Attached is the ISRP's final review of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s Accord proposal titled Monitoring Recovery Trends in Key Spring Chinook Habitat Variables and Validation of Population Viability Indicators (2009-004-00). On July 27, 2009, the ISRP reviewed an initial proposal and found that it met scientific review criteria (in part) (ISRP 2009-33), with one part ready for implementation and another part needing a response.
The ISRP has stressed the importance of biological effectiveness monitoring and model verification. This proposal addresses both of these issues. Additionally, it focuses on a subbasin (Grande Ronde River) and major population group of spring Chinook that deserve attention. Because this project is both complex and ambitious, the ISRP recommended that care should be taken not to over-promise what can be realistically delivered. The ISRP requested a response to a number of questions regarding the methods used to measure habitat variables. The ISRP also requested a more thorough explanation of how this study will associate improvements in habitat facilitated by restoration projects to improvements in the survival and production of various phases of spring Chinook life cycles in the upper Grande Ronde.
On May 21, the Council forwarded CRITFC’s response to the ISRP and requested a review.
Recommendation: Meets scientific review criteria in part. Our July 2009 recommendation has changed somewhat due to clarification provided by the extensive CRITFC response:
Objective 1, tasks 1.1 through 1.4 including the scoping, coordination, and planning tasks meet scientific review criteria
The ISRP recommends that project staff develop models as specified in the proposal abstract, specifically in the scope of the first five-year module, items 3 and 8:
3. Develop models of the relationships between habitat conditions and Chinook salmon responses:
a. At the reach and watershed scale in detail;
b. For the entire life cycle
8. A theoretical biological model will be developed that will express spring Chinook abundance and survival as a function of a set of sub-models based on scientific literature, specifically (ISRP text inserted) (a) known relationships between fine sediment in spawning gravel and survival to emergence, (b) summer water temperature and juvenile summer rearing survival, © streamflow (d) spawning gravel availability for adults, and (e) riparian vegetation canopy structure and height; topographic shading; streamflow vs. water temperature.
Objective 1, task 1.5 and Objectives 2 through 5 do not meet scientific review criteria based on the information provided in the proposal and response.
A revised proposal for Objective 1, task 1.5 and Objectives 2 through 5 may be appropriate after tasks 1.1 through 1.4 and development of models are completed. Any revised proposal should consider the ISRP comments presented here.