Draft Imnaha Subbasin Summary November 30, 2001 Prepared for the Northwest Power Planning Council Subbasin Team Leader


Statement of Fish and Wildlife Needs



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Statement of Fish and Wildlife Needs

The following list(s) include specific immediate or critical needs defined collectively by fish and wildlife resource managers within the Imnaha River subbasin. Needs have been defined to address limiting factors to fish and wildlife, ensure that gaps in current data or knowledge are addressed, enable continuation of existing programs critical to successful management of fish and wildlife resources, and to guide development of new programs to facilitate or enhance fish and wildlife management. The needs have been drafted in a manner designed to streamline agency policies aimed at improving habitat restoration efforts.

Needs have been grouped into three broad categories. Both aquatic and terrestrial needs have been identified, as well as general needs which apply equally to both aquatic and terrestrial resources. The order in which needs are listed in no way implies priority. It is important to note that aquatic and terrestrial needs are separated here for organizational purposes, and are not perceived to be mutually exclusive. Restoration efforts directed at either aquatic or terrestrial resources are likely to impact the ecosystem as a whole. One overriding need, to achieve the various goals, objectives and strategies listed above, is the need for adequate funding.



General Needs


  1. Coordinate implementation and M&E activities within the subbasin to maximize effectiveness and minimize redundancy. Look for ways to improve consistency among projects.

  2. Ensure aquatic and terrestrial subbasin databases are compatible and accessible to all parties.

  3. Continue and improve enforcement by state, federal and tribal entities of laws and codes related to protection of fish and wildlife and their habitats, including increased efforts for in and out-of-season poaching and in road closure areas.
  4. Continue to educate the public and persons or agencies with resource protection obligations regarding natural resource laws, compliance and enforcement.


  5. Development of Federal Recovery Plans for threatened and endangered species to provide recovery guidance for state, tribal and local entities.

  6. Reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the subbasin.

  7. Ensure natural river drawdown strategy alternative is implemented for recovery of listed species.



Aquatic Habitat

Enhancement


  1. Replace culverts that present passage barriers and sediment sources based on a prioritized assessment of existing installations.

  2. Implement restoration efforts designed to achieve the site potential shade and other temperature surrogates identified in the appropriate TMDLs for the subbasin.

  3. Reduce nutrient pollution to achieve the percent reduction targets identified in the appropriate TMDLs for the subbasin.

  4. Using existing assessments, seek out opportunities for cooperative habitat restoration and enhancement projects on public and private land.

  5. Restore, protect, and create riparian, wetland, and floodplain areas within the subbasin and establish connectivity.

  6. Restore in-stream habitat to natural conditions and protect as much as possible to provide suitable holding, spawning, and rearing areas for anadromous and resident fish.

  7. Reduce stream temperature to levels meeting appropriate state standards.

  8. Restore and augment streamflows at critical times using (but not limited to) water right leases, transfers, or purchases, and improved irrigation efficiency.

  9. Reduce stream temperatures where appropriate and when feasible.

  10. Consider additional gauging stations to monitor improvement in flows and temperatures as habitat improvement projects are completed.
  11. Upgrade existing gauging stations to improve access to real-time streamflow and water temperature data.


  12. Reduce sediment, fertilizer and pesticide loading from agricultural practices.

  13. Reduce the impacts of confined animals with regard to waste and sediment production.

  14. Reduce stormwater, road, and urban/suburban sewage impacts to aquatic resources.

  15. Address streambank instability issues where they are defined or can be shown to be a potential problem.

  16. Acquire water rights when opportunities arise to help restore more natural flows to streams within the subbasin.

  17. Reduce road densities and their associated impacts to watershed functions by supporting planned road closures on public land and encouraging closure of other roads.

  18. Implement management plans designed to meet established TMDLs and achieve water quality standards.

  19. Periodically conduct longitudinal water temperature surveys such as with Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR).

  20. Continue long-term water temperature monitoring throughout the subbasin.

  21. Continue compliance and effectiveness monitoring on federal and private land use activities (e.g., mining, grazing, logging, and pollution sources).

  22. Improve understanding of the interaction between ground and surface water sources, especially as it pertains to switching irrigation from surface water to wells.

  23. Need to characterize rearing and spawning habitats and monitor changes in amount and distribution.

  24. Need to evaluate the improvements to adult and juvenile habitat capacity to evaluate success of fish habitat projects.



Planning

  1. Continue to develop and update watershed assessments at multiple scales (i.e. transect, reach, watershed) to facilitate integrated resource management and planning efforts. Ensure that databases used for the development of assessments are sufficiently maintained and available to relevant entities.

Summer Steelhead

Hatchery


  1. Complete genetic profiling within the subbasin to determine population structure, gene flow and genetic diversity within the subbasin.

  2. Continue gene conservation efforts (cryopreservation) for steelhead to preserve genetic diversity within the subbasin.

