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C.

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FCRPS Adaptive
Management
Implementation Plan
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2008-2017
Federal Columbia River Power System
Biological Opinion

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Table of Contents
I. Introduction
A. Summary of the Administration Review
B. Summary of the Adaptive Management Approach
C. Relationship to the RPA Actions

II. Adaptive Management: Contingency Actions in Case of


Unexpected Fish Declines
A. Expanded Contingency Triggers
1. Severe Decline Trigger for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead
2. Early Warning Trigger for Chinook salmon and steelhead
B. Rapid Response Actions
C. Long-Term Contingency Plans

III. Enhanced Research Monitoring and Evaluation


A. Enhanced Lifecycle Model for Evaluation of Contingencies
B. RM&E
1. Enhanced Life Cycle Model
2. Adult Status and Trend Monitoring
3. Juvenile Status and Trend Monitoring
4. Habitat Status and Trend
5. Intensively Monitored Watersheds
C. Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation

IV. Acceleration of RPA Mitigation Actions


A. Estuary MOA with the State of Washington
B. Reintroduction
C. Predator Control and Invasive Species

V. Adaptive Management: Transparency, Science Review and


Reporting

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Appendices

Appendix 1: Court Challenges & Obama Administration Review


Exhibit A: Lists of participants
FCRPS Listening Sessions 1-5
FCRPS Science Workshop
Exhibit B: List of questions
Exhibit C: List of materials for FCRPS Science Workshop

Appendix 2: Adaptive Management Framework from the FCRPS BA


Appendix 3: Estuary MOA with the State of Washington
Exhibit A: List of Projects

Appendix 4: Key Elements of Life-Cycle Model


Appendix 5: Development of the Severe Decline Trigger
Appendix 6: Implementation of the Early Warning Trigger

Appendix 7: Details of Rapid Response Actions

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I. Introduction

The 2008 Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion (2008 FCRPS BiOp) and
Reasonable and Prudent Alternative (RPA) employ an adaptive management framework to make
implementation decisions based on the best currently available information. This Adaptive
Management Implementation Plan (AMIP) describes the implementation of the 2008 FCRPS
BiOp adaptive management framework, providing additional details and describing
enhancements within the framework of the FCRPS BiOp and RPA. Jointly prepared by the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), Bonneville Power
Administration (BPA), and NOAA Fisheries, this AMIP is based upon information and
perspectives presented during the Obama Administration’s consideration of the BiOp and the
RPA over the past several months. The FCRPS BiOp is supported by the analyses in the
Supplemental Comprehensive Analysis (“SCA”). As an implementation of the RPA within its
adaptive management framework, the effects of this AMIP are consistent with those evaluated in
the SCA analysis. Thus, the SCA remains unchanged and continues to support the conclusions
for the FCRPS, Upper Snake, and United States v. Oregon Biological Opinions.

This document describes:


• the Administration’s process to understand the science and issues pertaining to the 2008
FCRPS BiOp, which lead to development of the AMIP (Section I);
• provides new biological triggers to respond to unexpected fish declines, specific rapid
response and long-term contingency actions (Section II);
• in support of adaptive management, describes enhancements to the Research, Monitoring and
Evaluation (RME) actions including the development of a life-cycle model to evaluate the
efficiency and effectiveness of the contingency actions (Section III);
• includes accelerated RPA implementation actions (Section IV); and
• further describes processes for adaptive management transparency, science review and
reporting (Section V). Seven appendices provide specific technical details that support the
AMIP.

A. Summary of the Administration Review Process Leading to Development of


the AMIP

This plan was prepared while the legal sufficiency of the 2008 BiOp, and the Action Agencies’
reliance on it, is challenged in the federal courts. The courts have allowed the new
administration of President Obama time to fully understand the 2008 BiOp, and, especially, its
adaptive management provisions. Using that time, the Obama Administration 1 has engaged in a

                                                            
1
Four different Cabinet-level agencies and the White House were represented in this process. The lead official for
each agency in this review was: NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco for the Department of Commerce;
Council on Environmental Quality Chair, Nancy Sutley for the White House; Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
of the Army, Terrence “Rock” Salt for the Department of Defense; and Associate Deputy Secretary, Laura Davis for
the Department of Interior; and, for the Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration Administrator
Steve Wright..

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process involving a thorough and substantive consideration of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp, the
science on which it is based, issues raised by litigants, independent scientists’ recommendations,
and Judge Redden’s perspectives in his May 18, 2009, letter. This review process highlighted
several issues centering on implementation of the RPA and the ability to provide a rapid
response to any indication of declining fish status. A detailed description of this review process
is provided in Appendix 1 of this document which includes, in particular, a consideration of the
points raised in the Court’s letter.

The Administration considered the best available science and recognized that there are risks and
uncertainties inherent in implementing the ten-year BiOp. To address these risks, the federal
agencies decided to further define the implementation of the existing RPA’s adaptive
management provision in the 2008 FCRPS BiOp. The BiOp RPA utilizes adaptive management
to respond to results of new research and scientific information on fish survival. As more is
learned over time, mitigation actions and studies are expected to be updated to reflect the best
available science information and to achieve the biological performance standards and survival
improvements in the 2008 FCRPS BiOp. The adaptive management framework incorporated into
the BiOp was an outgrowth of the remand collaboration process directed by Judge Redden. Its
specific components are described in the August 2007 FCRPS Biological Assessment (See
Appendix 2). The framework provides accountability for results in a number of ways: specific
hydro and habitat performance standards, an extensive research and monitoring program, a
transparent process for annual progress reporting to the region, and full involvement of the
sovereigns’ Regional Implementation Oversight Group (RIOG). It also includes a contingency
plan process to address unexpected declines in the abundance trends or productivity of listed
fish. Developed through the remand collaboration process, the contingency plan includes
biological triggers at the ESU level and an “All H Diagnosis” to determine appropriate
contingency actions.

