The administrative section of the Columbia River Fisheries Program Office provides a variety of support services related to budget, procurement, human resources and information technology. The CRFPO has a budget of approximately 7 million dollars that is comprised of both appropriated and reimbursable funding. The CRFPO budget technician and supervisory budget analyst track expenditures in a variety of categories throughout the fiscal year. Regular budget updates are provided to the administrative officer and to the team leaders. An agreements assistant coordinates all cooperative and reimbursable agreements engaged in by the CRFPO. The CRFPO has the only field warranted purchasing agent in Region one. This allows for all purchases to be made without delay. This is essential due to the time sensitive nature of all fish marking field projects. The CRFPO offices assistants help process staff timesheets, travel vouchers and personnel actions related to recruitment, appointment extensions, changes in work schedules and retirements among other actions. Last, an information technology specialist helps to address all CRFPO IT needs.
For more information, please contact Larry Fishler at 360-604-2532
Biometrics Salmon produced by FWS hatcheries in the Columbia River are harvested up and down the west coast from Southeast Alaska to northern California as well as in the Columbia River. Hatchery and harvest biometrics is the technical assistance that this office provides to the international and interagency committees and work groups dealing with complex salmon harvest management issues typically involving treaty Indian fishing rights, the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Examples of technical assistance include statistical and computer simulation models to analyze issues such as long term escapement goals, ocean exploitation rates, run reconstruction, selective fishery impacts, and evaluation of harvest proposals for compliance with limits on incidental catch of ESA listed species.
For further information, please contact Steve Haeseker at 360-604-2500
The Conservation Assessment Team (Team) works to assist in determining the status of imperiled
natural stocks, evaluating management measures for recovery and assist in the recovery of these stocks, and helping
to prevent future listings. The Team's primary contribution to these activities is to design and implement monitoring
and evaluation, coordination, and dissemination of fisheries information. The Team also provides for science-based
management of aquatic resources on federal and tribal lands in the area from the Columbia River mouth upstream
to McNary Dam and in other areas throughout the Columbia River Basin that have been and continue to be affected
by anthropogenic actions of a regional scale. The Team promotes the Service’s position and interest through primary
monitoring and evaluation as well as technical assessment and assistance. The Team also works through interagency
forums, local governments and coordination groups operating throughout Region 1 to ensure that the decisions made by
these groups result in the adoption of the best scientifically-based management measures for resident and anadromous
fish. The organization of the Team includes four Programs, the Native Trout Program, Non-Salmonid Program, Recovery
Assessment and Planning Program, and the Salmon & Steelhead Program.
For further information, please contact Tim Whitesel at 360-604-2549.
Native Trout Program
The Native Trout
Program is charged with conducting research, monitoring and evaluation
projects to assess behavior, physiological processes, morphological characteristics,
habitat parameters, population genetic structure, and abundance and distribution
of sensitive native trout species in the Pacific Northwest. Species currently
being focused on include coastal
cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki) in the lower
Columbia River basin, bull
trout (Salvelinus confluentus) in interior subbasins of the
Columbia River, and redband
trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in high desert basins of eastern
Oregon. These species are either species of concern or listed under the
Endangered Species Act (bull trout). The projects being conducted are
primarily focused on gaining a better understanding of the life history
of these species so that distribution and abundance can more accurately
be determined. In addition, the Native Trout Program is involved in multi-programmatic habitat restoration assessment and monitoring projects. Current habitat restoration projects are being implemented at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Bandon Marsh NWR, and Tryon Creek. The ultimate goal of the Native Trout Program is to provide
information toward rangewide restoration and recovery of these species.
Contact Mike Hudson at 360-604-2575 for more information.
The mission of the Non-Salmonid Team is to provide scientifically-based research and management on important non-salmonid fishes of the Pacific Northwest. The team’s work is focused on, but not all-inclusive to, native lampreys and mussels of western North America. The team performs field assessments of lamprey distribution, abundance, and habitat and provides guidance on survey design and sampling methodologies that incorporate probabilistic and statistically robust methods to provide empirical, quantifiable, and comparable information. Investigations of lamprey ecology and biology are also used to inform the use of captive lampreys to aid conservation. The team interacts in the research and management forums to help inform policy and management. Current activities include:
Investigation of larval lamprey occupancy, distribution, and habitat use in large river systems (Columbia and Willamette rivers mainstem).
Investigation of larval lamprey occupancy in an urban watershed (Tryon Creek, Portland, OR).
Investigation of the use of captive rearing to aid in the conservation of Pacific lamprey
Evaluation of population estimation techniques of larval lamprey in wadeable streams.
