NW Fishletter #232, June 14, 2007
  1. 2006 Juvenile Fish Survival Best In Years
  2. Lower Granite Jack Count 400 Percent Of 10-Year Average
  3. States Split Over New Salmon Plan
  4. Feds Fight Off Puget Sound Harvest Lawsuit
  5. Earthjustice's Biop Bill Nearly $1 Million
  6. Sea Lions Digest 4 Percent Of Upriver Run
  7. Little Goose Spill Changed After Test Blocks Adult Migration
  8. Federal Judge Rules NMFS Hatchery Policy Illegal
  9. Appointments Made To Fish Passage Center Oversight Board

[1] 2006 Juvenile Fish Survival Best In Years

Juvenile fish survival through the federal hydro system in 2006 was the highest in years, about 61 percent overall for Snake River spring chinook, according to a draft report released last week by NMFS.

That's the best news since 1999, when they began to make such precise estimates--thanks to the installation of PIT tag detectors at most federal dams.

The news was good for steelhead as well. They showed the highest juvenile survival since 1999--about 42 percent.

The tagged chinook used in the studies were mostly from hatcheries--92 percent, as opposed to only 8 percent wild fish in the release groups. About 62 percent of the steelhead were hatchery fish, 38 percent wild.

Even though fewer spring chinook were barged in 2006 compared to previous years in order to "spread the risk," about 60 percent of them were still transported, along with 75 percent of the tagged steelhead.

Upper Columbia chinook survival ranged from 42 percent to 55 percent, while steelhead survival from that part of the basin ranged from 18 percent (Cassimer Bar Hatchery) to 60 percent (Turtle Rock Hatchery, Wenatchee River).

The high survival in 2006 came in a year of plentiful flows, when the Columbia Basin water supply was 106 percent of average. Flows last year, especially in April, were good, but they dropped off in early May, then rose quickly to top out by the third week of the month. Also, there was more spill at the dams than any of the previous six years.

Young salmon may have also been able to hide better from predators during their downstream trek--turbidity was much higher in 2006 than normal.

However, in 2005, when the basin faced a 76-percent average snowpack, agency scientists estimated survival at 53 percent, similar to results in the 2002 and 2003 migration years.

In 2004 and 2005, transport was maximized, which means there was little spill at lower Snake dams to aid inriver survivals. In 2004, the agency estimated that about 35 percent of the inriver spring chinook made it below Bonneville Dam.

In 2001, the second-lowest flow year on record, inriver survival of spring chinook was estimated at about 28 percent.

The report said spring chinook traveled a little faster in 2006, but steelhead were really on a tear, especially earlier in the season. However, the travel time of spring chinook from Lower Granite to McNary Dam decreased in early to mid-April without corresponding changes in flow, while steelhead travel times did not go down during that period.

But the higher survivals for inriver migrants doesn't necessarily mean that more fish will come back as adults. Last July, NMFS researcher Bill Muir told the Northwest Power and Conservation Council that there was no statistical relationship between juvenile survival rates and adult return rates.

However, those return rates are likely to improve again next year, given the extremely high jack counts at dams this spring. Optimists say the Columbia could see a spring run of more than 300,000 chinook next year, with about 150,000 of those fish heading all the way up to Idaho past the lower Snake dams, where only about 19,000 have been counted this year. In 2001, 172,000 spring chinook were counted at Lower Granite Dam.

NMFS researcher Ed Casillas told NW Fishletter that ocean conditions off the mouth of the Columbia look good this year, with the spring transition to northerly winds well in place, which helps ocean upwelling and has led to much improved nutrient production from 2005.

"So far, everything is looking green," said Casillas, referring to his agency's system for qualifying ocean conditions.

He said hundreds of smolts were counted in a May trawl survey off the coast. "It's shaping up like 1999," said Casillas, who will be back on the ocean later this month to keep track of the smolts.

In 1999, ocean conditions rebounded from an El Niño that led to much cooler waters, high plankton production and a few years of record salmon returns from 2000 to 2004, with spring chinook numbers ranging from 170,000 to 400,000 fish. This year, the region will be lucky to get 80,000 springers back to the river.

But NMFS researchers say if the signals hold, we could have back-to-back blockbuster returns in 2008 and 2009. -Bill Rudolph

[2] Lower Granite Jack Count 400 Percent Of 10-Year Average

The adult spring chinook run is drawing to a close at Bonneville Dam, but a couple hundred chinook jacks (precocious males) are still passing the dam daily, pointing to the likely prospect of a large return next year that could materialize into one of the top three spring runs since the dam was built.

