also see Facilitator's report
Congress, in 1997, directed the Northwest Power Planning Council, with the assistance of the Independent Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB), to review federally funded hatchery programs in the Columbia River Basin and recommend to Congress a set of policies to guide artificial production of fish in the Basin . Pursuant to this request, the Council initiated what is called the Artificial Production Review (APR). As part of the APR, this document proposes a statement of artificial production policies to facilitate further regional discussion on artificial production policies and issues, and to assist the Council in developing its policy recommendations to Congress.
Production policy in the basin has been in transition for more than a decade, as the managers of production programs have faced pressures to transform hatcheries so as to widen the harvest opportunities provided by artificial production, to reduce the adverse impact of hatchery production on wild fish, and to attempt to use artificial production techniques to try to rebuild naturally sustaining populations. These objectives have not always been easy to reconcile, at least not on the surface. Even so, changes in statements of policy can be easier to accomplish than changes in existing practices that policy is supposed to guide, and in fact, policy reformation in the basin in the last few years has exceeded actual change in production practices. Thus this proposed policy framework is not created out of thin air. Instead, it is based on several important regional studies and reports from throughout the 1990s, as well as guidance from regional workshops, Council staff, and consultants.
Primary among these sources has been the Policies and Procedures for Columbia Basin Anadromous Salmonid Hatcheries report, a thorough review and reformulation of production policy prepared in 1994-95 by the interagency Integrated Hatchery Operations Team (IHOT), as part of the Council's Fish and Wildlife Program. In addition to the IHOT Report, the following sources also contributed significantly to this policy framework proposal:
* Regional Assessment of Supplementation Project (RASP), an evaluation of supplementation theories, policies and practices also developed under the Council's Fish and Wildlife Program and funded by the Bonneville Power Administration (1992) * recent scientific reviews focused wholly or partly on artificial production in the basin by the National Fish Hatchery Review Panel (1994), the National Research Council (1996), and the Council's Independent Scientific Group (1996) * Draft Review of Salmonid Artificial Production in the Columbia River Basin by the ISAB's Scientific Review Team (SRT) for the Artificial Production Review (1998) * Workshop on Artificial Production in the Columbia River Basin sponsored by the Northwest Power Planning Council, January 19-20, 1999 in Portland, Oregon, and the Strawfish policy statement produced by Council staff for the Workshop
Still, as indicated by the Congressional request for Council recommendations on production policy, there remains a need to integrate the findings, conclusions, strategies, and recommendations of these reviews and reports into a coherent set of regional policies for artificial production. Some of the reviews and reports, such as the IHOT Report, emphasize reform at the operational level and point out the need for broader, ecosystem scale coordination and planning. Other initiatives, such as the ISG's Return to the River or the SRT's review of artificial production, have emphasized broad-scale principles and policies to protect wild populations without a clear translation to operations of individual hatcheries. This proposed framework attempts to integrate "bottom up" and "top down" approaches, reconcile various policy recommendations, and incorporate the need for subbasin plan development into a regional policy statement for production.
In addition to forming the basis for the Council's recommendations to Congress on artificial production in the Basin, this policy statement, once finalized, should serve several additional purposes. It could be used:
? to update and revise the policies, goals, and performance standards contained in the IHOT Report and provide guidance for upcoming hatchery performance evaluations; ? to provide guidance to subbasin planning efforts, by helping to determine and evaluate the role artificial production could play in particular areas, as regional authorities attempt to meet mitigation obligations, treaty obligations, the requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and other legal obligations; ? as a central component of the Regional Multi-Species Framework, which is designed to provide a set of scientifically supportable alternatives for the future of the Columbia River, especially as it relates to management of fish and wildlife resources. ? to help guide the Council and the fish and wildlife agencies and tribes as the Council amends its Fish and Wildlife Program, and as the Council conducts the funding reviews and provides funding recommendations for the use of the Bonneville fish and wildlife budget for production and watershed activities; and ? to inform Congress and the relevant agencies on how to fund and implement reform in those artificial production facilities that are not part of the Bonneville budget.
2. SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES FROM THE MULTI-SPECIES FRAMEWORK
As an important part of the Columbia River Basin Multi-Species Framework, the policies developed in this proposal should be consistent with the Scientific Principles for the Conceptual Foundation of the Framework process. 2.1 Framework Scientific Principles: These scientific principles, combined with defined premises, hypotheses, and purposes for artificial production, are foundational in developing a coherent, science-based set of policies for artificial production in the Columbia Basin. 2.1.1 The abundance and productivity of fish and wildlife reflect the conditions they experience in their ecosystem over the course of their life cycle. 2.1.2 Natural ecosystems are dynamic, evolutionary, and resilient. 2.1.3 Ecosystems are structured hierarchically. 2.1.4 Ecosystems are defined relative to specific communities of plant and animal species. 2.1.5. Biological diversity accommodates environmental variation. 2.1.6 Ecosystem conditions develop primarily through natural processes. 2.1.7 Ecological management is adaptive and experimental. 2.1.8 Human actions can be key factors structuring ecosystems.
2.2 Principles need further definition: Because these scientific principles have been developed for the broader Multi-Species Framework process, it is not within the scope of this initiative to revise these scientific principles. However, there is a need for clarification and the Council intends to further define the principles. In addition, the following premises, hypotheses, and purposes relating to artificial production are intended to help bridge the scientific principles and the policies contained in this proposal.
3. PREMISES, HYPOTHESES, AND PURPOSES
Although not clearly articulated in the IHOT Report, the Strawfish, the SRT Report, or other sources, a number of premises and hypotheses are implicit in these initiatives. In an effort to focus discussion on core issues, the facilitation team at the Council's January 19-20, 1999 Artificial Production Workshop drafted an initial Premise Statement which was debated, revised, and generally accepted by Workshop participants. This statement and other premises and hypotheses are outlined below and should be used to help sharpen the regional discussion on artificial production.
3.1 Premise Statement from January 1999 Workshop The principles and policies for artificial production: 3.1.1 must be consistent with legal mandates for mitigation, enhancement, Treaty rights and trust obligations, the Endangered Species Act, and other applicable law. 3.1.2 must be consistent with and guided by the regional scientific principles in Section 2, which form the basis for the conceptual foundation for the Columbia River Multispecies Framework; 3.1.3 should be developed in a manner which encourages broad participation and application; 3.1.4 where appropriate, should build on or integrate relevant policy developments that have already taken place in the last decade, such as the IHOT and RASP guidelines; 3.1.5 should be able to influence policy developments to come in the future, such as in the U.S. vs. Oregon negotiations over production objectives, but also be able to be adapted to reflect further policy developments that occur in those other forums; 3.1.6 depend upon the role of artificial production in meeting harvest and production goals for the Columbia Basin, and anticipate that this role may change in the future. Therefore, as the role of an artificial program changes, the application of the principles and policies will be subject to revision as new information and/or a new vision for the Columbia Basin emerges; 3.1.7 will be based on the working hypotheses that: hatcheries are a tool that have a mitigation and conservation role in the future Columbia River ecosystem; with care given to appropriate changes in the artificial production practices and facility designs, and fisheries management practices, the response of artificially produced fish can be compatible with and complementary to the purposes for artificial production; 3.1.8 need to be incorporated in subbasin plans which are consistent with scientific principles, meet regional objectives, and fit within the unique ecological conditions within the Columbia River Basin.
3.2 Mimicking wild population rearing conditions will improve survival: In addition to the Workshop Premise Statement, the following hypotheses concerning the methods of artificial production underlie many of the recommended policies and must be tested. 3.2.1 Hypotheses regarding survival of artificially produced fish: * if hatchery operations are modified to mimic natural processes and populations, higher survival rates will result; * with the increased juvenile survival of artificially produced fish, fewer hatchery fish will need to be released to meet existing or increased levels of survival to adults. 3.2.2 In testing these two hypotheses, it should be noted that: * some efforts to mimic natural rearing processes, such as the use of shading, are beyond hypotheses and have become accepted practice; * the uncertainty lies in how far managers can or should go in mimicking natural rearing conditions in an effort to improve survival, especially considering the increasing cost and difficulty of some measures; * there are some cases where survival appears to be enhanced by not mimicking natural release size or migration times; * even with enhanced survival through such efforts, mitigation obligations are likely to remain unmet.
3.3 Mimicking natural rearing conditions will reduce impacts on wild populations: Much of the recent literature suggests that mimicking natural rearing will reduce impacts on wild populations and the ecosystem. 3.3.1 Hypothesis regarding impact on wild populations: * mimicking natural rearing conditions and processes will reduce impacts or risks to wild populations and the ecosystem. 3.3.2 In testing this hypothesis, it should be noted that: * it is probably less certain than the survival hypothesis; * there is a counter-hypothesis that, at least in some situations, it is best for artificial production managers to avoid mimicking the release times, places, and conditions of wild populations (see 3.5) to avoid competition and interaction.
