Per the Council's request, attached is the ISRP's review of the Monitoring and Evaluation Plan for Northeast Oregon Hatchery Imnaha and Grande Ronde Subbasin Spring Chinook Salmon (March 1, 2004) as part of the Step 2 Review of the NEOH Spring Chinook Master Plan. This Monitoring and Evaluation Plan is the fourth NEOH core team submittal/response regarding issues that were identified by the ISRP as requiring further explanation or clarification during the ISRP's initial review (July 2000) of the NEOH Master Plan. Earlier responses addressed issues regarding the monitoring and evaluation plan's genetic breeding plan; harvest framework, forecasting, and escapement goals; and other issues. However, those previous NEOH submittals did not constitute a complete monitoring and evaluation plan that provided adequate detail to allow for a technical review.
The ISRP's overall response is that this document is an excellent working draft of a stand-alone M&E Plan for the NEOH hatchery Imnaha and Grande Ronde subbasin spring Chinook salmon program. The NEOH core team was successful in collating a single integrated document, describing general methods and data to be collected, and explaining how these data would be used as an evaluation of the NEOH program. The ISRP appreciates the effort that has gone into planning for M&E in the face of numerous ongoing projects, the need to meet 2000 BiOp directives, and the need to evaluate the effectiveness of the supplementation project, harvest, escapement, spawning success, etc.
The ISRP further compliments the authors for being among the first to bring the modern EMAP probabilistic sampling procedures into the Columbia Basin. For example, in so far as we are aware, this plan is to be the first use in the Columbia Basin of a rotating panel design to balance the needs of status (more random sites) and trend (more repeat sites) monitoring. The ISRP strongly endorses the authors' development of the EMAP-type probabilistic sampling scheme for redd counts to complement current surveys. The plan appropriately calls for selection of random sites outside the traditional survey areas to be surveyed for redds in each subbasin. In summary, although the ISRP raises several yet-to-be-fully-resolved issues and offers other comments for consideration, this Plan provides a good example of a monitoring program that could be used as a model for program development throughout the basin.
The ISRP believes that the main remaining issues to be considered and refined in the final Step 3 submittal of the M&E Plan are:
- more thorough prioritization of monitoring and evaluation efforts;
- further scoping of the power and resolution that can be expected for the metrics that are to be measured, given constraints of sampling and inherent variance, and use of this information to inform decisions as to sampling intensity and the priority of evaluation metrics;
- consideration of full use of the suite of descriptors of outcomes (e.g., reports of primary data and thorough statistical description of derived summary metrics), rather than simply hypothesis tests at p = 0.05);
- assurance that sample sizes are adequate for the metrics that comprise the core evaluation of the final Plan;
- development of a clear plan for integrating evaluation metrics into adaptive management of the program, including a decision tree or other representation of clearly stated decision triggers and actions that would result in program modification (or even termination, if warranted);
- and development of procedures and protocols for implementing the plan