  3. Redevelop hatchery broodstocks as necessary to meet conservation and harvest augmentation goals.

  4. Need to develop new methods to minimize the impact of hatchery production activities on endemic stocks.

  5. Need to evaluate hatchery production programs to assure that they meet LSRCP compensation goals.

  6. Need to develop Annual Operating Plans and write annual reports for all projects.



Monitoring & Evaluation


  1. Continue and expand efforts to quantify juvenile abundance and smolt-to-adult return rates (SAR) of wild/natural and hatchery reared steelhead.

  2. Continue and expand monitoring of hatchery supplementation and interactions with natural fish.

  3. Need to determine genetic population structure to define steelhead sub-populations within the subbasin.

  4. Use improved statistical sampling techniques to ensure current spawning ground surveys are an appropriate measure of productivity. Using these techniques, reassess escapement and spawner/recruitment goals.

  5. Need to calculate returns per spawner from index surveys to determine if this relationship is improving as smolt passage facilities are modified at Columbia and Snake River dams. Consider alternative approaches to assess population status.

  6. Need to determine life history and movement patterns of steelhead including assessment of adult holding areas, juvenile rearing areas, and juvenile migration patterns.
  7. Need to determine smolt-to-adult survival and survival factors throughout the entire life cycle of summer steelhead, including separating freshwater from ocean survival.


  8. Need to determine extent of hatchery straying within the subbasin to control potentially adverse genetic effects on the endemic population(s).

  9. Need to monitor harvest of steelhead stocks.

  10. Need to determine extent of summer steelhead distribution within the subbasin at various life history stages.

  11. Need to monitor summer steelhead by examining drainage escapements and population trends.

  12. Need to determine life history composition of Oncorhynchus mykiss including the role of resident and anadromous forms to basin-wide production.

  13. Need to evaluate the success of artificial production programs for restoring fisheries and increasing natural spawning populations.


Chinook Salmon (Includes all races unless specifically noted)

Hatchery


  1. Periodically conduct genetic profiling (i.e., population structure, gene flow and genetic similarity) to monitor influence of hatchery stocks on recovery/conservation of natural populations.

  2. Continue gene conservation efforts (cryopreservation) for spring and summer chinook salmon in the subbasin.

  3. Complete NEOH planning and implementation of facility needs in Imnaha subbasin to meet production changes resulting from ESA listings and to meet basin goals.

  4. Develop and implement, if appropriate, a plan to supplement fall chinook populations in the lower Imnaha River and reintroduce fall chinook into historic habitat.

  5. Need to finalize and implement Conventional Broodstock and Captive Broodstock program sliding scales for the management of these programs.

  6. Need to continue to participate in planning, consultation and ESA permitting activities pertaining to Imnaha Basin chinook salmon populations.
  7. Need to collect sufficient numbers of parr and adults for the Imnaha Captive and Conventional Broodstock Programs, respectively.


  8. Need to monitor health of chinook salmon in captivity and develop new treatments and preventative measures for bacterial kidney disease.

  9. Need to develop Annual Operating Plans and write annual reports for all projects.

  10. Need to improve existing acclimation facilities to meet program goals.

  11. Need to modify existing and/or construct additional hatchery facilities to remove current facility limitations to meeting Imnaha hatchery production goals.



Monitoring & Evaluation


  1. Continue and expand efforts to monitor the effectiveness of the chinook salmon captive broodstock and LSRCP and NEOH artificial production programs.

  2. Quantify mortality rates and straying of adult chinook salmon from Lower Granite Dam to natural production areas.

  3. Need to determine smolt-to-adult survival, survival factors, spawning escapement and life history characteristics of natural and hatchery origin spawning populations.

  4. Need to monitor smolt and adult survival and migration characteristics and calculate number of returns per spawner to determine if productivity of natural and hatchery populations is affected by modifications of dams on Columbia and Snake rivers.

  5. Need to monitor spring chinook salmon status by examining population trends and develop modeling and monitoring “tools” to determine stray rates and impacts of hatchery-produced chinook salmon to chinook salmon populations in the Imnaha River.

  6. Need to determine life history and movement patterns of spring chinook salmon within the Imnaha Subbasin, including assessment of adult holding areas, juvenile rearing areas, and juvenile migration patterns.

  7. Need to evaluate effectiveness of experimental hatchery rearing and release treatments.
  8. Need to evaluate the success of Captive and Conventional broodstock programs for restoring fisheries and increasing endemic stocks of spring chinook salmon in Big Sheep and the mainstem Imnaha River. Use continued spawning ground surveys, life history monitoring, fisheries monitoring and other techniques.


  9. Need to monitor and determine success of restoring recreational and tribal fisheries in Imnaha Basin.

  10. Need to determine relative reproductive success of hatchery fish spawning in nature.

  11. Need to monitor spawning distribution and recolonization of vacant habitat.

  12. Need to investigate the development of run size estimate models for harvest allocation decisions.

  13. Need to continue to participate in planning, consultation and ESA permitting activities pertaining to Imnaha Basin chinook salmon populations.

