(This document has been replaced by the 2000 Return to the River report.)
In the December 1994 amendments to the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program (Section 3.2B), the Council called on the Bonneville Power Administration to fund the Independent Scientific Group to conduct a biennial review of the science underlying salmon and steelhead recovery efforts and Columbia River Basin ecosystem health. The Council’s objective was to provide the region, to the greatest extent possible, clear and authoritative analysis conducted by impartial experts.
The Council also asked that the independent scientists develop a conceptual foundation for the fish and wildlife program (Section 5.0F), to provide an overall set of scientific principles and assumptions on which the program and fish and wildlife management activities basinwide could be based and against which they could be evaluated.
On September 18, 1996, we delivered to the Council this report, which contains the first biennial review and a proposed conceptual foundation for the Fish and Wildlife Program. This report has been peer reviewed by additional scientists, whose comments, where appropriate, are reflected in this report. Appendix A, contains a history of the Independent Scientific Group and brief biographies of its members.
After an introductory chapter, this report is divided into four main components:
- Chapter 2 contains the proposed conceptual foundation for the Fish and Wildlife Program;
- Chapter 3 contains the review of the scientific basis for measures included in the current Fish and Wildlife Program, using the conceptual foundation as a template for this evaluation;
- Chapters 4 through 10 contain the detailed technical data and documentation on which Chapters 2 and 3 are based;
- Chapter 11 describes general conclusions from our review.
It must be noted at the outset that we were not asked to carry on original research. Nor were we asked to provide specific recommendations for revising the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. Our charge was to analyze existing data and measures currently in the program, and draw conclusions based on that analysis. The relevant scientific literature we reviewed and cited in this analysis is listed at the end of each chapter.
In submitting this report, the Independent Scientific Group hopes that it will be a valuable resource for decision-makers. The findings should enable fishery managers to focus future research activities on areas that still are not thoroughly understood. However, the review does not include policy recommendations for recovery and restoration. Nor does it recommend specific measures or strategies or deal with institutional structures. It is not an implementation plan. Instead, the conceptual foundation proposed in this report should provide the scientific foundation for public policy to be developed by the Council and other decision-making bodies. It can be used to guide salmon restoration activities in general, as well as future development of the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program