The Bonneville jack count hit over 20,000 by the middle of June, 250 percent better than the 10-year average.

But the news was even better at Lower Granite Dam, hundreds of miles upstream, where jack counts topped 8,500 by June 13--a whopping 437 percent above the 10-year average, and a far cry from last year's measly 875 jacks. That's nearly an order of magnitude better than last year's jacks, 980 percent.

The adult spring chinook numbers at Lower Granite have added up to just over 21,056 fish, 10 fish more than last year's count, and several thousand less than 2005's spring return.

But the 8,500-plus jacks that have returned in 2007 could mean more than 100,000 adults will show up there next year. The 9,790 jacks that were counted at Lower Granite in 2000 by this time presaged a 2001 return of 172,000 chinook.

In 1997, times were tough, and so were the El Niños. Only 64 jacks showed up at Granite by June 13 of that year, nearly as bad as the 1994 jack count of 43 that presaged an adult run of 1,105 springers, about the worst spring run ever.

However, those 64 jacks in 1997 signaled an adult run the following year that added up to 9,800 adults, so jack counts have to be taken with a grain of salt when predicting the future, say harvest managers, who have had mixed results when making predictions during periods of changing productivity in ocean regimes. -B. R.

[3] States Split Over New Salmon Plan

Environmental groups, lower Columbia tribes, and the state of Oregon are thoroughly unimpressed with the latest attempt by action agencies to draft a salmon plan for recovering anadromous stocks in the Columbia Basin. But Washington, Montana and Idaho lined up behind the feds in their first step towards writing a new hydro BiOp. The Colville and Kootenai Tribes sided with the three states and the BPA customer group as well.

In comments sent to BiOp Judge James Redden, the environmental groups said hydro actions appear to have changed little from those outlined in the 2004 BiOp, and some of them actually "appear to retreat from recent Court-ordered operations."

They said the months of collaboration that sovereigns spent with agencies appears to have used up everybody's time, but has addressed only a few of the problems that need to be solved before a proposed action can be written that avoids jeopardy to the listed stocks.

The plaintiff groups in the years-long BiOp litigation said they realized "...the draft plan is not the final word. Still, it is not a promising start given the limited time remaining in this remand." The plaintiff environmental and fishing groups were not involved in the nitty-gritty of the remand grind, but were allowed to observe the technical workshops.

Earthjustice attorneys Todd True and Steve Mashuda said the agencies' call for continuing negotiations for more flows doesn't mean the feds are actually requiring more flows for fish passage, and that proposed passage survival targets (95 percent per dam for spring migrants, 93 percent for summer migrants) have largely been met already.

They also noted that the draft proposed action may reduce both spring and summer spill levels from Court-ordered levels during the past few years.

Nor were they impressed with the higher levels of habitat funding that BPA has committed to spending, several hundred million dollars more through 2017. The groups said the "alleged increase" comes from a baseline for fish and wildlife spending that the 9th Circuit Court recently found illegal, and arbitrarily low.

The adverse effects of global warming on salmon habitat was another factor the agencies left out of their plan, enviro attorneys said. And they hammered the proposed plan for not including plans for hydro mitigation "up to and including" steps to breach lower Snake dams.

Lastly, they took a shot at the direction federal agencies are headed in their jeopardy analysis. NOAA Fisheries has already hinted strongly that it may judge proposed actions as avoiding jeopardy to listed stocks if those stocks are simply trending towards recovery. But attorney True said such a course doesn't gibe with the survival gaps that need to be filled for some stocks, like upper Columbia chinook.

However, Washington, Montana, the two upriver tribes and the BPA customer group which filed comments together as a regional coalition, told Judge Redden that the draft proposed action is a "positive step forward."

They pointed that the PA returns to the "core concepts" of the 2000 BiOp and its All-H approach, while "substantially" boosting regional fish recovery efforts and making a serious spending commitment to ensure efforts "are reasonably certain to occur." One of the principal reasons why Redden had ruled the 2000 BiOp illegal was because he judged many of the proposed habitat actions weren't likely to happen.

The states' and tribes' comments also noted that the remand process had implemented the Court-ordered collaborative process, where 155 representatives from 26 separate entities attended 272 different meetings and created a database of nearly 3,000 documents. They said the process relied heavily on the scientific expertise of federal agencies, and the independent panel of scientists who weighed in on issues like latent mortality and the passage model developed during the remand process.