  14. Need to determine seasonal and reach specific survival of smolts in the subbasin.



Coho Salmon


  1. Develop and implement, if appropriate, a plan to reintroduce coho salmon to the Imnaha River subbasin.



Sockeye Salmon


  1. Develop and implement, if appropriate, a plan to reintroduce sockeye salmon to the Imnaha River subbasin.

Bull Trout


  1. Collect life history, distribution, and homing behavior information of bull trout within the subbasin and in relevant core areas.

  2. Evaluate connectivity and the degree of interchange between populations throughout the subbasin. Reestablish connectivity of populations affected by water diversions if feasible.

  3. Monitor core populations to establish trends and measure population response to recovery and restoration activities.

  4. Determine the extent and magnitude of nonnative species interaction and hybridization to better define treatment options.

  5. Continue presence/absence surveys to locate bull trout populations throughout the subbasin.

  6. Assess the relationship between resident and migratory life history forms.

  7. Evaluate ecological interactions between bull trout and anadromous salmonids.
  8. Determine survival rates of bull trout between life stages and assess productivity.


  9. Determine water temperature associations of migratory bull trout.



Redband Trout


  1. Investigate potential existence of redband trout in the subbasin.



Lamprey (brook and Pacific)


  1. Conduct presence/absence surveys for lamprey in the Imnaha subbasin

  2. Develop and implement a plan to reintroduce lamprey to the Imnaha River subbasin.

  3. Determine habitat requirements and limiting factors for Pacific lamprey production in the subbasin.

  4. Assess the rehabilitation potential of Pacific lamprey in the subbasin.

  5. Assess the rehabilitation process for Pacific lamprey in the subbasin.



Mountain Whitefish


  1. Assess abundance, distribution, population dynamics, life history, and genetic characteristics.

  2. Evaluate ecological interactions between mountain whitefish and anadromous salmonids.

  3. Determine water temperature associations of resident and migratory life history forms.



Exotic Species


  1. Determine distribution of introduced non-native species and their effects on native salmonids.

  2. Assess overall predation on salmonids by exotic species.



Nutrient Cycling


  1. Implement cooperative programs to reintroduce anadromous fish carcasses to the ecosystem.

    2. Support cooperative efforts to benefit anadromous fish runs.



Wildlife / Terrestrial Needs

  • Acquire lands when opportunities arise for improved habitat protection, restoration, and connectivity and for mitigation of lost wildlife habitat (land purchases, land trusts, conservation easements, landowner cooperative agreements, exchanges).


  • Implement and (where applicable) continue noxious weed control programs.

  • Assist landowners with land holdings and easements for restoration and enhancement of wildlife habitat.

  • Mitigate hydropower impacts on loss of wildlife and wildlife habitats, including indirect impacts caused by the introduction of cheap power and water to the subbasin.

  • Participate in threatened, endangered, and sensitive species recovery or conservation strategy efforts in the subbasin.



Ponderosa pine communities


  • Acquire lands when opportunities arise for improved habitat protection, restoration, and connectivity for ponderosa pine communities and for mitigation of lost wildlife habitat for ponderosa pine associated species (land purchases, land trusts, conservation easements, landowner cooperative agreements, exchanges).

  • Work with landowners and managers to restore ponderosa pine communities

  • Create and maintain large diameter snags in ponderosa pine communities.

  • Participate in a cooperative stewardship program to foster ponderosa pine protection.

Native prairie ecosystems


  • Acquire lands when opportunities arise for improved habitat protection, restoration, and connectivity for native prairie ecosystems and for mitigation of lost wildlife habitat for native prairie ecosystem associated species (land purchases, land trusts, conservation easements, landowner cooperative agreements, exchanges).

  • Work with landowners and managers to restore native prairie ecosystems

  • Support native plant nurseries and seedbanks

  • Support continued restoration of native prairie flora (i.e. sharp-tail grouse) and fauna (Spalding’s catch fly).

Classified Wetlands

  • Acquire lands when opportunities arise for improved habitat protection, restoration, and connectivity for classified wetlands and for mitigation of lost wildlife habitat for classified wetland associated species (land purchases, land trusts, conservation easements, landowner cooperative agreements, exchanges).


  • Protect, restore and create wetland and riparian habitat particularly in lower elevation riparian areas.

  • Participate in a cooperative stewardship program to foster classifier wetland community protection.



Noxious weeds


  • Monitor the spread of and evaluate the effectiveness of noxious weed control programs.

  • Continue control programs for noxious weeds to restore natural habitat conditions and communities for wildlife species.

  • Develop an information and education stewardship program for noxious weeds.

Loss of legacy resources


  • Work with landowners and managers to retain late successional habitats on state, and private lands (land exchanges, conservation easements).

  • Develop and implement active management prescriptions to restore and promote late successional habitats.

  • Develop an information and education stewardship program to foster late seral community protection

Roads


  • Reduce road densities through closures, obliteration, and reduced construction.

  • Support planned road closures on public land and encourage closure of other roads.

  • Improve enforcement of road closures.

Loss of Nutrients


  • Implement programs to reintroduce anadromous fish carcasses to the ecosystem.
  • Support cooperative efforts that benefit both anadromous fish and wildlife populations.





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