Request for Information About White Sturgeon

The Council, in coordination with Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville) is requesting information from white sturgeon managers and scientists on ready-to-implement Columbia and Snake River White Sturgeon assessments. We are inviting responses regarding ready-to-implement Columbia and Snake River White Sturgeon assessments pertaining to one or more of the following topics: population status, spawning success, spawning habitat use or susceptibility to predation.

The Council is working with Bonneville to scope activities and make funds available during fiscal years 2017-2018 to implement projects to address emerging priorities from the Council’s 2014 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program. Approximately $300,000 per fiscal year is currently available for these activities. Funding amounts could change depending on the availability of funds and the needs of other emerging priorities. Proponents are encouraged to suggest work that could be accomplished in preferably one to two fiscal years.

Follow the instructions below, and respond by February 28, 2017. Please forward to others who might be interested. Thanks.

General Overview

Goal: Identify ready-to-implement Columbia and Snake River White Sturgeon assessments pertaining to one or more of the following topics: population status, spawning success, spawning habitat use or susceptibility to predation.

Background: Council is working with Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville) to scope activities and make funds available during fiscal years 2017-2018 to implement projects to address emerging priorities from the Council’s 2014 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program. With this RFI the Council, in coordination with Bonneville, invites responses related to ready-to-implement Columbia and Snake River White Sturgeon assessments pertaining to one or more of the following topics: population status, spawning success, spawning habitat use or susceptibility to predation. Approximately $300,000 per fiscal year is currently available for these activities. Funding amounts could change depending on the availability of funds and the needs of other emerging priorities. Proponents are encouraged to suggest work that could be accomplished in one to two fiscal years.

The Council’s 2014 fish and wildlife program (program) strategy for sturgeon calls, in part, for the region to “Implement actions that result in increased abundance and survival for Columbia River Basin green and white sturgeon… monitoring populations, and research to improve understanding of how the development and operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System affect survival and growth of sturgeon.”

The program provides the following rationale: “Columbia River Basin sturgeon distribution, abundance, and productivity are severely limited by habitat changes, particularly those associated with hydropower system construction and operation. Large areas of suitable sturgeon habitat remain throughout most of the historical range upstream from Bonneville Dam but use is currently limited by widespread passage limitations and natural recruitment problems that are the direct or indirect result of the development and operation of the Columbia River hydrosystem.”

“Food web issues, water quality (sedimentation, flow, temperature, and toxic contaminants), adequate prey for juveniles, and predators (sea lions) may have impacts on sturgeon. It is not fully understood how other factors exacerbated by the hydrosystem affect sturgeon. Research and monitoring will be key to determine impacts, population status, and mitigation actions necessary to rebuild sturgeon to sustainable numbers throughout the basin.”

“The Council recognizes and supports implementation efforts to restore, research and monitor white sturgeon populations in the basin consistent with the 2013 White Sturgeon Planning Framework and the Kootenai White Sturgeon Biological Opinion.

Purpose: Address Council and Bonneville’s purposes in two ways: 1) identify opportunities to consider use of cost savings funds, to quickly support additional implementation activities within the scope of existing sturgeon projects, and 2) provide information to support possible development of a focused Request For Proposals to explore an as yet under-evaluated aspect of sturgeon biology, habitat or life-cycle.

Scope: The Council and Bonneville are requesting sturgeon managers and researchers to submit information for one or more of the following activities:

  1. Conduct white sturgeon population status assessments in the lower Snake or Columbia rivers.
  2. Assess white sturgeon spawning habitat availability and use in the lower Snake or Columbia rivers.
  3. Pilot the feasibility of sampling and enumerating white sturgeon larva abundance in the lower Snake or Columbia rivers.
  4. Assess the magnitude and extent of sturgeon predation below Bonneville Dam.

Proponent Response

All responses to this RFI should contain, at a minimum, the following information in a one to three page submittal:

  1. The activity or activities you are responding to from the "Scope" section above.
  2. The proposed implementation activity, in no more than a page.
  3. The work association with existing Bonneville-funded project(s). If any, please list the project and describe the association.
  4. The management purpose that is furthered by the proposed implementation activity.
  5. Partners for this activity.
  6. The timeframe for the implementation activity to be completed.
  7. Any additional equipment that is required to be leased or purchased.
  8. The estimated cost to implement the activity.

Schedule

Email responses to Kendra Coles no later than 4pm PDT on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. The Council and Bonneville may request clarifying information on the responses submitted; please include the primary contact person’s information for each response submission. Changes in the scope of responses will not be negotiated or discussed during these clarification conversations.

Additional Information

Disclosure and Ownership of Response Contents: A proponent’s response to this RFI (including, without limitation, technical and price information) shall be a public record and subject to production, disclosure, inspection and copying. Submission of a response to this RFI shall constitute a waiver of any copyright protection which might otherwise apply.