are reasonable and in line with the BiOp and the F&W Program.

The proposal should be modified to reflect recent changes in the direction of salmon restoration within the Columbia Basin as indicated in the BiOp, the Basinwide Recovery Strategy (the All H paper), and the F&W program. These changes in direction include a greater emphasis on protection and restoration of tributary habitat. In support of this effort, the proposal needs a stronger habitat component that directly addresses the relationships of egg-smolt survival and early life history patterns to habitat conditions and habitat change in Grande Ronde River tributaries, including an assessment of limiting factors. The investigators should consider the following:

  1. A project component that routinely assesses habitat conditions in all tributaries where egg-smolt survival and early life history patterns are being investigated. The habitat work proposed in objective 12 was not directly tied to specific habitat conditions in the tributaries where the on-going biological data was being collected.
  2. Clear objectives and methods for addressing limiting factors in freshwater.
  3. Improved estimates of egg-smolt survival including incorporating information on age structure of spawners in estimating egg deposition, more accurate redd counts, and more accurate enumeration of returning adults. Currently adult abundance is estimated from redd counts. There are numerous problems with this method.
  4. Comparisons of habitat conditions and biological performance among tributaries and among reaches within tributaries that differ in habitat quality.
  5. Estimates of summer parr survival and its relationship to summer rearing conditions. The budget should increase commensurate with the additional work. The investigators also should consider an assessment of non-native species distribution and abundance within the basin and interactions of non-native species and native salmonids.

Given the multiple tasks described in this proposal, there are several questions that may best be just listed for the author's consideration and response:

  1. Objective 1 (page 15): the estimation of smolt numbers is an important component of the research, but to estimate these numbers requires measures of trap efficiency. There are no comments on how trap efficiency is measured, no data on consistency of estimates or how they vary with flow, etc., and no method presented on how the smolt numbers and variances are estimated.
  2. Is there added value of the winter tagging in Objective 2 when tags have been applied in the late summer under Objective 3?
  3. Objective 5 requires adult spawner data as well as the data described under this objective. How is the adult data collected and is the accuracy of that data comparable to the juvenile data? Life stage survival estimates require both adult and juvenile data.
  4. Clarify the intention of Objective 6.2 (page 20). Are you actually sampling for yearling resident chinook that do not mature sexually?
  5. What are the dates of trapping for spring chinook and steelhead? Objective 7 for steelhead seems identical to the objectives for chinook but the species are treated separately and double the costs for trap sampling.
  6. Task 7.4 (page 21) refers to "paint" marking but it is not clear what the role of this mark is. Is paint marking just an avoidable mark used only for assess trap efficiency?
  7. The methods to be applied for Objectives 9 and 10 are not well described. Further, it is not evident how the tasks described in Objective 10 actually address the objective defined.
  8. Objective 11 (winter concealment habitat) is strongly supported as a task but we are uncertain that habitat characteristics should simply be defined in this way without verification of these values within these actual environments. Reviewers would strongly suggest some verification of the habitat definitions in the sample sites and following the use of these habitats during the late fall transition period when ice begins to form in these rivers.

Listing the publication of results could strengthen the proposal further.

Do Not Fund
Dec 21, 2001


Not fundable. The response, a newly submitted proposal, was inadequate. The research is necessary to establish a management plan for kokanee in Wallowa Lake and to provide essential background assessments for consideration of sockeye re-introduction. While the research has the potential to be useful and interesting, the proposal lacks necessary detail in several key areas. If this proposal was submitted for the preliminary review it would warrant response.

The bioenergetics model will be a key decision tool for assessing predatory and competitive impacts. There needs to be a more comprehensive treatment of the modeling approach and how it will be verified and used. The authors should also consider use of alternative ecosystem models such as Ecopath. Since studies of these interactions have been conducted in several Pacific Northwest lake ecosystems, the ISRP suggests the authors solicit advice on critical information needs before implementing the sampling program, and before selecting the assessment model. Potentially, a focused workshop with experienced researchers would be the most effective planning process.

Assessment of the potential for reintroduction of sockeye to Wallowa Lake is used to justify the research. The authors do not acknowledge or discuss difficulties with sockeye reintroductions in other areas of the northern Pacific. Without the re-introduction component, the proposal becomes a study of interactions between introduced species and it is unclear how the work would extend what is already known about interaction among kokanee, lake trout, and Mysis. Scientifically, the authors do not identify any new hypotheses about this interaction that will be tested. In a management context, these studies are likely necessary for this specific environment in order to establish an appropriate response. Further, the timing of this proposal is important given current planning to replace or rehabilitate the Wallowa Lake dam.

There are a number of that should have been considered in this new proposal:

  1. The spawning abundance and reproductive potential of the kokanee and lake trout will be important to assessment modeling, how will quantitative estimates of these populations be determined?
  2. Creel surveys are included in the proposal but the funding seems limited given the months involved in these surveys, are these funds incremental to a core program?
  3. Bioenergetics models imply information on growth and survival by species, how will these parameters be estimated by species? Aging errors will be involved in these studies but how will it be assessed?
  4. What other species may be involved in the lake ecosystem? Bull trout are referred to in the proposal but the assessment process for this species, and others, are not commented on.
  5. Sampling via gillnets may not be adequate for species composition; other sockeye/kokanee studies use a closing-trawl net to selectively sample at depth. Have these sampling tools been examined?
  6. Hydroacoustic surveys need to be conducted in a repeatable manner, who will conduct these and how will abundances be extrapolated to the lake area?
  7. The text makes very limited comment on physical parameters including chlorophyll, how will primary productivity be determined and biomass incorporated?
  8. What control measures for lake trout have been used elsewhere, and are there associated data needs that should be included in these initial studies.

Do Not Fund
Apr 19, 2002