3.4 "Natural" broodstock and rearing can supplement wild populations: Supplementation is based on the hypothesis that: 3.4.1 Artificial production managers who genetically select and monitor broodstock and carefully mimic natural rearing and release processes can produce fish which are sufficiently indistinguishable from wild populations so as to be able to successfully supplement and bolster wild populations. 3.4.2 In cases where wild fish populations have been extirpated or depressed below sustainable levels, supplementation may be used to re-establish, preserve, or otherwise rehabilitate wild populations, especially where additional habitat or improved conditions support recovery.
3.5 "Isolated" artificial production can be beneficial: Contrary to the emphasis on mimicking natural production and rearing is the notion that intentional separation, in time and place, of wild and artificially produced populations can help meet the needs of fish harvest without competing or interfering with wild populations. Although it is clear that taking advantage of habitat unused by wild populations, and timing releases to avoid interactions with wild populations, can reduce competition and interference, a successful isolation strategy must also prevent straying. To determine the validity of this approach, it should be tested by the following hypothesis. 3.5.1 Artificial production which is temporally and spatially isolated from wild populations can support fish harvest without significant negative impacts on wild populations.
3.6 Conclusion -- test premises; define purposes: These premises and hypotheses regarding artificial production must be tested to better determine if they are valid and can provide a foundation for regional policies and artificial production standards. Assuming both approaches -- mimicking natural populations and isolation from natural populations -- are generally valid, the question becomes when and how to apply them. 3.6.1 If the goal of artificial production is, at least in part, to try to supplement an existing population or to restore one that has been extirpated or seriously depressed, managers must attempt to mimic the genetic characteristics and rearing and migration processes of the wild population. 3.6.2 If, on the other hand, the goal is primarily fisheries mitigation or augmentation, managers may have a broader range of options, based on cost, feasibility, and the impact or risk on wild fish. 3.6.3 It is therefore important that artificial production facilities are operated for the appropriate goals, and that their operations are evaluated for impacts on wild populations. Toward this end, the region must develop and employ a common set of definitions of the purposes for artificial production. (INSERT DEFINITION OF PURPOSES WHEN COMPLETED)
4. ARTIFICIAL PRODUCTION PERFORMANCE STANDARDS POLICY AND COORDINATION
It shall be the policy of the management entities of the fishery resources in the Columbia Basin to coordinate artificial production programs and ensure that all artificial production practices are based on regional standards. The desired "final product" of artificial production is a fish that has minimal impact on wild populations and also contributes to harvest opportunities and natural spawning populations.
4.1 Coordinate artificial production within the basin: The production and release of artificially produced fish can have far-reaching impacts on wild fish, other hatchery fish, and the ecosystem. Artificial production programs must be coordinated at the subbasin level. 4.1.1 All fish produced must be produced and released consistent with regional management policies and standards.
4.2 Base artificial production on environmental conditions: The success of artificial production is directly tied to the quality and quantity of the environment into which the fish are reared and released, therefore, the use of artificial production will be directly linked to environmental conditions. 4.2.1 Objectives for artificial production must be based on the ability of the environment to support those objectives. 4.2.2 Strategies related to the release of artificially produced fish will be based upon the biological carrying capacity of the receiving water bodies, including consideration of members of the release population that do not migrate. Considerations will include impacts on the naturally producing fish residing in the system as well as life history requirements of the cultured population. 4.2.3 In considering the ability of the environment to support artificial production objectives, the scope of consideration must include both the environment and conditions at the Columbia basin and subbasin scale.