Building on the 2008 FCRPS BiOp adaptive management provisions, the Administration’s
consideration of the BiOp, and in keeping with the Court’s suggestions in its May 18, 2009
letter, the federal agencies have decided to employ a “precautionary implementation” approach
through this AMIP. “Precautionary implementation” means that if ESA-listed salmon and
steelhead status is not responding as predicted in the BiOp, then “on-the-shelf” procedures and
actions are ready for immediate use to address the problem. The AMIP provides a structured
response to the issues identified by the Administration by employing this “precautionary
implementation” approach. The Administration has concluded that, as implemented through this
AMIP, the BiOp and its RPA are biologically sound, based on the best available science, and
satisfy the ESA jeopardy standard, that is, the effects of the operation of the FCRPS are neither
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the listed species (i.e. combined with the effects of
the environmental baseline and cumulative effects the species are expected to survive with an
adequate potential for recovery, nor destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat.

B. Summary of the Adaptive Management Approach

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Through this AMIP, the Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries specify the development and
implementation of actions, research, and contingencies for Columbia Basin species within the
2008 FCRPS BiOp adaptive management framework. Key elements of these adaptive
management activities are:

• Triggers for Initiating Contingencies:

Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger for Contingencies: The purpose of the Unexpected Severe
Decline Trigger is to detect unexpected and severe declines in the natural abundance of species
annually so that rapid response actions can be implemented in a timely fashion to minimize or
mitigate for an unforeseen downturn. The Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries developed an
interim Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger, which is tripped if running four-year means of
natural abundance fall to very low levels (< 10% likelihood of occurrence based on historical
data). The agencies anticipate that this interim Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger will be
modified during 2010 to incorporate a metric indicative of trend.

Early Warning Triggers for Contingencies: The purpose of the Early Warning Trigger is to Formatted: Normal

detect factors indicating that the a Unexpected Severe Decline in species natural abundance
levels are is likely to be reached within one to two years so that rapid response actions can be
implemented in a timely fashion to minimize or mitigate for an unforeseen downturn in listed
species abundance. If the Early Warning Trigger is reached, the response will be closer scrutiny
of available scientific information, consideration of and preparations for rapid response actions,
and direct implementation of appropriate rapid response actions if the early warning is of
sufficient magnitude. The initial trigger is tripped if running four-year means of abundance fall
to low levels (< 20% likelihood of occurrence). The Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries
developed an interim Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger, which is tripped if running four-year
means of abundance fall to low levels (< 20% likelihood of occurrence). The Action Agencies
and NOAA Fisheries also commit to developing additional Early Warning Triggers in 2010.
Specifically, the additional Early Warning Triggers would evaluate whether an ESU is likely to
have substantially reduced abundance (and productivity) in the future, based on two years of
adult return information, preliminary biological information and environmental indicators or
known environmental disasters.

• “On-the-shelf” Contingency Procedures and Actions

Rapid Response Actions: Identification of potential “Rapid Response Actions” to be


implemented immediately (within less than 12 months) in the event that the Severe Decline
trigger is tripped. Rapid Response Actions will be targeted to the ESU/MPG/population at issue.

Long-Term Contingency Plans: Providing a menu of potential long-term contingency actions for
which a study plan and implementation milestones will be developed by 2012. “Long-Term

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Contingency” actions are items that would take more than 12 months to implement. The
appropriate Long-Term Contingencies would be implemented to address the targeted ESU/DPS
(or MPG) at issue , and that would be implemented in the event that Rapid Response actions
prove insufficient.

• Enhanced RME

Expanded life cycle model:


Adult Status and Trend Monitoring
Juvenile Status and Trend Monitoring
Habitat Status and Trend
IMWs
Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation

• Acceleration of RPA Mitigation Actions:

Washington Estuary MOA


Reintroduction
Predator Control

• Regional Participation, Independent Science Review, and Regional Collaboration:

All of these AMIP activities will be discussed and vetted with the sovereign states and tribes
through the RIOG. Instances in which there is disagreement among sovereigns on specific issues
will be submitted for independent scientific review.

The addition of the Early Warning and Fish Decline triggers will ensure precautionary
implementation of the BiOp and increase its responsiveness to emerging climate change
information. This will ensure that there is a rapid response by the federal agencies collectively,
in collaboration with regional sovereigns and, when appropriate, independent science review, in
the event of a precipitous fish decline and/or extreme habitat disturbance affecting interior
Columbia Basin fish. Implementation of rapid response and longer term contingency actions
would be taken by Action Agencies or NOAA Fisheries, depending on the responsive action(s)
in question.

C. Relationship to the RPA Actions

As noted above, adaptive management is a key element of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp and its RPA.
For each component of the AMIP, the applicable RPA action is identified and the adaptive
management application is described. The provisions of this AMIP inform the measures of the
2008 FCRPS BiOp’s RPA with greater detail and specificity. The agencies intend the AMIP to
be consistent with the objectives and requirements of the RPA. In the event of any conflict

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between an explicit RPA measure and this AMIP, the RPA measure is intended to control unless
and until NOAA and the Action Agencies expressly provide otherwise.

A graphic representation of how the AMIP expansions and implementation details in the AMIP
integrate into parts of the existing 2008 adaptive management framework and process is shown
in Figure 1need to update (Enhanced Adaptive Management Implementation Framework)
Elements in blue represent 2008 FCRPS BiOp actions. Elements in yellow represent
implementation details, especially in the area of contingencies.

