You are on page 1of 45

Record No. 00011.

pdf
From: Bruce Suzumoto
To: Sara McNary; Coby Howell
Cc: Lorri Bodi; Stier,Jeffrey K - KE-4; Katherine.Cheney@noaa.gov; Lear, Gayle N NWD; Ponganis, David J NWD;
Peters, Rock D NWD; Kathryn Puckett; Harwood,Holly C - PGB-5; Graham, Gregory S NWW; Coffey, Michael A
NWD; McNeil, Bridget (ENRD); john >> "John.W.Ferguson"
Subject: Two-Pagers
Date: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 5:13:27 PM
Attachments: Immediate Action climate change.pdf
Immediate Action Fish-in Fish-out.pdf
Immediate Action IMW.pdf
Immediate Action pikeminnow.pdf
Immediate Action Predator Control Invasives.pdf
Immediate Action RME to reduce uncertainty.pdf
Immediate Actions Life-Cycle Modeling.pdf
Immediate Actions non-indigenous species.pdf
Rapid Response Harvest.pdf
Rapid Response Hydro.pdf
Rapid Response predator control.pdf
Rapid Response Safety Net Hatcheries.pdf
Long Term Actions Hatchery Reforms.pdf
Long term Hydro phase 2.pdf
Long term John Day MOP.pdf
Triggers Document 080509 415pm.pdf

Privileged and Confidential - Do Not Distribute

Coby:

Attached are the "Two-Pagers" and the trigger document that were sent to
Dr. Lubchenco today.  They were sent with the understanding that some of
the documents did not have Action Agency review and therefore need
further discussion.  They were also sent knowing that more work needs to
be done on which actions are immediate, rapid-response and long-term as
well as how they will be funded.  Thanks.

000075
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.4.2009

Action Immediate Action:


Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation to support
FCRPS BiOp Contingency Planning

Lead Action Agencies and NOAA


Implementing
Agency (others)
Description: Current activities: No monitoring actions are currently implemented
• Current under the FCRPS BO to detect specific impacts of a changing climate on
activities fish population processes; however, many of the existing data collection
• Proposed activities undertaken for other purposes could be used to evaluate climate
enhancements change effects.

Proposed enhancements:
The FCRPS BiOp includes a commitment from the Action Agencies to
report annually in their progress reports on climate change research. The
Federal agencies will expand and strengthen this approach through joint
NOAA and Action Agency review of climate change information, with
reporting of this information to the RIOG and the public in the annual and
cumulative progress reports. RPA 56 and 57 identify the implementation
and objectives of IMWs. This enhancement would utilize existing flow
and temperature data available in the IMWs to augment habitat/fish
response relationships.

ƒ Habitat and Ocean Conditions: Ongoing and enhance tributary


habitat and ocean research will provide a data base on freshwater
habitat and ocean conditions, allowing tracking of changes over time.

ƒ Annual Reports: RPA Action 2 requires inclusion of new, pertinent


climate change or research in the Action Agencies’ Annual Progress
Reports. To ensure this will be accomplished each year, by June 1,
NOAA Fisheries will provide to the Action Agencies a survey of any
new climate change studies, scientific papers or modeling work
relevant to BiOp implementation and fish status.

ƒ Habitat Project Priorities: RPA Actions 35 and 37 require that new


climate change information be used to guide tributary and estuary
habitat project selection and prioritization and other aspects of
adaptive management. The NOAA Fisheries review described above

000076
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

will also be used for this purpose.

ƒ Forecasting and Modeling: RPA Action 7 requires that new climate


change information be used to update forecasting and modeling of the
hydrology and operations of the FCRPS. The Action Agencies have
already made significant progress on this task and are incorporating
climate change modeling from the University of Washington’s
Climate Change Impacts Group in developing the data sets that will be
used for the agencies’ longer term water management planning.

In addition, the Federal agencies collectively will coordinate an inventory


of existing, ongoing and planned climate change studies. Climate change
developments will be discussed and coordinated through the RIOG.
Potential This could increase the responsiveness of FCRPS BiOp to climate change
Magnitude of effects that impact BO actions or operating assumptions in the IMWs.
Biological Benefit
Estimated Cost Presumably, to be determined as an outcome of the BPA, CBFWA,
NOAA and NPCC sub-regional RM&E workshops in the Fall of 2009.
(see Fish In/Fish Out monitoring support)
Implementation Coordination with C3 group?
Considerations

000077
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft: 8.5.2009

Action Immediate Additional Actions:


Fish In/Fish Out monitoring support to BiOp contingency
planning

Lead Agency NOAA


Description: Current activities: The 2008 BiOp will continue to support ongoing
• Current tributary monitoring of adults (“fish in”) and juveniles (“fish out”) to assess
activities population-level status and trends. Biop jeopardy standards rely on basin-
• Proposed wide monitoring of adults on population-specific basis to assess long term
enhancements trends and probabilities of quasi extinction. Current monitoring has also
focused on hatchery/harvest requirements with additional monitoring to
support ongoing Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW) studies.

Draft monitoring guidance by NOAA Fisheries (Guidance for Monitoring


Recovery of Pacific Northwest Salmon and Steelhead Listed under the
Federal Endangered Species Act; Crawford and Rumsey, 2009)
recommends that adult abundance monitoring be conducted for each listed
population and demonstrate known precision and certainty, incorporate
monitoring of the ratio of hatchery-origin spawners, and incorporate robust
harvest mortality information. For at least one population per Major
Population Group (MPG) within listed ESUs and DPSs, there should also be
simultaneous monitoring of juvenile outmigrants with known certainty and
precision. The recently convened AA workgroups’ June 2009
“Recommendations for Implementing Research, Monitoring and Evaluation
for the 2008 NOAA Fisheries FCRPS BiOp,” Table 2 identified one or more
populations per MPG that should be monitored for fish status and trend
(fish-in/fish-out). The identified populations included the ‘priority
populations” listed in Table 5 of the BiOp as having relatively large
habitat/survival gaps.

Proposed enhancements: As pointed out by Dr. Lubchenco’s scientific


workshop with independent expert scientists, existing adult and juvenile
status and trend monitoring needs to be better integrated and expanded in
geographic scope to be cover of all Interior Columbia Chinook salmon
ESUs and steelhead DPSs at the population scale. Coordinating juvenile
abundances with adult abundances (i.e., “fish in/fish out”) within
populations will allow for a better understanding of productivity in
freshwater life stages and the ability to better inform life-cycle modeling.
The expert panel also emphasized the need for rapid responses to sharp
population declines, and enhanced monitoring of adults and juveniles with

000078
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

quicker dissemination of data can better inform adult and juvenile


contingency triggers.

To address the need for improved local and basin-wide coordination of fish-
in/fish-out and other monitoring efforts, BPA, CBFWA, NOAA and NPCC
are convening a series of sub-regional workshops with state and tribal co-
managers to develop a shared Columbia Basin Monitoring Strategy.
These workshops will develop an efficient monitoring framework and
project specific implementation strategy for salmonid VSP monitoring
(including fish-in/fish-out), and habitat and hatchery effectiveness
monitoring that meets the needs of recovery plans, BiOp requirements, as
well as other program and regional fisheries management objectives. By
October 2009 this collaborative process will have prioritized population-
specific monitoring needs, and identified project modifications or new
projects needed to fill remaining gaps.

Informed by the findings and recommendations of the above described


collaborative workshops, the AAs will revise and/or augment ongoing fish-
in/fish-out monitoring to ensure the coverage of least one population per
MPG. For some of these populations, a sample of juveniles will be
measured (length and mass) to assess growth conditions. These monitoring
improvements will also be coordinated with improvements to habit
monitoring as part of the FCRPS action effectiveness evaluations (RPAs 56
and 57). It is anticipated that implementing an improved fish-in/fish-out,
fish size, and habitat effectiveness monitoring strategy will include the
implementation of additional IMW studies and other habitat monitoring
programs paired with fish-in/fish-out monitoring. To this end, BPA is
supplementing existing fish-in/fish-out monitoring activities with the
addition of $9 million dollars in BiOp placeholder funds, and is also
providing an additional $100K technical support plus 0.3 FTE for annual
evaluations of fish-in/fish-out and other biological and environmental
metrics relative to contingency triggers.
Potential The juvenile trend data will help the Action Agencies and NOAA to detect
Magnitude of population trends early so they begin to discuss contingency actions (or to
Biological Benefit act, if a juvenile abundance trigger is met). Monitoring data on juvenile size
or condition will further help to identify those populations showing
troubling trends in parr-to-smolt life stage survival.
Estimated Cost $ 10.1 million/year for coordinated habitat and fish-in/fish-out monitoring

Current Situation: Background: See current activities section, above.


• Background Involved parties and agreements: The AAs, CBFWA, NOAA and NPCC
• Involved parties will convene and participate in a series of collaborative workshops with

000079
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

and agreements state and tribal co-managers to develop a shared Columbia Basin
• Implementation monitoring strategy.
potential/ do-
ability Implementation potential: The AA’s, NOAA, and regional co-managers
are committed to and engaged in the above described collaborative
processes to improve fish-in/fish-out monitoring in the Columbia River
Basin. Modifications to existing programs and the augmentation of existing
efforts with the addition of BPA’s BiOp placeholder funds and staff support
will contribute to filling monitoring gaps identified through these
collaborative processes and ensuring a robust, integrated and efficient
monitoring framework for adult and juvenile status and trend monitoring.