4.3 Improve survival of artificially produced fish: Much progress has been made in the past several decades to increase the survival rates of artificially produced fish. Generally, artificial production programs will seek additional improvements in survival through further efforts to mimic natural propagation, rearing, and migration processes. In some cases, however -- depending on environmental conditions, the purpose of the program, and the effects on wild populations -- managers may make improvements in the survival of artificially produced fish by separating them in time and place from wild populations to prevent competition and interference. In either case, artificial production programs will employ the applicable policies and performance measures necessary to improve the quality and survival of their fish and reduce risks to or help rebuild wild populations. 4.3.1 The success of artificial production depends on the ability to maintain physical and behavior attributes of the fish that enhance survival in the natural environment. 4.3.2 Artificial production programs will, where appropriate, emulate the life history diversity of wild populations to maximize fish quality. 4.3.3 Technology to resemble natural incubation and rearing conditions will be used for artificial production of fish. 4.3.4 Artificial production will use ambient natal stream water and water temperatures to reinforce compatibility with local environments where applicable. 4.3.5 New and replacement artificial production facilities should, where applicable, be designed as small, stream-specific facilities that use local populations, ambient water, and engineered habitat to simulate natural production and rearing. 4.3.6 In some situations, however, it may be advantageous to produce cultured populations which are intentionally isolated in time or location from wild populations to meet fishery needs without competing or intermingling with related wild fish in freshwater and estuarine habitat, assuming impacts to wild populations can be controlled.
4.4 Minimize impacts on/rebuild wild populations: Beyond the efforts to improve the survival of artificially produced fish, artificial production programs will adhere to regional policies and practices which minimize their adverse impacts on wild populations and/or assist in their recovery. 4.4.1 Artificial production programs intended to supplement or help rebuild extirpated or depressed wild populations will place a high priority on mimicking the genetic characteristics, rearing, and migration of the target wild population. * Supplementation and rebuilding efforts will mimic natural population parameters in size, maturation, and timing of migrating juveniles so as to synchronize with environmental selective forces and enhance integration with wild populations. * New and replacement artificial production facilities for such programs should, where applicable, be designed as small, stream-specific facilities that use local populations, ambient water, and engineered habitat to simulate natural production and rearing, so as to improve the quality of the artificially produced fish and enhance the recovery effort. 4.4.2 Artificial production programs whose primary goal is fish harvest may have a broader array of management options. * Managers may seek to mimic wild populations in time, place, rearing, and release so long as there are no substantial negative effects on wild populations. * Alternatively, programs whose primary goal is harvest augmentation may, where appropriate, intentionally isolate artificially produced fish in an attempt to maximize fish harvest benefits and minimize impacts on wild populations.
4.5 Use sound science: Artificial production programs must be based on sound scientific principles, assumptions, data, methodologies, research, and evaluation. 4.5.1 Artificial production is a tool to be used in a manner consistent with the Scientific Principles of the Multi-Species Framework. 4.5.2 Artificial fish production must be based on scientifically defensible assumptions regarding the benefits and role of artificial production. 4.5.3 Research and evaluation approaches will be used to guide artificial production programs. 4.5.4 Artificial production programs will be monitored and evaluated using scientifically valid methods at the facility, subbasin and Columbia basin levels.
4.6 Relate performance indicators to purposes: Performance indicators for artificial production programs will be directly related to the purposes of the program . 4.6.1 Given the current dynamic nature of artificial production programs and our evolving understanding of their interactions with other fish populations and the environment, the purposes for which artificial production facilities are operated will change. Artificial production programs and facilities should therefore be evaluated using performance indicators related to these changed purposes. 4.6.2 Performance indicators must be developed and broadly applied; a proposed set of performance indicators for artificial production programs and facilities will be developed and included, in draft form, in the Appendix. 4.6.3 As a tool for selecting the appropriate performance indicators for artificial production programs, a matrix matching performance indicators and purposes will be developed by the managers and the Council in consultation with other relevant parties and included in the Appendix.
4.7 Evaluate existing programs and prioritize improvements: Existing programs and facilities will be evaluated to determine feasibility and cost of meeting the regional artificial production policies and guidelines. Based on this evaluation, a plan will be developed for a five-year transition to prioritize investments for artificial production in the basin. 4.7.1 Artificial production has inherent risks and potential benefits not found in the natural environment. 4.7.2 Artificial production programs must be evaluated relative to their objectives and their impacts on the natural environment. In setting objectives, the direction and magnitude of these impacts will be addressed. 4.7.3 The risks and potential benefits associated with an artificial production program must be subjected to careful analysis at both the scientific and policy levels.
5. ECOLOGICAL INTERACTIONS POLICY
Policies regarding ecological interactions are addressed here at two different levels: the program manager level and at the Basin-wide or subbasin level. This section addresses the ecological interactions primarily at the fish manager level; Section 8 addresses policies and ecological interactions within the context of Basin or subbasin plans.