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II. Adaptive Management: Contingency Plans In Case of Unexpected
Severe Fish Declines

Through this AMIP, the Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries specify the development and
implementation of actions, research, and contingencies for Columbia Basin species within the
2008 FCRPS BiOp adaptive management provisions. Figure 2 (Adaptive Management and
Contingency Process) explains the process and logic path that the federal agencies will use if
there is an unanticipated decline in
salmon status, as determined by the
biological triggers defined in this plan. Guide to Figure 2: Adaptive
The details of the expanded contingency Management & Contingency
process and actions are more fully
Process
explained below. 
Elements in blue represent 2008 FCRPS BiOp
A. Expanded Contingency Triggers actions. Elements in yellow represent
implementation details, especially in the area of
The adaptive management provisions in contingencies.
the 2008 FCRPS BiOp and the 2007 BA Box 1: RME is an essential component of the
establish contingency planning if fish adaptive management provisions in the 2008
abundance and productivity are BiOp, and also provides the essential
decreasing at the time of the 2013 and underpinnings for the improved contingency
2016 Comprehensive Evaluations process.
Based on the Administration’s review,
Boxes 2, 3 & 4: RME is also necessary for
the agencies are refining the 2008
developing (and updating) the Rapid Response
FCRPS BiOp’s adaptive management
plans and actions and Long Term Contingency
and contingency planning processes to
Plans, as well as for ongoing BiOp evaluation of
provide more precautionary
productivity, biological, and environmental
implementation. Specifically, the
metrics and performance standards. RME is also
agencies will annually evaluate an
important to enhance our scientific understanding
Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger,
for decision-making beyond the 10-year time
which, if tripped, will result in
frame of the 2008 BiOp.
implementation of rapid response
actions as indicated by the life-cycle Boxes 5, 6 & 7: The biological triggers
analysis. either cause a Rapid Response action, preparation
for a Rapid Response Action, or closer evaluation
Additionally, the agencies will annually of salmon status.
evaluate an Early Warning Trigger Box 11: If the rapid response actions fail to
indicative of a future severe decline. If work, then the Action Agencies and NOAA begin
the Early Warning Trigger is tripped, the an all H diagnosis process (including a life-cycle
response will be closer scrutiny of analysis) and determine whether to implement
available scientific information, long term contingency plans or re-initiate
consideration of and preparations for consultations if necessary.

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rapid response actions, and, potentially, direct implementation of appropriate rapid response
actions if the early warning is of sufficient magnitude.

A summary of the new triggers follows and is depicted in Table X. Additional details are
included in Appendix <“Trigger Document”>.

Table X. Summary of expanded contingency triggers.

Unexpected Severe Decline Early Warning

Response Implement rapid response Closer scrutiny of available scientific


actions as indicated by the information; consideration of and preparations
life-cycle analysis for rapid response actions; and, potentially,
direct implementation of appropriate rapid
response actions if the early warning is of
sufficient magnitude

Interim Trigger 4-Year running average 4-Year running average represents < 20% of
represents < 10% of historical historical observations
observations

Additional Add trend component Add components for two years of adult return
Components of information, preliminary biological information
Triggers To Be and environmental indicators, or known
Developed in 2010 environmental disasters

Future Juvenile Evaluate development of a Evaluate development of a juvenile trigger and


Triggers juvenile trigger and if feasible, if feasible, Iimplement in future, once RM&E is
iImplement in future, once sufficient to support a juvenile trigger
RM&E is sufficient to support a
juvenile trigger

1. Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead 2

The purpose of the Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger is to detect unexpected and severe
declines in the natural abundance of species 3 annually so that rapid response actions can be
implemented in a timely fashion to minimize or mitigate for an unforeseen downturn.

                                                            
2
See Section __ for Snake River sockeye salmon.
3
Species-level (i.e., ESU or DPS) adult abundance information is the most readily available information at present.
Future refinements of the Unexpected Severe Decline trigger could potentially be extended to the Major Population
Group (MPG) or the population level.

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The Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries developed an interim Unexpected Severe Decline
Trigger that evaluates running four-year means of natural abundance and compares the most
recent mean to the historical distribution considered in the 2008 FCRPS BiOp. An unexpected
severe decline has occurred if the most recent four-year mean is so lower thant it what has
occurred in 10% or fewer years in the historical record beginning with 1978-1980, depending
upon ESUspecies, and ending with the most recent year available. Specific abundance levels for
each species that would trigger rapid response actions are included in Table 1 of Appendix ___.
The agencies anticipate that this interim Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger will be modified
during 2010 to incorporate a metric indicative of short-term abundance trends. This modification
will be reviewed in coordination with co-managersthe RIOG. Appendix __ includes an example
of a possible way of definingapproach for a trend-based trigger. and of developing an approach
based on a combination of abundance and trend.

The Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries also will evaluate development of a future
Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger based on information from juvenile salmon and steelhead.
This is a longer-term task because additional monitoring will be required to implement a juvenile
trigger. Steps in the process for of development ofing this trigger and some of the properties of a
useful juvenile trigger are described in Appendix __.

2. Early Warning Trigger for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Comment [P1]:

The purpose of the Early Warning Trigger is to detect factors indicating that the aUnexpected
Severe DeclineSevere Decline in species natural abundance levels are is likely to be reached
within one to two years. so that rapid response actions can be implemented in a timely fashion to
minimize or mitigate for an unforeseen downturn in listed species abundance. It This trigger will
be evaluated annually and is intended to beas a failsafe that could be triggered before the
Unexpected Severe Decline Triggers are exceeded. If the Early Warning Trigger is reached, the
response will be closer scrutiny of available scientific information, consideration of and
preparations for rapid response actions, and direct implementation of appropriate rapid response
actions if the early warning is of sufficient magnitude.

The Action Agencies and NOAA have developed an interim Early Warning Trigger that is based
on the same analysis and data as the Severe Decline Trigger but occurs in 20% or fewer years in
the historical record (instead of 10% or fewer years). evaluates running four-year means of
abundance and compares the most recent mean to the historical distribution considered in the
2008 FCRPS BiOp. An unexpected severe decline has occurred if the most recent four-year
mean is so low that it occurred in 20% or fewer years in the historical record beginning with
1978-1980, depending upon ESU, and ending with the most recent year available. Specific
abundance levels for each species that would trigger an early warning response are included in
Table 1 of Appendix ___. The agencies anticipate that this interim Early Warning Trigger will
be reviewed with co-managersin coordination with the RIOG during 2010 and may be revised
pending additional analyses and discussions.