000080
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.5.2009

Action Immediate Additional Actions:


Intensively Monitored Watershed (IMW) support for
certainty of FCRPS BiOp off-site mitigation action
evaluation

Lead Action Agencies, NOAA


Implementing
Agency (others)
Description: Current activities: NOAA/BPA/BOR are currently implementing six
• Current watershed scale tributary habitat restoration experiments – Intensively
activities Monitored Watersheds (IMWs) – to determine the biological effect of
• Proposed habitat rehabilitation actions. IMWs are large watershed-scale studies
enhancements intended to resolve the effectiveness of restoration efforts, as well as the
affects of freshwater and marine habitat conditions on fish abundance and
productivity. BPA currently funds IMW pilot basin studies in the John
Day, Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow, Lemhi and South Fork Salmon river
Basins, while NOAA Fisheries also funds approximately $1.2 million
annually for IMW studies in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Proposed enhancements: It is anticipated that implementing additional


IMW studies along with other habitat monitoring programs will be part of
implementing an improved fish-in/fish-out and habitat effectiveness
monitoring strategy. The Action Agencies are proposing to better
coordinate tributary climate change information, including flow and
temperature monitoring and fish-in/fish-out information (i.e., censusing
adult spawners and subsequent juvenile migrants).
Potential Expanded implementation of IMWs will improve will reduce uncertainty
Magnitude of regarding the physical and biological effectiveness of habitat restoration
Biological Benefit actions.
Estimated Cost BPA is supplementing existing fish-in/fish-out monitoring activities with
the addition of $12.25 million dollars in BiOp placeholder funds for
integrated habitat and fish monitoring, and is also providing an additional
$100K technical support plus 0.3 FTE for annual evaluations of fish-
in/fish-out and other biological and environmental metrics relative to
contingency triggers.
Current Situation: Involved parties and agreements: NOAA/BPA/BOR are currently
• Background implementing six IMWs

000081
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

• Involved
parties and Implementation potential/do-ability: See Fish In/Fish Out Monitoring
agreements Issue Paper.
• Implementation
potential/ do-
ability

000082
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.4.2009

Action Immediate Additional Action:


Pikeminnow Management

Lead BPA, ACOE


Implementing
Agency (others)
Current Activity Ongoing implementation of enhanced Northern Pikeminnow Management
Description Program (NPMP) as described in RPA 43 – general increase in the reward
• FCRPS BiOp structure in the sport-reward fishery; evaluation of the effectiveness of
activity focused removals at lower Columbia FCRPS projects.
• Involved parties
and/or Implementation partners: Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission,
agreements Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish
and Wildlife, USDA – Animal Damage Control (Dam Angling)
Clarification for The current NPMP deploys USDA employees to conduct dam angling in
Rapid Response forebay and tailrace areas at two FCRPS projects. Increasing our dam
angling effort at more FCRPS projects would increase overall catch to
contribute to overall program exploitation rate and potentially improve
within year dam passage survival of outmigration juvenile salmon. There
is also a small increased benefit of dam removals relative to the general
public fishery because pikeminnow removed from these areas tend to be
larger and therefore more predaceous. The proposal would increase our
dam angling program from one crew to three crews with the mobility and
flexibility to fish all eight mainstem dams.
Estimated Cost The current cost of the Dam Angling program component of the NPMP is
$100K/year for a two-dam crew. Two additional crews would add
$200K/year to the overall program. Additional flexibility and potential
efficiency is also possible if the ACOE and BPA merged the avian hazing
and pikeminnow dam angling programs. Cost savings TBD.
Implementation Increasing our dam angling effort is within current ESA, NEPA and other
considerations compliance regulations. No new authority is needed.

000083
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.5.2009

Action Immediate Response:


Predator Control & Invasive species

Lead Implementing BPA, ACOE, NOAAF


Agency (others)

Current Activity Regional partners are currently working on a strategy to reduce non-native
Description piscivorous predation on juvenile salmonids consistent with BiOp RPA
• FCRPS BiOp 44.
activity
• Involved parties Assess impacts of non-native species at regional scales. Combine
and/or spatially explicit information on non-native species populations
agreements (abundance, size, etc) and mechanisms and magnitudes of impact to
identify areas where risks to salmon are the greatest and where
management strategies are needed to minimize these impacts. We will
evaluate multiple mechanisms of impact (predation, competition) for a
number of key taxa (including but not excluded to smallmouth bass,
largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, shad, brook trout). These
assessments are needed to identify regions in the Columbia with greatest
potential impacts from non-native species. In addition, results of this
effort can be linked with proposed climate studies that will identify ESUs
that are most susceptible to the effects of climate change to help identify
potential synergistic interactions between climate and non-native species.

The Action Agencies hosted a predation workshop in Fall, 2008 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 in implementing full-scale
management action. A smaller follow-up meeting occurred in May, 2009
to narrow the focus to a few high priority approaches warranting further
development. The following briefly describes the three highest priority
subject areas that received regional consensus.

Current non-indigenous piscivorous predation activities include


developing a research proposal to be submitted to the ISRP to increase our
understanding of some key uncertainties regarding predation by
introduced predators on juvenile salmonids. Key objectives include: 1)
documentation of the influence of juvenile shad on the growth and
condition of introduced predators in the fall as they prepare for

000084
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

overwintering. 2) Documentation of the predatory impact of channel


catfish, 3) Document whether localized removals of smallmouth bass may
reduce the predatory impact on juvenile salmonids in areas of intense
predation.

Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Channel Catfish and American Shad are all
introduced species in the Columbia Basin. With the exception of
American shad, they are also predators on juvenile salmonids. American
shad do not consume juvenile salmonids, but are thought to substantially
affect food webs in the mainstem migration corridor. In addition, the
nutrients provided by juvenile American shad in the fall may serve to
increase condition and survival of predators, therefore increasing net
predation on juvenile salmonids. Conversely, they may reduce predation
rates on subyearling Chinook salmon by providing an abundant,
alternative source of food to predators.

Basic research is needed to achieve the objectives stated above. If the


research supports the management action, then site-specific removals of
smallmouth bass and adult shad exclusion from upper mainstem dams
could occur as early as 2012.

Implementation partners: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, USGS


– Biological Resources Division (Cook, WA)
Clarification for
Rapid Response

Estimated Cost BiOp three year funding to develop management actions is $350K/year for
three years.

Funding for implementation of management actions TBD


Implementation Bass removals on a large scale (like the northern pike-minnow program)
considerations would require state permitting and, according to regional scientists, would
– unlike this program on northern pikeminnow - be unlikely to
substantially affect the abundance or population structure of smallmouth
bass (or their likely impact on juvenile salmonids).

National sportsman political action committees do not support reductions


in bass or walleye abundance in the Columbia Basin.

000085
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.4.2009

Action Immediate Action:


Research, Monitoring and Evaluation support for
certainty of FCRPS BiOp evaluation

Lead BPA, BOR, COE, in coordination with NOAA


Implementing
Agency (others)
Description: Current activities: The 2008 FCRPS BiOp RME program builds on work
• Current initiated under previous consultations (2000, 2004, 2006), and has been
activities further refined with incorporation of the Interior Columbia Technical
• Proposed Recovery Team population definition and viability assessments. The BiOp
enhancements is based on performance metrics consisting of stage or fresh water habitat
specific survivals. Additionally, performance of the off-site mitigation
component is indexed by the extent of habitat improved and predation risk
mitigated. Ultimately, overall success of the FCRPS BiOp is indicated by
reduced risk of extinction of listed salmonids due to the FCRPS O&M. In
all cases, evaluation of programmatic success, as well as the development
of interim performance metrics by which BiOp actions can be adaptively
managed, hinges on a comprehensive RME program in the CRB.

Proposed enhancements:
The Action Agencies and NOAA are jointly reviewing existing federal
RM&E efforts to identify and address critical gaps, if any, regarding:
• Faster, more efficient reporting of annual adult returns (at population
and MPG level)
• Expanded habitat status and trend monitoring (e.g., flow, temperature,
sediment, channel complexity, riparian area/composition, floodplain
connectivity, habitat access, land use conversion, etc.)
• Improved understanding of relationships between habitat quality and
fish response (e.g., stream/watershed- and population-scale estimates
of juvenile outmigrants per adult spawner; size and condition of
juveniles, etc.)
• Effects of non-native predator/competitor species in mainstem reaches
and tributaries:
- Develop quantitative descriptions of interactions with salmon and
steelhead (productivity, smolt size and condition, food web, etc.)
- Expand capabilities of COMPASS model to incorporate predation
impacts
- Evaluate impacts of non-native species and develop and test

000086
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

potential control measures


• Effects of interactions between species and populations
• Effects of hydrology, avian predation, fish predation, etc. on mainstem
survival (expand the capabilities of the COMPASS model)
• Greater coverage of geographic and hydrologic systems in the
Columbia basin in the Intensively Monitored Watersheds program
• Greater coverage of the stream flow/temperature gauge network
• Locations and sizes of cold water refugia (shallow groundwater,
springs, and seeps) and interactions with surface streams
• Research to determine the feasibility, risks, and benefits of modifying
the magnitude or timing of releases from individual interior Columbia
hatchery programs as a function of ocean conditions.
Potential Magnitude See Fish-In/Fish-Out issue paper Potential Magnitude of Biological
of Biological Benefit Benefit
Estimated Cost To be determined.

