This ISRP memorandum is the latest in a series of ISRP reviews of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) proposals, results reports, and responses for the Mainstem and Middle Fork John Day Rivers Fish Habitat Enhancement Project (1984-021-00). The project’s purpose is to enhance production of indigenous wild stocks of spring Chinook and summer steelhead within the John Day subbasin through fish passage improvement and habitat protection and enhancement. The previous ISRP reviews and project sponsor responses have primarily focused on results reporting for the project. This review is of ODFW’s June 20, 2008 report, Comprehensive Project Review (1984-2007), and appendices. Before providing our review of the June 2008 submittal, we provide a brief history of the ISRP’s last three reviews related to the project. Links to the full ISRP memos are provided in the footnotes.
2006 Review for the Fiscal Years 2007-2009 Proposal
At the time of the ISRP’s 2006 review of this project’s Fiscal Years 2007-2009 proposal, the project had been ongoing since 1984, for 22 years. The ISRP commented that “after 22 years, the project should be showing changes in characteristics such as abundance of fishes, bank stability, and stream-width relationships.” The ISRP recommended that “it is time for a comprehensive review of this project’s biological results. One year of funding should provide time for this activity, while continuing ongoing field projects. Future funding should be contingent on completion of a satisfactory document.” The Northwest Power and Conservation Council recommended to the Bonneville Power Administration that the “sponsor should complete [an] accomplishments report as called for in the ISRP recommendation.”
Spring 2007 Review
In response to the Council’s recommendation, ODFW submitted an initial response, March 6, 2007, that was intended to serve as a comprehensive accomplishments report. In an April 19, 2007 memo to the Council, the ISRP provided a review of ODFW’s response report and concluded that ODFW made a conscientious effort to address our specific concerns, but the document did not serve the function of a comprehensive analysis of project results. The document also made it clear that sufficient data for a much needed review and analysis probably did not exist. Recognizing both the limitations of the existing data and the pressing need to evaluate the effectiveness of past project actions, the ISRP recommended that a comprehensive report was still needed.
The ISRP suggested that the report should at least:
- Identify locations where restoration has occurred;
- The locations of these sites relative to spawning and rearing areas for the focal species;
- Identify all the monitoring data that may exist for each of these sites;
- Analyze and interpret the data;
- Outline monitoring for the future.
On May 9, 2007, the Council (email from Mark Fritsch) requested that the sponsors address the first three questions but did not seek a response to questions four and five. The Council, however, suggested that a response to ISRP M&E concerns about the project would be desirable.
Winter 2008 Review
On February 20, 2008, ODFW provided a report intended to cover the first three issues raised by the ISRP. On April 22, 2008, the ISRP submitted its review of ODFW’s response finding that it did not meet the ISRP’s scientific criteria because of inadequate results reporting, apparent inadequate monitoring, and the lack of data collected in the past. The ISRP noted that the inadequate monitoring and lack of data resulted, in part, from the lack of adequate financial support for monitoring in the John Day subbasin. The Council, moreover, did not request that the sponsors answer questions 4 and 5 which were critical to a determination of whether the project was showing benefits or might show benefits in the future. Even so, the ISRP stated that the sponsors could have provided more comprehensive answers to questions 1 through 3 based on available data, which was requested by the Council. The ISRP added that if the project is redesigned and reconfigured to account for advances in restoration science on landscape scale approaches and understanding of cumulative effects, the John Day could be a suitable candidate for an Intensively Monitored watershed in the long term.
On May 20, 2008, the Council (email from Mark Fritsch) recommended that ODFW have an opportunity to respond to the ISRP’s review. As requested and noted above, on June, 2008, ODFW responded, and the ISRP’s review of that response follows in this report.