They also stressed the development of performance standards to assess the value of the PA and the ability of the regional parties to change it as needed.

But they said the draft PA "suffers in some areas from a lack of clarity and structure," and could use more monitoring of adult returns to make sure performance targets are met. They also said any savings from changes in spill operations, passage or fish barging should go to pay for habitat and hatchery improvements to help the neediest populations.

They urged that NOAA Fisheries keeps on meeting with remand policy folks as the federal agency crafts its hydro BiOp. "Too much progress has been made through the collaborative remand effort," said the regional coalition, "to risk any back-tracking that might otherwise occur if the federal government is left to its own devices to prepare a BiOp behind the traditional veil of 'federal closed doors.'"

Idaho filed its own comments, and said the collaboration had achieved its objective of bringing all the parties together in an attempt to reconcile hydro operations with ESA obligations, and that the proposed action has dealt extensively with hydro, habitat and hatchery actions, but still needs to look at harvest, since it is a key limiting factor for several ESUs.

The state pointed out that hydro operations will be part of the environmental baseline in future harvest consultations for Basin fisheries, "...it is thus plain that the ESA-related fates of the FCRPS and the future basin harvest are inextricably connected," but action agencies will have to rely on continuing negotiations in the U.S. v. Oregon process "...to explore methods for ameliorating the impact of tribal and state fisheries on listed stocks."

The Colville Tribes filed their own comments as well, agreeing with most of the draft PA, including the direction of the jeopardy analysis. But they said the PA provides too much flexibility for operations at Grand Coulee to help already recovering stocks like Snake fall chinook, or lower Columbia chum, which aren't affected much by the hydro system at all, all to the detriment of upper Columbia listed stocks which face greater survival gaps than most other ESUs.

The comments from lower Columbia tribes, principals in the U.S. v. Oregon process, said little about the harvest issue--only that proposed harvest actions provide "no biological benefit." But they had plenty to say about proposed hydro operations, calling them "a step backwards" from the last two BiOps.

The treaty tribes weren't impressed with habitat actions either--saying there were few new starts for the short-term and proposed actions were too unclear for the long-term. "Moreover," said the tribes, "Bonneville's assertion that the PA represents significant 'new' habitat money hardly makes up for the $300 million shortfall in resources that the fishery managers identified years ago."

The lower Columbia tribes also said the agencies needed to be much more "aggressive" in the use of hatcheries "to minimize current jeopardy risk, advance recovery, and meet other legal obligations to the Tribes."

The state of Oregon used its comments to stump for a John Day drawdown strategy to minimum operating pool, a proposal that was discussed earlier this year for spring migrants. Now the state supports the drawdown strategy for both spring and summer migrating fish, a tactic that the remand's policy working group didn't support either, following the lead of an intense Corps' study on the issue that was completed years ago

Oregon policymakers complained directly to the judge about not getting the recognition they think that they think they deserve. "The court consistently admonished the federal defendants that their present course--essentially as apologists for the status quo--causes jeopardy to protected Columbia and Snake River fish. Oregon has sought in the remand collaboration to be a firm voice for appropriately aggressive fish-protection measures. But Oregon's contributions are largely ignored by the present federal submission" (see NW Fishletter 227 and NW Fishletter229).

The state also called for contingency planning if proposed operations are inadequate--that would include the operation of all lower Columbia reservoirs at minimum operating pool during fish migrations.

Oregon also roundly criticized the draft PA proposal to barge more fish when flows are low, or later in the spring season when ocean survival improves.

The state also took issue with the "trending towards recovery" metric that the feds will likely use in their jeopardy analysis, arguing that it is not correct to assume that a stock is trending towards recovery just because its numbers go up slightly. They say populations should be increasing faster at lower densities because of less competition for food and space, with growth rates closer to 3:1 rather than slightly above 1:1 as many are now showing. "The metric crediting a ratio slightly over one as support for an improving prospect for recovery is spurious."

The Spokane Tribe also filed comments with the court that echoed comments tribal representatives had expressed before--namely, that federal defendants aren't following their own 10-step process. They called for more effort to secure water from Canada for flow augmentation, and said the draft PA does not consider impacts from shifting flood control burdens to Lake Roosevelt from Idaho reservoirs.

