At the December 3, 2019 request of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) reviewed a response from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (CTWS), regarding the ISRP’s review of the 2019 Addendum to the 2008 Revised Master Plan for the Hood River Production Program (HRPP).The HRPP consists of improvements to supplementation, research, monitoring, evaluation, and habitat in the Hood River subbasin. For this review, the CTWS and ODFW are requesting to increase spring Chinook production from 150,000 to 250,000 yearling smolts, but no changes are being proposed to the winter steelhead hatchery program.
The proponents’ response is intended to address qualifications from the ISRP’s recent 2019 review (ISRP 2019-3, September 6, 2019). The qualifications asked the proponents to address a set of issues specific to the winter steelhead program and the spring Chinook program in the next Step iteration. In their December 2, 2019 response, the proponents address the ISRP’s issues point-by-point.
Overall, the ISRP finds that the project “Meets Scientific Review Criteria in Part (Qualified).”
Part 1. Spring Chinook salmon: The spring Chinook component of the HRPP Master Plan program meets scientific review criteria (qualified). The spring Chinook salmon hatchery program was developed following extirpation of spring Chinook salmon in the 1970s. It has shown progress in providing harvest opportunities and recolonizing spawning habitat with hatchery and natural origin Chinook salmon. A key change in this program is the proposal to increase the release of hatchery origin spring Chinook from 150,000 (identified in the 2008 Master Plan) to 250,000 smolts (identified in the 2019 amendment). The 2019 response substantively addresses ISRP concerns. However, several qualifications should be addressed more completely in the next phase of the review, including development of (1) harvest objectives for hatchery origin spring Chinook and (2) a plan for monitoring and reducing the proportion of hatchery origin adults that spawn naturally before demonstrating success in re-introducing spring Chinook.
Part 2. Winter Steelhead Trout: The winter steelhead component of the HRPP Master Plan does not currently meet scientific review criteria. The ISRP commends the proponents for providing detailed and analytical responses to many ISRP questions. Some of the previous qualifications have been adequately addressed, but the ISRP remains concerned about the scale of supplementation of this natural ESA-listed population and the adequacy of the adaptive management process. A further response to the ISRP’s major concerns is needed for the ISRP to make a final recommendation on the winter steelhead component.
See the full ISRP report for details.