At the request of the Council and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the ISRP completed a review of four proposals seeking Fish and Wildlife Program funding in Fiscal Year 2006 to meet goals specified in the Action Agencies’ Updated Proposed Action (UPA) for the Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion Remand, November 2004. Three of the proposals are habitat projects in the Columbia Cascade Province intended to help achieve tributary habitat metric goals for Upper Columbia spring Chinook and steelhead. These are the Whitehall Wells, Eniat 4-Mile Wells, and Little Bridge Creek Fence proposals. The fourth proposal is for a pilot research, monitoring and evaluation study to achieve specific goals in the lower Columbia River and estuary. A fifth proposal, Project 2003-114-00, Acoustic Tracking for Studying Ocean Survival, was submitted recently, and an ISRP review will be completed in early December.
Two of the Columbia Cascade proposals were previously reviewed by the ISRP (see ISRP 2005-9) but were found to lack sufficient information to conduct a scientific review. Although these two proposals were significantly improved for this review, the ISRP restates its general concern from the earlier review that this type of off-cycle, ad hoc project selection process used to select the Columbia Cascade proposals could erode the improvements in the proposal review process gained over the past eight years with respect to coordination, accountability, transparency, and fairness. The importance of this ISRP comment became especially clear when new ISRP members, who were first time reviewers, asked questions about how the projects were selected and prioritized over other potential actions and strategies.
ISRP reviews are based on a determination that projects:
- are based on sound science principles,
- benefit fish and wildlife,
- have a clearly defined objective and outcome,
- include provisions for monitoring and evaluation of results, and
- are consistent with the Council’s fish and wildlife program.
In the attached document, the ISRP provides comments and recommendations on the individual proposals. In summary, the ISRP finds the Entiat and Whitehall Wells proposals to be fundable, the Little Bridge Creek Fence proposal to be partially fundable, and the Estuary RM&E Pilot Study to be not fundable