The Spokane Tribe also said the current management processes used in BiOp implementation are not effective, and a more accessible forum is needed which includes all sovereigns operating in a transparent and coherent structure.

The Inland Ports and Navigation Group also commented, judging that the new PA represents a "significant strengthening" of the agencies commitment to restoring endangered fish from installation of new spillway weirs to aid juvenile migration to greater spending on habitat improvement, especially in the tributaries and estuary, which will benefit all listed species. -B. R.

[4] Feds Fight Off Puget Sound Harvest Lawsuit

The federal government has filed a dense, complicated response to allegations by conservation-minded fishing groups that NOAA Fisheries didn't follow its own criteria when it determined that harvest levels for ESA-listed salmon stocks in Puget Sound do not jeopardize efforts to recover the fish--an effort that's expected to take decades.

The legal wrangling [Salmon Spawning & Recovery Alliance v. NMFS] is being closely watched by many parties throughout the Northwest as other potential lawsuits have been threatened over harvest policies in the Columbia Basin.

The Puget Sound lawsuit is tied up in the technical details of how to determine the number of fish that can be caught--and the feds readily admit that the numbers are based on the maximum escapement governed by current habitat conditions.

In a brief filed May 29 in federal court in Seattle, the federal government said the groups have misunderstood the relationship between the agency's paper on viable salmonid populations and its determination of "viable" thresholds for individual salmon populations.

But the plaintiffs say that developers of the resource management plan written to cover the Puget Sound harvests by both treaty and non-treaty fishers didn't base upper management thresholds for fish escapements on the viability numbers developed by the Puget Sound technical recovery team, which are substantially higher.

However, in their latest brief, the feds said they are not required to use the TRT numbers developed for recovery targets since they were premised on "vast habitat improvements."

Besides, said the feds, escapement levels have been set to achieve viable thresholds at least 80 percent of the time over the next 25 years. And since they factored in low marine survival rates to make results more conservative, "escapements would also increase" as marine survival improves.

The feds said the contribution of hatchery fish to natural spawning areas has also increased escapement trends in some local rivers. As an example, they point to the increasing numbers of two stocks in both forks of the Nooksack River to counter claims by plaintiffs that the north region (Georgia Strait) did not have two stocks headed for viability.

The feds pointed out that it had already considered that the total exploitation rate on the North Fork Nooksack stock by all U.S. and Canadian fisheries was about twice the NMFS-derived rate of 12 percent, and that it would be exceeded even with no fishing in Puget Sound.

Their modeling estimated that Alaskan and Canadian fisheries alone would represent a 14-percent increase in the likelihood that the populations would fall below their critical thresholds, but only a 2-percent decrease in the probability of rebuilt populations in 25 years. Hence, they concluded that populations would be adequately protected for the next five years, the life of the current resource management plan.

The federal position was backed up by an amicus filing by WDFW and Puget Sound tribes that argued since federal experts considered all the relevant factors, "and articulated a rational connection between the facts found and the choice made, its decision should be upheld."

The Salmon Spawning & Recovery Alliance and other plaintiff groups say that harvest levels should also be cut because of increased pressure by Canadian fishers on listed Puget Sound stocks, since BC fishers have begun fishing earlier in the year.

But the amicus memo by WDFW and tribes said the boost in Canadian catches may be true but cannot trigger a reconsultation over the plan, since they are the actions of a "separate sovereign over which NMFS and the Co-Managers have no control."

The feds argued that they have already considered the possibility of increased Canadian interceptions and that some years, the rebuilding exploitation rates would be exceeded. But they said a process is in place to cope with it if co-managers don't alter their plan--then consultation could be reinitiated.

The feds also noted that it hasn't been that long since they became aware of the increased Canadian harvest and that it would take several more years of gathering data to complete a comprehensive evaluation. Typically, they said, that is done every five years.

Plaintiffs will file a reply brief by June 15, with the defendants responding by July 3. -B. R.

[5] Earthjustice's Biop Bill Nearly $1 Million

Litigants in the never-ending BiOp litigation (NWF v. NMFS) have reached agreement over fees and costs due environmental attorneys for work from 2000 through Nov. 2004, a sum that adds up to $950,000.

Federal attorneys agreed to the May 24 stipulation after losing two big BiOp cases in federal court over the past four years.

The sum is nearly the same as the figure environmental attorneys asked for in a January 2005 filing that billed Earthjustice attorney Todd True's 1,547 hours at $325/hr, adding up to more than $500,000 for his work alone. His cohort, Steve Mashuda, billed $366,000, and Dan Rohlf of the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center in Portland, billed only about $33,000.

