On January 21, 2020, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council asked the ISRP to review Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's (WDFW) proposal titled “Piscivorous Fish Status and Trend Monitoring in the Columbia River Upstream of McNary Dam” (Project # 2020-001-00). The intent of this new project is to determine the abundance, trends, and consumptive impacts of non-native fishes on salmonids upstream of McNary Dam in the mainstem Columbia River. The project proposes to monitor predator population abundance and growth rates and measure changes in predator population status. The project will use this information to evaluate the effectiveness of current harvest deregulation and future predator management actions designed to increase juvenile salmon survival.
The ISRP notes that the proposal addresses significant predation threats that may limit survival and recovery of Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake river basins. The proposal responds directly to uncertainties identified by the ISAB and ISRP in past project reviews and demonstrates important significance and connectivity to the Fish and Wildlife Program and other regional plans. The project is forward looking and could provide important information related to predator responses to climate change in the mainstem Columbia River. The proposal has many strengths; however, additional information on organization, content, and details is needed. The ISRP requests a response in the form of a revised proposal and brief point-by-point responses.