Current Situation: Implementation potential/ do- ability: The Action Agencies and NOAA have
• Background conducted regional workshops to review RM&E coverage and priorities (see for
• Involved parties example, June 2009 “Recommendations for Implementing Research, Monitoring
and agreements
and Evaluation for the 2008 NOAA Fisheries FCRPS BiOp”.
• Implementation
potential/ do-
ability

000087
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.5.2009

Action Immediate Additional Actions:


Life-cycle modeling support to BiOp contingency planning

Lead Agency NOAA


Description: Current activities: The 2008 BiOp used a combination of life-cycle modeling
• Current and passage modeling (COMPASS) to estimate how changes in life-stage
activities specific survival affect long term viability metrics (productivity, mean abundance
• Proposed and probability of quasi-extinction). These analyses adequately expressed
enhanceme population viability and effects of hydropower system operations and
nts configurations on smolt survival and alternative ocean/climatic scenarios.

Proposed enhancements: However, as pointed out by Dr. Lubchenco’s


workshop with independent scientists, the existing models need to be expanded
further to explicitly evaluate a variety of other factors, described below. In
addition, the expanded models can be developed to estimate the likelihood that
early-warning and contingency triggers might be met under alternative scenarios
of climate change and management strategies.

This will be accomplished in two ways: First, we will update the Interior
Columbia Technical Recovery Teams stochastic life-cycle models to incorporate
most recent population data (abundance of adults and juveniles, stage-specific
survival, etc.) and expand the number of populations considered where possible
(Snake River spring/summer Chinook; Snake River steelhead; Upper Columbia
spring Chinook; and Mid Columbia steelhead). We will also explore data
availability and, to the extent possible, develop data-supported models for
populations within ESUs that have not been modeled to date (Snake River fall
Chinook; Snake River sockeye; and Upper Columbia steelhead). Second, we will
expand the current models to address:

• Climate –sensitivity of ESUs. Analyzing the potential effects of climate


change is a key element to the FCRPS Biological Opinion’s Adaptive
Management Plan (Plan). Ultimately, as part of the spatially explicit
modeling discussed below, we want to identify which ESUs are most
sensitive to climate variability and which restoration actions are most resilient
to climate change. Results will be used to guide BiOp implementation
decisions and cost effectiveness.

000088
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

• Climate - adaptive management. We will evaluate effects of climate


variability and change in the near (1-2 years) term by incorporating predicted
climate conditions, such as freshwater conditions (e.g., snow pack), mainstem
conditions (flow and temperature), and ocean conditions on survival through
the life cycle. Outputs will inform the early warning component of the Plan,
as will our existing monitoring of marine ecosystem productivity each year.
Longer term effects of climate will be modeled based on model studies of
biological responses to projected changes in freshwater and marine climate
conditions from various scenarios (IPCC, NOAA, UW-CIG). Outputs will be
considered qualitatively in the context of the running 4-year averages in adult
escapement “triggers” in the Plan and used to further judge trend patterns.

• Hatchery effects. A critical uncertainty is the effect of hatchery spawners on


the success of wild spawners, the impact of hatchery releases on wild
populations, and density-dependent effects of hatchery production on the
productivity of wild fish. Each of issues has been evaluated to some degree,
and we will model the effects of hatcheries on populations under various
ocean productivity regimes and climate scenarios. This will provide a
sensitivity analysis of the potential role of hatchery production in recovery
and to possibly identify alternative production release timing strategies that
increase survival of wild fish and hatchery fish.

• Habitat actions and monitoring. The potential effects of habitat


improvements on population viability metrics will be incorporated into the
life cycle models as the information becomes available from Intensively
Monitored Watersheds (IMW) and RME activities. Results of analyses of
key assumptions on how fish populations respond to habitat alterations will
be used to guide future RME and IMW activities, and used qualitatively as
part of the 2-year early warning and 4-year trigger components of the Plan.
The potential biological benefits and impacts of breaching the four lower
Snake River dams will be evaluated.

• Spatially explicit modeling. As stated above, we will expand the number of


populations and ESUs considered in Leslie matrix models, as available data
allow. This comparative approach will allow us to more fully identify
similarities and differences in how populations respond to factors such as
variability in freshwater and marine productivity, differing levels of habitat
restoration across watersheds, and influences of total hatchery composition on
the wild component of the ESU.

• Interspecific interactions. We will evaluate the availability of data on the


effects of other native species (competitors, piscivorous and avian predators,

000089
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

and prey), invasive species (competitors, predators, or pathogens), or other


salmon populations (i.e., tradeoffs among ESUs) on target salmon
populations. If sufficient data exist, we will evaluate the potential effects
through food web or bioenergetics models, or other analyses, to estimate the
magnitude of their impact.
Potential Through sensitivity analyses and other diagnostic approaches, the life-cycle modeling
Magnitude of will help to identify particular life stages that may be a bottleneck for specific
Biological
populations to guide directed mitigation actions.
Benefit
Estimated Cost $ 400 K/year
Current Background: See current activities section, above.
Situation:
• Background Involved parties and agreements: A regional, collaborative process similar to that
• Involved used by the TRTs and to develop the COMPASS model will be used, which incorporated
parties and
agreements transparent and independent scientific peer review as a foundational component.
• Implementa
tion Implementation potential: Our ability to build the models for new ESUs and expand
potential/ the existing and new models to address critical scientific uncertainties will vary
do- ability depending on the amount and quality of information being incorporated. Model
development and scenario analysis will continue to evolve and expand as new
information is found or gathered and incorporated into the models. Model development
is a process and model outputs will be incorporated into management decisions as they
become available. Over time, outputs will be bounded by tighter confidence intervals
and less uncertainty.

000090
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.5.2009

Action Immediate Additional Actions:


Non-indigenous Species

Lead Agency NOAA


Description: Current activities: Our recent goals were to identify the distribution of
• Current activities non-natives in the Columbia River Basin and to highlight the impacts of
• Proposed non-natives on salmonids. Results from these efforts were recently
enhancements published in BioScience (Sanderson et al. 2009). This manuscript provides
an overview of current non-indigenous species (NIS) distribution and
documents impacts on salmon by smallmouth bass, walleye, brook trout,
and channel catfish, among other species. As part of that effort, we created
and now maintain a spatially explicit database of non-native species
presence/ absence for the Pacific Northwest. We have also used
bioenergetics modeling to study the effects of non-indigenous fish species
removal in the Columbia River basin (Harvey and Kareiva 2004), and
developed a brook trout case study in which we document brook trout
impacts on salmon survival (Levin et al. 2002), evaluate behavioral
mechanisms that might contribute to lower salmon survivals (Macneale et
al. in review) and examine the potential for competition for food between
brook trout and native salmonids (Goodwin et al. in prep). Understanding
these mechanisms of impact will allow us to identify what kinds of
mitigation or management are needed.

Proposed enhancements: Recent publications highlight the fact that non-


native species impacts on salmon populations have been largely ignored
(ISAB 2008, Sanderson et al. 2009). This oversight of non-native species is
in part because efforts to understand the impact of them on salmon are
geographically localized. Yet, to understand the cumulative impact of NIS
on salmon ESUs, we must examine impacts that occur across the many
habitats salmon occupy across ESUS and throughout their life cycle.

Assess impacts of non-native species at regional scales. Combine spatially


explicit information on non-native species populations (abundance, size, etc)
and mechanisms and magnitudes of impact to identify areas where risks to
salmon are the greatest and where management strategies are needed to
minimize these impacts. We will evaluate multiple mechanisms of impact
(predation, competition) for a number of key taxa (including, but not limited
to smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, channel catfish, walleye, shad, and

000091
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

brook trout). These assessments are needed to identify regions in the


Columbia with greatest potential impacts from non-native species. In
addition, results of this effort can be linked with proposed climate studies
that will identify ESUs that are most susceptible to the effects of climate
change to help identify potential synergistic interactions between climate
and non-native species.

Species interactions and ecosystem effects: Predation is the most


quantifiable impact, and the focus of most research to date. Non-native
species have impacts that extend beyond the obvious predatory effects. For
example, although five times more shad than native salmon return yearly to
the Columbia River, only recently have scientists begun to examine the
potential impacts of shad on Columbia River ecosystems. Potential impacts
to be explored include planktivory by adult and juvenile shad may reduce
the availability of prey for juvenile salmonids, and the millions of juvenile
shad migrating through the Columbia may fuel the growth and survival of
other native and non-native predators that consume salmon. Understanding
species interactions and ecosystem level impacts of non-native taxa is a
critical gap. The region needs to develop ecosystem models or other novel
techniques such as stable isotope analysis that can be used to investigate
effects of non-native species and management options for mitigation their
impacts )see Harvey and Kareiva 2004). Such models are also critical for
examining the role of non-native species in the context of proposed
management actions and other issues (hatchery production, climate change,
disease risks, etc.). Analysis of stable isotopes can provide useful
information of feeding relationships and how salmon populations may be
impacted as recovery or management strategies are put in place.

Fisheries management: The ISAB (2008) report encourages states to ‘relax


or eliminate fishing regulations that may be enhancing populations of non-
native species, especially those that directly or indirectly interact with
juvenile salmonids.’ We propose to develop an expert workshop to open a
science-based discourse about the role of non-native recreational game
fishes in aquatic ecosystems. Our efforts will compliment and build upon
those already in progress in the region. The goals of the workshop are to
identify which species are of greatest concern, identify data and research
priorities, and discuss current and future management strategies given that
both native and non-native species must be co-managed in sympatry. By
bringing together scientists, managers and policy makers, we hope to
identify the key challenges involving non-native recreational game fishes – a
topic that is not currently open to discussion and debate.

