Recommendation: Fundable only if response is adequate
Date: Dec 21, 2001
A response is needed. The sponsors did not provide information to show the success or failure of the program. The proposal should include enough data to show its success or failure. Instead, the project sponsors refer reviewers to IDFG reports. While it is appropriate to reference critical reports, their results need to be summarized and included in the proposal.
The stated goal of the program is to release 1,360,000 smolts to return 13,600 adult steelhead to the basin upstream from Lower Granite Dam. The project history contains data indicating that the goal for steelhead smolt release was met in 12 of the 18 years since 1984. However, no results on the more important goal of the adult return are presented. The M&E objective 1, task 2 mentions collection of data on adult contribution to fisheries, but does not seem to consider also total adult return. How many adult steelhead does the program return to that area? The Brood Year Reports should also include estimates of numbers and locations of strays that spawn naturally.
Portions of the proposal seemed confusing to reviewers. The program exists as a mitigation program, but R&D projects are part of the request and history. Initiation of projects mentioned such as the heritability of spawn time, and factors influencing precocity have been subjects of research programs in other locations (ODFW, for example). Were results of this research considered before these projects were initiated? Why was it necessary to repeat much of this work?
Hatcheries should not be funded to develop their own databases, but rather, all LSRCP hatcheries need to provide evidence in their proposals that monitoring data are stored in an appropriate consistent database and are available through a distributed system via the Internet. The data and evaluation should be consistent with the Dworshak use of the Idaho FRO system (see Task 3.c in Proposal 200101) and any database in use by the Oregon Evaluation Studies (#200109). Results must be described in the proposal even if the data are collected and analyzed by a different project.
Fundable, but issues remain. The response addressed the issue of adult returns, that is, they will be unable to directly estimate adult return partially due to high harvest rates. This inability complicates any assessment of the success of the Hagerman facility.
The hatchery should be better able to report stray data relevant to its releases, rather than referring reviewers to PSMFC website.
Data management issues with this project, as acknowledged by the proponents, should be dealt with at the program level. See the ISRP recommendation for the LSRCP to undergo a data management review.
The program at Hagerman has not met its mitigation goal so project personnel are trying to get greater survival of the fish they produce. That may be a suitable strategy for hatchery management, but it is likely a poor strategy for incorporating the fish produced into the Columbia-Snake ecosystem. Specific programs such as the LSRCP should not be managed independent of other programs in the basin. Like the database issue, this is an issue that belongs to the entire LSRCP program and should be dealt with programmatically.