Development of standardized sampling protocols for occupancy of larval lamprey in wadeable streams.
Investigation of salinity tolerance of larval lampreys and occupancy in the Columbia River Estuary.
Evaluation of salvage methods for larval lamprey at stream crossing construction project sites.
Investigation of larval lamprey pathogens and treatment protocols.
Evaluation of the response of lamprey populations in the White Salmon River basin following the removal of Condit Dam.
Contact Jeff Jolley at 360-604-2500 for more information.
Assessment, and Planning
The decline of many fish stocks in the Columbia River Basin and numerous species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has increased the Service's need for participation within multi-agency forums responsible for the conservation and recovery of both listed and non-listed aquatic species. The Recovery, Assessment, and Planning Program (RAP) was organized in 2005 to address these issues and coordinate with federal, state, and tribal entities to effectively manage and restore aquatic species and habitat in the Columbia River Basin. Target species include bull trout, lamprey, chub, salmon, steelhead, freshwater mussels and coastal cutthroat trout.
The mission of the RAP Program is to promote the Service’s positions and interests through interagency forums, local governments and coordination groups operating in the Columbia River Basin, and ensure that the decisions made by these groups result in the adoption of the best scientifically-based management measures for aquatic trust resources. The FWS is represented by the RAP Team in the following areas: 1) development and implementation of subbasin plans; 2) identification and implementation of restoration actions dealing with fish passage barriers within the basin; 3) recovery planning for bull trout and chub and conservation planning for other aquatic trust resources; 4) coordinated technical assistance with National Wildlife Refuges and Ecological Services offices; and 5) internal and external education and outreach to promote the Service’s mission and the work of the CRFPO.
Salmon and Steelhead Evaluation Program
Salmon and Steelhead Evaluation team conducts investigations of Columbia
River salmon and steelhead populations and habitats. Current projects
include work on chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) and fall Chinook salmon
(Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) populations. Both of these species are protected
under the Endangered Species Act. Our work with chum
salmon focuses on investigating factors limiting populations in the
Columbia River Gorge, namely in Hardy creek and Hamilton springs. The
goal of our work with fall Chinook is to describe fish presence, distribution, habitat use, and accessibility
of island sloughs in the lower Columbia River.
To keep track of hatchery programs, our office maintains
the Columbia River information System (CRiS), and participates in the interagency
StreamNet database. We also develop hatchery and Genetic Management Plans
and Section 7 Biological Assessments for Endangered Species Act compliance.
We develop collaborative projects to investigate diet, release, and rearing
density to improve hatchery performance, as well as develop in-stream studies
using traps, radio telemetry, and snorkeling to investigate behavior, wild
and hatchery interactions and habitat use. Our vision for hatchery assessment
is: 1) use National Fish Hatcheries to conserve populations 2) produce fish
for sport, commercial and tribal fisheries 3) use National Fish Hatcheries
to complement fish and wildlife production in their natural habitat 4) develop
partnerships for watershed-based projects in streams where we operate our
National Fish Hatcheries 5) work with engineers, landscape architects, biologists
and fish culturists to design and operate hatcheries which simulate natural
features 6) advance education, research and management of our National Fish
Hatcheries and 7) build relationships and establish trust.
Contact Doug Olson at 360-604-2500
for additional information.
Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Education
The introduction and establishment of invasive or nuisance species is considered one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity, second only to habitat destruction. Invasive species have been identified as the cause in decline of at least 48% of species listed as threatened or endangered under the United States Endangered Species Act. Aquatic nuisance species may reduce the diversity and abundance of native species, degrade aquatic habitats, threaten water quality and availability, alter important ecological processes and pose a general threat to commercial, agricultural and recreational industries. An estimated $120 billion is spent annually in the United States to deal with the multitude of problems associated with Invasive Species. Aquatic nuisance species are introduced or spread to new locations a number of ways, but humans remain the primary vector of dispersal. Whether intentionally or by accident, once an ANS is introduced and becomes established in a new ecosystem, it is very costly and difficult to control or eradicate them. One of the most effective ways to prevent or reduce the introduction, spread and impact of invasive species is through outreach and education. The ANS team – a collaborative effort between Hatchery Assessment and Conservation Assessment Teams, has initiated a number of small projects to increase public knowledge and awareness of ANS including: performing New Zealand mudsnail surveys at lower Columbia Basin National Fish Hatcheries and National Wildlife Refuges, presenting ANS lessons and activities at public workshops and watershed festivals, and developing an ANS education trunk and webpage for natural resource professionals and educators.