000092
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

Risk assessments and relevant monitoring for early detection and


prevention:
We will develop a meta-analysis of existing NIS introductions in the Pacific
Northwest to identify all vectors through which NIS are introduced. From
this we can then develop a flow chart of NIS vectors that highlights high risk
vectors and identifies appropriate monitoring needs for early detection and
prevention. This approach is especially needed for high risk taxa such as
diseases for which minimal monitoring currently exists. A second
component of risk is vulnerability of habitats and species to invasion. We
will use landscape-scale analyses that spatially identify introduction vectors
(i.e., boat ramps, live baitfish permitted, etc.) to identify areas with greater
risk to new invasions. The third component of assessments is to have up-to-
date information on the distribution of non-natives. We meet this goal
through regular updating of our existing spatially explicit database of non-
native species distributions.

Rapid Response and Long-term Contingency Actions


NOAA and the Action Agencies will use the outputs from the immediate
actions described above (spatially explicit descriptions of impacts of
indigenous species on salmonid viability; ecosystem interactions; workshop
on non-native recreational game fisheries; risk assessments and monitoring
for early detection and prevention) to develop and prepare rapid response
and long-term contingency actions. These actions will be implemented as
needed when their respective triggers are met.
Potential Magnitude Completion of this proposed research will substantially contribute toward
of Biological Benefit that goal of reducing impacts of non-native species on Columbia River
salmonids. Throughout the basin there are countless intentional (i.e., fish
stocking programs) and unintentional species introductions. The reservoirs
associated with hydro-system projects have facilitated the spread and
establishment of many aquatic non-native species, as well as the expansion
of native species suited to these lotic environments. Many of these non-
native taxa are here to stay. Knowledge of established non-native species’
abundance, distribution and impacts on salmon populations is needed to inform
management strategies that can minimize impacts. Furthermore, the role of
these non-native taxa must be taken into account when designing population
specific recovery strategies.
Estimated Cost $350k/year
Current Situation: Background: See current activities section, above.
• Background Involved parties and agreements: The tasks above will require scientific
• Involved parties and agency collaboration. A number of collaborations are already in place,
and agreements

000093
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

• Implementation and other collaborations will need to be built for successful completion of
potential/ do- the listed tasks.
ability
Implementation potential: High: we are conducting spatially explicit
modeling using existing information, pursuing analyses and conducting
additional research using proven techniques (stable isotopes,
ecopath/ecosim, etc.), and hosting a workshop on ideas proposed by the
ISAB. Cooperation and collaboration from state, federal, tribal and
academic communities will further the success of these efforts.

000094
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.5.2009

Action Long-Term Contingency:


Hatchery Reforms

Lead Implementing Action Agencies


Agency (others)

Current Activity Ensure that hatchery programs funded by the FCRPS Action Agencies are
Description not impeding recovery of ESA listed salmon ESUs or steelhead DPSs.
• FCRPS BiOp Best Management Practices will be defined in ESA consultations with
NOAA fisheries.
activity
• Involved parties Oregon, Washington, Idaho, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service,
and/or and the Nez Perce, Yakama, Colville, Warm Springs, Umatilla and
agreements Shoshone Bannock Indian tribes.
Clarification for Accelerate ESA consultations to implement best management practices
Contingency Action and hatchery reforms including; 1. Limit hatchery fish from spawning
naturally, 2. Reduce ecological effects on natural populations from
juvenile and adult hatchery fish, 3. Allow natural re-colonization of rivers
and streams blocked by hatchery facilities, 4. Prevent entrainment and
injury of listed fish at hatchery water diversions, and 5. Monitor hatchery
compliance with ESA requirements.

Implement new studies to determine the benefits and risks of adjusting


hatchery releases based on environmental cues.
Estimated Cost Costs from increased staff to accelerate ESA consultations and to
implement hatchery reforms in addition to ESA requirements.
Implementation Hatchery production in the Columbia Basin is under continuing Federal
considerations Court jurisdiction (i.e., United States v. Oregon).

000095
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.4.2009

Action Long Term Contingency:


Phase II Hydro Actions

Lead Action Agencies


Implementing
Agency (others)
Current Activity The RPA’s (18- 25) require the use of Configuration and Operational Plans
Description (COPS) to identify additional dam improvements needed to achieve the
• FCRPS BiOp performance standards. These plans are based on the best available
activity scientific information and developed in collaboration with sovereign
• Involved representatives. The COPs consider multiple alternatives and categorize
parties and/or those alternatives into Phase I and Phase II actions. Phase I modifications
agreements are those that are anticipated to improve survival levels to meet the dam
passage performance standards. Phase II actions are contingency actions to
be implemented should the Phase I actions not achieve the standards.
Likely modifications for inclusion in the COPS as Phase I and Phase II
actions are described in the BA (pages B.2.1-26-48). The Phase II
contingency plans will be updated when the dam specific COPS are
updated. Phase II measures may include, for example, additional surface
passage and other juvenile passage improvements

Actual implementation of Phase II actions will be dependent on results of


on-going research, regional collaboration and prioritization, and future
appropriations.
Clarification for As part of the refined Adaptive Management Plan for implementation of
Long Term the BiOp’s adaptive management framework, the Action Agencies will
Contingencies assess potential hydro actions for inclusion in ESU-specific long-term
contingency plans. The Phase II hydro actions identified in the various
COPS will be included in the long-term contingency plans. These actions
could be implemented if a biological trigger requiring the implementation
of contingency actions is tripped even if the performance standards are
being met.

In the event that triggers are tripped and rapid response actions are not
sufficient to put the ESU on track, the Action Agencies will: 1) review the
most recent Long-term Contingency Plan for the ESU in question and the
current status of the recent biological research at the dams with the regional
agencies and Tribes, 2) initiate a discussion with RIOG and appropriate

000096
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

technical groups regarding the additional project survival benefits that


could be gained for the specific ESU in question. In support of this
discussion NOAA will be model the contingency actions to determine
likely improvements. If these discussions and evaluations indicate
improvements are warranted, the Action Agencies will initiate the
appropriate dam specific long-term contingency actions (including
additional Phase II contingency actions) as part of the overall package of
contingency actions deemed sufficient to address the triggering event for
the targeted ESU.
Estimated Cost Estimated costs will depend on the actions implemented and associated
RM&E to further evaluate the biological effects.

Implementation Would require discussions with regional partners on options and project
considerations implementation. Likely to be some disagreement on which projects to
implement.

000097
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.4.2009

Action Long Term Contingency:


John Day MOP

Lead U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Implementing
Agency (others)
Current Activity The Action Agencies will initiate discussions with RIOG on the relevant
Description hydraulic and biological information to better understand the biological
• FCRPS BiOp benefits and/or detriments associated with John Day reservoir operations.
activity
• Involved A study of operating John Day Dam at its minimum operating pool (MOP),
parties and/or including impacts to project uses during juvenile fish passage was initiated
agreements in 1992 and culminated with a report entitled, John Day Minimum
Operating Pool Technical Report, dated April, 1994. The study was
conducted in response to paragraph III.4.6.a.(2) of the Northwest Power
Planning Council (NPPC) publication 91-31 “Amendments to the
Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program (Phase Two)," dated
December 11, 1991.The proposed operation of John Day at its MOP level
(elevation 257), from 1 May through 31 August, was evaluated for its
benefits and impacts to the existing project, anadromous fish, the
environment and other uses of the reservoir. An option to operate at MOP
level year-round, to provide for partial mitigation of environmental
impacts, was also considered in the study.

In general, project facilities at John Day Dam are designed for operation at
MOP as this was within the authorized operating range for the reservoir.
However, the study identified significant impacts associated with operating
at MOP, for which the Corps does not have authority to mitigate. These
include impacts to: irrigation, municipal water supplies, hatchery water
supplies, anadromous and resident fish habitat, wildlife habitat, recreation
sites, cultural resource sites, and adult passage facilities.
Clarification for By 2012, the Action Agencies will prepare a detailed study plan to layout
Long Term the scope, schedule and budget for reevaluation if warranted from review
Contingency of the biological analysis. The scope will address biological, engineering,
environmental, socio-economic impacts, and other necessary tasks and
activities required to assess the feasibility of implementing the planned
reservoir operation. It will include assessment of: biological effects
(benefits and/or decrements); physical impacts; funding options;

000098
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

alternatives; mitigation of effects on reservoir/dam users; and, other


feasibility issues. If the biological trigger is tripped, the Corps could pursue
the authority to mitigate the impacts of operating John Day Dam at MOP.
Estimated Cost Costs estimates to mitigate the impacts discussed above are provided from
the report at the original April 1994 price levels and at current price levels
by applying a factor of 1.58, using the Corps’ Construction Cost
Composite Index for Civil Works Projects. Including additional hatchery
water supplies, the construction cost to mitigate impacts would be
estimated at $100 million in 1994, which calculates to an estimated $158M
at 2008 price levels.
Implementation Prior regional debate on operation John Day at MOP has focused on the
considerations need to have in place mitigation of impacts noted above (irrigation, water
supply, hatchery, etc). Without mitigation authority, the Corps would not
be in a position to address the many impacts associated with this operation.
Sequencing: a feasibility report/EIS would be done in order to seek
congressional authority; appropriations for design and construction
(primarily for mitigation actions). Note that in the past, Congress
specifically directed the Corps NOT to use CRFM funds for further study
of John Day MOP operations.

