Lower Columbia River Opportunistic Assessment of High Flow Events

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					  Columbia River Project Water Use Plan

  Monitoring Program Terms of Reference

 COLUMBIA RIVER WHITE STURGEON
 MANAGEMENT PLAN

 •   CLBMON-30 – Lower Columbia River Opportunistic Assessment
     of High Flow Events




January 7, 2009
Columbia River Project Water Use Plan – Revelstoke Flow Management Plan
Monitoring Program Terms of Reference                                            January 7, 2009



                  Monitoring Program No. CLBMON-30
           Lower Columbia River Opportunistic Assessment of
                           High Flow Events
1.0     MONITORING PROGRAM RATIONALE
        The white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) population residing in the lower
        Columbia River is one of four endangered populations listed under the Canadian
        Species at Risk Act in 2006. The distribution of this subpopulation is limited to
        downstream of the Hugh L. Keenleyside (HLK) Dam to the US/Canada border
        (Hildebrand et al. 1999). The current level of natural reproduction and subsequent
        recruitment in this population is considered insufficient to maintain a self-sustaining
        population (Irvine et al. 2007; Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative
        (UCWSRI) 2002). This subpopulation of white sturgeon is estimated to become
        functionally extinct by 2044 in the absence of effective recovery measures (UCWSRI
        2002). Accordingly, intervention has been deemed as essential to preclude extinction
        and to develop a self-sustaining population (UCWSRI 2002, Hammond and Spence
        2004, Wood et al. 2007).

        Reductions in natural and historical freshet patterns has the potential to affect adult
        white sturgeon spawning migrations, spawning site selection, timing, or fertilization
        success. Changes in adult demographics are further compounded by observations of
        poor early life stage survival and subsequent recruitment failure for several
        populations of white sturgeon (Irvine et al. 2007; Paragamian et al. 2005). Water
        management of the Columbia River for flood control and hydroelectric power has
        resulted in substantial habitat changes (e.g., turbidity, substrate distribution, flow
        regimes) since the building of the Canadian Columbia River Treaty dams starting in
        1968. Collectively, the treaty and other dams and power plants controlled by various
        stakeholders have substantially reduced total average flows during white sturgeon
        spawning and incubation periods, with increased variability in daily flow rates due to
        flood control, storage, and load following operations. Historical flow events are
        characterized by high peak events followed by gradually descending flows. Water
        management on the Columbia River has altered this flow pattern and natural
        increases in water temperatures have been diminished except during high runoff
        events. Furthermore, much of the historical riverine habitat downstream of the
        Waneta spawning site (Figure CLBMON-30-1) has been seasonally inundated by
        Lake Roosevelt since 1941. Natural suspended sediment transport capability has
        been interrupted by reservoirs, and limited evidence suggests that total suspended
        solids (TSS) turbidity has been decreased during the sturgeon spawning and
        incubation periods. This is of critical concern as decreases in turbidity have been
        shown to increase rates of predation on white sturgeon larvae (Gadomski and
        Parsley 2005). The effects of modifying flow regimes away from natural patterns on
        white sturgeon movements has been relatively understudied in the lower Columbia
        River and warrants further investigation.




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Figure CLBMON-30-1. Vicinity map illustrating a portion of the Columbia River, occupancy by white
sturgeon, the study area (downstream of Hugh Keenleyside Dam), and the white sturgeon spawning site
downstream of Waneta Dam.




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        The Columbia River Water Use Plan Consultative Committee (CRWUP CC)
        recommended that priority be placed on conservation and recovery efforts of white
        sturgeon (CRWUP CC 2005). The return of a more natural freshet hydrograph
        involving a target flow of 200 kcfs at the Canada/ United States border for a minimum
        of one month during typical spawning periods (June to July) was considered as a
        possible recovery option by the CC. This natural freshet pattern and associated
        water quality conditions (e.g. water temperature and turbidity) are hypothesized to
        promote adult spawning migration, facilitate natural reproduction, reduce rates of
        predation on larvae and juveniles, and improve natural egg/larvae/juvenile rearing
        habitats. However, delivery of this natural freshet would require substantial changes
        from the current treaty operations of HLK Dam and would be very costly
        ($15-20 million). In recognition of its high value power generation, the Columbia
        River was designated during the WUP process as a working river and as such, major
        changes to the hydrograph were restricted (O’Riordan 2001). The CC shifted their
        focus to possible physical works and more limited flow management responses. To
        address concerns regarding reduced flows, the CC recommended assessment of
        important white sturgeon demographic and biological parameters during high flow
        events on an opportunistic basis (CRWUP CC 2005). This data, compared to
        reference years, would allow for the development of a more adaptive management
        strategy that could be implemented in years of higher predicted flows.

