We desire renewal of our project for Fiscal Year 2006. The budget meets our expectation and will cover our proposed work.
Our study has four major objectives. The objectives and associated accomplishments achieved during FY2002 through FY2004 are listed below: 1. Describe the genetic structure of bull trout populations. • Published the following scientific article: Spruell, P, A.R. Hemmingsen, P.J. Howell, N. Kanda, and F.W. Allendorf. 2003. Conservation genetics of bull trout: geographic distribution of variation at microsatellite loci. Conservation Genetics 4: 17-29. • Collected additional genetic samples (245 from John day populations and 258 from Grande Ronde populations) for fine scale population analysis. • Awarded subcontract to the Wild Trout and Salmon Genetics Laboratory at the University of Montana to characterize the fine-scale population structuring of bull trout within the John Day River and Grande Ronde River subbasins. 2. Determine the life history and migratory patterns of bull trout in Oregon tributaries of the Columbia Basin. • Radio-tagged 15 adult bull trout in the Umatilla Rver Basin and tracked their distribution for 15 months. Found no use of Lower Umatilla River. • Developed comprehensive relational database of all radio telemetry to compare migratory patterns among bull trout populations. • Continuing PIT tagging bull trout in the Mill Creek watershed. Developed relational database to perform analysis of life histories. 3. Develop reliable methods to measure the abundance of bull trout. • Ran adult trap in Mill Creek and conducted redd census during each year to determine relationship between redd counts and spawner abundance. Developed relationship which showed 1.34 redds/female. 4. Evaluate sampling programs that could be used to monitor the population status of bull trout. • Developed pilot program to evaluate use of EMAP statistical design to estimate bull trout redd abundance and distribution the the Columbia Plateau Province. • Implemented pilot EMAP program in FY2002-FY2004. Ninety-six to 149 sites were surveyed each year to obtain estimates. Additionally, the Walla Walla-Umatilla subbasins were censused for bull trout redds to assess the accuracy of the EMAP approach. • Results were analyzed to assess the precision and accuracy of the EMAP sampling design.
1. Estimate the abundance of migratory and resident adult bull trout in Mill Creek, a tributary to the Walla Walla River, and compare this abundance to counts of redds. • Relationship between redd counts and adult abundance for fluvial and resident bull trout. 2. Determine the seasonal movements of fluvial bull trout of the Lostine River. • Temperature selection of adult fluvial bulltrout in the Wallowa-Lostine watershed. 3. Determine the seasonal movements of sub-adult and adult fluvial bull trout in Mill Creek, a tributary to the Walla Walla River. • Relationship between migratory patterns and life history of fluvival bull trout in the Mill Creek watershed. 4. Determine the spatial distribution of bull trout redds in the John Day Basin and evaluate various statistical sampling designs. • Evaluation of various statistical sampling design to estimate the distribution and abundance of bull trout redds in the John Day subbasin. 5. Analyze and synthesize results of this project. Communicate findings in scientific journal publications or summary reports. • Summary reports or scientific journal publications covering the following study aspects: o Temperature selection of adult fluvival bull trout in the Lostine river. o Comparison of migratory patterns of fluvival bull trout populations in selected Oregon river basins o Life History of bull trout in the Mill Creek Watershed (Walla Walla subbsain). o Evaluation of monitoring bull trout abundance through redd surveys. o Fine-scale population structuring of bull trout within the John Day River and Grande Ronde River subbasins.
Our project and specifically work planned for 2006 integrates a number of recommendations and priorities from the Grande Ronde, Walla Walla, Umatilla, John Day, and Deschutes subbasins, where our study sites are located. We have organized these according to our project objectives. Because of considerable overlap we have combined them in this section and the priorities section. Objective: Characterize the fine-scale genetic population structuring of bull trout within the Grande Ronde and John Day subbasins. “Ongoing research and monitoring is required to 1) understand the genetic structure of local populations, quantify spawning site fidelity, and straying rates;…” GRSP sup.-44 “The nature and intensity of metapopulation interactions should inform management decisions and restoration strategies. Similarities and differences between populations should be determined and the rate of movement between populations monitored” John Day SP-319 Objective: determine appropriate methods to assess population abundance by estimating the number of migratory bull trout that move upstream to spawn, the number of redds produced, and the total number of mature bull trout in Mill Cr. (Walla Walla subbasin). “The USFWS (2002) acknowledge that additional bull trout life history information is needed to establish bull trout abundance, growth rate and productivity… in the Walla Walla recovery unit.” Wall Walla SP AD4-12 Objective: Determine the seasonal movements of sub-adult and adult fluvial bull trout in Mill Creek, a tributary to the Walla Walla River On Mill Creek, there must be effective up- and down-stream passage at the Bennington Diversion Dam, and either Yellowhawk Creek or lower Mill Creek must be restored to provide a functional, two-way movement corridor between Mill Creek and the Walla Walla River. Walla Walla SP-14 The project objective will help establish current bull trout movement above and below Bennington Dam to Yelllowhawk Creek and lower Mill Creek.
Our project and specifically work planned for 2006 integrates a number of recommendations and priorities from the Grande Ronde, Walla Walla, Umatilla, John Day, and Deschutes subbasins, where our study sites are located. We have organized these according to our project objectives. Because of considerable overlap we have combined them in this section and the priorities section. Objective: Determine the seasonal movements of fluvial bull trout of the Lostine River and relationships to water temperatures and flow diversions. “Ongoing research and monitoring is required to… 3) improve the understanding of (bull trout) distribution and movement…” Grande Ronde SP sup.-44 “Identify flow deficient stream reaches caused by irrigation withdrawals” “improving in-stream flows to improve water temperatures for bull trout.” GR SP sup.-46,48 The Lostine bull trout population was selected for this objective because of management concerns about water temperatures and diversions in the lower Lostine and Walllowa rivers and their potential effects on bull trout movement and distribution. Objective: Employ an EMAP probabilistic sampling design to characterize the status, trends, and distribution of adult bull trout populations in the Columbia Plateau Province. “Incorporate GRTS/EMAP and GIS-based sampling framework.” John Day SP-321 “The ability to accurately assess bull trout population status, trend, and distribution is central to conservation efforts for the species, however. A coordinated approach to conduct such assessment is needed, but currently, monitoring activities to assess population status, trends and distribution are not part of any overall framework.” Walla Walla SP-33 Our project objective is specifically to evaluate the use of the EMAP sampling design as a possible bull trout population monitoring framework.
Although bull trout are a focal species in plans for all of the subbasins where our project occurs, there is substantial inconsistency and incompleteness in how they are addressed (e.g., omission of EDT or QHA bull trout modeling and draft bull trout recovery plan recommendations). Discussed below are relevant recovery plan recommendations applicable to the region, including the Columbia Basin. Characterize and conserve genetic diversity and gene flow among local populations of bull trout Ch 1-66 Project Objective: Characterize the fine-scale genetic population structuring of bull trout within the Grande Ronde and John Day subbasins. Establish a Recovery Monitoring and Evaluation Group to direct future monitoring efforts and maximize the application of information from current studies to recovery. Ch 1-66 The RMEG was established by USFWS and includes project staff and collaborators. Consequently, project results (e.g., EMAP and Mill Cr. abundance work) are being directly incorporated into proposed designs for recovery monitoring. Evaluate temperature as a limiting factor to adult migration Ch 1-68 Our continuing work on bull trout movement, spawning, and temperatures represent the first results throughout the species’ range of direct relationships between adult migratory bull trout and water temperatures.