At the Council’s November 18, 2009 request, the ISRP reviewed documentation provided by the Yakama Nation to meet qualifications for the Columbia River Fish Accord project, Expanded Multi-Species Acclimation in the Wenatchee/Methow Basins (2009-001-00). These qualifications were raised in the ISRP’s initial review of the proposal, in which the ISRP recommended "Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)" (ISRP 2009-10, March 31, 2009). Specifically, the ISRP found the project narrative adequate to understand the intent of the project, but not enough detail was provided to fully appraise any likely benefits to fish and wildlife. The ISRP recommended that the Yakama Nation provide additional information on four items before the project is implemented. On April 14, 2009, based on the ISRP review, the Council supported this project with the understanding that implementation of the action depend on the outcome of the proposed planning effort (objective 1) and future review by the ISRP and Council.
The ISRP finds that additional documentation Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified).
The ISRP provides the following recommendations on the project proponents' responses to the four ISRP 2009-10 qualifications:
- met the qualification for documentation of the current status of the resource (spring Chinook and summer steelhead) in the two subbasins;
- did not meet the qualification for establishment of clear improvements to the viable salmon population (VSP) parameters for these focal species as a consequence of using long-term acclimation ponds;
- partially met the qualification for monitoring design to evaluate any success; and
- did not meet the qualification for integration of the principles from the Council’s 2009 program, the HSRG findings, the Upper Columbia River Chinook and Steelhead recovery plan, the 2008 BiOp, and impending hatchery biological opinions.
Since the proponents plan to use existing hatchery production, subject to parallel NOAA BiOp evaluation, and existing ponds with minimal modification, the ISRP recommends that deficiencies in meeting these qualifications be addressed in contracting and future project review.