Per the Council's April 2008 request, the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) reviewed the Yakama Nation’s Klickitat Anadromous Fisheries Master Plan, March 2008 revision. The Yakama’s revised Master Plan is intended to address the Council’s Three-Step Review Process (Council document 2001-29) and past ISRP review concerns.
ISRP Review Summary and Recommendation: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
The Yakama Nation’s March 2008 Klickitat Anadromous Fisheries Master Plan is a well-balanced, relatively thorough plan. It includes a large appendix that covers the steps in the Three-Step Review process and explains the Plan’s relationship to the Council’s Scientific Principles, as required.
The Klickitat Anadromous Fisheries Master Plan meets ISRP scientific review criteria and Three-step review criteria with a qualification that elements of the steelhead and spring Chinook natural and artificial production plans need a more detailed explanation. These should include formal decision analysis and consequence tables (i.e., decision trees) to evaluate the program and identify the performance thresholds that would trigger termination. These are needed for both the spring Chinook and steelhead components. These details need to be addressed in the Step review process and can likely be developed for Step 2 rather than in another Step 1 iteration.
Careful thought and planning was evident in the Klickitat Master Plan, which included avenues for adaptive management. The 2008 Master Plan reflects some important advances (compared to the previous drafts reviewed by the ISRP) in thinking from traditional enhancement projects. Goals and targets were presented but require further elaboration and justification in Step 2; for example, it is not clear how the escapement goals, harvest rates, and numbers were derived. Decision management tools would aid that process, along with Consequence Tables to guide management actions and deal with variability and uncertainties in measured and monitored results and actions, including regime shifts and climate change.
One progressive attribute in the Plan is the inclusion of a general suite of habitat improvement strategies for each target species of interest at a variety of scales and levels of complexity (i.e., from headwaters to main channels, from in-channel to floodplain and riparian areas, and from flows, temperatures, and other physical parameters, and so on). Moreover, the Plan includes some thought and apparent analysis (which is not specifically presented, but should be) about the specific habitat improvement activities planned in the Subbasin and within specific stream reaches.
Another progressive attribute is the concession that hatchery supplementation carries some risks that warrant attention as well as the tacit concession that supplementation may fail to achieve its objectives to increase natural productivity. Other conceptual improvements in the Plan include the decisions to delay potential releases of steelhead above Castile Falls for nine years, thus allowing natural colonization a chance to succeed.
Another positive attribute of the Plan is the decision to move away from out-of-basin stocks and toward more local stocks as hatchery broodstock. This is crucial for aboriginal species or stocks (such as native steelhead and spring Chinook) and may also benefit non-native, but desirable introduced species (such as coho and fall Chinook) that are capable of straying to nearby systems. The sponsors have also indicated an interest in creative “incentives” to reduce the take of native steelhead in tribal catch via a 2-for-1 trade of hatchery fish for each native steelhead released unharmed.