Schedule: It was estimated in 1994 that with authorization and funding it


would require five years for the design and construction of modifications to
restore impacted facilities to current level of service.

000099
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.5.2009

Action Rapid Response Action:


Harvest Response

Lead Agency NOAA Fisheries


Description: Ocean fisheries, mainstem Columbia River fisheries, and “terminal” or
• Current activities tributary area fisheries.
• Proposed
enhancements Harvest response will be fact specific, but will include assessment of
adequacy of existing management provisions and engagement with the
U.S. v. Oregon parties and parties to the PST as needed to consider further
harvest reductions.
Potential Magnitude Varies by ESU/DPS and depends on the magnitude of harvest response
of Biological Benefit that goes beyond provisions of current agreements. The maximum
survival increase associated with complete fishery closures would be
approximately 5% for spring Chinook ESUs, 10% to 20% for steelhead
DPSs, 40% for Snake River (SR) fall Chinook, and 6% to 8% for sockeye.
Estimated Cost The direct cost of regulatory changes are minimal, but there will be
considerable indirect cost associated with renegotiating existing
agreements to respond to emergency circumstances.
Current Situation: Background and Existing Agreements and Triggers
• Background The following discussion regarding harvest response contingencies applies
• Involved parties to the seven ESUs and DPSs that occur above Bonneville Dam.
and agreements
• Implementation Terminal Fisheries - Terminal fisheries generally refer to those that occur
potential/ do- in areas above Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River and McNary Dam
ability on the upper Columbia River. These are managed by the states and tribes
and are outside of the scope of the current U.S v. Oregon Agreement.
Terminal fisheries are generally directed at hatchery-origin fish, are often
mark-selective and located in place and time to target hatchery fish, and
are highly responsive to changes in abundance. There are nonetheless
some incidental impacts to natural-origin fish. The level of harvest that
may occur when abundance is very low will be populations specific
depending on the location of remaining fisheries. Impacts in terminal
fisheries will be on the order of 0% to 2%.

U.S. v Oregon Fisheries – U.S. v. Oregon refers to a settlement agreement


between five tribes, three states, and the federal government. The

000100
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

agreement establishes rules for managing harvest and hatchery production


in the Columbia Basin in areas above Bonneville Dam. The agreement is
a stipulated order and operates under the continuing jurisdiction of the
federal court. The U.S v. Oregon agreement and all its provisions are
central to the overall settlement in the FCRPS litigation, particularly for
the tribes, and cannot be changed unilaterally in any detail without
substantive consultation and agreement with the affected parties.

Fisheries under the jurisdiction of the U.S v. Oregon Agreement generally


occur in the mainstem Columbia River from the river mouth up to
McNary Dam. UCR spring Chinook and SR spring/summer Chinook are
caught in spring season fisheries. Under the current abundance based
management framework harvest rates vary between 5.5% and 17%. At the
lowest level of abundance, fisheries are scaled back under the agreement
to 5% to provide limited opportunity for tribal ceremonial and subsistence
fisheries.

All SR fall Chinook harvest in the Columbia River occurs in fall season
fisheries that are subject to the U.S. v. Oregon agreement. SR fall
Chinook in the Columbia River are managed subject to an abundance
based harvest rate schedule. Under the current schedule harvest rates on
SR fall Chinook vary between 21.5% and 45%. At the lowest level of
abundance, fisheries for fall Chinook are allocated 1.5% to the non-Treaty
fishery and 20% to the Treaty fishery.

Most of the harvest of upriver steelhead in the Columbia River occurs in


fall season fisheries subject to the U.S v. Oregon agreement (additional
harvest occurs in terminal fisheries as discussed above). Under the
agreement, non-Treaty fall season fisheries are subject to a 2% mortality
limit for steelhead. Treaty Indian fisheries are subject to an abundance
base harvest rate for “B-run” steelhead. B-run steelhead are a component
of the SR steelhead DPS. The allowable harvest rate ranges from 13% to
20%. Harvest rates on “A-run” steelhead that return to the UCR DPS and
parts of the Snake River are lower, generally less than 10%.

Harvest rates on Snake River sockeye are limited to 1% in non-Treaty


fisheries and 5% to 7% in Treaty fisheries.

Ocean Fisheries - Of the seven ESUs and DPSs considered here SR fall
Chinook is the only one caught in ocean fisheries. SR fall Chinook are
caught in fisheries in Alaska, Canada, and off the Washington/Oregon
coast. Ocean fisheries are subject to provisions of the Pacific Salmon

000101
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

Treaty; fisheries off of Washington/Oregon are also subject to regulation


through the PFMC and NOAA Fisheries. Roughly half of all harvest
impacts to SR fall Chinook occur in ocean fisheries.

Rapid Harvest Responses


Terminal Fisheries – In the event of an early warning or severe decline, all
terminal fisheries that affect the populations or ESUs of concern would be
reviewed to assess whether existing harvest management provisions
provide protection appropriate for the circumstances. Changes to existing
terminal fishery regulations can be targeted to the populations, MPGs, or
ESUs of concern. NOAA Fisheries can affect these changes through their
ESA authority.

US v. Oregon – An early warning or severe decline may suggest the need


for a harvest response affecting fisheries subject to the U.S v. Oregon
agreement. In that event, NOAA Fisheries will invoke Section I.B.8 of
the agreement that allows any party to seek modification of the agreement
at any time. NOAA Fisheries will use the procedural provisions of the
agreement to seek the consensus necessary to modify the U.S. v. Oregon
agreement. If consensus cannot be reached, NOAA Fisheries may
withdraw from the agreement as a last resort.

Ocean Fisheries – If the early warning or severe decline applies to SR fall


Chinook and NOAA Fisheries determines that a harvest response Is
required, NOAA Fisheries will engage the U.S. v Oregon parties as
described above, take action to reduce harvest in U.S. ocean fisheries, and
seek to negotiate further reductions in Canadian fisheries through
emergency provisions of the PST agreement.

000102
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.5.2009

Action Rapid Response Action:


Hydro Actions

Lead U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Implementing
Agency (others)
Current Activity The BiOp provides a systematic approach to achieving dam passage
Description performance standards at the mainstem dams, with accountability for
• FCRPS BiOp specific survival results. Species response to spill, bypass and transport
activity varies from dam to dam therefore the RPA is structured to apply the most
• Involved effective operation at each dam factoring in species migration timing. To
parties and/or improve fish survival and meet BiOp performance standards and metrics
agreements (e.g. 96% dam survival for spring migrants, etc.), the RPA spill, bypass, and
transport operations at mainstem Snake and Columbia River projects are
adaptively managed annually based on results of biological studies. These
results are discussed and operations modified in collaboration with
sovereign representatives to ensure targets are being met based on the best
available scientific information.

In 2009, spill and transport operations under the adaptive management


provisions of the BiOp were modified to continue spill for two weeks in
May at the Snake River collector projects as a result of an ISAB
recommendation and agreement with RIOG. This was done for one year
despite concern about adverse affects on Snake River steelhead. The adult
return information will be reviewed in fall 2009 to determine future years’
operation based on the best available science.

The RPA also requires the use of Configuration and Operational Plans
(COPS) to describe existing dam configuration and operations, and identify
additional dam improvements needed to achieve the performance standards.
These plans are based on the best available scientific information in
collaboration with sovereign representatives. The COPS include a process
to assess, following installation and testing of planned fish passage features,
whether performance standards are being met. In the event performance
standards are not being met, Phase II contingency actions will be discussed
and implemented as long term contingency actions. Phase II measures may
include, for example, additional surface passage and other juvenile passage
improvements.

000103
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

In addition to the BiOp provisions, the Fish Accords include “no


backsliding” metrics for forebay delay and spill passage efficiency.

Clarification for If a biological trigger is tripped, the Action Agencies and NOAA, in
Rapid Response collaboration with RIOG and appropriate technical groups (hydro
coordination team), will review the current status of the biological research
at the dams and discuss where additional project survival benefits could be
gained in relation to the specific ESU in question. This will include
assessing whether there are potential spill and/or transport operational
adjustments that could be made to address the problem contributing to the
decline or the condition affecting survival, in order to maximize additional
survival benefits.

This discussion will inform the spill and transport operations the Action
Agencies will implement. These rapid response actions could include
actions taken in the short term that may exceed performance standards for a
particular species. (e.g. increase steelhead transport or increase spill at
mainstem dams, if warranted)

The primary difference in this rapid response option is assessing which of


the mainstem dams could increase survival, potentially above the dam
passage performance standard, by making an operational adjustment such
as increasing spill or transport if triggered.

The planned testing of dam passage improvements currently anticipated in


the BiOp will include assessment of the SPE and forebay delay to ensure
“no-backsliding” occurs consistent with the Fish Accords. The assessment
will also consider adult passage, water quality, and other potential
environmental effects. This information will be useful in the event a rapid
response is triggered to ensure an informed quick response operation will
not degrade other environmental conditions. If the new operation has not
been previously tested, the operation being implemented would likely
require a test program to confirm the operation is producing the expected
increased survival.
Estimated Cost Estimated cost will depend on the action and include additional contract
costs (in the case of transport), RM&E (range of costs $x - $xx0, and
forgone energy production ($xx - $xxx).
Implementation Operational changes such as spill and transport could be initiated quickly
considerations and would require discussions with the regional parties on feasible options.
Likely to be some disagreement on which projects would be utilized.
Biological testing should be included following the initiation of increases in

000104
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

spill or changes in transport operations. These actions may divert resources


from other hydro actions.

