ISRP Review Procedures

The ISRP is a standing group that conducts reviews throughout the year. The ISRP evaluates projects with the basic criteria from the 1996 amendment of the Northwest Power Act, which are that the project 1) is based on sound scientific principles; 2) benefits fish and wildlife; 3) has clearly defined objectives and outcomes; and 4) has provisions for monitoring and evaluation of results. Recommendations from the ISRP are reached by consensus. The ISRP may enlist Peer Review Group members to assist in reviews. From the pool of Peer Review Group members, the ISRP selects reviewers who have the appropriate expertise for the review at issue. The ISRP develops guidelines for reviews that describe lists of materials needed, site-visit protocols, and limits to reviewer and project sponsor communication.

ISAB Administrative Oversight Panel

The oversight panel consists of the chair of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the regional administrator of NOAA Fisheries, and the director of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center as joint participants; a senior representative of the Columbia River Basin Indian tribes provides administrative oversight for the ISAB and approves the annual work plan and budget. The panel makes appointments to the ISAB from a list of nominees developed by the National Academy of the Sciences. Final selection of ISAB members is made by majority vote of the three members of the Administrative Oversight Panel.

ISAB Review Procedures

The ISAB is a standing group that meets regularly throughout the year. ISAB recommendations are reached by consensus. The ISAB may enlist ad-hoc members to assist in reviews. Ad-hoc members may include ISRP and Peer Review Group members. The ISAB conducts reviews in a manner consistent with its terms of reference and procedures policy.

The ISAB’s general tasks for the Council, NOAA Fisheries, and tribes are described in the ISAB Terms of Reference. In addition to these tasks, the ISAB provides scientific advice on topics and questions requested from the region or the ISAB itself and approved by the Oversight Panel by majority vote. Fish and wildlife agencies and others may submit questions to the ISAB through the Oversight Panel. The ISAB may also identify questions and propose reviews. The Oversight Panel, in consultation with the ISAB, reviews these questions in a timely manner and decides which are amenable to scientific analysis, are relevant to the Tribes’, Council’s, and NOAAFisheries’ programs, and fit within the ISAB’s work plan. Many questions pertaining to the recovery of the Columbia River ecosystem contain both scientific and policy aspects. The ISAB should confine itself to dealing only with scientific aspects of issues.

ISAB and ISRP Membership

The ISRP and the ISAB shall each be composed of 11 members. Peer Review Groups shall be composed of a pool of scientists sufficient in size and expertise to assist the ISRP in its review responsibilities. To ensure coordination and avoid redundancy of efforts between the ISRP and the ISAB, at least two members of the ISRP shall be on the ISAB. Other ISAB members should be considered for appointment to the Peer Review Groups.

Membership shall include, to the extent feasible, scientists with expertise in Columbia River anadromous and resident fish ecology, statistics, wildlife ecology, ocean and estuary ecology, fish husbandry, genetics, geomorphology, social and economic sciences, and other relevant disciplines. There should be a balance between scientists with specific knowledge of the institutions, history, geography, and key scientific issues of the Columbia River Basin and those with more broad and diverse experience. Members should have a strong record of scientific accomplishment, high standards of scientific integrity, the ability to forge creative solutions to complex problems, and a demonstrated ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary setting.

ISRP and ISAB membership terms are normally for three years, not to exceed two terms. Term limits of the members are staggered to ensure continuity of effort. Peer Review Group members do not have specific terms, but the ISRP and the Council will periodically review the pool of Peer Review Group members and update it when appropriate.

Appointment procedures

The appointment procedures to fill vacancies on the ISAB and the ISRP, and to augment the pool of Peer Review Group members, follow three steps. The first two steps are the same for each group. First, the Council, in cooperation with the ISAB Administrative Oversight Panel, invites the region to submit nominations. Second, the National Academy of Sciences, assisted by the National Research Council, evaluates the credentials of the nominees, submits additional nominees if necessary, and recommends a pool of qualified candidates for potential appointment. This pool of candidates should span the areas of needed expertise and meet the membership criteria for the ISRP and ISAB. The pool should be robust enough to last through several rounds of appointments. The third step, the appointment procedure, varies for the ISAB and ISRP. The ISAB Oversight Panel appoints ISAB members. The Council alone appoints ISRP and Peer Review Group members.

Conflict of interest

ISAB, ISRP, and Scientific Peer Review Group members are subject to the conflict of interest standards that apply to scientists performing comparable work for the National Academy of Sciences. At a minimum, members with direct or indirect financial interest in a project shall be recused from review of, or recommendations associated with such a project. The Council has approved a conflict of interest policy that satisfies the needs of the program, applies to the ISRP and the ISAB, and is based on the National Academy of Science’s standards.