Reviews, narrative and other documents for proposal
199107300: Idaho Natural Production Monitoring
(View full proposal and assessments at cbfish.org
ISRP final recommendation: Meets Scientific criteria? Response requested
A revised narrative and the response addressed issues raised by the ISRP.
The scope of the project has been modified to accomplish the basinwide strategy for monitoring as formulated in the fall 2009 RM&E workshop. Methods of assessing population viability are specified including increased surveys and sampling of Chinook salmon. Steelhead surveys are transferred to Idaho Steelhead Monitoring and Evaluation Studies (project 199005500).
The genetic component will be performed by the new genetic stock identification project at Lower Granite Dam (project 201002600), as recommended in an earlier ISRP review. INPMEP will coordinate summarization and reporting of redd count and carcass survey data, which supports the strategy for extensive monitoring of Chinook.
With regard to precision of estimates of abundance, the investigators indicate their familiarity with published standards for recovery monitoring and indicate that they “will use standardized protocols to minimize sampling variance and will measure and report the variance of ...estimates.” The ISRP concern over the use of coefficients of variation is addressed in a recommendation for programmatic change (Section III. C).
They explain that their proposed objective, to “locate areas of high STHD fry density” was found to be impractical, that “Sampling crews cannot conduct fry collections using electrofishing gear in conjunction with snorkel surveys due to time and weight constraints. Sample methods and the study design for fry counts are incompatible with snorkel surveys.”
They explain more fully how they would “achieve a mechanistic understanding of population dynamics.” through “annually enumerating or describing individuals within the life stages” citing examples from earlier work.
from Apr 2010 ISRP 2010-10 report
Narrative and other documents
ISRP preliminary recommendation: Meets scientific criteria? Response requested
A response is needed in the form of a revised narrative. It is not clear to the ISRP how INPMEP has been modified to accomplish the basinwide strategy for monitoring. Please make clear to the ISRP how INPMEP has been modified to meet the strategy formulated in the fall 09 RM&E workshop. In particular clarify how populations will be selected for high-precision (fish-in/fish/out) monitoring and summarize the populations in the MPGs that have high precision data. Explain the relevant pros and cons of transferring the snorkel survey monitoring to ISMES.
The ISRP notes that CV (coefficient of variation) is not usually associated with precision of data, but with the variation associated with a state of nature. That is, salmon abundance across years has a CV, fall steelhead parr length has a CV. These are descriptions of the state of variation. They are not appropriate to determine confidence intervals. Crawford and Rumsey (2009) reference Carlile et al. (2008), which makes recommendations for coefficients of variation for estimates of total spawning escapement. The reference is to standard error of the estimate, not to variation in the population. More importantly, the statistical and biological basis for the recommendation in Carlile et al. (2008) has not been reviewed. The justification that the standard represents a realistic goal for planning because it corresponds to an acceptable risk (one year of one stock in six) of failing to label a stock of concern when warranted appears to be arbitrary. The observation that the standard has proven to be attainable for many escapement estimation studies does not mean that this is the appropriate data standard. Further justification for sample size targets is required.
1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships
Until now, the project has been intended to monitor and evaluate the status and trends of wild Chinook spring/summer salmon and summer steelhead populations in Idaho. According to the proposal, the Idaho Natural Production Monitoring and Evaluation Project (INPMEP) was designed to "provide information to managers and to regional decision-making processes. The Snake River stocks of steelhead and spring/summer Chinook salmon still have significant natural reproduction and thus are the focal species for this project’s investigations. The overall project goal is to monitor the abundance, productivity, distribution, and stock-specific life history characteristics in order to assess and annually report the status of naturally-produced steelhead trout and Chinook salmon populations in Idaho." Project goals are clear and well-justified in the context of the BiOp, the pertinent subbasin plans, and other enabling agreements. A number of significant changes to the project are proposed in the current document that would modify the project's scope. Relationships with other projects are complex and are clearly presented in the proposal.
2. Project History and Results
The proposal describes project history in a helpful manner. It discusses how the snorkel survey program has undergone several changes and now will be transferred to another project. A discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the transfer would be helpful. The ISRP commends the investigators for publishing their results in the open literature.
One task was not accomplished: "Sub-objective 3.2: Locate areas of high STHD fry density. This task was not completed due to logistical reasons." It would help the ISRP to understand the logistical problems.
3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods
Changes proposed for the project include that the genetic component will be performed by the new genetic stock identification project at Lower Granite Dam (project 201002600), as recommended in an earlier ISRP review. Another proposed change is to “narrow the scope of INPMEP to focus on spring/summer Chinook and transfer steelhead monitoring elements to ISMES. Beginning in 2010, INPMEP will coordinate summarization and reporting of redd count and carcass survey data, which supports the strategy for extensive monitoring of Chinook. For extensive steelhead monitoring, the recommended option is genetic stock identification at Lower Granite Dam. However, the technique would take at least five years to develop the first productivity data point. IDFG recommends that snorkel surveys continue as another extensive monitoring technique for steelhead. We further recommend transferring this element to Idaho Steelhead Monitoring and Evaluation Studies (project 199005500)." They elaborate that because these projects also use the experimental design, INPMEP provides similar data from other watersheds that complements and extends the spatial coverage of data from these projects. Because data from snorkel surveys are most important for steelhead monitoring, investigators recommend transferring this element to Idaho Steelhead Monitoring and Evaluation Studies (project 199005500). The ISRP does not oppose this change but would like to see a more detailed discussion of the relevant pros and cons.
The proposal states "By understanding the transitions between stages and associated controlling factors, we hope to achieve a mechanistic understanding of population dynamics." The ISRP would be helped by a fuller explanation.
The project provides for annual VSP (abundance and productivity) monitoring and less frequent spatial structure monitoring based on spawning ground surveys and surrogates for them. Although a response is needed, the proposal employs competent methods, adequate metrics, and qualified people.
from Feb 2010 ISRP 2010-7 report