also see Appendix A - Comments on Proposals
The Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) evaluated nearly 400 proposals submitted for funding within the Northwest Power Planning Council’s (NPPC or Council) Fish and Wildlife Program (FWP). As a result of our evaluation, we placed the individual proposals in one of three categories: adequate, inadequate, or inadequate but adequate purpose. At least 40% of the proposals fell into the two inadequate categories. We present these findings to emphasize to the Council the existence of a major problem. The first step towards a solution to the problem of inadequate proposals is a concerted effort to make all project managers aware of the importance of preparing technically adequate proposals. Several of our recommendations address this step. The second step, if needed, will be to withhold funding from projects represented by technically inadequate proposals. The ISRP is not recommending that step this year.
This report contains several important observations, including:
- The proposals related to artificial propagation were generally inadequate. The ISRP deferred making any recommendations relative to specific hatchery programs until the comprehensive review of artificial propagation is complete.
- A large number of habitat restoration projects were not guided by the findings of a watershed assessment as the ISRP recommended in its 1997 report. The ISRP revisited its 1997 recommendation regarding watershed assessment and strengthened it for this report.
- In its review of Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority’s (CBFWA) Annual Implementation Work Plan, the ISRP identified nine projects assigned to Tier 2 or 3 that should be included in Tier 1 (Table 1).
- Some of the ISRP’s recommendations are designed to expedite or improve the peer review process. For example, we recommended a multi-year funding process for specific projects or groups of projects.
- The region has been implementing the FWP for 16 years; yet the ISRP noted that progress towards the program’s goals is not reported in the Annual Implementation Work Plan. One of our recommendations urges the Council to correct that oversight.
We also recommended the Council take specific steps to encourage the submission of innovative proposals.