1.1     Introduction
        The study area for this project is the 56 km reach of the Columbia River between
        HLK Dam and the US/Canada border (Figure CLBMON-30-1). This lower Columbia
        River reach supports between 900 and 1400 wild adults (UCWSRI 2005). Golder
        (2005) estimated that there were approximately 1,157 adult sturgeon (95% C.I. 414-
        1899) occupying the reach between HLK Dam and the US border, and estimated
        another 2,295 (C.I. 1528-3574) sturgeon between Grand Coulee Dam and the
        border. These estimates were qualified and updated to 948 and 2,003 for the two
        subpopulations, respectively by Wood et al. (2007). There has been some evidence
        documenting transboundary movement of adults from these two subpopulations
        (Golder Associates 2006).

        Within this reach of river, spawning locations have been identified at the confluence
        with the Pend d’Oreille River next to the Waneta Eddy (UCWSRI 2002), and recently
        upstream of Kinnaird, near Castlegar, B.C., as demonstrated by the capture of a
        single larval sturgeon in each of 2007 and 2008 during freshet flows (Larry
        Hildebrand, Golder Associates, pers. comm. 2008). An additional spawning site has
        been documented south in the US near Northport, Washington (Howell and McLellan
        2006). Higher flows events may increase the number of spawning events occurring,
        the number of spawning sites used, and may increase survival at the egg, larval, and
        juvenile stages. Unfortunately, the effects of higher flows have yet to be evaluated.
        Unmarked larvae and juveniles have been collected in the US below Northport and in
        the upper reaches of Lake Roosevelt, demonstrating that limited juvenile survival
        occurs from spawning at one or more of the documented sites during reference years
        (Jason McLellan, WDFW, pers. comm. 2007). Several lower Columbia River
        sturgeon recruitment failure hypotheses have been tied to the post-hydroelectric dam
        hydrograph including predation of eggs and larvae, changes to habitat suitable for
        larvae and juveniles, and juvenile food availability. If these hypotheses are accurate,
        alterations in the spawning period hydrograph to provide higher and more prolonged



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        flows should provide for greater juvenile survival. Although other threats may exist,
        the construction of treaty dams starting in 1969 corresponds with reduced freshet
        volumes and decreased recruitment (R.L. & L. 1994), suggesting egg and juvenile
        survival should increase with higher and more prolonged flows during spawning,
        incubation, hiding, and dispersal to the juvenile feeding stage.

        The CC recommended a budget of $75,000/year for two years for the planning,
        coordination and implementation of opportunistic assessments of high flows (CC
        2005). Since that recommendation, various approaches to assessing recruitment
        success associated with high flow events have been discussed, including monitoring
        of changes in water quality, erosion effects, egg deposition, larval and juvenile
        survival both in Canada and the US. Schedule F(1)(h) of the Columbia River WUP
        Implementation Order (Mattison 2007) specifies that BC Hydro “create a plan that will
        assess on an opportunistic basis the effects of high flow events in the lower
        Columbia river on egg, larval and juvenile sturgeon survival”. As such, the objective
        of this study is to monitor adult, larval and juvenile white sturgeon demographic
        variables opportunistically when spring freshets are predicted to reach a level of
        200 kcfs for a period of one month.

1.2     Management Questions
        Key management uncertainties encountered during development of the Columbia
        River Water Use Plan included how the operations of HLK Dam may adversely affect
        spawning habitat suitability for adult sturgeon, spawning incidence and success,
        juvenile survival, and ultimately, recruitment failure of white sturgeon in the lower
        Columbia River.

        Fundamental management questions to be addressed through this opportunistic
        assessment of high flows (in the range of 200 kcfs or more) are as follows:

        1) Are there unidentified spawning sites in the lower Columbia River that are used
           during higher flows?

        2) How does the interaction among presumed subpopulations of sturgeon in the
           lower Columbia River change during high flow events?

        3) Are probabilities of survival higher at the egg stage in years of higher flows?

        4) What effects do higher flows have on recruitment to the larval stage?

        5) What is the effect (and associated mechanisms) of higher flows on juvenile
           survival in the lower Columbia River?

1.3     Management Hypotheses
        The following hypotheses may be used to guide this multipurpose monitoring study at
        both the adult and juvenile stages:




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        Adult Sturgeon Spawning Hypotheses

        Ho1:    Opportunistic high flows will improve sturgeon spawning success (as
                demonstrated by increased egg and larval captures) in the lower Columbia
                River reach.

        Ho2:    Opportunistic high flows result in sturgeon spawning at alternative site(s)
                between Hugh Keenleyside Dam and Waneta Eddy.

        Ho3:    Spawning at locations in the upper sections of the river will provide a greater
                reach of free flowing river for dispersal of early life stages, which will increase
                early life stage survival rates and promote natural recruitment.

        Ho4:    Adult white sturgeon in the lower Columbia River upstream of Grand Coulee
                Dam will interact as a single interbreeding population in years including peak
                flows in the range of 200kcfs with migration occurring over longer distances
                and a higher proportion of spawning occurring in more upstream sections of
                the lower Columbia River.