5.1 Managers must address ecological interactions: It shall be the policy of the management entities of the salmonid resources in the Columbia Basin that artificial propagation programs will be designed and implemented to minimize ecological interactions that adversely affect the productivity of aquatic ecosystems. Artificial production managers will: 5.1.1 Ensure that all fish produced and released are under a specific management plan. 5.1.2 Consider the ecological effects attributable to the specific hatchery products following release. 5.1.3 Consider how specific release strategies and objectives affect aquatic ecosystems. 5.1.4 Develop their artificial production programs in the context of, and consistent with, subbasin and Columbia basin plans. 5.2 Monitor and evaluate ecological interactions: Ecological interactions must be monitored and evaluated at both the local and regional levels. Managers and regional authorities will monitor and evaluate implementation of ecological interaction guidelines and ecological effects of artificially propagated fish on wild, natural, and artificially produced fish populations. 5.2.1 Managers will generally have responsibility for monitoring and evaluating local ecological interactions. 5.2.2 Data should be developed in a scientifically valid manner using protocols that allow for data sharing on a basin-wide basis.
6. POLICIES REGARDING GENETICS It shall be the policy of the management entities of the salmonid resources in the Columbia Basin to operate artificial propagation programs that maintain adequate genetic variation and fitness in populations. It shall also be the policy to protect the biological diversity of wild, natural, and artificially produced fish populations. 6.1 Meet genetics guidelines: All fish produced and released must meet identified management objectives for specific artificial production programs and follow genetic guidelines. 6.2 Protect population fitness: Genetic performance policies and guidelines shall be designed to protect the fish population's ability to evolve, and thus persist in the face of environmental variability. 6.2.1 Fitness is demonstrated when a population has maintained its productivity over a long period of time. 6.2.2 Population fitness can be indexed, based on changes to (1) the recruit-to-spawner ratio, (2) egg-to-adult survival, (3) survival between life history stages, (4) gene frequencies, or (5) life history patterns. 6.3 Involve geneticist at program level: A program specific approach is needed for the genetic management of all Columbia Basin populations because of the variability in both hatchery programs and the application of genetic theories to the population status of each subbasin. 6.3.1 A geneticist, therefore, should be directly involved in developing and evaluating genetics programs and ensuring that the regional genetics policies and guidelines are correctly applied at individual hatcheries within a subbasin. 6.4 Apply regional evaluation criteria: Artificial production programs will be evaluated on their ability to: 6.4.1 avoid inbreeding or genetic drift; 6.4.2 maintain heterozygosity of managed populations while avoiding long-term changes; 6.4.3 maintain diversity between populations; 6.4.4 maintain an acceptable level of risk that the artificial production facility or program will not have a significant adverse impact to wild and natural populations or to the receiving ecosystem. 6.5 Monitor and evaluate genetics: Artificial production programs will design a program, with the involvement of a geneticist, to monitor and evaluate the program's progress. This component will include the information necessary to evaluate the success of the facility in achieving the elements described in the above policies. 6.5.1 If significant problems occur, the manager, after consultation with a geneticist, shall take such actions as are necessary to correct the problems. 6.5.2 If the problems cannot be addressed in a satisfactory manner, and if the problems pose a significant genetic risk to the wild and natural populations or to the functioning of the ecosystem, then that program will be discontinued. 6.6 Follow genetic guidelines to re-establish populations: Restoration of an extirpated population should follow genetic guidelines to maximize the potential for re-establishing self-sustaining populations. 6.7 Review population status: The physical and genetic status of wild and natural populations of anadromous and resident salmonids need to be addressed and routinely reviewed as a basis of management planning for artificial production. Information should include life history, population structure, and the habitat utilized.
7. FISH HEALTH It shall be the policy of the management entities of the salmonid resources in the Columbia Basin to protect those resources by restricting the importation, dissemination, and amplification of pathogens and diseases known to adversely affect fish. 7.1 Managers follow policies for fish health: Artificial production program managers and other authorities in the Basin will continue to follow regional guidelines for fish health and: 7.1.1 Strive to produce healthy fish for release or transfer. 7.1.2 Ensure that all fish produced are under a specific fish health management program. 7.1.3 Monitor and evaluate the health of wild, natural, and cultured fish populations. 7.1.4 Foster open and frequent communications among managing entities to jointly resolve fish health related issues. 7.2 Recognize progress in fish health: It should be recognized that regional managers have made great strides in fostering fish health.
