(also see Council staff issue paper)
At the Council's request the ISRP provides this review of the Step One Master Plan submittal for Coeur d'Alene Tribe Trout Production Facility (199004402). The ISRP is very familiar with this project having reviewed proposals and responses associated with the project in Step, annual, and provincial reviews over the past five years. Despite several relatively encouraging reviews (FY 1999, FY 2000, Step One Review of the Three-Step Process), in the latest review for the Mountain Columbia Provincial project selection process (April 6, 2001), the ISRP recommended the project not be funded. The contents of the Mountain Columbia proposal, discussions during the oral presentation, and the review response convinced the ISRP that the proposed hatchery program for adfluvial cutthroat trout did not appear to be scientifically justified and the project's objectives were not likely attainable, specifically given predation and other lake habitat concerns.
On June 27, 2001, the Council approved funding recommendations for the Mountain Columbia provincial review. The Council concluded that the ISRP's criticisms were so severe that further consideration of the existing artificial production proposal would be unsuccessful if returned to the ISRP for review. The Council recommended that the Coeur d'Alene Tribe be provided an opportunity to revise the project concept, reconsider the challenges intrinsic in an artificial production approach, develop a new conceptual design, and submit a revised master plan for Step One Review.
The ISRP does not support funding the Step One Master Plan submittal for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe Trout Production Facility (199004402). The proposal does not overcome the ISRP's major concerns expressed in earlier reviews. That is, because of land-use practices and the drastically altered fish community in the lake, chances for producing significantly more and larger cutthroat trout in Reservation tributaries are very low at best.
The proposal does not provide a convincing basis for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe to expect significant and sustained increases in adfluvial adult cutthroat trout in Reservation streams. Production and planting of catchable sized fish in Reservation streams could provide harvest for short-term, intensive fisheries similar to fisheries produced by stocking reservation ponds with rainbow trout, but that strategy will further stress any natural population in a stream and handicap efforts to protect wild stocks.