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The Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries also commit to developing additional Early Warning
Triggers in 2010. Specifically, the additional Early Warning Triggers would evaluate whether an
ESU is likely to have substantially reduced abundance (and productivity) in the future, based on
two years of adult return information, preliminary biological information and environmental
indicators or known environmental disasters. These indicators may include, but are not limited
to, low jack counts or juvenile migrants (biological), indicators of ocean conditions predicting
very low abundance of adult returns for recent outmigrants (environmental indicators), or wide-
spread forest fires, increased distribution and virulence of pathogens, new invasive species,
prolonged severe droughts etc. (environmental disasters). Unlike the interim Early Warning
Trigger, which evaluates information at the ESU level, the additional Early Warning Triggers
may use information more representative of effects on populations or major population groups
(MPG). Responses to impacts affecting a specific MPG or subset of populations would be
tailored to the appropriate scale.

3. Contingency Plan Implementation for Snake River Sockeye Salmon (this is LK new copy)

As with the Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger, the Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries also
will evaluate development of a future Early Warning Trigger based on information from juvenile
salmon and steelhead. This is a longer-term task because additional monitoring will be required
to implement a juvenile trigger. Steps in the process of developing this trigger and some of the
properties of a useful juvenile trigger are described in Appendix __. Numbers of Snake River
sockeye salmon declined precipitously beginning in the early 1990s. Counts of adult Snake
River sockeye salmon at Lower Granite Dam ranged from 531 in 1976 to zero in 1990, leading
NOAA Fisheries to list the species as Endangered under the ESA in 1991. This observation of a
severe decline triggered a contingent event—the regional fisheries comanagers started a captive
broodstock program to safeguard the remaining population and begin a rebuilding process. The
2008 RPA includes the following actions, which combined with the captive broodstock program
constitute the current contingency plan for the ESU:

• Continue to fund the safety net program to achieve the interim goal of annual releases of
150,000 smolts while also continuing to implement other release strategies in nursery lakes
such as fry and parr releases, eyed-egg incubation boxes, and adult releases for volitional
spawning (RPA Action 41)

• Fund further expansion of the sockeye program to increase total smolt releases to between
500,000 and 1 million fish; work with appropriate parties to investigate feasibility and
potentially develop a plan for ground transport of adult sockeye from Lower Granite Dam to
Sawtooth Valley lakes or artificial production facilities (RPA Action 42)

• Assess the feasibility of PIT-tag marking of juvenile Snake River sockeye salmon for
specific survival tracking of this ESU from the Stanley Basin to Lower Granite Dam and
through the mainstem FCRPS projects (RPA Action 52)

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NOAA Fisheries considers these actions the appropriate sockeye contingency plan for the term
of the 2008 BiOp (through 2017), although the RPA’s survival studies could lead to adjustments
in hydro operations. No triggers for a future contingency condition are identified in the AMIP.

B. Rapid Response Actions (Immediate Implementation within 6-12 Months)

Rapid Response Actions for immediate implementation have been developed by the Action
Agencies, NOAA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), within their respective
authorities. The Rapid Responses Actions below are a menu of short term contingency actions
and a decision-making process for implementing these actions within 12 months. If a biological
trigger is tripped, the agencies, in coordination with the RIOG, will use a life-cycle model to
analyze the effects of potential rapid response actions, to select the appropriate actions, and to
determine whether the actions are sufficient to halt and reverse the severe decline. Most, if not
all, Rapid Response actions will be temporary in nature. Within four to six months, if the Rapid
Response Action(s) is determined insufficient or is inconclusive, the agencies will conduct an
All-H Diagnosis and life-cycle model of potential long-term contingencies. More details for each
of these actions are set out in Appendix 7.

The Rapid Response Actions have been identified for their potential to immediately improve fish
survival. The needed regulatory process for their implementation is already largely in place. In
other words, they are actions that could be implemented relatively quickly (within one year) and
provide immediate survival benefits, if the evaluations of productivity, biological, and
environmental metrics (Figure 2, Box 4 indicates that triggers have been tripped (Figure 2, Boxes
5 - 8). The Rapid Response Actions will be held at the ready, and implemented, if necessary
(Figure 2, Box 9).

The following are the identified Rapid Response Actions. More details for each of these actions
are set out in Appendix 7.

Hydro Actions: The Action Agencies would implement, within the adaptive management
framework of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp, additional hydrosystem actions that would increase the
survival of the species in question, beyond the juvenile dam passage performance standards.
Specific actions would be based on the most recent data available and might include targeted
spill and changes in fish transportation operations based on recent survival data.

Predator Control: The Action Agencies, in combination with the USFWS and the States,
would implement more aggressive targeted efforts to control and eradicate predatory fish and
birds and invasive species to increase survival of listed fish. This would include a temporary
increase in the pikeminnow sport fishery bounty program and increased hazing of birds in close
proximity to the dams. potential shift of avian removal permits to the mainstem. check with Dan.

Harvest: NOAA Fisheries would implement lower harvest rates within the framework of
existing harvest agreements and, if appropriate, negotiate with US v. Oregon parties (under Court

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supervision) and others to seek emergency reductions in the non-tribal harvest rates below the
lowest rates currently provided. In implementing these steps, the federal agencies actions will be
consistent with tribal and treaty and trust responsibilities. <final language will be developed with 
tribal MOA partners> 

Safety Net Hatchery Programs: The Action Agencies and NOAA use safety net hatchery
programs to address short term extinction risk. During 2010, the agencies will consult with the
RIOG and identify opportunities and further processes to implement safety net programs that
could be used for each interior species.

C. Long-term Contingency Actions (Greater than One Year to Implement)

Potential Long-term Contingency Actions have been identified by the Action Agencies, NOAA,
and USFWS. By the end of calendar year 2012, the Action Agencies will complete study plans
to include milestones, scope and schedule, as well as a decision-making process as appropriate.
These Long-term Contingency Actions would be evaluated for implementation in coordination
with the RIOG following an All-H Diagnosis and life cycle modeling (See Figure 2, Box 11).

In the ultimate selection of Long-term Contingencies for a particular species (ESU/DPS?),


emphasis will be on actions that would significantly improve the survival of the fish
experiencing the severe decline. Implementation of longer term actions will likely require
negotiations to modify existing agreements, regulatory compliance (e.g. permits), and
administrative planning (e.g. environmental review seeking additional authorities, and potentially
additional ESA consultation or re-consultation).

