This is the ISRP's final review of the "Proposal to Evaluate the Biological Effects of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Mainstem Amendments on the Fisheries Upstream and Downstream of Hungry Horse and Libby Dams, Montana." The proposal was generated by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks in response to the Council's mainstem amendments that directed the region to test, implement, and evaluate an interim summer operation, beginning in the summer 2004, that implements new drafting limits at Hungry Horse and Libby Dams.
The Panel concluded that the proposal would provide useful information on upriver physical and biological effects on resident fish resulting from the Council's proposed changes in dam operations, despite some technical problems. The ISRP recommended the proposal for funding with qualifications that the principal investigators:
- more explicitly plan the strategy for using the existing data and models with updated data and models, and
- identify key indicators of trends in biological responses for early judgments about the nature and magnitude of biological effects.
The ISRP included these qualifications to strengthen the study. In the context of this year's potential implementation, the ISRP did not request to review any further changes to the proposal stemming from this review.
In addition, the ISRP suggested that the Council and the region further examine how the proposed study best fits in the larger study of the tradeoff between the costs and benefits to resident fisheries in Montana/upper Idaho and the costs and benefits to anadromous fish in the lower river under various operational scenarios. The ISRP emphasized that such a study of tradeoffs should include an analysis of the social and economic effects.
Also see preliminary review.