The attached report contains the ISRP’s review of seven proposals for research in the Columbia River Estuary. These projects are proposed for implementation through the Corps’ Columbia River Fisheries Mitigation (CRFM) Program, specifically the Anadromous Fish Evaluation Program (AFEP). ISRP review of projects under this program was directed in the 1998 U.S. Congress Senate-House conference report for the fiscal year 1999 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. The ISRP’s review responsibilities are also incorporated in the Council’s 2009 Fish and Wildlife Program. This review was requested by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Council staff in August 2010, pursuant to the ISRP’s review charge.
This review is a follow-up to the ISRP’s review of six of these seven projects conducted in January and February 2010 (ISRP 2010-6). In that preliminary review, we requested a response on a variety of concerns from five of the proposals. Because of time constraints with project implementation, the Corps, Council, and ISRP agreed that the projects should address the ISRP’s concerns in 2011 proposals rather than respond immediately to the ISRP. Thus, this current review looks at not only the justification for future research implementation but also how the projects addressed the ISRP’s concerns. The ISRP found that five of the seven proposals met scientific review criteria with some qualifications, one review was deferred to an ISRP review of an upcoming draft report, and one proposal did not meet scientific review criteria. With that one exception, the project proponents made a good effort to respond to the ISRP's earlier concerns.
In the February 2010 ISRP review of AFEP estuary projects, the ISRP provided overall comments on the proposal set. Many of these comments on the review process and proposal content still apply and should be considered in designing future reviews of AFEP projects.