At the request of the Council (dated 9 January 2006), the ISRP reviewed the revised Fiscal Year 2006 proposal "An Acoustic Tracking Array for Studying Ocean Survival and Movements of Columbia River Salmon" (dated 5 January 2006) and the project sponsor’s response (dated 4 January 2006) to the ISRP's initial review (dated 16 December 2005). In the initial review, the ISRP found the project fundable "in part (for 1 year) at a reduced level of funding and deployment of the proposed acoustic tracking array (restricted to the Columbia River Basin and Plume)." In addition, the ISRP did not "recommend funding or the proposed deployment of benthic acoustic receivers until further details" were provided on this method. A response loop was requested to address ISRP comments and recommendations. The ISRP was requested to review the sponsor's response on January 9, 2006. This memo is the ISRP’s response review of the revised proposal.
The ISRP credits the sponsor of the revised proposal for addressing a fair number of our comments. These revisions improved the documentation of results of preliminary 2003-2005 studies, provided some additional and more complete references, and added some new explanations of study design details and methods. The proposal, however, has really not changed significantly. The sponsor's response reinforces the ISRP's initial recommendation and raises new concerns (see "Detailed ISRP Response Review Comments" below). The ISRP continues to recommend that proposed deployment of new acoustic arrays and equipment in 2006 be funded in part (for one year) at a reduced rate to test the feasibility of using data from POST arrays to estimate ocean movements and mortality of stream-type Columbia River Chinook salmon. The ISRP recommends limited deployment of proposed new benthic (VR-3) acoustic equipment and new arrays in 2006. Two outer-coast arrays south of the mouth of the Columbia River (Tillamook, Oregon, and one additional location) and two north of the mouth of the Columbia River (Willapa Bay, Washington, and Brooks Peninsula, B.C.) would be sufficient for proposed research in 2006. The full continental shelf should be covered at all outer-coast locations, where the test of "proof of concept" is zero detection of acoustic-tagged Columbia River Chinook at the offshore receiver.