Response for project 200203700: Freshwater Mussels In River

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The proposed budget is identical to the budgets for FY2004 and FY2005. Freezing the budgets in FY2003, FY2005 and FY2006 has and does not allow for increases in the cost of living and other wage increases, rising utility and fuel and other materials costs, and associated administrative costs let alone project costs that were unforseen when proposals were last submitted in 2002. We have absorbed these cost increases for the last 4 years. It will become more difficult if not impossible to implement the project properly without concurrent funding increases. To cover these additional costs, CTUIR requests that the project budget be increased by 10% from $237,000 to $260,700. This project represents a long-term core component of the F&W Program and proposed '06 increases represent a ramp up towards increased '07 costs that the NPCC must recognize as necessary to maintain past investments in this "base program".

Accomplishments since the last review

# of people reached in each of 3 classes (T/S/G): Teachers, Students, General publicHeld Freshwater Mussel Technical Symposium in which over 75 teachers, students, members of the general public (including federal, state, local government workers, and academics).

2003 – 1) Conducted inventory of freshwater mussels of the Umatilla, Middle Fork and North Fork John Day rivers. 2) Examined habitat variables that could influence mussel distribution in these systems. 3) Began intial assessment in the degree and pattern of population-level genetic structuring within and between the Umatilla and Middle Fork John Day rivers. 4) Obtained preliminary host fish data. 2004 – 1) Quantitatively assessed mussel densities and macro- and microhabitat variables in selective mussel beds in the Umatilla and Middle Fork John Day rivers. 2) Assessed large-scale geomorphic change over time in structuring mussels distribution. 3) Determined the historical distribution of freshwater mussels in the Umatilla, Middle and North Fork John Day rivers. 2005 – 1) Began studies to quantitatively assess the age distribution of freshwater mussels in the Umatilla and Middle Fork John Day rivers to obtain information on the history of survival, reproduction, and potential for future growth. 2) Continued study to assess the patterns of genetic diversity and divergence in freshwater mussels in mid-Columbia watersheds. 3) Undertook study to determine the periods of gravidity for M. falcata, A. oregonensis, and G. angulata from the John Day River system. 4) Began laboratory experiments to determine the host fish requirements for all three freshwater mussel species found in the Umatilla and John Day River drainages.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

1) Develop a recovery plan for freshwater mussels in the Umatilla River. 2) Expand study to assess the patterns of genetic diversity and divergence of freshwater mussels in the Columbia River Basin. 3) Conduct inventory of freshwater mussels in other rivers of interest to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation including those in the Walla Walla watershed.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

This project is consistent with and implements Aquatic Assessment 1.2.8 of taxa of interest (p. 1-13-14), Focal Species Characterization and Status (3.2)of Species Designated as Threatened, Endangered or Sensitive (3.2.1.1, pgs 3-68-74), Species Recognized as Rare or Significant to the Local Area (3.2.1.2, pgs. 3-76-77)Designated as Threatened, Endangered or Sensitive (3.2.1.1, pgs 3-68-74), Species Designated by Columbia Plateau Tribes as Having Cultural or Religious Values (3.2.1.4, pgs. 3-85-86), Focal Species Population Data, Life History, and Distribution (3.2.3.2, pgs. 3-140-142). These elements relate to Aquatic Management Plan (Section 1.4.1, pgs 1-25-7))as follows: 1) Population and Environmental Status: Monitor the status and trends of freshwater mussels in the Umatilla basin. 2) Natural Production: Maintain and enhance natural production, productivity, abundance, throughout the Umatilla Basin by understanding life history requirements. 3) Collaboration and Communication: Maximize effectiveness of Umatilla Subbasin RM&E projects with collaborative study planning and implementation, synthesis of results, and results dissemination

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The project accomplishes priority work under the subbasin plan as freshwater mussels are listed as a taxa of interest under the Aquatic Assessement of Focal Species and Rationale (Section 1.2.8, pages 1-13 – 1-18) because of their cultural and ecological importance in the subbasin. Our accomplishments between 2003-2005, and our goals for 2006 are consistent with the subbasin priorities as we continue to monitor the status and trends of mussel populations and obtain vital information on the production, productivity, abundance and life history and genetics of these organisms.

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