The following have been identified as potential Long-term Contingency Actions.

• Phase II Hydro Actions: These actions will include additional hydro system actions beyond
those needed to meet the juvenile dam passage performance standards. These actions are
identified as Phase II actions in the Configuration and Operational Plans (COPs). RPA
Actions 18- 25 require the use of collaboratively developed, science based COPS to identify
additional dam improvements needed to achieve the performance standards indentified in the
2008 FCRPS BiOp. The COPS also identify Phase II contingency actions to be implemented
should the Phase I actions not achieve the performance standards as anticipated, and may
include, for example, additional surface passage and other juvenile passage improvements.

• Reintroduction: This action will re-establish salmon populations that are functionally
extirpated to increase the diversity and abundance of an ESU overall. These actions will be
drawn from the results of the reintroduction review being conducted by NOAA Fisheries
(section IV. B.) and will be implemented in coordination with the states and tribes.

• Predator Control: Implement efforts to control and eradicate predatory fish and birds and
invasive species in addition to those described in the RPA or other sections of this AMIP.

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The agencies will take steps to accelerate administrative processes to control Caspian terns
and double-crested cormorants as well as tributary populations of brook trout and other
invasive species. The Action Agencies efforts will be taken in conjunction with USFWS and
NOAA Fisheries, state and tribes.

• Harvest: <placeholder> NOAA could re-negotiate existing harvest agreements as their


terms expire to reduce take or add contingency provisions for listed species and populations
of concern. <language will be determined after discussions with Tribes>

• Conservation Hatcheries: Convert safety net programs to longer term conservation


hatchery programs where appropriate. The goal of conservation programs is to help rebuild
existing populations through supplementation with hatchery fish or provide hatchery fish for
reintroduction efforts where the benefits outweigh risks on longer term hatchery intervention.
Implementing conservation hatchery programs may require design and construction of new
adult holding, spawning, incubation, and juvenile rearing facilities, as well as weirs, adult
traps, and juvenile acclimation ponds.

• Hatchery Reform: (language from NOAA)

• John Day Reservoir Operations at Minimum Operating Pool from April through June
(MOP): Implementation of this operation will require the Corps to conduct an evaluation
and prepare an environmental impact statement necessary to seek authority from Congress to
mitigate for related impacts. Currently the Corps does not have authority to mitigate for
impacts identified in previous studies affecting irrigation, municipal water supplies, hatchery
water supplies, anadromous and resident fish habitat, wildlife habitat, recreation sites,
cultural resource sites, and adult passage facilities.

• Breaching Lower Snake River Dams: One long term contingency action is a science
driven study of breaching lower Snake River Dam(s) in the event the status of a Snake River
ESU 4 is not responding to rapid response actions.

Breaching of lower Snake River dam(s) would require a significant investment of resources
and time, have major effects to the communities and environment, and require national
policy decisions (e.g. how mitigation for construction of dams would be addressed). Dam
breaching is a contingency of last resort, and any decision regarding dam breaching must be
driven by science. Additionally, consideration of any long-term contingency action to
address a severe decline in the status of a Snake River ESU will also meet the federal
government’s Treaty and Trust responsibilities to Indian Tribes.

                                                            
4
An AMIP biological trigger for rapid response or long-term contingency actions is not applicable to the Snake
River sockeye salmon ESU as the 2008 FCRPS BiOp already addresses contingency actions, including a specific
captive broodstock program, for this ESU.

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Two primary reasons for considering breaching lower Snake River dam(s) as a long term
contingency are:

1) The understanding of the global climate change and its potential effects on the life
cycle of salmon has evolved since the Corps completed a comprehensive analysis and
report on Lower Snake River dam breaching and other alternative actions in 2002; and,

2) The Administration’s recent independent science review of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp
noted uncertainty about the short-term negative biological effects of lower Snake River
dam breaching (construction, sediment, contaminants) that may impede the estimated
long-term benefits.

As one of the long term contingency actions, the Action Agencies will take the following
actions:

1) Begin immediately (and complete by 2012) development of "life cycle model" and
conduct analyses with that model using existing and new data collected through the
enhanced research, monitoring and evaluation described in the Adaptive Management
Implementation Plan. This new analytical tool would be used to evaluate the short-term,
transitional and long-term effects of dam breaching.

2) Begin immediately and complete in six months a "Study Plan" for conducting
technical studies regarding breaching of lower Snake River dams. The Study Plan would
detail the scope, schedule and budget for re-evaluation of breaching the lower Snake
River dams, including but not limited to the following technical studies:

o aquatic ecosystem effects (except biological effects on anadromous fish, which would
be covered in life-cycle model analysis)

o socio-economic effects (e.g., hydropower replacement, navigation, recreation, etc.)

o other environmental effects (sediment, water quality, air quality, etc.)

o additional engineering analysis (turbine modification modeling, rock source


explorations for rip-rap, and additional modeling of the by-pass channel)

3) As discussed in the AMIP, if a biological trigger is tripped for a Snake River ESU(s)
and a determination is made based on an analysis to include life-cycle modeling and an
all-H diagnosis that the Rapid Response Actions are likely to be insufficient, then the
technical studies as scoped in the study plan would be initiated if one of these three

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conditions applies: (1) the analysis 5 identifies lower Snake River dam breaching as
necessary to avoid jeopardy to the applicable Snake River ESU; or, (2) the analysis is
sufficiently inconclusive to identify what actions are necessary to avoid jeopardy to the
applicable Snake River ESU; or (3) the analysis is not completed within six months, with
a completion goal of 4 months. Those technical studies would require approximately two
years to complete. The information from these studies, along with the results of the life-
cycle modeling, would be used to make a decision whether to complete an overall
evaluation study and Environmental Impact Statement. This overall evaluation study/EIS
would be used for the public decision making process to determine whether to seek
congressional authority to undertake dam breaching.