8. COLUMBIA RIVER BASIN AND SUBBASIN PLANNING
Subbasin and basin-wide environmental characteristics help determine the viability of artificially produced fish, which, in turn, have an impact on the ecosystem. The policies in this framework are intended as a general guide to considering and managing these interactions. But precisely how and why the artificial production tool should be used in each instance, and precisely how these guidelines should be applied in those instances, depends in large part on the particular biological and management considerations in each subbasin. It is within a subbasin that the integration of the potential purpose(s) regarding natural population preservation and rebuilding can and should occur, where a proper integration of habitat restoration actions and natural and artificial production activities can take place. And it is within a subbasin that the interaction of artificial production with the ecosystem can best be understood. Thus, final decisions on whether to use artificial production, for what purpose(s), and under what limitations need to be made within the context of a watershed-level subbasin plan, giving due consideration to the broader basin-wide context.
In the late 1980s, the Council called for the development of subbasin plans for the 31 subbasins below the areas blocked by Chief Joseph and Hells Canyon dams. The Council's subbasin planning effort was driven largely by state/federal/tribal agreements, arising out of the United States v. Oregon litigation, on production goals and objectives intended to widen the harvest opportunities provided by artificial production and to try to use artificial production techniques to rebuild naturally sustaining populations. With the state and tribal fisheries managers taking the lead, these subbasin plans, as well as an Integrated System Plan, were completed in the early 1990s. Development of the plans cost nearly $6 million, approximately half Bonneville funds and the other half provided in-kind by the tribes and fish management agencies.
The managers completed the subbasin and system plans just to find the legal and management framework for their work had changed significantly with the proposals to list Snake River salmon under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Because the subbasin plans were developed prior to consideration or listing of these populations, it was not clear how the agreed-to production goals and objectives in the subbasin plans would fit with the ESA. Many believed that these goals and objectives were too oriented toward harvest and artificial production, and not sufficiently concerned with impacts on wild populations, while others supported implementation of the goals and objectives in the subbasin plans. Primarily as a result of the ESA-inspired considerations, the management consensus underlying the subbasin plans broke down. Thus while the Council incorporated the plans into the Council's Fish and Wildlife Program as an appendix, it could not formally adopt the plans into the Program when recommended to in 1992 or 1994, and the status of the subbasin plans has always been in limbo.
Even so, these subbasin plans have become at least a benchmark effort for subsequent subbasin planning and implementation decisions. Portions of some plans, most notably the goals and objectives, have been debated and revised in subsequent planning efforts, such as the lower Columbia treaty tribe's Tribal Restoration Plan and the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority's draft Multi-Year Implementation Plan (MYIP). Production goals and objectives for the subbasins are also being revisited in the U.S. vs. Oregon negotiation process currently underway. Subbasin plans in some form should also be an important element of the Multi-Species Framework currently under development.
It is time to revisit the subbasin plans, revise them where appropriate, and finally come to formal agreement and adoption by the relevant government entities. The purpose would be to decide in each subbasin on the goals and objectives for that subbasin in terms of habitat characteristics and fish and wildlife populations; agree on a systematic approach and strategies for habitat restoration and increases in natural production opportunities; decide whether artificial production is going to be (or should continue to be) a tool used in that subbasin, and if so, how and under what conditions that reflect the policy developments and operational guidelines described in this framework; and agree on an adaptive management monitoring and evaluation program.
This does not mean that the Council or anyone else should initiate a new, centralized subbasin planning effort. Instead, the focus should be on providing the right incentives and opportunities to help the relevant entities in the different parts of the basin work out appropriate subbasin plans in a host of loosely-coordinated initiatives, possibly required and funded as part of the on-going funding reviews. The original subbasin plans provide a good starting point for this effort, and should be updated, not supplanted, to reflect watershed information developed in the last decade and to reflect the current policies and goals of the fish managers and others. Resident fish were addressed in some of the subbasin plans and not others; this information would need to be added where it is missing. Subbasin plans were not developed for the areas above the blocked areas; this should be remedied. The draft MYIP may contain the most current information for resident fish and blocked area information. The fishery agencies and other relevant governmental entities will once again need to take the lead in preparing the subbasin plans, but the watershed process also requires the involvement of non-governmental organizations and landowners in the subbasins.
