At the request of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, the ISRP provides this review of the report Review of Blue Mountain and Mountain Snake Province Captive Propagation Programs: Response to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (Kline et al. 2003), which was produced by the project sponsors for the Columbia River Basin's Fish and Wildlife Program's primary three captive propagation initiatives: Redfish Lake Sockeye Salmon Captive Broodstock Program; Captive Rearing Program for Salmon River Spring Chinook Salmon; and Grande Ronde Basin Spring Chinook Salmon Captive Broodstock Program.
It is clear that the project sponsors invested a significant amount of time preparing these responses, and they have been quite helpful and insightful. However, one important product that remains missing from the captive propagation program documents is a decision tree that reflects the current state of the scientific understanding of the salient risks and incorporates pertinent data from the programs. A ?decision tree? should not only describe the biological and environmental considerations that led to a decision to bring a population into captive propagation, but also describe the biological and environmental factors that will lead to decisions to continue or discontinue the program. The ISRP's report elaborates further on elements that could contribute to a more meaningful decision tree.
In general the ISRP noted that captive propagation has some potential to keep a lineage from extinction as it becomes extirpated in the wild, although its capacity to serve as a suitable or functionally adequate surrogate for viable populations remains controversial. Based on the larger scientific literature and on experiences within the Basin thus far, the outlook for using this technology to achieve recovery of populations near extirpation or reintroduce extirpated lineages is not at all encouraging.