This report provides the Independent Scientific Review Panel’s (ISRP) recommendations and comments on 44 proposals submitted for the Resident Fish and Sturgeon Category Review to implement the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program. The Panel finds that 30 proposals meet scientific review criteria and 10 proposals meet scientific criteria with some conditions requiring further action. Two projects are primarily administrative and “not applicable” for the Panel’s scientific criteria; the science of those projects is being reviewed in the Council’s Step Review process. The Panel requested responses on two other projects, but the proponents were given a time extension to complete their responses. A final review of those projects is anticipated by fall 2020.
The Panel recognizes the personal and societal hardships and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and greatly appreciates the effort put into this review by all involved. In the preliminary review, the Panel asked for responses for 43 out of the 44 proposals, which was the highest percentage in category reviews. Despite work restrictions, the project proponents provided informative and constructive responses that largely addressed the Panel’s requests. This positive response effort and increased scientific dialogue with the Panel should provide a strong foundation for the projects moving forward and also reduce follow-up reviews by the Panel. Overall, the Panel was impressed with the proponents’ commitment to the objectives of the Program as demonstrated by their many accomplishments, their constructive approach toward scientific review, support and interest in other projects beyond their own, and the effort they devoted to the proposals, presentations, and responses.
This report provides final recommendations on each project and includes the Panel’s preliminary report comments and response requests. The report also provides a discussion of programmatic issues that apply across projects to inform Program development and performance. Programmatic topics include native and non-native fish management, lake and river fertilization, habitat protection versus restoration, climate change, adaptive management, multicultural perspectives, integration of projects within geographic areas, and improving communication. The Panel strives to ensure that its multi-year recommendations for the projects and the Program have a sound, well-documented scientific foundation.