On May 11, 2018, the ISRP completed a review of the Yakama Nation’s Klickitat River Spring Chinook Master Plan (2018 Master Plan) for project #1988-115-35, Klickitat River Design and Construction-Yakima/Klickitat Fisheries Project (YKFP) (ISRP 2018-4). In that review, the ISRP requested responses on five topics:
- Adaptive management process with “decision tree” contingency planning;
- Performance standards for early maturation of males (i.e., minijacks);
- Gene flow proportions between hatchery and natural fish (pHOS, pNOB, and PNI);
- Effects on project outcomes of annual variability in survival (SARs); and
- Specific questions regarding habitat capacity, smolt release locations, broodstock selection protocols, in-hatchery operations, and monitoring evaluation of genetic changes and smolt survival and abundance.
In response, the Yakama Nation provided the Northwest Power and Conservation Council a September 14, 2018 cover letter containing a summary of responses to the ISRP and a supporting document containing detailed responses. On September 17, 2018, the Council requested the ISRP’s review of the response documents. This review is part of the Council’s Step Review process for artificial production projects. This project’s Step Review began in 2004 and has involved numerous iterations (see ISRP 2018-4, ISRP 2013-1, ISRP 2012-12, ISRP 2008-6, and ISRP 2005-7).
The 2018 Master Plan focuses on spring Chinook production, which differs from earlier master plan drafts (2004, 2008, 2012) that proposed multispecies hatchery reform initiatives for fall Chinook, coho, and steelhead, as well as spring Chinook. As described in Yakama Nation’s cover letter, the overall goals of the 2018 Master Plan are to:
- Implement a phased-in integrated broodstock spring Chinook production program at the Klickitat Fish Hatchery to replace the current segregated spring Chinook program and thereby increase the biological performance of the spring Chinook produced;
- Ensure that returning adults are locally adapted and compatible with restoration goals for the Klickitat River Subbasin;
- Improve the overall ecology of the Klickitat River system; and
- Support harvestable populations of spring Chinook consistent with regional mitigation obligations and U.S. v Oregon agreements.
Based on its review of the Yakama Nation’s response documents, the ISRP recommends Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified). The response answers many of the questions from the ISRP's May 2018 review. The ISRP compliments the Yakama Nation on the creation and use of a stochastic model developed to forecast how ocean conditions and subsequent SAR values may impact their program. The implications of the model’s predictions on the project were clearly explained. Four qualifications still need to be addressed in the Master Plan. The ISRP looks forward to reviewing how these qualifications are addressed and the status of the project in the upcoming Category Review covering artificial production projects.
- Provide performance standards to enable assessment of in-hatchery performance, fish health, the proportion tagged, tag retention probability, and the proportion of smolts that mature as mini-jacks. Performance standards are a key component of an adaptive management process.
- Describe how minijack abundance will be estimated in the three hatchery lines (H1, H2, and N1). The ISRP recommends assaying 11-ketotestosterone in smolts just prior to release to obtain estimates of the proportion of minijacks in each hatchery line. Limiting minijack production may be important to success of the hatchery program.
- Expand the description of the adaptive management process to include a longer than annual cycle of review (perhaps at 5-year intervals) through which managers will formally consider making major changes to the program. Develop contingency plans for additional scenarios. For example, what plans or actions might take place to counteract low survival of hatchery smolts from release site to the Bonneville Dam (currently only 4.8% of PIT tagged smolts are detected at Bonneville Dam, 2007-2015) or for SARs that are much lower than expected?
- Incorporate clarifications, corrections, and new analyses (Appendices A and B) into the Master Plan.
See the ISRP’s full memo for detailed comments.