FY 2000 proposal 199401001

Additional documents

199401001 Narrative Narrative
199401001 Sponsor Response to the ISRP Response

Section 1. Administrative

Proposal titleMitigation for Excessive Drawdowns at Libby Reservoir
Proposal ID199401001
OrganizationMontana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (MFWP/CSKT)
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
NameBrian Marotz, Scott Snelson
Mailing address490 N. Meridian Rd. Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone / email4067514546 / marotz@digisys.net
Manager authorizing this project
Review cycleFY 2000
Province / SubbasinMountain Columbia / Kootenai
Short descriptionMitigate for fish and fish habitat losses due to excessive drafting of Libby Reservoir for power production (Fish and Wildlife Program measures 903(a) and (b)).
Target speciesBull trout, Kootenai River White Sturgeon, Inland Redband Trout, Westslope Cutthroat Trout, Burbot, Mountain Whitefish
Project location
Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives (RPAs)



Relevant RPAs based on NMFS/BPA review:

Reviewing agencyAction #BiOp AgencyDescription

Section 2. Past accomplishments

1998 Completed geomorphic surveys of major portions of Libby and Big Cherry Creeks (key recovery area for bull and westslope cutthroat trout) necessary to remap floodplain and design a large-scale habitat restoration effort
1998 Completed channel protection/ stabilization/ habitat restoration and migration barrier removal that connects and revitalized over 15 miles of critical westslope and bull trout trout habitat in key core recovery tributaries to Libby Reservoir
1998 Continue trial of remote site incubators as a mechanism to improve the strength of native westslope cutthroat trout (WCT) populations in reservoir tributaries
1998 Complete a cooperative watershed inventory of the Young Creek Drainage with USFS
1996 Documented long-range, international migration of burbot from Libby Reservoir into Kootenai River in British Columbia
1996 Collected burbot genetic samples for a cooperative (IDFG) analysis to compare Libby Reservoir burbot to populations in the Kootenai River of Idaho
1997 Documented severe declines in native westslope cutthroat trout populations in tributaries to Libby Reservoir

Section 3. Relationships to other projects

Project IDTitleDescription
9608720 Focus Watershed Coordination-Kootenai River Watershed (FWC) Excessive Drawdown Mitigation (EDDM, Project # 9401001), is the mechanism by which local watershed plans developed by the FWC are funded and implemented. EDDM also provides GIS support for developing and prioritizing watershed plans
8806500 IDFG-Kootenai River Fisheries Investigations White Sturgeon Recovery
8806400 KTOI – White Sturgeon Experimental Aquaculture White Sturgeon Recovery
9101903 Hungry Horse Reservoir Mitigation Sister mitigation project on Flathead System- exchange information and techniques and occasionally share personnel.
9401002 Flathead River Native Species Project Sister mitigation project on Flathead System- exchange information and techniques and occasionally share personnel.
3874700 Streamnet Geographic Information Services Unit Providing data layer updating and development for managers and mitigation efforts and provides mapping services for local watershed planning and research
0 Purchase Conservation Easement from Plum Creek Timber Company along the Fis
20517 Fisheries Mitigation for the Construction and Operation of Libby Dam
9401001 MFWP- Libby Reservoir Excessive Drawdown Mitigation
8346500 Libby and Hungry Horse Modeling Technical Analysis
8346700 Mitigation For The Construction And Operation Of Libby Dam

Section 4. Budget for Planning and Design phase

Task-based budget
ObjectiveTaskDuration in FYsEstimated 2000 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 2000 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 2000 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 2000 costSubcontractor
Outyear objectives-based budget
ObjectiveStarting FYEnding FYEstimated cost
Outyear budgets for Monitoring and Evaluation phase

Section 8. Estimated budget summary

Itemized budget
ItemNoteFY 2000 cost
Personnel 0.2 FTE Focus Watershed Coordinator, 1 FTE Senior Technician, 1FTE Junior Technician., 0.5 FTE Junio $63,520
Fringe $12,704
Supplies Minor tools and instruments, software habitat restoration material $24,850
Operating office furniture ($700), light fixture, office painting $1,200
Capital Purchase of conservation easements to protect stream project investments (20,000 $20,000
NEPA Meeting rooms and printing costs for documents. NEPA documentation performed in-kind by project $1,200
Travel 52 nights per diem @$12, 170 days @$23, 10 nights out-of state lodging@50, 12 nights in-state lodge $16,927
Indirect 17.2% $55,470
Other Fixed wing flight time for radio telemetry tracking of bull trout 50-3.5 hr flights @ $210/hr $36,750
Subcontractor $12,600
Subcontractor $56,250
Subcontractor $76,500
Total estimated budget
Total FY 2000 cost$377,971
Amount anticipated from previously committed BPA funds$0
Total FY 2000 budget request$377,971
FY 2000 forecast from 1999$0
% change from forecast0.0%
Cost sharing
OrganizationItem or service providedAmountCash or in-kind
US Army Corps of Engineers 75/25 cost share for channel stabilization Young Creek $168,750 unknown
US Army Corps of Engineers (25%) and Libby Area Conservancy District (25%) 50/50 cost-share for channel stabilzation of Libby Creek $76,500 unknown
BC Environment 40- coded,high frequency, 50 month transmitters $11,000 unknown
BC Environment Operating migrant trap on Wigwam River. BPA funds contract labor and BC Environment coodinates equipment, support and logistics $6,000 unknown
Other budget explanation

Schedule Constraints: Project schedule changes are the norm rather than the exception due to many variables beyond our control (e.g.weather, CBFWA priorities) making prioritization of tasks an adaptive process. It is anticipated that project will proceed as scheduled

Reviews and recommendations

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

Do Not Fund
Jun 15, 1999


Recommendation: Do not fund. The work is indistinguishable from 8346700, the work should be related to reservoir operations, and there are indications that the proposed work is not scientifically sound.