For further information, please contact Jen Poirier at 360-604-2539
Assisted Propagation and its Role in Species Conservation
Assisted propagation and captive rearing may be valuable tools to assist in species conservation and recovery. Understanding the physiological and rearing requirements of captive fishes is necessary to maintain and produce robust fish for reintroduction, supplementation, and conservation programs, as well as answer basic research questions (HSRG 2004). Bull trout and Pacific lamprey populations have declined and understanding what role, artificial propagation can play in their recovery and conservation is needed. Currently, little is known about the effects of captivity on bull trout development and behavior and how these effects may influence post-release survival and performance at the individual and population levels. Even less is known about rearing Pacific lamprey in captivity; the basic requirements such as rearing vessels, nutrition, pathology, and life history are poorly understood. Towards this end, we collected bull trout embryos from the wild, delivered them to Willard NFH and Oregon State University, and are evaluating the feasibility of captive rearing as a reintroduction and recovery strategy. Also, we are rearing larval lamprey at Eagle Creek NFH to determine basic rearing requirements and better understand life history. This is a collaborative project between the Hatchery Assessment Team, Conservation Assessment Team, Willard NFH, Eagle Creek NFH, Oregon State University, and the USGS Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
For further information on bull trout captive rearing, please contact William Brignon and for lamprey captive rearing contact Jeffrey Jolley. Or call 360-604-2500.
Deschutes River Investigations
This project comprises a variety of objectives related to hatchery and wild spring Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Deschutes basin. Fish released from a hatchery interact with wild fish in the stream, however the impact of these interactions on wild fish populations is often unknown. This project seeks to evaluate whether modifications to hatchery rearing, release practices, and hatchery design reduce the impacts that hatchery fish have on wild, listed populations while still providing fish for harvest in Tribal and sport fisheries. Warm Springs NFH, located on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, has two goals: 1) Produce salmon for annual tribal harvest opportunities in the Deschutes and Columbia River fisheries.
2) Protect wild fish populations in the Warm Springs River by minimizing impacts from hatchery operations. The goal of our Deschutes River investigations is to provide information that is used to ensure that the hatchery meets its defined goals, with a particular focus on meeting goal number 2. Results from these evaluations will be applied across other basins and hatchery programs to look at the effect of hatchery operations on wild populations at a region-wide scale.
The downstream migration timing and survival of juvenile hatchery releases are monitored using Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags and radio-telemetry. Modifications to hatchery rearing and release strategies are evaluated in a treatment/control design to determine whether the modifications achieved the desired results. In addition, beginning with the 2010 juvenile migration year, the USFWS has worked with the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (CTWSRO) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to monitor all spring Chinook populations (both hatchery and wild) in the lower Deschutes basin in order to gain baseline information on juvenile survival at a basin-wide, landscape scale.
We also cooperate with the CTWSRO and ODFW to monitor adult returns using hatchery return counts, PIT tag and coded-wire tag recovery data, harvest estimates, and redd counts. Each year, adult return run-reconstructions are made in order to estimate brood year survival rates and evaluate the overall impact of hatchery management changes on adult returns of both wild and hatchery fish. Run-reconstruction data is also used to create return forecasts for the following year that allow managers in the basin to set harvest and broodstock collection guidelines.
For more information, please contact David Hand at 360-604-2500.
Abundance and relative survival of juvenile winter steelhead in Eagle and North Fork Eagle Creeks
In July 2010, the Columbia River Fish Program Office initiated a three year study comparing survival and abundance of wild juvenile steelhead in Eagle and North Fork Eagle Creeks using Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag technology. Eagle and North Fork Eagle Creeks are two tributaries in the Clackamas River Basin that support spawning populations of ESA listed wild winter steelhead. Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery, located at river kilometer 20, annually releases hatchery winter steelhead and coho salmon into Eagle Creek. Past studies using radio-telemetry and genetic analyses suggest that hatchery steelhead are spawning naturally in Eagle Creek and may impact wild steelhead production and survival. Chilcote (2003) found that naturally spawning hatchery fish negatively impact population productivity, overall fitness of wild fish, and reduce the number of recruits by one- third when they make up 30% or greater of the spawning population. Other studies (Araki et al. 2007; Lynch and O’Hely 2001) have shown that the progeny of naturally spawning hatchery fish are less fit and have lower adult survival than wild fish. The data collected from this project will help us estimate relative survival and abundance of winter steelhead in Eagle Creek (hatchery + wild influence) and North Fork Eagle Creek (predominately wild), estimate life stage specific survival (young of year to yearling and smolt to adult), and determine migration timing of winter steelhead. The goal of this project is to ensure that Service hatcheries are operated in accordance with best scientific principles, and contribute to sustainable fisheries and the recovery of naturally-spawning populations of salmon, steelhead and other aquatic species.
Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) Tag Effects Study
Coded-wire-tags (CWT) and passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags are used extensively throughout the Columbia River Basin to address a wide variety of management and research questions. A recent study by Knudsen et al. (2009) found that dual-tagged (CWT and PIT-tagged) hatchery spring Chinook salmon smolts released in the Yakima River had lower smolt-to-adult return rates (SARs) compared to CWT smolts, indicating that PIT-tags may impart a survival bias relative to smolts tagged with CWTs. Given the widespread use of CWT and PIT-tags, further evaluations of potential tag effects would be informative for quantifying the level of bias, if present, associated with each of these two tag types. Towards this end, we initiated the PIT-Tag Effects Study (PTES) at Carson National Fish Hatchery with the marking of the brood year 2009 release. The objectives are 1) to determine the effects of PIT-tags on spring Chinook salmon SARs and 2) to determine PIT-tag loss rates throughout the complete salmon life-cycle. This is a collaborative project between the Hatchery Assessment Team, Fish Marking Program, and Analytical Services.
Since 2005, several collaborative studies have been conducted in the White Salmon River by the White Salmon River Working Group (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PacifiCorp, National Marine Fisheries Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Yakama Nation U.S. Geological Survey-Biological Resources Division and U.S. Forest Service). Each partner works towards goals benefiting their interests and those important to the restoration of the White Salmon post-Condit Dam removal. By working as partners, miscommunication is reduced and more information is collected without employing duplicative, costly efforts.
In preparation for Condit Dam Removal, White Salmon Working Group agencies and PacifiCorp, collaborated on studies to collect existing population level information, to address the impacts from dam removal to the spawning population of Endangered Species Act -listed (Threatened) tule fall Chinook salmon downstream of the dam, and to determine planned mitigation actions during the year of dam breaching. Additional coordination between the White Salmon Working Group led to individual species restoration, monitoring and recovery strategies being developed for implementation in the years after dam removal.
The Services’ interests in the White Salmon River are related to bull trout, Pacific lamprey, and fall Chinook salmon populations as well as being a partner and facilitator to the fisheries co-managers (State of Washington and the Yakama Nation) and local communities. Interactions between hatchery and wild origin Fall Chinook salmon are of special interest for the USFWS in the White Salmon River due to the adjacent hatchery programs at Spring Creek NFH (tule fall Chinook salmon) and Little White Salmon NFH (bright fall Chinook). Both USFWS hatchery programs are operated as mitigation programs for impacts of mainstem Columbia River dams.
For more information, please contact Rod Engle at 360-604-2500.
The Columbia River Fisheries Program Office was initially tasked with the coordination and implementation of FWS funded marking at Columbia Basins NFHs. Since then, the marking and tagging program has expanded to meet other cooperators needs (BPA, COE, Tribes, etc.). The program also provides assistance outside the Basin as schedules allow. The current program marks/tags more than 33.0 million fish in the Columbia Basin under a number of funding sources.
Marking/ tagging and/or bio-sampling occurs during every month with peak activity during Jan. – June for marking and Sept. – Nov. for bio-sampling and coded-wire tag reading and processing.
The CRFPO maintains a fleet of seven marking trailers, two of which are owned by BPA. Of the five owned by FWS, three are automated and two are manual. BPA's trailers are both manually operated.
The decline of many of the native anadromous and resident fish species in the Columbia River Basin is directly related to consumptive water use and/or manipulation of water resources for hydropower production, flood control, and navigation. The Water Management and Evaluation Team was developed in response to this situation to work with the other fishery managers in the basin to identify water-related issues, conduct the relevant evaluations, and recommend solutions based on the best available science that provide options to accommodate many of the conflicting demands on Columbia Basin water resources. The four main areas of activity for the program include issues related to the Federal Columbia River Power System, issues regarding instream flows and fish passage including the mainstem Columbia, Snake, and Willamette rivers, issues related to bull trout research and recovery, and assistance on Recovery Planning, Biological Opinions, and Habitat Conservation Plans that are required under the Endangered Species Act. In many cases, specific issues overlap more than one of these areas.
