Project reviews increase Fish and Wildlife Program accountability and transparency; improve project design, implementation, and overall effectiveness; help track project and program performance; and facilitate information sharing and adaptive management.
This report provides the Independent Scientific Review Panel’s (ISRP) final comments and recommendations on 48 projects in the Mainstem and Program Support Category. The ISRP finds that 27 projects meet the ISRP’s scientific review criteria and 16 projects meet scientific criteria with some qualifications. The ISRP expects the qualifications to be addressed during contracting, implementation, future annual reports, or the upcoming 2020 and 2021 Category Reviews. The ISRP recommends not applicable for 5 proposals that were not amenable to scientific review.
The ISRP also provides a brief overview of the issues and key findings concerning the broad array of topics covered in this Category Review: passage, predation, and survival of salmonids—freshwater and ocean; harvest and conservation enforcement; artificial production and salmon recovery research, monitoring, and evaluation (RM&E); Pacific lamprey; habitat restoration effectiveness RM&E; water transactions; freshwater mussels; climate change modeling; and data management, storage and dissemination of information.
Finally, the ISRP provides programmatic comments and recommendations on issues that apply across projects to help inform the future direction of the Fish and Wildlife Program. General topics include the need for projects to establish quantitative objectives, employ adaptive management, easily share information, conduct proper data management/analysis, and communicate uncertainty. More specific topics include quantifying the benefits of conservation enforcement, understanding variation in smolt-to-adult survival estimates, resolving issues related to fish marking, quantifying the effects of toxic contaminants, and the need to consider the complexity and novelty of the Basin’s hybrid-ecosystem.
The ISRP appreciates the Council and Bonneville Power Administration staffs’ effort to organize the review and the project proponents’ constructive approach to documenting, presenting, and discussing their projects and responding to the ISRP’s concerns.