Comments: Notwithstanding the title of the project, its primary objective appears to be to document native bull trout populations in the Kootenai River system within and upstream of Libby Dam. This proposal is under the Kootenai R./Libby Dam umbrella, but it is not clear why it continues as a separate project. As the ISRP identified last year, this project could be integrated with other Libby Dam mitigation work. It is not clear that this work is specific to mitigating the excessive drawdowns (as opposed to general dam mitigation). There is little distinction in the work (or proposal) from other projects. It would be better for this as a stand-alone proposal to have some work specifically tagged to the excessive drawdowns.

Aside from major confusion over scope, the proposal is well linked to the FWP and other plans, to others in the umbrella, and 6 other projects. There is a good list of accomplishments and an excellent list of objectives and tasks and a good narrative, but it is not clear what will be done in FY2000. The budget is fine, and cost sharing with other agencies and projects nearly doubles the amount of funds available (although some of this cost sharing is still BPA funds, e.g., work proposed by the BC Environment's own proposal). The project history is commendable, but little of it relates to excessive drawdowns. There is no budget narrative, but good resumes. Too many typos suggest hasty preparation. The work is good but has already been functionally merged with other projects. There seems to be no reason not to merge it administratively, as well, under a single project on Libby Dam mitigation.

The proposed bull trout work needs better justification. The preamble indicates the nature of damage to bull trout populations resulting from large excursions in reservoir stage, but the obvious mitigation strategy (exploration and implementation of alternative reservoir operating policies) is not discussed. That being the case, it seems unlikely that significant mitigation is likely to occur, and certainly not as a result of this project. The work that will be (and is being) conducted is essentially characterization (e.g., of spawning habitat), development of relevant GIS systems to store and manipulate data, and so on. All of this may well be meritorious, and in fact could (and should) be an important element in development of alternative reservoir operating policies. But, in the absence of such a link, the project (which has been ongoing for at least 3 years) seems to have been conducted in a vacuum. On the basis of the proposal presented, and the requested expenditure level (almost $400k/year of BPA funding, total over $600k), continued funding cannot be justified.

The review group had the following observations and queries:

Confusion stems from the significant overlap between this proposal and proposal 20008 submitted by the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Land and Parks. While cooperation is to be encouraged, duplication is not. Objectives 1 and 2 are very similar in both proposals. Adfluvial populations of charr and trouts must be ecophenotypes and not genetically determined, as there were no large lentic systems before the reservoirs. Therefore, as long as fluvial populations in the tributaries exist, adfluvial ecophenotypes will persist. Why worry about adfluvial populations in particular as mentioned in objective 3? It is not clear from the description of objective 4 what is happening in Young's Creek. Is the overall status of juveniles declining in the creek proper while both fingerlings and RSI (remote site incubators) management techniques are being employed? Were stocking densities variable, such that density-dependent processes kicked in at one year, but not another? Did fingerlings suppress natural populations of west slope cutthroats? Were fingerlings released during the 4 years of RSI use? If so, how can one tell which works best? What were trends in creeks where RSI were not used? There have been major climate shifts due to the Southern Oscillation in the past two years. Has the project tracked precipitation, runoff and temperature as influences on the system? Is there a third, unaccounted factor? Will there be reference tributaries to use as "controls" for the RSI experiments?

Objective 5 will address the problem of segregating influences of fingerling plants from RSI hatchlings.

Objective 6 is disturbing in that it reveals that stocks were transplanted. Unless disease resistance was checked, carriers of exogenous diseases may have been transferred, introducing yet another factor influencing westslope cutthroat population dynamics within the system. If there are mismatched broodstocks, there is a chance for outbreeding depression as a result of transfer of stocks among drainages.

What are the theory and decision protocols that trigger the use of RSI in fish restoration? The experience in Oregon is that hatchboxes do not work and are only useful under very circumscribed conditions. In fact, there is a danger of reducing the sustainability of naturally spawning fish by using wild broodstock as egg sources. Any broodstock development should track native gene pools to avoid genetic swamping of wild spawners.

In conclusion, the title is a misnomer and the work looks indistinguishable from project 8346700, with which it should be combined. If this project is to mitigate for drawdown, the work should address reservoir operations. (See comments in ISRP FY99 report, Appendix A, page 72).

Aug 20, 1999


Aug 20, 1999


Screening Criteria: yes

Technical Criteria: yes

Programmatic Criteria: yes

Milestone Criteria: no-There are no milestones listed. The milestones and loss statements are currently being reviewed by the NPPC.

General Comments: How did the expense of this program become part of the direct program?

Oct 29, 1999


Fund at level to maintain existing scope (FY99) of investigation, but do not expand scope of project until it is reviewed in "rolling review." There is obvious confusion over what constitutes a combining of proposals as recommended by the ISRP previously. In this instance, the project is apparently being kept as a separate BPA number but "combined" under the umbrella proposal. In this sense, the combining that the ISRP again recommended for FY2000 has been done by the sponsor. The ISRP reviewers did not fully appreciate the extent that the sponsors had viewed the umbrella as the "proposal" and the components as sub-proposals. In this context, this separate proposal is reasonable. A second concern was the scientific soundness of the proposed work. The response is adequate to justify the work proposed. A review of the basin's proposals as a whole package was recommended by the ISRP and is reiterated in light of confusion over this project.
Nov 8, 1999


Mar 1, 2000


[Decision made in 11-3-99 Council Meeting]