        Early Life Stage Hypotheses

        Ho1:    Opportunistic high flows will have a positive effect on embryo survival in the
                lower Columbia River reach.

        Ho2:    High flows will result in increased embryo survival and subsequently
                increased free-embryo and larval captures.

        Ho3:    High flows result in free-embryos and larvae being dispersed over a wider
                geographical area compared to reference years, exposing them to increased
                and varying threats to survival.

        Ho4:    Higher flows increase probabilities of survival for juvenile (3 months+) white
                sturgeon.

1.4     Key Water Use Decision Affected
        Information gained through this opportunistic assessment, when compared to the
        baseline information acquired through other lower Columbia River sturgeon
        monitoring programs, may be used to 1) test existing and develop additional credible
        recruitment failure hypotheses, 2) develop new or modify proposed physical works
        options for recruitment failure, or 3) develop possible options for modest, periodic,
        and clearly focused operational remedies for recruitment failure.

2.0     MONITORING PROGRAM PROPOSAL

2.1     Objective and Scope
        The Fish Technical Subcommittee was reconvened in November 2004 to further
        define the scope of the opportunistic assessment of high flow events. The
        Subcommittee agreed that the program should include the following elements:




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            1) detection of spawning events,

            2) juvenile detection,

            3) water quality sampling, and

            4) monitoring of erosion and flood impacts associated with the high flow events.

        It was recognized that juvenile detection and water quality data was being obtained
        through other WUP monitoring programs being delivered in the lower Columbia River
        (i.e., Juvenile Sturgeon Detection Program - CLBMON#29, and Physical Habitat
        Monitoring Program - CLBMON#44). Further, it was agreed that, as there was no
        reasonable, reliable technique for sampling larvae, this component of the program
        should be dropped.

        The UCWSRI Technical Working Group (TWG) provided an outline of their vision of
        the adult and juvenile monitoring program in the lower Columbia River (UCWSRI
        2002). It was recommended that annual or semi-annual monitoring of adult spawning
        activity and juvenile survival be undertaken. However, the scope of these programs
        (CLBMON#28 and #29) has been limited to bi-annual monitoring of spawning activity
        and juvenile survival due to budgetary constraints placed on this work.

        Based on the CWR Order and recommendations of the UCWSRI, additional effort
        will need to be expended on this program to ensure collection of adequate baseline
        data, and consistency in effort across all years (reference years and high flow years).
        Specifically, objectives of this work are to:

        •   Identify alternative lower Columbia River spawning site(s) identified through the
            telemetric monitoring of adult movements in both high flow years and low flow
            years (CLBMON#28).

            •   Through addition of sufficient resources to the existing adult monitor program
                (CLBMON#28) to provide for monitoring of changes in adult movement during
                high flow events.

        •   Compare habitat conditions of spawning and egg distribution locations during
            high flow years compared to reference years.

            •   Through addition of sufficient resources to the existing adult monitor program
                (CLBMON#28) to provide for monitoring of changes in spawning events and
                egg distribution during high flow events.

        •   Comparison of juvenile abundance, growth and survival associated with high flow
            years compared to reference years (as represented by 2+ year old juveniles).

            •   Through addition of sufficient resources to the existing juvenile survival
                program (CLBMON#29) to provide for monitoring of juvenile abundance,
                growth and survival two years following high flow events.




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2.2     Approach
        During the November 2004 meeting, the Fish Technical Subcommittee defined a
        decision rule for triggering opportunistic assessments of high flow events for white
        sturgeon in the lower Columbia River based on volume runoff forecasts.

        Volume runoff forecasts for the Mica, Revelstoke, Arrow, Duncan and Kootenay
        basins are combined with the U.S. forecasts for Libby and the Pend d’Oreille River,
        and are available through the U.S. River Forecast Center. The published runoff
        volume forecasts for the Columbia River at the International boundary are for
        January-September, April-September, and April-July. The Subcommittee
        recommended that the April-July forecasts be used as the best indicator for decision-
        making around initiation of the opportunistic assessments. It was noted that the first
        reliable runoff forecast is available by 1 April. This would provide the one-month lead-
        time required for planning and mobilization of field crews.

        Based on long-term (1929-1999) flow records for the Columbia River at the
        International Boundary, the April-July runoff volume has an average runoff of
        55.0 MAF. If, on average, the wettest 20% of the years are selected for the sturgeon
        studies, then the studies should be initiated whenever the April-July runoff forecast is
        at or above 15% above normal. The problem with this simplistic approach is that, if
        this rule was applied to the decade 1990-1999, the studies would have been initiated
        in 4 out of 10 years and conversely, if it was applied to the decade 1934-1943, no
        studies would be have initiated. The subcommittee, therefore, recommended that
        BC Hydro go “on alert” whenever the runoff forecast is 10% above normal and a
        decision to initiate the studies (at that time) be based on consultation with other
        stakeholders. In the event that there has not been a high runoff year for 4-5 years,
        consideration should be given to reducing the threshold value.

