198605000 - White Sturgeon Mitigation and Restoration in the Columbia and Snake Rivers Upstream from Bonneville Dam

Sponsor: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW)

Budgets: FY07: $1,613,363 | FY08: $1,591,637 | FY09: $1,613,212

Short description: Restore and mitigate for hydrosystem-caused loss of white sturgeon productivity through intensive fisheries management, supplementation, and modified hydropower system operation. Assess success of mitigation and restoration efforts.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $1,205,000 | FY08: $1,225,000 | FY09: $1,225,000

Comment: Reduce the work elements to priority elements.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable

Comment:

This is an excellent proposal from a group with good record of producing high quality technical reports and peer reviewed publications. The project is a key component in sturgeon stock assessment and management in the river above Bonneville. It appears to be worthy of high priority consideration. The rationale for the work is well established, although the narrative is not very specific. The proposal adequately relates its work to the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program (2003 Mainstem Amendments), NOAA Biological Opinion, subbasin plans, and sturgeon plans. The proposal provides an excellent history. A considerable amount of high quality research has been completed, and many technical reports and peer-reviewed publications have been produced. Although fundable in its own right and not requiring a response, the project may benefit from a few ISRP comments. As more knowledge about white sturgeon is obtained, and technical skill and technologies evolve, is the project still collecting the best information? Based on data generated to date, some of the stock assessment methods could be reviewed for possible improvements (e.g., obtaining sex-specific data). Are the pragmatic management strategies in this proposal keeping pace with the developing science of habitat requirements of the species? As other white sturgeon projects in the basin focus on obtaining data related to clarifying and resolving a “survival bottleneck” in the phase of early life history from egg incubation to early juveniles, does this project have relevant field information to share or study opportunities? What opportunities are there for collaborative research between this project’s field crews and other sturgeon investigators? The project personnel have a history of innovative thinking and research that might be reactivated in light of recent developments in white sturgeon research elsewhere in the basin.

State/province recommendation: MS: Core Program

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $1,431,916 | FY08: $1,431,916 | FY09: $1,431,916

Comment: A large portion of the project should be considered on-the-ground (trap and haul juvenile sturgeon above the lower dams). This project is also the primary monitoring project for sturgeon on the lower river.