On March 15, 2010, the Council asked the ISRP to conduct a follow-up review of the Yakama Nation’s Columbia River Fish Accord proposal titled "Upper Columbia Nutrient Supplementation" (2008-471-00). The project is intended to assess and characterize nutrient availability, and if needed the project proponents will perform controlled experimental addition of limiting nutrients to enhance natural production of anadromous salmonids and their supporting ecological functions and limnological conditions in rivers in the Methow Subbasin.
The ISRP concludes that the proposal Meets Scientific Review Criteria (in part).
The project proponents addressed a number of ISRP concerns raised in earlier reviews of this proposal, and it is clear from their response that considerable progress has been made since the original proposal was submitted. However, the ISRP continues to believe there are serious deficiencies. Nonetheless, the ISRP also believes a useful nutrient addition experiment can be conducted on the Twisp, assuming a complete study plan is developed.
In the current plan there is a lack of specificity about several critical project components, in particular:
- the form in which nutrients will be added is not yet identified
- a power analyses of the detection of a response in fish production has not yet been conducted
- there is a lack of detail regarding the stable isotope work, and
- there is uncertainty about the methods used to sample fish because permits have not yet been secured.
Most of these problems will require time and some preliminary data to address.
Because these deficiencies are serious, the ISRP suggests that the project proponents proceed with the collection of pre-treatment data for two to three years, and then use these data to develop a detailed plan for the five-year nutrient enrichment portion of the study. After it is developed, in two to three years, the ISRP should review the updated study plan.