Federal Columbia River Power System
Construction and operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) has been the primary factor in the decline of native anadromous fishes as well as other migratory species, and the decline has been severe enough for some species, that listing under the Endangered Species Act was necessary. In response to this situation, the CRFPO has engaged in cooperative efforts with other entities in the basin to recover and restore these populations of fish. Office staff collaborate with other state, federal, and tribal fishery managers through several regional forums to develop recommendations regarding operation and configuration of the FCRPS to improve the status of ESA-listed species, prevent listings of other species, and promote the Service's position and interests regarding trust species, including bull trout and Pacific lamprey. Examples include: coordination and integration of spawning flows needed for endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon with instream flow needs for threatened Columbia and Snake river salmonids; development of spawning flow recommendations for threatened Columbia River Chum salmon below Bonneville Dam; scheduling releases of fish from Service National Fish Hatcheries with requests for increased river flows from Columbia and Snake river dams; and incorporation of the requirements of anadromous and resident fish into Federal Energy Regulatory Committee relicensing processes for the Snake and mid-Columbia river hydroelectric projects.
Instream Flow and Fish Passage
Office staff have significant experience and expertise in instream flow methodologies, river hydraulics, fish passage evaluations, and physical/biological habitat evaluations for native anadromous and resident fish and wildlife in the Pacific Northwest and Columbia River Basin. Instream flow and passage assessments, hydraulic and habitat modeling, and species-specific biological evaluations provide the necessary information to describe the effect of a range of streamflows on the amount and location of habitat, and on instream passage conditions for various species/lifestages. The relationship between streamflow and habitat/passage conditions provides the raw materials for crafting solutions to water management problems that achieve the best balance among competing demands on a limited resource. Office staff have a long history of instream flow applications using the Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) and Physical Habitat Simulation System (PHABSIM). These methods were state-of-the-art tools for several decades, but recently, new tools have been developed that have advanced hydraulic simulations into the 2-dimensional realm, and habitat output into a spatially explicit coverage in GIS format. The CRFPO has integrated the strengths of River2D for hydrodynamic modeling, with logistic regression analysis for biological criteria, to conduct modeling, analysis, and output completely within the ArcGIS framework. This process provides results that are intuitive, and much easier to interpret in map form than tables of numbers. The CRFPO’s instream flow and passage work have spanned a wide range of applications and scales including the Hanford Reach in the mid-Columbia (fall Chinook, white sturgeon) and an upcoming evaluation in the Walla Walla basin in southeast Washington/northeast Oregon (bull trout, steelhead, spring Chinook). Staff also recently completed a habitat evaluation for fall Chinook in the mainstem Columbia River below John Day Dam using these tools, and an instream flow and passage assessment is currently underway in Icicle Creek, a tributary to the Wenatchee River in central Washington. A new fish passage assessment is currently underway in the Upper Willamette Basin with a focus on bull trout and Pacific lamprey.
Bull Trout Recovery
Bull trout are currently listed as threatened under the ESA, and the CRFPO is assisting the Service with many aspects of recovery planning, recovery on the ground, and monitoring and evaluation. The water management program has implemented studies in the Walla Walla, John Day, and Umatilla basins to determine factors limiting bull trout production in those basins, and to work with local, state, federal, and tribal co-managers to improve conditions and make progress towards recovery. Consumptive water use for agriculture is the primary issue in these arid, east-side basins. As a result, insufficient instream flows are a fundamental problem that must be addressed to recover bull trout, other native species, and the fundamental components of the aquatic ecosystem. Our work consists of studies to investigate movement and migration patterns, determine spatial and temporal distribution, evaluate passage conditions, and characterize spawning and rearing habitat. Along with identification of life history patterns, an instream flow study is in the early stages in the Walla Walla basin to determine how much water will be required to provide adequate habitat and physical passage conditions to improve the status of bull trout and contribute to their recovery.
Biological Opinions, Habitat Conservation Plans, and Recovery Planning
Activities conducted by both federal agencies and non-federal entities require evaluation for effects on ESA-listed species that may be present. Water Management Team staff assist with the development of Biological Opinions (federal actions) and Habitat Conservation Plans (non-federal actions) to establish conditions that will allow many activities to continue while minimizing their effects on ESA-listed species. Our substantial accumulation of technical data on listed species in this Region (e.g. bull trout) through our past project work provide the background for evaluation of the temporal and spatial effects of proposed actions on the relevant species/lifestages. This background is also critical for determining how activities can proceed without causing significant detrimental effects to the relevant species. Biological and physical data from our project work are compiled to identify limiting factors and indicate the relevant recovery actions for improving the status of listed species.
For more information,
please contact Don Anglin at 360-604-2500.