This is an opportune time to return to and complete the subbasin planning task begun in the late 1980s. The relationship of ESA and wild population considerations to artificial production is better understood now than in 1990, if still far from settled, and ironically now requires attention and agreement at the subbasin level if we are actually going to manage the interactions. The U.S. vs. Oregon Management Plan negotiations require the state, federal and tribal entities to revisit and come to some agreement on production goals and objectives, and thus by mid-year could provide much needed direction to an effort to revise and agree on the subbasin plans. The Council intends to follow the Multi-Species Framework Process with a Fish and Wildlife Program amendment process in the next year or so, and given the developments of the last few years, it is likely that this round of Program amendments will require that the fishery managers recommend agreed-upon subbasin plans with an integrated understanding of habitat and production actions in order to continue to have a priority place in the Program. And given the related developments of the last few years in the funding and implementation of the Council's Fish and Wildlife Program and other parts of the Bonneville fish and wildlife budget, it seems likely that in the very near future (this year or the next), funding for watershed activities will depend on whether those activities are clearly based on accepted watershed assessments and subbasin plans.
Existing production activities differ in the extent to which they are already incorporated, however imperfectly, into coordinated watershed/subbasin planning and implementation. Production activities based in the Council's Fish and Wildlife Program and in the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan have the most significant links. The absence is most acute with the Mitchell Act hatchery program, with existing production facilities focused in the mainstem below Bonneville Dam and in the Bonneville pool area. What to do with Mitchell Act production is also probably the most difficult issue for the state, federal and tribal entities to resolve in the U.S. vs. Oregon negotiations. And because Mitchell Act funding is not part of the Bonneville fish and wildlife budget, the leverage provided by the Bonneville funding reviews is missing. Agreeing on how to incorporate Mitchell Act production into system and subbasin plans is the biggest challenge we face, requiring further thought as to the right mechanism to make it happen.
8.1 Use subbasin plans to determine purposes: The artificial production policies and guidelines describe how programs and facilities should be operated and evaluated. Subbasin plans will be used to decide the purposes of artificial production within a subbasin, describe how the use of artificial production is intended to be imbedded in a coordinated plan for habitat restoration and wild and natural production, and to describe the level of risks and benefits of various strategies. While subbasin planning seems the most appropriate vehicle for deciding when and how to use artificial production, each planning effort will have to take into account ecosystem characteristics and ecological interactions beyond the subbasin, through the rest of the life cycle: juvenile migration, estuary and near-shore rearing, ocean rearing, and adult migration and spawning.
8.2 Update existing subbasin plans: Revise the 31 existing subbasin plans to reflect the most recent considerations in artificial production program planning, monitoring, and evaluation and in the relationship of artificial production to habitat restoration and natural production. Develop subbasin plans under the same considerations for the areas above Chief Joseph and Hells Canyon dams. Also, amend the existing subbasin plans to address resident fish where currently not addressed. Updating and agreeing to subbasin plans will be a high priority for the Council and Columbia basin managers. Future funding for production and watershed activities will depend upon their basis in an agreed-upon subbasin plan.
8.3 Update Columbia Basin System Plan: To the extent necessary, the Council and Basin authorities should update the basin-wide system plan which incorporates the subbasin plans and provides a broad-scale view of the ecosystem, including estuarine, nearshore, and marine conditions. The revised system plan should be consistent with and flow from the development of the Multi-Species Framework.
8.4 Monitor and evaluate at subbasin level: Artificial production programs, and the ecosystems upon which they depend, will be monitored and evaluated using scientifically valid methodology.
8.4.1 Establish, and periodically review, biological baselines for all natural populations of anadromous and resident fish in affected areas; baselines will include life history, population structure, and habitat utilization and condition. Information collection will be coordinated by StreamNet.
8.4.2 A fish production monitoring program will be developed that addresses performance of artificially produced fish from release to return, including information on survival success, interception distribution, behavior, and genotypic changes experienced from selection between release and return.
8.4.3 An analytical study will be conducted by December 31, 1999 to determine the cost of adequately monitoring artificial production performance and potential sources of funding for this monitoring.
8.4.4 Independent performance evaluation audits of artificial production programs (including objectives and goals) shall be undertaken every three to five years. The Government Performance and Results Act approach will be used for reporting by program managers. Where objectives are not successfully accomplished, actions such as operational and infrastructural changes and/or research will be identified and initiated to address problems.
8.4.5 Ensure compliance with artificial production program coordination, fish health, ecological interactions, and genetics policies.