FY 2001 Intermountain proposal 21023

Additional documents

21023 Narrative Narrative
21023 Sponsor Response to the ISRP Response

Section 1. Administrative

Proposal titleDetermine causes of mule deer population declines in the IM Columbia Basin: a test of the "apparent competition " hypothesis
Proposal ID21023
OrganizationWashington State University (WSU)
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
NameDr. Robert B. Wielgus
Mailing addressDepartment of Natural Resource Sciences, WA State Univ Pullman, WA 99164-6410
Phone / email5093352796 / wielgus@wsu.edu
Manager authorizing this projectDan Nordquist, Interim Director of OGRD
Review cycleIntermountain
Province / SubbasinIntermountain / Inter-Mountain
Short descriptionDetermine if increasing white-tailed deer and resulting increased cougar predation are responsible for mule deer population declines in the IM Columbia basin.
Target speciesMule deer
Project location
48.639 -118.732 Republic, WA
48.6065 -118.0528 Kettle Falls, WA
Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs)



Relevant RPAs based on NMFS/BPA review:

Reviewing agencyAction #BiOp AgencyDescription

Section 2. Past accomplishments


Section 3. Relationships to other projects

Project IDTitleDescription
Co-op mule deer study: WDFW, Colville Conf. Tribes, USFS, Inland NW Wildlife Council Our study is in collaboration with this project. This project will test other competing hypotheses (e.g., food limitation) see attached letter of collaboration from WADFW

Section 4. Budget for Planning and Design phase

Task-based budget
ObjectiveTaskDuration in FYsEstimated 2001 costSubcontractor
Outyear objectives-based budget
ObjectiveStarting FYEnding FYEstimated cost
Outyear budgets for Planning and Design phase

Section 5. Budget for Construction and Implementation phase

Task-based budget
ObjectiveTaskDuration in FYsEstimated 2001 costSubcontractor
1. determine cause of mule deer population declines conduct research 5 $205,532
Outyear objectives-based budget
ObjectiveStarting FYEnding FYEstimated cost
Outyear budgets for Construction and Implementation phase
FY 2002FY 2003FY 2004FY 2005

Section 6. Budget for Operations and Maintenance phase

Task-based budget
ObjectiveTaskDuration in FYsEstimated 2001 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 2001 costSubcontractor
Outyear objectives-based budget
ObjectiveStarting FYEnding FYEstimated cost
Outyear budgets for Monitoring and Evaluation phase

Section 8. Estimated budget summary

Itemized budget
ItemNoteFY 2001 cost
Personnel FTE: 2 grad student RAs (12 mo ea) & 2 mo summer salary for PI $40,344
Fringe tuition, health & med aid (students) & 26% PI $15,287
Supplies radiotelemetry equipment, snowmobiles $43,000
Travel $4,519
Indirect 26% $34,382
Other cougar capture & aerial telemetry $68,000
Total estimated budget
Total FY 2001 cost$205,532
Amount anticipated from previously committed BPA funds$0
Total FY 2001 budget request$205,532
FY 2001 forecast from 2000$0
% change from forecast0.0%
Cost sharing
OrganizationItem or service providedAmountCash or in-kind
N/A $0 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
Oct 6, 2000


Fundable only if methods are better described and the regional support for this study in relation to other mule deer studies, e.g. 21029, is better documented. A response is needed.

This project proposes to add FWP funding to ongoing research on declines in mule deer populations. The project would complement existing research by testing a specific hypothesis on the causes of mule deer decline, which are of regional interest and importance. The proposed study has the potential to be important in addressing a reasonable but rarely considered hypothesis (that the population interaction between two apparent competitors, in this case mule deer and white-tailed deer, is in fact caused by a common predator, in this case cougars) and the proposal presents background data that strongly suggest that apparent competition is occurring. However, the study design and experimental methods are not clear in the proposal and should be better developed in a revised proposal or addendum. The proposal specifies two study areas, and that each area will contain a control and a treated site. The treated sites will have reduced white-tailed deer densities but we do not know what the changes will be, or when these will be made. Also, nothing is said about the effects (if any) of movement between the control and treated sites which could remove the treatment over time. There are potential statistical difficulties in the apparent design. For instance, the proposal implies that individuals will be used as samples (replicates) and the assumption of their independence needs to be justified, especially since the individuals to be studied will be drawn from what are described as 2 sample areas of each experimental treatment. There will be differences between control and treated areas irrespective of any treatment effects, so that the simple t-test types of analysis that are mentioned may not be sufficient for testing for treatment effects. Some sort of paired comparison analysis may be appropriate, but it is difficult to know without being sure of what the experimental design entails. If animals are to be considered independent samples, then the proposal should acknowledge that this involves pseudo-replication and requires some justification. Also, they should randomly select the two sites for 'treatment', i.e. white tail removal. It is stated that 50 adults and 50 fawns in each of the four control and treated areas is a more than adequate number to test for ecologically significant effects, with no justification for this statement and no indication of what ecologically significant means. For survival differences it seems that these sample sizes might be insufficient to get good power to detect important changes. With cougars the sample size will be 10 in each of the four control and treated areas. This sample size is said to be more than sufficient, and an unpublished report is referenced (Katnik and Wielgus, 2000). Again, more details are needed to know whether a study with these sample sizes has good power to detect the types of effects that are likely to occur. Many other details of sample design and justification also need to be supplied: What is the size of the treatment and control areas? How are they located relative to one another? How will areas be assigned to treatments? What type of movement of predator and prey occurs between adjacent treatment and control areas, and how will differences in these rates of movement be tested for significance after the treatment is completed? Is five years sufficient to test for predator and prey responses? Are habitat differences controlled? Will the number of observations be sufficient to test the hypotheses? Also, the details of how cougars are to be tracked until two kills are not clear: how are individuals chosen for tracking? How are they followed? How successful is the technique, on average? Are the procedures free of sampling bias?

