In an effort to demonstrate and reaffirm the importance of Pacific Lamprey to the ecological needs of the Basin and to respect the importance to the Tribal sovereigns, the Council recognized, and supported the TPLRP and Agreement in the 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program. This was also confirmed by the need to integrate and take the necessary steps to implement additional lamprey measures into the Program (i.e., Emerging Priorities).
Based on collaboration, regional support, the status of the Agreement and the TPLRP, and the critical need to provide additional support for Pacific Lamprey in the Columbia River Basin, the Council and Bonneville approached the Agreement Conservation Team with an opportunity to develop a proposal to implement high priority lamprey restoration actions in the Columbia River basin.
On October 26, 2017 the Council and Bonneville received a submittal from USFWS for Proposal #2017-005-00, Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative Columbia River Basin Projects. The overarching goal of the proposal is to support the intent of the cooperative effort among agencies and tribes to achieve long-term persistence of Pacific Lamprey and support traditional tribal cultural use over the U.S. range by funding on--the--ground implementation of restoration actions that contribute to this effort. The purpose of the proposal is to facilitate funding for high priority lamprey restoration actions that are currently unfunded or partially funded in the Columbia River Basin. This process will work in parallel with other programs that are currently and will continue to fund lamprey restoration projects. In essence, this proposal is an umbrella type project for Pacific Lamprey in the Basin. That is, the Agreement Conservation Team will utilize identified priority projects from the annually updated Regional Implementation Plans (RIP) from Regional Management Units (RMU) within the Columbia and Snake River basins (i.e., Lower Columbia/Willamette, Mid-Columbia, Snake and Upper Columbia).
On October 27, 2017 the proposal was submitted to the ISRP and on November 28, 2017 the ISRP provided its review (ISRP document 2017-13) – due to the umbrella intent of the proposal the emphasis of the review focused on the operating guidelines and selection criteria that guide the implementation of the priority lamprey actions. The ISRP found the proposal “Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)”. The three qualifications raised by the ISRP are intended to generally strengthen the proposal as it is implemented. In addition, the ISRP requested that it be allowed to review projects that contain research and assessment elements. Following is a brief outline of the three qualifications.
- The initiative to develop and implement studies to further elucidate regional population structure and the spatial scale of adaptations in the lamprey populations they seek to restore or enhance.
- Request for additional clarity regarding the Strategic Habitat Conservation (SHC) approach, described in the Adaptive Management section of the proposal, could be applied to individual Regional Management Unit (RMU) projects.
- The sponsors should strengthen processes to reduce conflicts of interest and ensure the scientific objectivity of the Conservation Team during the proposal review process.
On March 14, 2018 the Council approved Project #2017-005-00, Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative Columbia River Basin Projects for implementation. The specific language of the recommendation is as follows.
The Council recommend Bonneville Implement Project proposal #2017-005-00, Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative Columbia River Basin Projects, conditioned on the following.
- funding at a level not to exceed $248,204 for Fiscal Year 2018;
- the project demonstrates benefit and value added through a performance review associated with the end of this first-year contract in November 2018; and
- further implementation in Fiscal Year 2019 will be based on the performance review and the availability of funds.