        Several logistical complications confound the ability to deliver on the ToR objectives
        during opportunistic years where flows reach 200 kcfs for a minimum of one month.
        First, the ability to forecast flow patterns is limited to the period just adjacent to
        natural spawning times. Currently, it is hypothesized that opportunistic high flows
        may only occur once or twice over the next 10 years. If sampling in one of these
        years was missed (or abbreviated), it would reduce the ability to draw comparisons
        between high and low flow years due to inadequate replication. Secondly,
        interactions between water management, flood control and various hydropower
        activities may reduce flows following implementation of work potentially limiting the
        ability to draw conclusions about the effects of higher flow patterns. Finally, juvenile
        monitoring is an integral part of the program because even if higher numbers of
        spawning events are recorded, it cannot be assumed that this translates into higher
        recruitment at the juvenile stage. Furthermore, current collection efforts for naturally
        recruited juveniles are relatively inefficient, indicating that further work is needed to
        refine sampling methods and locations.

        To address these concerns regarding implementation and delivery of the work,
        additional effort will be expended on the adult and juvenile monitoring programs
        across all years in order to provide data on movement, spawning activity, and
        survival that could be compared across varying flow regimes. The approach and
        rationale unique to each of these two sampling stages, adults and juvenile, is
        described below in Task 2.




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2.3     Tasks

2.3.1   Task 1: Project Planning and Coordination
        Planning for and coordinating of general administrative and technical oversight of the
        monitoring program will include but not be limited to 1) budget management, 2) study
        team selection, 3) logistic coordination, 4) technical oversight in field and analysis
        components, and 5) data management and facilitation of data transfer.

        A safety plan must be developed and submitted to the BC Hydro project manager for
        all aspects of the study involving field work in accordance with BC Hydro procedures
        and guidelines. Specific safety training may be required.

        Decision rules for years of high flow

        In years of high flow, effort will be made to reach the upper limit of 200 kcfs for a
        period of one month.

        The decision criteria will be as follows.

        1) When the March final volume runoff estimate is 10% or more above the average
           April - July average of 55 million acre feet at the Canada/US border, BC Hydro
           goes “on alert” that the program may be initiated in that year.

        2) When the April 1 final volume runoff forecast is estimated at 15% or more than
           the April - July average of 55 million acre feet at the border, the monitoring
           program is to be initiated and efforts made to maintain the high flow for a period
           of one month.

        3) When above normal snow loads, a cool spring and summer, and a suitable
           precipitation pattern provide the opportunity; an opportunistic high flow
           (maintenance of high flows for as long as possible) will be pursued.

2.3.2   Task 2: Study Design
        Monitoring programs CLBMON#28 (adult sturgeon monitoring) and CLBMON#29
        (juvenile sturgeon monitoring) are intended to obtain baseline information under
        current river operating conditions, and their budgets do not reflect the need for
        increased sampling efforts in high flow years. Thus, additional funding will be
        required to address the requirements of this monitoring program. The additional
        funding will also address the issue that after 2012 when these complementary
        programs are scaled back, a greater level of funding will be available to continue this
        monitoring program during those years. Thus, the study design should reflect levels
        of effort for adults and juveniles each intended to gather similar information across
        years (and varying flow patterns).

        Handling of captured sturgeon

        Since white sturgeon in the Columbia River are Red Listed Provincially and now
        listed as endangered under SARA, care must be taken to protect sturgeon from
        injury or mortality related to sampling. Under SARA, planned injury for data




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        collection, such as DNA tissue sampling, must be pre-approved and permitted by the
        Fisheries and Oceans. Unexpected mortalities must be reported promptly to the
        responsible authorities and to BC Hydro project managers. The activity, if not
        addressed by permits, must be immediately suspended pending approval to re-
        commence.

        Each fish handled should be measured to the nearest 1 cm, fork length, and weighed
        within 1 kg. In addition, any scute mark, PIT tag, and tag identifier numbers should
        be recorded for each fish. A marking protocol has been developed in consultation
        with the Technical Working Group. External body condition must be recorded
        according to the accepted protocols of B.C. Ministry of Environment (2003).

        Expansion of broodstock collection

        Certain activities such as broodstock collection will need to be supplemented to
        provide opportunity to affix additional transmitters to adult white sturgeon predicted to
        spawn in the same year. This would be conducted in 2009 and 2011 when additional
        funding is available to increase effort and purchase additional acoustic equipment.
        Advanced acquisition and storage of essential equipment such as additional acoustic
        transmitters (Vemco model VR16) and remote receivers (Vemco model VR2W) will
        be necessary to assure problems with mobilization and timely delivery of these
        objectives are avoided. Procedures, agreements and permitting requirements should
        be addressed for activities that must be performed in the U.S. by April 1.