000105
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.5.2009

Action Rapid Response Action:


Predator Control

Lead Corps, NOAA, BPA,


Implementing
Agency (others)
Current Activity The FCRPS BiOp RPA identified specific actions that will be undertaken
Description with respect to avian, piscivorous fish, and sea lions to reduce the take on
• FCRPS BiOp juvenile and adult listed salmon and steelhead.
activity
• Involved parties Sea lions: On May 18, 2009, NOAA’s Fisheries Service authorized
and/or Washington, Oregon and Idaho to permanently remove a number of
agreements California sea lions that were eating listed salmon and steelhead
congregating below Bonneville Dam before moving to upstream spawning
areas. NOAA allowed the states to target only individual sea lions that
continued to eat salmon after deterrence methods were proven
unsuccessful. During the 2009 salmon run, the states removed 14 sea
lions, with four relocated and 10 euthanized. NOAA estimates their
removals may have reduced salmon and steelhead predation by 420 to
2,840 adult fish.

Piscivorous Fish: Ongoing implementation of enhanced Northern


Pikeminnow Management Program (NPMP) as described in RPA 43 –
general increase in the reward structure in the sport-reward fishery;
evaluation of the effectiveness of focused removals at lower Columbia
FCRPS projects. The current NPMP deploys USDA employees to
conduct dam angling in forebay and tailrace areas at two FCRPS projects.

Avian Predation: Corps, NOAA, USFWS, BPA


The current RPA identifies both on the ground actions as well as RM&E
to reduce the impact of avian predators on listed juvenile salmon and
steelhead (BiOp RPA 45, 46, 47, and 48). Several of the avian predation
actions are underway. The BiOp calls for reducing tern habitat in the
estuary. It is anticipated that by 2010, the creation of new habitat outside
of the Columbia River will be completed that will allow for reduction in
tern habitat in the estuary from 6 acres to 1.5 to 2.0 acres. The result of
this action will reduce terns to approximately 2, 500 to 3,125 breeding
pairs.

000106
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

The BiOp RPA requires additional actions on double-crested cormorants


(RPA 46 and 47). Cormorants numbers have been increasing in recent
years with a corresponding significant take on juvenile salmon and
steelhead. Information is currently being gathered to allow for the
development of alternative actions to reduce cormorant predation both in
the estuary and inland areas. With respect to cormorant take on listed
salmon and steelhead, the BiOp analysis was based on maintaining the
current level of take. Further actions on cormorants will require NEPA
documentation which will identify future potential actions.

The BiOp RPA (RPA 48) requires the Corps to continue to implement and
improve avian deterrent programs at all lower Snake and Columbia River
dams. Gulls and other avian predators feed in the near vicinity of
spillways and juvenile bypass outlets to feed on passing juvenile salmon
and steelhead. For instance in 2009, gull activity increased in the spillway
tailrace at John Day Dam. Several key avian wires had failed allowing for
increased gull predation. Operations were altered during the season to
decrease take on listed salmon. In 2010, improvements in bird wires and
potential for additional hazing are being discussed to improve the
condition.

Avian hazing at McNary and Lower Snake River dam currently occurs
from 1 April through 1 July, eight hours per day at each dam. Activity is
land based using pyrotechnics.

Wire arrays are in place at all dams to reduce avian predation in the
tailrace. They are efficient in reducing avian activity where they are in
place.
Clarification for Sea Lion: No additional actions contemplated for rapid response or long
Rapid Response term contingencies related to pinnipeds.

Piscivorous Fish: Increasing our dam angling effort at more FCRPS


projects would increase overall catch to contribute to overall program
exploitation rate and potentially improve within year dam passage survival
of outmigration juvenile salmon. There is also a small increased benefit of
dam removals relative to the general public fishery because pikeminnow
removed from these areas tend to be larger and therefore more predaceous.
The proposal would increase our dam angling program from one crew to
three crews with the mobility and flexibility to fish all eight mainstem
dams.

Avian: Increase hazing at projects include use of boats, increased hours

000107
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

per day, and by extending the season though July. Lethal measures could
also be employed.

Increase the coverage of wire arrays at dams. This will further limit gull
and tern access to juvenile salmonids that are rolled to the surface or
disorientated below the dams.
Estimated Cost Fish -The current cost of the Dam Angling program component of the
NPMP is $100K/year for a two-dam crew. Two additional crews would
add $200K/year to the overall program. Additional flexibility and
potential efficiency is also possible if the ACOE and BPA merged the
avian hazing and pikeminnow dam angling programs. Cost savings TBD.

Avian - Eight hours additional hazing per day for 3 months at 8 dams
would be $400k.

New extended wire arrays $75K per Snake River project; $300k per
Columbia River project.
Implementation Fish - Increasing our dam angling effort is within current ESA, NEPA and
considerations other compliance regulations. No new authority is needed.

000108
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

FCRPS BiOp Issue Paper


Draft 8.4.2009

Action Rapid Response Action:


Safety Net Hatcheries

Lead Implementing • BPA (for any safety-net programs at F&W Program and LSRCP hatcheries)
Agency • BOR (for any safety-net programs at Leavenworth NFH Complex hatcheries)
• NOAA (for any safety-net programs at other hatchery facilities in the
Columbia Basin)

Current Description Under RPA 41 and 42 of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp, BPA will fund ongoing and
• FCRPS BiOp new safety net and conservation hatchery programs to preserve genetic resources,
activity reduce short-term extinction risk and promote recovery of ESA-listed
• Involved parties populations of Snake River sockeye salmon, Snake River spring/summer
and agreements Chinook salmon, Upper Columbia spring Chinook salmon, Upper Columbia
steelhead, Middle Columbia steelhead, and Columbia River chum salmon. Under
RPA 39, the FCRPS Action Agencies will continue funding FCRPS mitigation
hatcheries in accordance with existing programs and will adopt programmatic
funding criteria for funding decisions.

Involved parties include NOAA, BPA, BOR, COE, USFWS, NPCC, state, tribal,
and federal hatchery operators and project sponsors.

Clarification for Safety Net Hatcheries Approach as a Rapid Response Action


Rapid Response During FY2010, the Action Agencies and NOAA in consultation with the
Regional Implementation Oversight Group will develop Rapid Response
Contingency Plans for each Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU) and Distinct
Population Segment (DPS) of the interior Columbia Basin. These plans will
include mitigation actions that will immediately enhance fish survival and for
which the needed regulatory process is already largely in place. If triggered,
actions will be implemented relatively quickly and provide immediate survival
benefits. Most, if not all contingencies included in the Rapid Response Plans are
intended to be temporary in nature.

Immediate Actions to Prepare for Using Hatcheries as a Safety Net


ƒ Determine whether any additional safety net programs are needed. Because
there may be at most a limited need for expansion of the existing programs.
Hatchery propagation entails risks as well as benefits to listed species, so for
ESUs with numerous populations there are both genetic and ecological
reasons to “spread the risk” by identifying some populations that would
remain free of supplementation under all circumstances.

1 000109
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

ƒ Existing hatchery facilities can provide immediate increases in the egg-to-


smolt survival of listed species (Table 1- Listing of Listed Population and
associated Hatchery Programs according to ESU). Mitigation funds
(Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers) and Mitchell Act monies supports these hatchery
programs. Some programs already culture listed populations as captive
broodstock where fish are retained full-term through all life stages in order to
accelerate increases in effective population size. The artificial propagation of
these populations from the egg stage through smolt stage reduces natural
mortality rate as compared to the natural environment. These programs do
have risks (genetic and ecological) that are regulated and managed through
NOAA approved Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs).
Programs already in place can serve as a part of a short-term contingency
plan.
ƒ NOAA Fisheries, the Action Agencies and the co-managers will develop a
Plan of Action (POA) for using safety net hatcheries as part of the rapid
response plan, to include the following:
1. Identity of the species or population that has reached the “trigger” for use
of a safety net program.
2. Action, location, anticipated production needs and goals, monitoring
plan, funding authority, cost estimate and risk assessment.
3. Approval of the safety-net conservation action by NOAA, state and tribal
authorities.
4. Annual reporting requirements
5. Adaptive management plan
ƒ If necessary, the Rapid Response Plan could call for either (1) the
reactivation of closed hatchery facilities (central and/or satellite) as safety-net
hatcheries and/or (2) retro-fit of existing safety-net hatcheries in order to
supplement and/or enhance fish production capabilities.

Estimated Cost Safety Net Hatcheries Cost Estimate Total


• Planning, Coordination and Analysis: 1-2 FTE from BPA (GS13/$150,000-
$300K) development of the plan and coordination with other AAs, NOAA,
the RIOG, etc.
• A preliminary estimate of additional operation and maintenance (O&M)
costs is $4,000 to $48,000 for each 100K smolt production increment for new
safety net programs. The cost estimates vary depending on the facility chosen
for the safety net program.

Hatchery Operations
HSRG recommendations will be considered as we identify reforms to specific
programs. Ultimately, program-specific reforms will be determined in the context

2 000110
Privileged and Confidential – PREPARED FOR LITIGATION PURPOSES – Do Not Distribute

of NOAA Fisheries' ESA consultation process, described in the BiOp's RPA 39.
That process will be informed by Hatchery and Genetic Management Plans
developed by hatchery program managers.

