As requested by the Council on October 5, 2004, attached is the ISRP's review of the final draft "Comprehensive Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Plan for Umatilla Subbasin Summer Steelhead and Chinook Salmon." The draft plan is a culmination of a collaborative effort between the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservations (CTUIR). It describes the proposed future research, monitoring and evaluation (RM&E) needed to assess Umatilla Subbasin salmonid management activities.
The ISRP compliments the many contributors to the document. An excellent effort has been made with respect to the ISRP recommendation that the RM&E Plan shift from an internal evaluation of hatchery operations to include field sampling and surveys where the emphasis should be on fish and fisheries. The document is well organized, informative, and nearly comprehensive. In general, we support the Plan and judge that the Plan substantially satisfies the Council's conditions associated with funding the Umatilla Hatchery Monitoring and Evaluation Project (#199000500), with the exception of M&E of "Flow Augmentation" (see specific comments below) and prioritization of RM&E activities. Also, we judge that this Plan is adequate to satisfy RM&E needs for steelhead and Chinook salmon in the Umatilla Basin Natural Production Monitoring and Evaluation Project (#199000501), again with reservations concerning M&E for flow augmentation and prioritization of activities. The Umatilla RM&E Plan shares with the Umatilla Subbasin Plan, the problem that priorities for RM&E activities have not been set.
The Plan does a good job of outlining an RM&E program that will provide the information necessary to evaluate the hatchery program, the resulting natural spawning, supplementation, and some habitat improvement measures. It provides a logical, scientifically sound procedure for establishing a monitoring program in the Umatilla Subbasin and as such is fundable. The ISRP expressed a number of serious concerns about the proposal in its previous review. In general, most of the concerns have been addressed reasonably well. However, the ISRP makes several recommendations to improve the plan that should be addressed as the plan moves to implementation.