        An additional week of effort will be required to expand current adult tagging efforts
        normally limited to that necessary to meet broodstock collection needs (Lower
        Columbia Sturgeon Culture, CLBWORKS#34). This will allow an additional 25
        transmitters to be tagged on sturgeon judged to be in spawning condition in coming
        years. It is envisioned that tagging a mixture of males and females, as males will
        likely spawn more frequently over the course of the transmitter’s operational life
        (~10 years) than females. These transmitters will be purchased in late winter 2009
        and 2011, and made available to field crews for tagging immediately. In order to
        remove potential spatial sampling bias, broodstock collection will be expanded to
        include areas in the lower Columbia that have not been sampled in recent years.
        Furthermore, collection of adults for transmitters will occur prior to, and throughout
        the broodstock collection program to ensure that tagging occurs over as large a
        temporal scale as possible.

        Monitoring adult movement and spawning activity during high flows

        The opportunistic assessment was originally envisioned as being limited to detecting
        spawning events using substrate egg mats at a single spawning site within Canada,
        at the Pend d’Oreille confluence site. Currently, there at least three spawning sites in
        the lower Columbia River (two in Canada), and new information from other
        populations suggests the species will expand to additional spawning locations when
        flow conditions are suitable. The CWR also ordered monitoring of early life stages in
        response to high flow events. As such, this section of the ToR is designed to assess
        high flow effects on adult movements, spawning activity, and egg and larval survival.

        Adult sturgeon may spawn in more locations during high water events. If additional
        spawning sites have been documented prior to high flow events, those sites should




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        be included in the monitoring package, as well as those that are characterized by
        habitat potentially suitable for spawning. Adult movement should be monitored for
        indications of additional spawning site use (as part of CLBMON #28) through
        positioning of automated receivers and through manual tracking when possible. For
        budgetary purposes, it has been assumed that three spawning sites will require
        monitoring during high flow events and that additional resources will be required
        even in those years when spawn monitoring is already planned. At least one of these
        spawning locations may be located in the US (the existing Northport site).

        As the adult sturgeon spawn monitoring is designed to obtain baseline information
        during low flow years to serve as a comparison to years of higher flow, it may require
        additional funds and redirection of funds to provide similar information during high
        water years. The following is a reiteration of the work to be performed during
        spawning monitoring as outlined in CLBMON#28 TOR, and applicable to this
        program:

        Monitoring of spawning activity at the Waneta site will continue annually from 2008
        through 2012 and repeated in 2014, 2016 and 2018. This work will include strategic
        placement of substrate mats for egg collection and D-ring drift nets for early life stage
        collection that will be monitored daily. This monitoring will provide information on the
        number of spawning events as indicated by egg captures on the mats, annual trends
        in reproductive potential, and early life stages captured downstream of the spawning
        locations. The substrate mat and D-ring net arrays that are currently used under
        CLBMON 28 and 29 will be expanded through the addition of extra funds to include
        sites that are defined as potential spawning sites based upon adult movement data.
        If during the adult movement task there is indication of spawning anywhere upstream
        of Waneta Eddy, as evidenced by an abrupt downstream movement of radio tagged
        females, both substrate mats and D-ring nets will be deployed downstream of
        suspected spawning sites to verify that spawning events did in occur. Sampling sites
        will be based on 1) suitable habitat types identified through laboratory studies, 2)
        sites that could be monitored during a high water year with a peak event in the range
        of 200 kcfs or a low water year should turbidity augmentation experiments be
        conducted, and 3) areas defined based upon adult movement. This task will include
        sampling during daylight hour when checking egg mats, at night during the
        deployment and monitoring of drift nets, and sampling during various flow regimes.
        Recovered eggs will be staged, imaged, and preserved for genetic analysis. Free-
        embryos and larvae captured in drift nets should be staged, measured, and
        preserved for genetic analysis. This work will also provide background information on
        timing of spawning events needed to fulfill early life stage monitoring under
        CLBMON#29.

        Monitoring of adult movements during the spawning period to be conducted under
        Terms of Reference (ToR) CLBMON#28 has been designed to obtain baseline
        information relevant to monitoring during high flow events through 2012. Thus, it may
        be expanded with the additional resources available from this ToR. The following is a
        reiteration of the work to be performed during adult movement monitoring as outlined
        in ToR CLBMON#28 and applicable to this ToR:

        Evaluation of movements throughout the year, habitat use, and population
        interactions with sturgeon spawning at Northport, Washington, or possibly elsewhere
        will be conducted using fixed automated receivers of the VR2 array. Monitoring of