III. Enhanced Research Monitoring & Evaluation

Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RME) is an essential component of the adaptive


management framework in the 2008 FCRPS BiOp because it addresses areas of current data
uncertainty. Based on recommendations by the independent scientists, the Agencies are
enhancing their RME efforts. These improvements will augment the geographic coverage and
statistical certainty of the information needed for decision making and support the evaluation of
Long-term Contingency Actions.

Currently, the 2008 FCRPS BiOp includes a substantial RME effort as described in RPA Actions
50-73. In support of BiOp implementation, NOAA Fisheries also funds status and trend
monitoring, critical uncertainties research, and restoration action effectiveness monitoring.
Under the adaptive management framework, RME results can lead to changes in RPA
implementation to optimize fish survival. RME results are reported through annual progress
reports to the region and the RIOG. This includes reporting on the annual abundance of natural
fish at the ESU/DPS level based on dam counts, one of the metrics used for the new contingency
triggers.

Since the release of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp, NOAA Fisheries and the Action Agencies have been
jointly reviewing existing federal, state and tribal RME efforts in the Columbia Basin to identify
and address critical gaps in the monitoring necessary to fully support BiOp adaptive management
decisions. This review is being conducted in partnership with the Northwest Power and
Conservation Council, the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority and its member state and
tribal natural resource agencies. This summer BPA, CBFWA, NOAA Fisheries and NPCC
began convening a series of sub-regional workshops with state and tribal co-managers to
develop a shared Columbia Basin Monitoring Strategy. The goal of these workshops is to
develop an efficient salmon and steelhead monitoring framework and implementation
strategy that will support a variety of needs, including those of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp, recovery

                                                            
5
The goal is to have the all-H diagnosis, informed by the life-cycle modeling, identify the limiting factors for the
Snake River ESUs and potential actions to address those factors.

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plans, regional fisheries management objectives, and other programs. This collaborative
process is expected to be complete during fall of 2009.

A. Enhanced Life-cycle Monitoring for Evaluation of Contingencies


The BiOp used a combination of life-cycle modeling and passage modeling (COMPASS) for
evaluation of impacts and All-H actions. The COMPASS model was supported and improved by
ISAB reviews. These analyses provided state of the art evaluations based on the best available
scientific information including fish status and trends, hydropower effects, mitigation actions,
and ocean/climate scenarios to estimate how changes in life-stage specific survival affect long-
term viability metrics (productivity, mean abundance and probability of quasi-extinction).

In order to inform the evaluation of Rapid Response Actions and Long-term Contingencies, the
Administration’s review identified the need for better information about recovery actions at the
species level and across the salmon life cycle. In response, the Action Agencies and NOAA will
be jointly funding enhanced, data-driven life cycle modeling for contingencies, building off of
the current BiOp modeling. Based on newly available and emerging data, the existing models
can be expanded further in order to explicitly evaluate a variety of other factors, described
below. The primary purpose of this revision is to allow the federal agencies to better evaluate
short and long-term contingency actions.

Starting in 2010, NOAA and the Action Agencies will jointly fund and implement updates to the
existing lifecycle models. These updates will include the following new areas:
• Emerging climate data and its application
• Hatchery effects and monitoring
• Habitat effects and monitoring
• Inter-species interactions
• John Day reservoir operations at minimum operating pool (MOP)
• Short-term, transitional and long-term effects of dam breaching

More details regarding modeling enhancements are set out in Appendix 4. These enhancements
will be developed using the same approach as for the COMPASS model (i.e., a transparent
process that includes independent science peer review).

B. Adult Status and Trend Monitoring


The collection and timely reporting of natural adult abundance and productivity data each year at
the population scale is needed to detect changes in status at the ESU/DPS, major population
group (MPG), or local population levels in response to BiOp actions. NOAA Fisheries and the
Action Agencies provide funding for state and tribal monitoring programs for adult salmon and
steelhead status and trends in the Columbia Basin. The RME review being conducted by the
Action Agencies, NOAA Fisheries and the co-managers (noted above), has found data gaps for
some populations, given the goals of the program.

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NOAA Fisheries is committed to obtaining adult natural spawner abundance and full life-
cycle productivity estimates for each ESA-listed population in the Basin of appropriate
statistical certainty and power to inform contingency trigger evaluations and viability
assessments. Additionally, mechanisms must exist for the timely and efficient reporting and
dissemination of these data if they are to provide for the early detection of regional or
population specific changes in status. To achieve these ends, NOAA Fisheries is seeking
$XM to improve adult status and trend monitoring and data management.

C. Juvenile Status and Trend Monitoring


A robust juvenile monitoring program for the Interior Columbia Basin ESUs/DPSs is necessary
for the early detection of substantial changes in abundance, productivity, or survival. Juvenile
out-migrant monitoring complements adult status and trend monitoring by detecting trends in
recruits per spawner based on tributary habitat improvements that might otherwise be masked by
the effect of year-to-year variation in ocean survival rates. The Action Agencies are committed
to enhanced monitoring of juvenile production and survival for at least one population per MPG,
to inform the evaluation of contingency triggers and viability assessments. In addition to
allowing the detection of downturns in natural freshwater production and juvenile survival, this
monitoring will help to assess climate change impacts. The Action Agencies will also support
improvement of the management and timely reporting of juvenile salmon and steelhead
monitoring data.

D. Habitat Condition Status and Trend Monitoring


Status and trend monitoring of habitat condition is necessary for tracking baseline habitat
conditions with respect to assumptions made in the 2008 FCRPS BiOp about the future.
Additionally, coupling habitat monitoring with adult and juvenile monitoring allows the agencies
to assess fish survival and habitat productivity improvements expected from All-H FCRPS and
recovery actions. The Action Agencies are therefore expanding habitat status and trend
monitoring (for at least one population or watershed per MPG) to ensure the benefits assigned to
habitat restoration are being realized. The Action Agencies will also ensure monitoring of
appropriate metrics across a diversity of ecoregions and habitat types to assess responses to
climate change.

