The attached report contains the ISRP’s review of the Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program’s (CHaMP) salmonid habitat survey protocols and the ISRP’s impressions from the February 10, 2011, workshop that addressed the protocols and other issues relevant to CHaMP and the Integrated Status and Effectiveness Monitoring Program (ISEMP).
The ISRP has reviewed the ISEMP program or components of this program on several occasions. However, 2010 was the ISRP’s first opportunity to examine CHaMP as part of the Categorical RME solicitation. In its review, the ISRP complimented the CHaMP emphasis on developing standardized data collection methods and spatially balanced and randomized sampling to bring more consistency to monitoring efforts in the Columbia River Basin. However, details on sampling methods, site selection, and data management had not at the time been completely formulated. Therefore, the ISRP recommended the project with the following qualification: "The ISRP recommends that ISEMP organize a one-day workshop to discuss the CHaMP approach with the ISRP/ISAB and others. A draft of CHaMP should be circulated to the ISRP/ISAB before the workshop. Specific issues at the workshop should include how previously collected data can be or have been incorporated into CHaMP databases. It would also be useful to summarize how ISEMP priorities have evolved over the years, as well as a publication strategy."
On January 25, 2011, CHaMP partners completed a 2011 Working Version 1.0 Scientific Protocol for Salmonid Habitat Surveys within the Columbia Habitat Monitoring Program. The protocols were sent to a variety of federal, state, and tribal habitat monitoring organizations for comments. On February 10, 2011, the CHaMP workshop took place in Portland with broad representation including a group of ISRP members interested in habitat restoration, CHaMP partner representatives and interested parties, and two Council members and several Council staff. After the workshop, the ISRP received copies of comments on the CHaMP protocols from several state, federal, and tribal organizations with an interest in basinwide habitat monitoring. The ISRP used these materials and information from the workshop to conduct its review.
The ISRP found that CHaMP is an ambitious monitoring project that attempts to provide long-term habitat status and trend data needed to relate changes in fish populations to tributary habitat restoration actions over a large portion of anadromous salmonid habitat in the Columbia River Basin. It is an important companion to the ISEMP project, even though CHaMP and ISEMP sampling locations are not always the same.
The ISRP was impressed by many aspects of the CHaMP sampling protocols. However, the ISRP notes that consensus among major habitat monitoring organizations with respect to the most effective protocols for tracking habitat attributes and metrics has not yet occurred. The ISRP recommends that the CHaMP team continue its dialog with other monitoring groups to resolve differences in approaches and that consideration be given to designing rigorous field tests of various protocols. The ISRP also suggests that CHaMP devote additional attention to case-by-case inclusion of "non-standard" metrics (e.g., agricultural chemicals) and to developing and testing methods of scaling up site-specific habitat conditions to watershed- and subbasin-scale indicators of habitat quality. The latter could be evaluated in a few pilot subbasins where both habitat and fish populations are well sampled.
Additionally, simulations could be used to examine the properties and sensitivity of large-scale metrics of habitat change, as well as to compare and contrast the conclusions of CHaMP analytical tools (e.g., the SHIRAZ model) with other widely used habitat models such as EDT. The ISRP noted that the most pressing need is to develop robust, accurate relationships between VSP parameters for target fish species and changes in habitat condition that are related to restoration, or continued habitat degradation, in CHaMP watersheds.
The ISRP believes that some CHaMP protocols need additional refinement and testing, and therefore recommend that project partners focus initial activities on a subset of CHaMP watersheds at geographically diverse locations in the Columbia Basin where restoration is occurring and where both habitat and fish population monitoring are sufficiently developed so that CHaMP can build on existing strong RM&E efforts, such as in intensively monitored watersheds. The ISRP would like to review CHaMP after one to two years of data collection to see how field and data management protocols have been modified and how monitoring results are being incorporated into establishing restoration priorities. In addition, the ISRP would like to review the ISEMP "lessons learned" report when it is released.
See report for background on CHaMP and the detailed ISRP evaluation.