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        adult movements will rely heavily on a series of strategically located stationary
        receivers (Vemco VR2 remote telemetry receiver stations) with emphasis placed on
        spawning site selection as a factor in the ongoing recruitment failure. These
        receivers will be located to bracket the Waneta spawning site, other suspected
        staging areas, and other suspected spawning sites throughout the lower Columbia
        River that may be used during opportunistic high flows or experimental works
        options. Under high flows, retrieval and downloading may be difficult and delayed.
        Data loggers must be downloaded frequently prior to and during the spawning
        period, approximately June through July, and downloaded less frequently during
        other seasons. In the event that there are in-season indications of sturgeon in
        spawning condition using either new staging or new spawning areas and VR2
        receivers are not retrievable for regular downloading, then either additional VR2
        receivers will be temporarily installed for regular downloading or daily hydrophone
        monitoring will be conducted as necessary to fully document the occurrence. Some
        shared costs will occur because this receiver array will also provide information on
        juvenile movements. In addition mobile hydrophones will be used especially prior to
        and during the spawning period to actively gain more detailed information on
        movements, microhabitat preferences, and possibly population interactions.
        Additional staff time and equipment will be needed to address anticipated losses of
        sampling equipment and difficulties of working in unusually high flows when fixed
        VR2/VR2W receivers cannot be recovered or cannot be recovered in a timely
        manner. In addition, five VR2W receivers will be purchased in 2009 and five more in
        2013. These items will be made available to field crews on an as-needed basis.

        A boat mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP, Shields and Rigby 2005)
        should be used to describe suspected habitat associated with adult
        staging/spawning, egg mat, and drift net collection areas. Differential GPS should be
        used to track geographic coordinates and reconstruct depths of habitats associated
        with these areas. Substrate composition and cover may be analyzed with active
        sampling or through remote passive observation techniques such as a remote
        operated vehicle. Water quality including temperature, TSS/turbidity, and total gas
        pressure, will be also be recorded concurrently at detection sites of tagged adults
        during mobile hydrophone tracking.

        Juvenile Monitoring

        Consistent with procedures outlined for in situ early life stage outlined in the TOR for
        CLBMON#29, stretch mesh gill nets (e.g. 2,3, and 4inch mesh) will be deployed in
        downstream reaches during the fall to passively assess the distribution and relative
        survival of age-0+ juveniles. To establish a data base for the distribution and relative
        survival rates of age-0+ juveniles under various flow conditions across multiple
        years, sampling will be initiated in 2009. Initially, design of this project will be guided
        by the findings from US researchers on the lower Columbia River and information
        from published white sturgeon work (e.g. Columbia River below Bonneville Dam
        (Brannon and others 1985), Sacramento River (Kynard and Parker 2005), and
        Kootenai River (Kynard et al. 2007)). However, in subsequent years, juvenile
        monitoring may be re-evaluated based on either results from previous years or
        laboratory studies of innate behavioral distribution patterns and likely habitat
        preference in the lower Columbia River. Sample sites will be based on 1) habitat
        types informed by laboratory results and baseline information previously obtained
        under CLBMON#29, 2) sites that have been pre-selected for suitability of sampling in




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        a high water year, and 3) sites identified to be used by juvenile white sturgeon
        through telemetry work. Sites will be located and relocated using differential GPS.
        Capture should be expressed as catch per unit effort and depending on success,
        capture-mark-recapture estimates may be calculated as a measure of recruitment.
        Basic biological measurements (weight and lengths) should be recorded for all
        captured juveniles. Gut contents should also be collected and preserved from
        captured juveniles. Habitat parameters to be quantified at the sampling sites include
        depth, bathymetry, velocity, substrate, cover, water temperature, total gas pressure,
        TSS/ turbidity, and time of day.

        Juvenile sturgeon resulting from natural spawning events within the lower Columbia
        typically recruit to fishing gear between the ages of 2-3 years in the upper reaches of
        Lake Roosevelt in the US, regardless of the location of their natal origins (Canada or
        the US). While this component of the assessment will incorporate the results of
        gillnet sampling in Canada (CLBMON#29) and provide that program with additional
        resources, most of the collection effort will likely occur in the US. US researchers
        currently monitor juvenile abundance and growth annually, and this TOR assumes
        they will continue to do so for the duration of the program.

2.3.3   Task 3: Data Analysis and Interpretation
        Results of this monitoring program will be used to characterize sturgeon movements
        and redistribution patterns, spawning site selection, spawning behavior, spawning
        frequency, characterization of habitats used, and early life stage redistribution and
        survival under different flow patterns. Therefore, results from this work should be
        interpreted and presented using statistical methods to address the effects of varying
        flow patterns on the above mentioned demographic variables. Results should also be
        evaluated for information on potential new hypotheses, physical works options, or
        operational changes that may help address recruitment failure and direct future
        management.

        Data collected should be compared quantitatively using appropriate statistical tests to
        remove uncertainty around conclusions. It is recognized that the strength of these
        analyses will depend in part on the statistical power of the data. Consequently
        sample size required to provide such power must be considered explicitly, while
        recognizing budgetary limits and constraints. Where data are insufficient to warrant
        statistical comparisons, qualitative comparisons and inferences of available data and
        observations should be provided within each report and discussed. Proposals should
        include an experimental design that incorporates sampling logistics and anticipated
        analyses. The following is direction for interpretation and analysis of results across
        different life stages.