Hatchery Capital Cost Estimate


• Planning, Coordination and Analysis: 1 FTE from BPA, GS13: $150,000
• Implementation: Additional capital and associated costs were estimated for
improving overall operation of hatcheries that may add new safety net
programs in the future. The estimated ranges of costs for these improvements
are as follows: Major Facilities Improvements (long term): $3 million to $8
million; Facilities Retrofits (near term): $0.6 million to $1.2 million; and
Weirs/Adult Trapping Facilities (long and short term): $28 million to $46
million.

Implementation Political issues:


considerations • Changes from current US v OR production levels at a hatchery to make
room for safety net fish would be a political and legal issue that would have
to be addressed in a manner consistent with the US v. Oregon Agreement.
• Taking a portion of a wild, “hatchery free” population into hatchery culture
may be a political issue with wild fish advocacy groups.

Biological issues:
ƒ Minimizing potential domestication/fitness loss resulting from
hatchery culture of new safety net populations
ƒ Guidelines for safety net culture of new populations, e.g., optimal number of
generations for safety net program and/or a “sunset clause” or “trigger” for
ending program.
ƒ Developing an ESU-wide strategy that balances the conservation benefits of
a safety-net program with conservation benefits of maintaining some
populations free from hatchery effects.
ƒ Reprogramming of National Fish Hatchery System facilities could amount to
a significant policy change that could raise scientific, biological, operational
and legal issues that could make “rapid” response more difficult.

Funding issues:
ƒ Source(s) of funds and funding process for new programs.

Sequencing issues:
ƒ Completion of ESA and NEPA compliance prior to implementation.
ƒ Congressional approval for capital funds prior to any new major
construction

3 000111
Contingency Framework

Adult Triggers

As part of the administration’s review of the FCRPS BiOp, scientists suggested that a refinement
of the BiOp’s adaptive management and contingency planning processes could provide
additional surety that the BiOp is implemented in a precautionary fashion through 2018.
Specifically, the scientists suggested that additional “early warning” triggers be developed that
would be sensitive to 1) unexpected declines in adult abundance and 2) natural disasters or
environmental degradation (either biological or environmental) in combination with preliminary
abundance indicators. They further advised that these triggers be based on simple metrics that are
readily available.

This document describes two triggers – as refinements of the adaptive management and
contingency planning processes – that are responsive to the scientists’ advice, are transparent to
ongoing regional processes, and are not likely to result in a series of “false-positive” events.
The first trigger (Unexpected Severe Declines) relies upon 4-year rolling averages 1 of the
estimated numbers of naturally produced adults at key locations (typically dams where fish can
readily be counted) in the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

The second trigger (Early Warning) is a surrogate for the Unexpected Severe Decline trigger
which considers both recent abundance information (in relation to the Unexpected Severe
Decline triggers) as well as biological or environmental information that strongly suggests that
substantially reduced productivity would be expected to continue for several additional years.
The remainder of this document describes the formulation of these triggers in greater detail.

It is important to remember that triggering the proposed Unexpected Severe Decline or Early
Warning Triggers within the term of the 2008 FCRPS BiOp is not an expected or even likely
outcome. Indeed, under the 2008 BiOp the abundance of the ESUs on average are expected to
increase over time. However, inclusion of these triggers as part of the 2008 BiOp's adaptive
management and contingency implementation processes provides additional assurances that the
2008 BiOp is implemented in a precautionary fashion from the perspective of the ESA-listed
salmon and steelhead species.

                                                            
1
Note: Four succeeding years of declining abundance was considered as a Unexpected Severe Decline trigger, but
was rejected in favor of a four year average abundance trigger based on a review of the available data. A trigger
using four succeeding years of decline, regardless of the magnitude of the decline, is expected to result in many
“false negative” results (i.e., the decline during those four years would not negate the expectation that the longer-
term trend analyzed in the BiOp will remain positive). The detailed evaluation of trends is appropriately considered
at the 2013 and 2016 check-ins to evaluate the BiOp’s assumptions about the recovery prong of the jeopardy
standard, whereas the Unexpected Severe Decline trigger is more indicative of increased extinction risk and extreme
changes in trend should abundances fall to very low levels.


  000112
Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead

The purpose of the Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger is to detect unexpected and severe
declines in the abundance of ESUs 2 so that rapid response actions can be implemented in a
timely fashion to minimize or mitigate for an unforeseen downturn. The metric of exceptionally
low abundance measured over a four-year period was selected as a trigger for rapid responses for
several reasons. First, this metric is relatively easy to measure in a rapid manner and is easily
interpretable. The four-year period corresponds approximately to a generation for most ESUs,
and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recommends examining
population declines over a time period representing one generation. Furthermore, the ICTRT
risk assessments incorporated a quasi extinction threshold expressed in terms of a 4-year sum of
abundance.

Development of the Unexpected Sever Decline Trigger was based on the following steps:

Step 1: Identify available data. The proposed approach uses US v. Oregon Technical Advisory
Committee (TAC) run reconstructions (estimates of naturally produced adult Chinook Salmon 3
and steelhead) based on adult dam counts. Counts at Lower Granite Dam are used for Snake
River ESUs, counts at Priest Rapids or Rock Island dams are used for Upper Columbia River
ESUs and counts at Prosser Dam are used for the Yakima River MPG of Mid-Columbia River
steelhead. 4 The available data varies by ESU within the 1975 to 2008 time frame.
Step 2: Evaluate the historical Abundance Pattern Relied Upon in the BiOp. The proposed
approach uses four-year rolling averages of the TAC data (e.g., the average of the 1997 through
2000 returns make up the 2000 four-year average, 1998 through 2001 returns make up the 2001
four-year average, etc.). Based on the historical period evaluated in the BiOp (approximately
1980 to present), the observed four-year rolling averages were sorted from high to low and
plotted to create exceedence curves (cumulative density functions). These depict the percent of
years in the data set in which the four-year rolling average was greater than a particular
abundance level. See Figure 1 for Chinook salmon ESUs and Figure 2 for steelhead ESUs.

Step 3: Identify Abundance Levels That Were Not Expected in the BiOp. An examination of the
resultant exceedence curves for Chinook salmon (Figure 1) indicate that of the observed four-
year average abundances, about 15-25% are relatively high; about 5-15% are relatively low, and
                                                            
2
ESU-level 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.
3
Chinook “Jacks” are excluded from this data as they are predominantly small males which return to spawn after
spending only a single year in the ocean and generally represent a minor contribution to the viability of a population.
4
Mid Columbia River steelhead populations pass 1-4 mainstem dams and cannot be distinguished at those dams
from other listed species traveling further upstream. Prosser Dam is an adult counting site on the Yakima River that
does provide a census of adults in this MPG. In addition to the Yakima River MPG, it may be possible to develop
MPG level indices for other MPGs in the future.


  000113
the remainder are close to average, showing relatively little variation. The pattern is less clear for
steelhead ESUs, whose distribution is more continuous (Figure 2).

Declines to these levels, given the analysis in the BiOp, would indicate that abundance levels are
lower than expected—triggering actions to improve survival while abundance levels are still high
enough to prevent extinction.

The Action Agencies conducted a prospective analysis of the likelihood that the Snake River
spring/summer Chinook salmon ESU would fall below certain abundance thresholds
representing four year running averages. A Beverton-Holt production function was fit to Lower
Granite Dam natural adult abundances during the 1978-1994 period and then projected forward
24 years. Four thousand simulated trajectories were used in the probability calculation. The
"future" trajectories were initialized with the geometric mean of the time series of spawners from
1994-2003. The results of this analysis indicated that an abundance threshold of 4,500 average
adults would be expected to occur in only about 10% of the years, which is very similar to the
estimate based on the exceedence curves (Figure 1). This analysis confirmed that the simpler
exceedence curve methodology is reasonable for determining the likelihood of reaching
particular abundance levels.

Step 4: Specify the Triggers. Thus, we propose that the 90th percentile (dashed vertical line on
Figures 1 and 2) be used as a “hard” trigger for implementing Rapid Response Actions (see
Contingency Planning and RM&E Document); and the 80th percentile (dotted vertical line on
Figures 1 and 2) be used as a “soft” trigger that would engage closer examination and potential
readying of Rapid Response actions for more rapid implementation if the ESU(s) in question
continue to decline.

The 90th percentile exceedence level was selected as a threshold level because this is a level
below which mean four-year abundances for Chinook salmon dropped rapidly (Figure 1). This
level represents a marked departure from median abundance levels (especially for Chinook
salmon), but is also somewhat above the lowest observed four-year period for both Chinook
salmon and steelhead (the 1990 levels that led to ESA listings). While falling to these levels is a
cause for concern, they are precautionary in that they represent ESU abundance that is at least 3-
4 times higher than the abundance if all populations dropped to the 50 fish quasi-extinction
threshold.