The proposal should include assurance that animal care and use guidelines will be followed.

Do Not Fund
Nov 15, 2000


T4-research/assessment project

T5-The proposed work is research/assessment oriented thus target species/indicator populations would not benefit from the work. However, results from the studies could lead to the development of M&E plans from which the species/populations could benefit

T6-The proposed work is research/assessment oriented. Until results are obtained through the assessment and an M&E plan is developed and implemented, it is unknown whether the long-term benefits will be realized.

T7-one objective is to shot whitetail deer

M2-The proposed work is not associated with an urgent issue involving a listed (i.e., sensitive threatened, endangered) species. However, for many of the projects urgency does exist in the form of mitigation opportunities.

M3-Project does not directly promote/maintain sustainable and/or ecosystem processes or maintain desirable community diversity. However, data gathered through this project could be used for these purposes.

M5-more coordination with tribe and state before work can be conducted

M6-depends on results,

FY 01 Budget Review Comments: DNF-inappropriate for BPA to fund due to the fact that it is a predation study dealing with cougars and mule deer -this predation is not a result of hydro-development, dry farming is not a result of hydro-development

Dec 1, 2000


Fundable. The response addressed major concerns and the project as now cast should be a valuable contribution and sound science. The ISRP supports large field experiments of this type, and accepts that large-scale field studies should not be held to the same design standards as are laboratory studies. However, the ISRP notes that individual animals are not independent replications of the treatments in this study, as in other similar large-scale field studies. Large-scale field studies are a mixture of experimental and observational study that can lead to trustworthy inferences if replicated in time and space, as in this study. The use of individual deer (or individual lions) as the sample size is not justified by the design, but by assumption, and these assumptions may be incorrect. Study areas receive the treatment or control designation, not individual deer. All deer in one area may simply be more (or less) susceptible to predation because of habitat or other unmeasured factors.

The bottom line from a design point of view is that there are repeated measurements over years on two blocks (pairs) with no replication within the blocks, i.e., a repeated measures randomized block design with 2 blocks that requires the assumption of no block by treatment interaction. The data can be analyzed with the replicate study areas (N=2) because of the random assignment of treatment to units as recognized by the author in the first paragraph of the section 'Cougar Aggregative Response.' The design is adequate as given, but the authors need to revisit the issue of statistical analysis and the assumption of independence of actions among animals. Any analysis that treats individual deer or lions as replicates should be acknowledged as pseudoreplicated and the outcome compared with analysis as described above. We disagree with CBFWA's recommendation to fund project 21029 but not this project. Of the two, which together could make a nice multi-factor study of mule deer ecology, 21023 is the better proposal, having both stronger and more compelling technical background and more clear and adequate experimental design and sampling methods.

Do Not Fund
Jan 31, 2001


The ISRP strongly disagrees with the CBFWA recommendations for two research proposals for mule deer populations. CBFWA recommended priority for proposal 21029, a five-year study of forage quality as a factor in declining mule deer populations. CBFWA gave a "do not fund" recommendation to proposal 21023 which proposes an experiment to test whether competition and predation are factors in the population decline. The ISRP said that proposal 21023 is a "better proposal" and should be funded with or before proposal 21029. Further, the ISRP strongly disagreed with CBFWA's proposal that elements of proposal 21023 be funded under proposal 21029. The ISRP said that transferring tasks from one proposal to another, without the free consent of the project director, would be a "major violation of intellectual property rights" and compromise the integrity of Bonneville-funded research.

Staff recommendation:

Request Bonneville to work with the sponsors to develop a combined proposal responsive to the ISRP review. Reserve an initial annual budget of $250,000 for the combined proposals (with the ability to return to the Quarterly Review process for adjustments) and report to the Council staff on the completion of the project design before contracting any work for either of the proposals.

Do Not Fund
Sep 11, 2001