        Expansion of Broodstock collection during high flow years
        The primary reason for this expanded effort is to affix additional transmitters to
        sturgeon expected to spawn during an anticipated high flows. However, data of fish
        condition and mark recaptures observed during broodstock collection will be
        recorded and maintained systematically in support of other tasks including modeling
        of population characteristics.




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        Monitoring of adult movements and spawning activity during high flows

        Data and habitat conditions observed during spawning will be recorded and
        maintained systematically in support of other tasks including modeling of population
        characteristics.

        Results will be compared to data collected from monitoring programs during baseline
        or low flow years. VR2 movement data will be displayed graphically and correlated to
        the extent possible with habitat variables. Results will be compared to data collected
        from monitoring of adult movements and spawning site selection during baseline or
        low flow years.

        Spawning activity, including number of spawning events, will be documented through
        egg mats and drift nets. Egg samples will be staged to confirm both timing and the
        estimated number of spawning events. Survey information in reaches other than
        those of known spawning sites will assist with defining the location of newly
        discovered sites and associated habitat. While not captured within the scope of this
        project, archived eggs samples may be used to estimate the number of natural
        crosses occurring, and to verify the estimates of reproductive potential. Data on free-
        embryos and larvae collected from drift net sampling should be analyzed for
        behavioral information and the timing of drift and dispersal. Habitat conditions
        associated with hiding/drift data should be summarized and compared between lower
        Columbia River sites and data from other populations. Information on free-embryo
        developmental stage, condition and growth, as well as the incidence of prey in the
        stomach or evidence of starvation should be tabularized for presentation. A
        percentage of samples may be archived for genetic analyses. Free embryos
        preserved in formalin can be used for staging and gut analyses; preservation in
        alcohol will be required for genetic analyses.

        Juvenile monitoring

        Juvenile captures will be analyzed for length, weight, and age at size relationships
        and relative growth. Stomach content data should be summarized with respect to
        prey type and abundance. Fin-ray and genetic samples will be archived, and
        analyzed prior to preparation of each technical report. Fin-ray samples should be
        polished and photographed for reading to provide a long term ageing record. New
        length data should be periodically compared to fin-ray ages to assess possible
        ageing underestimates.

        Mark-recapture and related information (e.g., remote PIT tag reader records)
        accumulated through juvenile sampling or movement studies should be estimated to
        assess survival rates. Habitat conditions unique to capture areas should be
        compared with non capture areas of the lower Columbia River reach and with other
        sturgeon populations. Furthermore, habitat should be discussed in the context of
        varying flow conditions across the years of this study. Telemetry movement data
        should be displayed in summary tables and graphs, and correlated to the extent
        possible with habitat variables.




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2.3.4   Task 4: Reporting
        A technical report will be prepared by December 31 annually for each component of
        the monitoring program implemented that year. The report should summarize
        methods employed, present data collected that year, provide preliminary analyses,
        make recommendations regarding subsequent years’ work, and offer
        recommendations regarding feasible physical works options to help reestablish
        natural recruitment. Data collected from this program must be provided in electronic
        format along with hard copies of field notes and outputs from statistical analyses at
        the time the technical report is submitted. All technical reports will provide:

        An executive summary;

        •   A description of methods employed;

        •   A data summary and preliminary data analysis;

        •   A comparison of results between years and with other populations;

        •   A detailed discussion of findings as they relate to hypotheses, management
            questions, and other white sturgeon work;

        •   Recommendations regarding future sampling and mitigative measures.

        Reports will follow the standard format that is being developed for the WUP
        monitoring programs. All reports will be provided in hard-copy and in Microsoft Word
        and Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf) formats. All maps and figures must be provided either as
        embedded objects or in the Word file as separate files.

2.4     Schedule
        The monitoring program will occur throughout the 12 years of implementation of the
        Columbia River Water Use Plan. A proposed annual schedule for activities during an
        opportunistic high flow year is as follows:

        •   Mobilization for field activities occurs in April and May. Extra acoustic transmitters
            and VR2’s will be provided at this time every second year.

        •   Field activities will commence in June and continue into the fall to complete
            sampling for age 0 juveniles.

        •   Data analysis will occur during October through December annually.

        •   Draft reports, including electronic copies of data and analysis output, will be
            submitted by January15 annually.

        •   Final reports should be submitted by March 1 annually.




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2.5     Budget
        The Consultative Committee initially recommended $75,000 (in 2004 dollars) for
        each of two years of monitoring of spawning activity during opportunistic high flows
        (CC 2005). Originally, this was to be limited to substrate mat egg monitoring only at
        the Waneta Eddy spawning site (Fish Technical Subcommittee 2004). However, the
        scope of the program was expanded to include larval and juvenile survival (Mattison
        2007). No guidance was provided on the possibility of multiple spawning sites, or
        possible need to then assess early life stage survival upstream of Waneta Eddy
        following high flows, or the implications of this to the program budget.