In addition, the Action Agencies conducted a prospective analysis of the likelihood that the
Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon ESU would fall below certain abundance
thresholds representing four year running averages. The estimation was accomplished by fitting
a Beverton-Holt production function to the ESU level data, then projecting forward 24 years.
Four thousand simulated trajectories were used in the probability calculation. The base case
expected fraction was estimated from brood years 1978-1994. The "future" trajectories were
initialized with the geometric mean of the time series of spawners from 1994-2003. The results


  000114
Figure 1. Exceedence Chart of 4‐year Average Adult Returns of 
Naturally Produced Adult Chinook Salmon 
Adult Returns (Avg 4‐year Abundance)

10,000 

1,000 

100 
‐ 0.100  0.200  0.300  0.400  0.500  0.600  0.700  0.800  0.900  1.000 

Proportion of Years Equalled or Exceeded

SR fall Chinook (1978‐2007) SR spr‐sum Chinook (1982‐2008)
UCR Chinook (1982‐2008)

Figure 2. Exceedence Chart of 4‐year Average Adult Returns of 
Naturally Produced Adult Steelhead
Adult Returns (Avg 4‐year Abundance)

10,000 

1,000 

100 
‐ 0.100  0.200  0.300  0.400  0.500  0.600  0.700  0.800  0.900  1.000 

Proportion of Years Equalled or Exceeded

SR Steelhead A‐run (1990‐2008) SR Steelhead B‐run (1990‐2008)

UCR Steelhead (1980‐2007) MCR Steelhead ‐ Yakima R. (1988‐2004)


  000115
of this analysis were very similar to the exceedence curves developed by NOAA Fisheries for
Snake River spring/summer Chinook salmon.

Taken together, use of the 90th percentile as a threshold protects against false negatives while
kicking in well before historic low levels are reached.

As an additional precaution, the 80th percentile will serve as a “soft” trigger requiring closer
examination of the available data and the readying of Rapid Response actions for more rapid
implementation if the ESU(s) in question continue to decline.

Table 1 summarizes the four-year average abundance levels corresponding (closest value or
average of two nearest values rounded to the nearest 25 fish) to the 90th and 80th percentiles in
Figures 1 and 2.

Table 1. Summary of ESU-Specific Unexpected Severe Decline Triggers (Average 4-year


Abundance of Naturally Produced Adults).

Species 90th Percentile Trigger 80th Percentile Trigger

SR fall Chinook 350 400


SR spring/summer Chinook 4,850 7,575
UCR spring Chinook 450 1,125
SR steelhead (A-Run) 6,800 7,825
SR steelhead (B-Run) 1,350 1,850
UCR steelhead 975 1,100
MCR steelhead (Yakima R.) 775 975

Early Warning Trigger for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead

The purpose of the Early Warning Trigger is to detect factors indicating that the Unexpected
Severe Decline ESU 5 abundance levels are 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. It is intended to be a failsafe that could be triggered before the Unexpected
Severe Declines triggers are exceeded. The trigger 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
                                                            
5
ESU-level adult abundance information is the most readily available information at present. Where feasible, future
refinements of the Early Warning trigger could potentially be extended to the Major Population Group (MPG) or the
population level.


  000116
known natural disasters. These indicators may included, 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 outmigrant (environmental indicators), or wide-spread forest fires,
increased distribution and virulence of pathogens, new invasive species, prolonged severe
droughts etc. (natural disasters).

Initial assessments suggest that juvenile monitoring (numbers, sizes, condition, etc.) of interior
Columbia River basin ESUs (or MPGs or a subset of populations) at dams and in tributaries
would likely provide information that could complement the adult monitoring information and
further enhance the Early Warning Trigger in the future. Additional work will be required in
order to inventory the current monitoring program, determine what additional monitoring might
be needed, and assess how best to collect and use this information to inform the Early Warning
Trigger at the ESU, MPG, or population scale.

Implementation of the Early Warning Trigger would involve the following steps:

Step 1: Determine if the most recent two-year average of adult returns is near the threshold
levels used for the Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger (above).

Step 2: Determine if there are any biological or environmental indicators that would suggest that
ESUs are likely to experience low abundance in the next two or more years. This information
could include, as an example, extremely low jack counts (a preliminary biological indicator that
next years returns will be much lower than average) and ocean indicators (both biological and
environmental) that indicate that recent outmigrants are likely experiencing extremely poor
ocean conditions that would be expected to result in substantially reduced numbers of naturally
produced adults in the next two years.

Step 3: Assess whether there have been any "natural disasters" such as wide-scale forest fires,
volcanic eruptions, rapid increases in the distribution or virulence of fish pathogens, or mud-
slides that would be likely to substantially reduce the productivity of freshwater habitat or
severely limit the ability of adults or juveniles to migrate to or from this habitat. Responses to
impacts affecting a specific MPG or subset of populations would be tailored to the appropriate
scale.

After evaluating each of the factors in steps 1-3, a determination would need to be made as to
whether or not there is a reasonable likelihood that future adult returns would fall to levels
triggering the Unexpected Severe Decline Trigger (see above) or the existing BA/BiOp trigger. If
the determination is affirmative, then the Rapid Response Actions would be implemented.

Development of Future Juvenile Triggers

Purpose: Establish a juvenile monitoring program for Interior Columbia basin ESUs that
provides for early warning of regional or population specific changes in juvenile production or


  000117
survival. The program would be designed to complement adult monitoring, providing an early
opportunity to detect substantial changes in productivity (measured as abundance or survival) at
the ESU, major population group or population level. In addition to abundance based metrics,
the program would monitor changes in parr/smolt size or timing that might translate into changes
in cumulative life cycle survival or productivity.

Juvenile out-migrant metrics would complement adult based measures and should provide an
early opportunity to detect patterns or trends than adult based approaches that might otherwise be
masked by the relatively high year to year variation in ocean survival rates typical of salmon
runs. The primary objectives for an juvenile monitoring program would be to:

• Enable detection of within ESU (specific to particular MPGs, populations, major life
history groupings) sudden downturns in natural production levels.
• Complement environmental measures, jack return metrics etc. to detect sudden
downturns in abundance at the ESU/MPG level.
• Detect changes in size, timing other condition factors that could be early warning signs of
regional environmental impacts (e.g., local or subregional climate change impacts, etc.)

The approach would incorporate at least three types of juvenile monitoring efforts. At the ESU
or major population group level, the monitoring framework would incorporate estimates of
aggregate juvenile abundance or productivity generated through updated sampling programs
targeting the aggregate wild run from an ESU or MPG (e.g., Lower Granite Dam smolt
sampling, Rock Island Dam juvenile sampling, Prosser Dam outmigrant monitoring in the lower
Yakima River. Sampling programs designed to estimate juvenile production from a specific
tributary would also be included (e.g., Grande Ronde River sampling programs, Yanke et al,
2007). A third major program component would include out-migrant marking/downstream
monitoring designed to collect information on the timing/size of migration from a given reach
(e.g., Achord, et al. 2007). The tributary production and out-migrant evaluation programs
generate information on the size and timing of annual outmigrants. The size individuals attain
during the juvenile life stage has direct consequences for fitness through size-selective mortality
in later life stages (e.g., Zabel and Williams 2002) and enhanced reproductive success of larger
individuals (Kingsolver & Huey 2008). Further, migration timing is related to growth, with
larger individuals within a population out-migrating earlier than smaller ones (Achord et al.
2007). Thus, juvenile fish size is an indicator of habitat quality, particularly for higher elevation,
lower nutrient streams found in the interior Columbia River basin. Deviation from long-term
average fish size is potentially an indicator of deterioration in conditions related to juvenile fish
growth.

Monitoring fish size at a specific time in the season can provide several benefits:
1) A general indication of the fish and habitat status.
2) An early indication if habitat conditions have changed for the worse and further actions
are required.
3) An indication of whether habitat actions are effective.


  000118
Each population has different growth patterns, and thus annual measures of fish size should be
compared to long-term patterns for the population.

Annual results from a structured juvenile monitoring program would serve as inputs into early
warning assessments. Life cycle assessment tools would incorporate results from annual
juvenile modeling along with environmental indices and recent adult return data to generate
probability based projections of near term risks (see Life Cycle Modeling attachment). A second
general application would be to detect or confirm changes in production among populations
within ESUs. For example, patterns in smolt per spawner or population size characteristics could
indicate impacts of changing climate conditions or the effects of local changes in habitat
conditions, etc.

Implementation

As a first step, ongoing juvenile monitoring efforts will be inventoried and evaluated as potential
contributors to the annual juvenile trigger program. Some of these metrics have been employed
for past evaluations or could be implemented with information from ongoing studies. Those
metrics would be verified and updated for application beginning with the 2010 out-migration.

This step would also include defining explicit technical guidelines for metrics and triggers
considering each of the categories of juvenile monitoring listed above. The trigger guidelines for
juvenile monitoring would include an evaluation of alternative criteria applicable to each
category. For example, annual indices of total natural origin smolt production from a given
region that are generated from an effort with a relatively long historical series might incorporate
a trigger based on a statistical analysis of the time series or on stochastic modeling. The same
general approach could also be used to define specific criteria based on the size distribution of
migrants or on timing metrics. Smolt per spawner metrics could be evaluated against minimums
based on past performance or estimates generated by stochastic population modeling.

The inventory of current juvenile monitoring activities would also be a starting point for
identifying opportunities for expanding on the initial set to ensure appropriate coverage at least at
the major population group level across each ESU in the Columbia River basin. The review
would be used to identify additional monitoring sites or metrics for implementation, specifically
identifying opportunities that could begin to generate information prior to 2013
status/implementation check-in called for in the FCRPS Biological Opinion. Selecting and
implementing additional monitoring actions for the program could be carried out in conjunction
with the ongoing process to develop annual population level fish-in fish-out monitoring
(described in accompanying attachment Fish In/Fish Out monitoring support to BiOp
contingency planning). The guidelines for early warning trigger metrics and criteria will inform
the design and selection of additional monitoring actions through that effort.


  000119