That filing said the 3,561 billable hours "reflects a reduction of at least 1,800 hours in the exercise of billing judgment and in consideration of other factors from the total number of hours actually spent on the various aspects of the case by NWF's counsel." -B. R.

[6] Sea Lions Digest 4 Percent Of Upriver Run

As the spring chinook run in the Columbia River has tapered off, so has predation by marine mammals on the hatchery and wild salmon that have been trickling upriver since late March. But not before they took a pretty big bite out of this year's return--about 4 percent according to preliminary numbers in a report issued by the corps of Engineers at the end of May.

Sea lions have pretty much moved south down the West Coast towards breeding grounds, but not before some have bulked up significantly. One sea lion, C 265, who has been in the neighborhood for the past five years, was trapped near Astoria and weighed in at 559 pounds. After being radio-tagged and tracked--the pinniped was down near Newport, Oregon in late March, but spent most of his time in April and May feeding on salmon at Bonneville--he was trapped once again at Astoria May 21 and tipped the scales at 1,043 pounds That's a gain of 484 pound in two-and-a-half months.

The Corp's report said that the increased harassment program didn't have any substantial impact on reducing predation, "but it continues to be effective short term when working specific locations."

The hazing program began on Feb. 28 and worked on reducing the numbers of Steller sea lions and their take of sturgeon. The report also said hazing kept the California sea lions further away from the dam and from surfacing as much.

Sea lions first showed up at Bonneville Dam last December, about a month earlier than the year before, and harbor seals appeared in January. More than 50 sea lions were sighted near the dam at the end of April--with about 80 different individuals over the course of the season--about half of them had been observed feeding there in previous years.

By June 11, more than 75,000 adult spring chinook run had been counted passing the dam. By May 24, observers had seen nearly 3,600 salmon and steelhead taken by predators, along with 361 sturgeon, 55 of them longer than 5 feet, and 119 lamprey.

Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., and Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., proposed a bill earlier this year that would allow lethal removal of the most aggressive sea lions, who are protected under the Marine Mammal Act. NOAA Fisheries has accepted applications from both Oregon and Washington for permission to use lethal means to reduce the predation on ESA-listed salmon and steelhead at Bonneville, but the agency could take more than a year before it reaches a decision.

Hundreds of miles upriver at Lower Granite Dam, NOAA Fisheries' Jerry Harmon told NW Fishletter that about 30 percent of the spring chinook were showing up with seal bites this year, "a little higher than normal." -B. R.

[7] Little Goose Spill Changed After Test Blocks Adult Migration

The Corps of Engineers changed the spill pattern at Little Goose dam last month after fish watchers noticed a drop in the number of chinook between Little Goose and Lower Granite dam. The change improved the adult migration almost immediately.

Late last month, the Corp was testing spill conditions at the dam after installing a removable spillway weir, scheduled for use during the 2008 migration season.

On May 25, daily adult counts at Little Goose declined noticeably, down to 32 fish by May 27. Spring chinook backed up below the dam until the 31st, when the original spill pattern was restored and more than 4,600 fish rushed past the dam over the next two days.

The fish moved quickly once the "bulk" spill pattern requested by NOAA Fisheries was restored to a flat pattern around 4 p.m. May 31. Twenty-six adults were counted between 6 and 7 p.m., but 798 adult chinook were tallied at the fish ladder in the following hour.

The significant delay experienced by the fish raises questions over potential tradeoffs between benefits of a removable spillway weir for juvenile migrants and adverse effects on adult migrants.

Corps researcher Rock Peters said the agency needs to go back to its hydraulic model to develop the best spillway pattern. "We're confident we can do it."

Peters said when flows decline by just a little, especially in the powerhouse of facilities like Goose, hydraulic conditions in the spillway can change a lot. -B. R.

[8] Federal Judge Rules NMFS Hatchery Policy Illegal

A federal judge in Seattle ruled yesterday that the NMFS policy of counting certain hatchery stocks with wild fish in evolutionarily significant units is illegal. The policy was developed a few years ago to satisfy another federal judge in Oregon.

The June 13 ruling by Judge John Coughenour also focused on the upper Columbia steelhead ESU, which the feds had judged "threatened," instead of "endangered" because of a considerable steelhead hatchery program in the watershed. That decision was questioned by conservation groups like Trout Unlimited, who charged the policy was wrong.