        To fully address the revised scope of the opportunistic assessment, the budget has
        been increased beyond the original CC estimate. The total budget for the monitoring
        program is estimated at $394,824 (including the 2% inflation rate and 5%
        contingency). This assumes that the two high flow events do not materialize until the
        last two years of the WUP implementation (2018, 2019).

3.0     REFERENCES
        B. C. Ministry of Environment. 2003. Upper Columbia White Sturgeon – External
        Health Assessment Sheet. 2 pp.

        Brannon, E.S., A. Sertef, M. Miller, F. Utter, and W. Hershberger. 1985.
        Columbia River white sturgeon early life history and genetics study. Report to
        Bonneville Power Admin., Portland Oregon.

        BC Hydro 2007. Columbia River Project Water Use Plan. BC Hydro 41pp, 1 App.

        Columbia River Water Use Plan Consultative Committee. 2005. Consultative
        Committee Report; Columbia River Water Use Plan. pp 8-30.

        Fish Technical Subcommittee. 2004. Briefing Note MCA WUP Fish technical
        subcommittee teleconference November 2004. 5pp.

        Gadomski, D.M., and M.J., Parsley. 2005. Effects of Turbidity, Light Level, and Cover
        on Predation of White Sturgeon Larvae by Prickly Sculpins. Transactions of the
        American Fisheries Society 134(2):369-374.

        Golder Associates Ltd. 2005. Upper Columbia River: White Sturgeon Population
        dynamics and analysis. Report prepared for Upper Columbia White Sturgeon
        Recovery Initiative, Castlegar, B.C.
        Golder Associates Ltd. 2006. Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Stock Monitoring and
        data Management program: Synthesis report, 1 November 2003 – 31 March 2006.
        Report prepared for B.C. Ministry of Environment, Nelson, B.C., Golder Report No.
        05-1480-025F: 55 p. + 2 app. + plates.
        Hammond, J. and C. Spence. 2004. Acipenser transmontanus (Upper Columbia
        River subpopulation) IUNC 2006. 2006 ICUN Red List of Threatened Species.
        www.icunredlist.org




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        Hildebrand, L.R., C. McLeod, and S, McKenzie. 1999. Status and management of
        white sturgeon in the Columbia River in British Columbia, Canada: an overview.
        Journal of Applied Ichthyology 15(4-5), 164-172

        Howell, M., and J. McLellan. 2006. Lake Roosevelt White Sturgeon Recovery Project
        Annual Progress Report, January2004-March 2005. Wash. Dept. Fish and Wildlife,
        Spokane. Draft. In:

        Irvine, R.L., D.C., Schmidt, and L.R., Hildebrand. 2007. Population Status of White
        Sturgeon in the Lower Columbia River within Canada. Transactions of the American
        Fisheries Society 136(6):1472-1479.

        Kynard, B., and E. Parker. 2005. Ontogenic Behavior and Dispersal of Sacramento
        River White Sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus, With a Note on Body Color.
        Environ. Biology of Fishes 74:19-30.

        Kynard, B., E. Parker, B. Kynard, and T. Parker. 2007. Final Report, Characteristics,
        Drift Distance, and Wintering Behavior of Young Kootenai River White sturgeon: A
        Laboratory Study. For Idaho Dept. Fish and Game, BPA Contract. 35 pp.

        Mattison, J. S. 2007. Order for Columbia River Projects. Cover letter of January 26,
        2007 plus 16 pp.

        O’Riordan, Chair of the Water Use Plan Steering Committee. 2001. Guidance letter
        to Peace and Columbia River Water Use Plan Consultative Committees of 19
        February 2001. In: Executive Summary. 2004. Consultative Committee Report
        Columbia River Water Use Plan. June 2004. 15 pp.

        Paragamian, V.L., R.C.P., Beamesderfer, and S.C., Ireland. 2005. Status, Population
        Dynamics, and Future Prospects of the Endangered Kootenai River White Sturgeon
        Population with and without Hatchery Intervention. Transactions of the American
        Fisheries Society 134(2):518-532.

        R. L. & L. Environmental Services. 1994. Status of White Sturgeon in the Columbia
        River, B. C. Report # 377F. 101 pp. + 5 App.

        Shields, F.D., and J.R. Rigby. 2005. River Habitat Quality from River
        Velocities Measured Using Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler. Environmental
        Management 36(4):565-575.

        Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative. 2002. Upper Columbia River
        White Sturgeon Recovery Plan. Prepared for the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon
        Recovery Initiative. 88 pp + app.

        Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Recovery Initiative. 2005. Helping Hands for the
        Ancients of the Deep. Informational Brochure for the Lake Roosevelt Forum,
        Spokane Wash.

        Wood, C., D. Sneep, S. McAdam, J. Korman, and T. Hatfield. 2007. Recovery
        Potential Assessment for White Sturgeon Populations Listed Under the Species at
        Risk Act. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 26 pp, 2 app.




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