At Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the Council’s request, the ISRP reviewed Project 2003-114-00, Acoustic Tracking for Studying Ocean Survival. This project is part of the Action Agencies’ effort to achieve specific goals identified in NOAA Fisheries’ Biological Opinion and the Action Agencies’ Implementation Plan for the Updated Proposed Action. It is an ongoing project that has been funded since 2004 and was built on the technical results of an earlier proposal funded in the Council’s Innovative Proposal Category.
The ISRP last reviewed this project in the Province and Mainstem/Systemwide project selection cycle in 2002 and found the proposal to be “fundable in part (Qualified) at a reduced level of support.” The ISRP commented that this research project could provide new and important insights into the early sea-life of salmonids and their use of the ocean environment. In 2003, the Council recommended that this project should not be funded. BPA, however, decided to fund this project albeit with a much smaller budget than originally sought by the sponsor. BPA funded this project for $200,000 in 2004, and $320,000 in 2005. The sponsor has requested $1.5 million for 2006; consequently, BPA and the Council are seeking ISRP review due to the increase in project scope.
The ISRP finds the project fundable in part at a reduced level of funding and deployment of the proposed acoustic tracking array. Deployment should be restricted to the Columbia River Basin and Plume with no deployment of benthic acoustic