E. Intensively Monitored Watersheds


The Agencies recognize the high value of the Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW) Formatted: Indent: Left: 36 pt

approach for assessing habitat effectiveness. An Intensively Monitored Watershed is a


control/treatment study coupled with status and trend monitoring intended to estimate the
effectiveness of multiple habitat restoration actions implemented over a short period of
time in achieving the desired responses in fish status and habitat condition with adequate
levels of accuracy and precision. The findings of IMWs will inform the future selection
of the type, location, and intensity of restoration actions necessary to achieve desired
improvements or to efficiently implement rapid responses to severe declines. The intense
monitoring associated with IMWs provides the adult, juvenile, and habitat status and
trend monitoring articulated in subsection III(B)-III(D) above, but explicitly links the

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monitored responses with project-scale restoration action effectiveness. IMWs also
provide the opportunity for the local detection of various climate change impacts
including tributary temperatures, flows, and the presence or severity of disease, pathogen
or parasite outbreaks.

The Action Agencies are implementing IMWs under RPA Action 56 and 57, for fish status
monitoring and habitat effectiveness monitoring. Under the 2008 RPABiOp, the Action
Agencies are currently implementing IMWs in the John Day, Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow,
Lemhi, and South Fork Salmon basins. NOAA Fisheries funds five additional or complementary
IMWs in Interior subbasins in Idaho (Upper Potlach River, Lemhi River), Oregon (Upper Middle
Fork John Day River), and Washington (Yakima River, Asotin Creek). The Action Agencies’
IMWs have been through independent science evaluation and review by the Northwest Power
and Conservation Council. Under the RPABiOp framework, enhancements to these efforts are
already planned or underway.

As part of an accelerated and enhancedxpanded commitment to IMWs under the BiOp, NOAA
Fisheries and the Action Agencies will complete an analysis of the existing network of IMWs to
ensure:

• Timely funding and implementation of planned intensive restoration actions to ensure an


adequate treatment effect. for resolving anticipated benefits to fish status and habitat
condition.
• Coordination and oversight of habitat actions to ensure that IMW control areas are
maintained as needed by the IMW study design
• Sufficiently diverse geographic representation of IMWs and appropriate monitoreding
parameters (e.g., temperature, flow) to detect climate change impacts
• Sufficient coverage of restoration-action types, species, life-history types, habitat types and
ecoregions to allow the integration of rResults are for applicabletion to future restoration
planning andor for the implementation of rapid response actions.

The outcome of this review will inform the prioritization of BPA placeholder funds budgeted for
IMWs as well as the allocation of new or re-focused NOAA Fisheries funds (e.g., distributed
through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund). IMW updates will go through an
independent science review process and review by the Northwest Power and Conservation
Council. Results will be coordinated and reported to the Region annually through the RIOG.

F. Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation

The independent scientists consulted by the new Administration Administration’s review


recognizedemphasized the importance of detecting and tracking climate change developments
and their and its effects on listed species. The results of ongoing and new research are also
important for determining if BiOp assumptions remain reasonable. The 2008 RPA Action 2
requires the inclusion of new climate change research findings in the Action Agencies’ annual

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progress reports. To facilitate thisthe inclusion of new climate change findings, NOAA Fisheries
will annually provide the Action Agencies with a literature review of new studies and modeling
work relevant to salmon and steelhead population dynamics and the implementation of the 2008
FCRPS RPA. The RPA includes the following additional requirements:

• Habitat and Ocean Conditions: Consistent with RPA Actions 56-61, data on habitat
conditions and action effectiveness will be collected during ongoing and enhanced tributary
habitat and ocean research. While not an explicit requirement of the RPAs, the Action
Agencies will ensure that this information is appropriately managed in a database allowing
changes to be tracked over time.

• Habitat Project Priorities: RPA Actions 35 and 37 require that the Action Agencies use
new climate change information be used to guide tributary and estuary habitat project
selection and prioritization and other aspects of adaptive management. The annual NOAA
Fisheries review of climate change literature and modeling, described above, will contribute
information used in project selection.

• Forecasting and Modeling: RPA Action 7 requires investigation of the impacts of possible
climate change scenarios on listed salmon and steelhead. As part of this effort, new climate
change information will be used to improve water supply forecasts for water management.
model possible future climate change scenarios and investigate possible adaptation strategies
for the Interior Columbia Basin. The Action Agencies have already made significant
progress on this task. They are incorporating findings from modeling conducted by the
University of Washington’s Climate Change Impacts Group into the data they will consider
in their longer term water management planning processes.

Climate change information will be discussed and reported to the Region annually through the
RIOG.

IV. Acceleration (Alternate adjective because includes summer spill?) of RPA Mitigation Actions


 
This section of the AMIP explains the Action Agencies’ and NOAA Fisheries’ plan to accelerate
implementation of RPA mitigation actions. The agencies developed these activities with the
benefit of the wide range of views and information presented during the Administration’s
scrutiny of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp and, in this way, the implementation of the RPA continues to
use the best available science and commercial information. The Estuary MOA with the State of
Washington; reintroduction; and predator control; and ecological effects of invasive species are
described here as accelerated implementation of RPA mitigation actions.

A. Estuary MOA with the State of Washington

The Columbia River estuary represents a critical environment supporting an important part of
the life cycle of salmon and steelhead, providing refugia from predators and offering a rich

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feeding environment where individuals can grow to larger sizes that improve their probability of
survival in the ocean. Under RPA Actions 36 and 37, the Action Agencies are committed to
implementing a major program of estuary habitat restoration and research, much increased from
the 2000 FCRPS BiOp. The Memorandum of Agreement on Columbia River Estuary Habitat
Actions with the State of Washington (Estuary MOA) will enhance this effort significantly. It
has been developed to identify and describe estuary projects to enhance the suite of RPA actions
in the 2008 FCRPS BiOp. The MOA provides additional certainty that estuary habitat projects
will occur by adding $4.5 million annually (for total of $40.5 million) to the Action Agencies’
BiOp commitments and by securing the State of Washington as a committed implementation
partner.