Property rights litigators from the Pacific Legal Foundation had taken NOAA Fisheries to court over its original policy, which the agency later modified to satisfy the successful challenge in 2001 [Alsea Valley Alliance v. NMFS] in Oregon federal court over coastal coho stocks. In that case, Judge Michael Hogan ruled that the federal agency was wrong to include hatchery stocks in the coastal coho ESU without providing them the same protection as wild stocks.

Coughenour admitted that his order could be read "to conflict with" Hogan's ruling, "perhaps this will have the happy result of instigating needed appellate review."

Environmental groups had tried to take the Hogan ruling to the Ninth Circuit, but that court ruled it was without jurisdiction to hear the appeal on its merits because the remand order was not final.

The PLF argued for plaintiff-intervenors in the Seattle case, which included the Building Industry Association of Washington, two groups of Idaho water users and the Washington Farm Bureau, claiming that that the new policy still allows NMFS to make distinctions between hatchery and wild salmon that are not allowable under the ESA. Coughenour denied their motion for summary judgment.

But in the latest ruling, Judge Coughenour cited "important differences between hatchery and wild fish, and said that status determinations of listed stocks must be made "with the health and viability of natural populations as the benchmark."

He also ruled that the upper Columbia steelhead should be classified as "endangered," rather than threatened, because there was nothing in the administrative record that "provides a scientific justification for basing status determinations on the entire ESU, and that to do so, is, in fact, contrary to the best scientific evidence available."

Plaintiff environmental and fishing groups argued that many of the federal agency's own experts had argued that the policy was not biologically defensible. "Salmon and people need clean water, swimmable streams, and healthy habitat. We all win when we protect and recover wild salmon and their habitat," said Jan Hasselman, Earthjustice attorney in a press release after the decision was announced. "Hatcheries never were meant to be a replacement for self-sustaining populations of salmon in healthy streams."

The groups filing the lawsuits included Trout Unlimited, National Wildlife Federation, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermens' Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Oregon Wild, Klamath Forest Alliance, Pacific Rivers Council, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Native Fish Society and Federation of Fly Fishers.

NMFS spokesman Brian Gorman told NW Fishletter that his agency hasn't yet done an analysis of the rulings, but he said the judge has ordered the agency to implement its "interim hatchery policy" which was in place before the final policy was adopted.

After the Hogan decision in 2001, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed a final policy after months of internal wrangling over hatchery issues. Insiders say that NMFS was arguing for a more stringent policy, while USFWS policymakers supported a more flexible position to ensure the continuation of that agency's large hatchery program, which includes steelhead production.

Sonya Jones of the Pacific Legal Foundation told the Spokesman-Review that Coughenour's rulings were in direct conflict with Hogan's and ripe for appeal. The PLF has another case pending in Hogan's court over hatchery issues as well, arguing that the NMFS hatchery policy and latest ESA listings are illegal because the agency can't count hatchery fish with wild stocks and still relist the distinct populations just because they say habitat conditions aren't good enough to support the naturally spawned species in its natural environment. -B. R.

[9] Appointments Made To Fish Passage Center Oversight Board

At this week's meeting of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, members completed the task of fleshing out the newly reconstituted board to oversee operations of the controversial Fish Passage Center. The FPC achieved a new lease on life after a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court found that BPA had improperly quashed its funding by obeying report language inserted in a Congressional spending plan by Idaho Sen. Larry Craig.

The board will conduct an annual review of the performance of the Center and ensure that the database of fish passage information conforms to appropriate standards of data management.

Bruce Measure, a Montana member of the Council, will chair the board, which will include Susan Ireland, fish and wildlife program director of the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, who will represent Indian tribes of the upper Columbia River Basin. Steve Yundt, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, will represent the Idaho's and Montana's fish and wildlife departments. Tony Nigro, of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, will represent Washington's and Oregon's fish and wildlife departments. John Ferguson, of NOAA Fisheries' Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, will represent the federal fisheries agency. Dan Goodman, a professor of biology at Montana State University, will fill a position on the oversight board that represents Northwest fisheries scientists generally (the Council named Richard Whitney, a retired professor of fisheries at the University of Washington who has served on Council scientific panels, as an alternate for this position). Doug Taki, a biologist with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of Idaho, will hold an ex-officio position on the oversight board; the Council will consider making that position permanent at its next meeting in July. -B. R.

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