In selecting the projects for inclusion in the Estuary MOA, an initial suite of potential projects,
was refined to 21. Projects were evaluated by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
(WDFW) scientists for biological benefits and certainty of success, using the science
methodology described in 2008 FCRPS BiOp. Appendix 3 provides a list of Estuary MOA
Projects, a map showing their location, and a sample benefits calculation.

In addition to “on the ground” projects, the Estuary MOA relies on a significant estuary research,
monitoring, and evaluation (RME) effort. This RME helps the Action Agencies and regional
partners evaluate progress toward implementation objectives and assists in determining the
biological benefits of these projects. The benefits will be evaluated by the expert regional
technical group that has been established to support implementation of the RPA.

B. Reintroduction

Under the BiOp and related programs, the Action Agencies are currently implementing a number
of small scale, passive reintroduction efforts as well as larger scale, active efforts to reestablish
populations in the Columbia basin under RPA Actions 34 and 35. The Action Agencies
implementation of passage improvements, removal of barriers, and instream flow restoration has
opened up fish access to habitat ranging from a few miles to dozens of miles. The
Administration’s recent review confirmed that the reintroduction of salmon and steelhead to
locations where extirpation has occurred is a useful tool to decrease the risk of extinction.

NOAA Fisheries is now initiating an evaluation of additional opportunities for reintroduction of


listed fish in the Basin. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center will be examining the benefits
from additional reintroductions, considering locations where reintroduction would advance
recovery and further lower the risk of extinction. This evaluation will include the following
elements:

▪ Conditions under which reintroductions would be suitable. Reintroducing fish in some


situations, e.g. where there is high quality habitat, is likely to be successful. In other
instances, such as when unoccupied habitat has been severely degraded or current abundance
is extremely low, reintroduction may not be the best strategy. NOAA Fisheries will evaluate

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the conditions under which reintroduction is a robust strategy and describe the relative costs
and benefits in other situations.

▪ Reintroduction techniques. Reintroductions can occur naturally, where fish volitionally


spawn in reopened historical habitat. Alternatively, artificially propagated fish can be
outplanted in currently unoccupied areas. NOAA Fisheries will evaluate the costs and
benefits of alternative reintroduction strategies and techniques.

This information will guide both implementations of Long-term Contingency Actions, if


triggered, and actions taken to implement recovery plans.

C. Predator Control and Ecological Effects of Invasive Species

Based on the Administration’s review, the agencies are investigating predation and ecological
effects of invasive species as areas for additional salmon and steelhead survival improvements.
Currently, the 2008 RPA includes actions that address predation by birds (RPA Actions 45-48),
fish (RPA Action 43-44), and sea lions (RPA Action 49).

To implement these RPA actions, the Action Agencies, in the fall of 2008, hosted a non-native
species predation workshop with approximately 100 in attendance - representing 18 federal, state
and tribal entities, and several regional universities. A report on the proceedings identified a
number of predation management strategies, most requiring a level of basic field research as a
first step toward implementing full-scale management actions. A follow-up meeting occurred in
May of 2009 to narrow the focus to a few high priority approaches warranting further
development. Now, based on this regional consensus, the Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries
will be moving ahead in the three highest priority areas to establish baseline information for
future predator control activities:

• Shad: document the influence of juvenile shad on the growth and condition of introduced
predators in the fall as they prepare for overwintering

• Catfish: document the distribution and predation rates of channel catfish

• Smallmouth Bass: document whether removals of smallmouth bass in areas of intense


predation could reduce the mortality of juvenile salmonids

For these three priority approaches, the Action Agencies will seek an expedited review of the
research study design proposal by the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) to
accelerate field implementation. Once this research supports a specific management strategy,
then site-specific removals of smallmouth bass and the exclusion of adult American shad from
upper mainstem dams could occur as early as 2012.

D. Summer Spill

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Although not strictly an acceleration, the Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries are augmenting
the summer spill program in a manner consistent with a more precautionary implementation of
the RPA. The BiOp specifies the use of a biological trigger for determining when voluntary
summer spill will be terminated in August at the four Snake River projects (see RPA Action 29
and RPA Table 2); namely when collection numbers of subyearling Chinook fall below 300 fish
per day for three consecutive days at Snake River collector projects. In the event that collection
numbers exceed 500 fish per day for two consecutive days after spill termination, spill would
resume at that project until the 300 fish per day trigger was tripped again. Thus, under this
program spill could be terminated as early as August 1st, but no later than August 31st. The Fish
Accords modify the implementation of this requirement so the trigger is applied at each dam and
the cessation of spill progresses downstream as follows: spill at Little Goose ceases no earlier
than three days after cessation at Lower Granite, Lower Monumental ceases no earlier than three
days after Little Goose, and Ice Harbor ceases no earlier than two days after Lower Monumental.

To augment the summer spill program, the Agencies will develop an appropriate adult return
trigger that continues summer spill at the Snake River projects through August 31st, during the
subsequent juvenile outmigration. The Agencies will coordinate with the RIOG in developing
the trigger, to be in place for the 2010 juvenile fish migration. Using this trigger, low abundance
of naturally-produced Snake River fall Chinook in one year would trigger spill through August
31st at the Snake River projects the following year, regardless of the number of juveniles
collected.

IV. Adaptive Management: Transparency, Science Review and


Reporting

The 2008 FCRPS RPA adopted the comprehensive program for collaboration with the RIOG
during implementation, including a dispute resolution process, as described in the 2007 BA. The
RIOG process will now be enhanced by independent science review. When needed, senior
technical teams will outline any elements in dispute, including the relevant scientific information
and the various viewpoints of the regional sovereigns. The RIOG will consider this information
and try to reach resolution. If unsuccessful, the RIOG may choose to frame-up questions about
the scientific information for the Independent Science Advisory Board (ISAB) or the
Independent Science Review Panel (ISRP). The Action Agencies and NOAA Fisheries will
consider the results of the scientific review in collaboration with the RIOG. The federal agency
with authority will make the final decision.

V. Summary and Conclusions

<placeholder, assuming this is needed>   

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This version of the AMIP is being edited on Thursday 2:15pm by Alix 
Reviewed by staff on August 21, 10:50.

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