2006 Research Plan Questions

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# of projects that address question:
ThemeIDQuestionDirectlyIndirectlyProgressCriticality
Fish propagation 1 What is the cost to natural populations from competition, predation (direct and indirect), and disease caused by interactions with hatchery-origin juveniles and from harvest in fisheries targeting hatchery-origin adults? 5 8 High High
Fish propagation 2 To what extent can interactions between production-hatchery fish and naturally produced wild fish be reduced — for example with the goal of achieving sustainable long-term productivity and resilience of the wild component of the population by spatial or temporal partitioning of natural and artificial production at the subbasin, province, basin, and regional scale? 15 10 High Medium
Fish propagation 3 What is the magnitude of any demographic benefit to the production of natural-origin juveniles and adults from the natural spawning of hatchery-origin supplementation adults? 20 18 Medium Priority
Fish propagation 4 What are the range, magnitude, and rates of change of natural spawning fitness of integrated (supplemented) populations, and how are these related to management rules, including the proportion of hatchery fish permitted on the spawning grounds, the broodstock mining rate, and the proportion of natural origin adults in the hatchery broodstock? 13 16 Medium Priority
Fish propagation 5 Can the carrying capacity of freshwater habitat be accurately determined and, if so, how should this information be used to establish the goals and limitations of supplementation programs within subbasins? 11 12 Medium High
Fish propagation 6 What is the relationship between basinwide hatchery production and the survival and growth of naturally produced fish in freshwater, estuarine, and ocean habitats? 0 19 Low Priority
Fish propagation 7 What effect do hatchery fish have on other species in the freshwater and estuarine habitats where they are released? 4 15 High Medium
Hydrosystem flow and passage operations 8 What is the relationship between levels of flow and survival of juvenile and adult fish through the Columbia Basin hydrosystem? Do changes in spill and other flow manipulations significantly affect water quality, smolt travel rate, and survival during migration? How do effects vary among species, life-history stages, and migration timings? What is the role of hydrodynamic features other than mid-channel velocity in fish migration? What is the relationship between ratios of transport, inriver return rates, and measurements of juvenile survival (D values)? 8 11 Mixed (high, medium, low) Mixed (high, medium, low)
Hydrosystem flow and passage operations 9 Under what conditions is delayed mortality related to downstream migration through the hydrosystem, and what is the magnitude of that delayed mortality? 5 2 High (but see report) Medium
Hydrosystem flow and passage operations 10 What are the effects of multiple dam passages, transportation, and spill operations on adult fish migration behavior, straying, and pre-spawn mortality, and juvenile-to-adult survival rates? 5 27 High Mixed (high and medium)
Hydrosystem flow and passage operations 11 What is the effect of hydrosystem flow stabilization, flow characteristics, and channel features on anadromous and resident fish species and stocks? What are the ecological effects of hydrosystem operations on downstream mainstem, estuarine, and plume habitats and on populations of fish and wildlife? 2 12 Medium Medium
Hydrosystem flow and passage operations 12 What are the optimal temperature and water quality regimes for fish survival in tributary and mainstem reaches affected by dams, and are there options for hydrosystem operations that would enable these optimal water quality characteristics to be achieved? What would be the effects of such changes in operations and environment on fish, shoreline and riparian habitat, and wildlife? 5 9 Mixed (high and low) Medium
Habitat tributary 13 To what extent do tributary habitat restoration actions affect the survival, productivity, distribution, and abundance of native fish populations? 17 41 Medium Priority
Habitat tributary 14 Are the current procedures being used to identify limiting habitat factors accurate? 12 33 Medium Priority
Habitat tributary 15 What are the impacts of hydrosystem operations on mainstem habitats, including the freshwater tidal realm from Bonneville Dam to the salt wedge? How might hydrosystem operations be altered to recover mainstem habitats? 1 9 Low High
Habitat tributary 16 What pattern and amount of habitat protection and restoration is needed to ensure longterm viability of fish and wildlife populations in the face of natural environmental variation as well as likely human impacts on habitat in the future? 9 37 Low High
Habitat estuary, plume, and ocean 17 What is the significance to fish survival, production, and life-history diversities of habitat degradation or restoration in the estuary as compared with impacts to other habitats in the basin? How does this partitioning of effects vary among species and life-history types? 0 6 Medium Priority
Habitat estuary, plume, and ocean 18 What are the highest priority estuarine habitat types and ecological functions for protection and restoration (e.g., what are most important habitats in the estuary for restoring and maintaining life-history diversities of subyearling Chinook and chum salmon, and how effective were past projects in restoring nursery/feeding areas)? 0 5 Medium Priority
Habitat estuary, plume, and ocean 19 What specific factors affect survival and migration of species and life-history types of fish through the estuary, and how is the timing of ocean entry related to subsequent survival? 0 11 Medium Priority
Habitat estuary, plume, and ocean 20 Can stock-specific data on ocean abundance, distribution, density-dependent growth and survival, and migration of salmonids, both hatchery and wild, be used to evaluate and adjust marine fishery interceptions, harvest, and hatchery production in order to optimize harvests and ecological benefits within the Columbia River Basin? 2 0 High High
Habitat estuary, plume, and ocean 21 Can monitoring of ocean conditions and abundance of salmon and steelhead during their first weeks or months at sea improve our ability to predict interannual fluctuations in the production of Columbia Basin Evolutionarily Significant Units (ESUs) or populations to enable appropriate changes to harvest levels? 2 0 High High
Habitat estuary, plume, and ocean 22 How can interannual and interdecadal changes in ocean conditions be incorporated into management decisions relating to hydrosystem operations, the numbers and timing of hatchery releases, and harvest levels to enhance survival rates, diversity, and viability of ESA-listed salmonids? 2 0 High High
Habitat estuary, plume, and ocean 23 What are the effects of commercial and sport fishing on ocean food webs? 0 0 Not rated Not rated
Harvest 24 What are the effects of fishery interceptions and harvest in mixed-stock areas, such as the ocean and mainstem Columbia, on the abundance, productivity, and viability of ESUs or populations, and how can fishery interceptions and harvests of ESUs or populations, both hatchery and wild, best be managed to minimize the effects of harvest on the abundance, productivity, and viability of those ESUs and populations? 4 13 Medium Priority
Harvest 25 What new harvest and escapement strategies can be employed to improve harvest opportunities and ecological benefits within the Columbia Basin while minimizing negative effects on ESUs or populations of concern? Can genetic techniques be used to quantify impacts on wild or ESA-listed stocks in ocean fisheries? 4 6 Medium Priority
Harvest 26 How can the multiple ecological benefits that salmon provide to the watersheds where they spawn (e.g., provision of a food resource for wildlife and a nutrient source for streams and riparian areas) be incorporated effectively into procedures for establishing escapement goals? 0 4 Medium Medium
Population structure and diversity 27 What approaches to population recovery and habitat restoration are most effective in regaining meta-population structure and diversity that will increase viability of fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin? 3 9 Low High
Population structure and diversity 28 How do artificial production and supplementation impact the maintenance or restoration of an ecologically functional metapopulation structure? 6 14 Medium Medium
Population structure and diversity 29 What is the relationship between genetic diversity and ecological and evolutionary performance, and to what extent does the loss of stock diversity reduce the fitness, and hence survival rate and resilience, of remaining populations? 2 19 Medium Priority
Population structure and diversity 30 What are the differential effects of flow augmentation, transportation, and summer spill on “ocean type vs. reservoir type” fall Chinook? 3 4 Medium Medium
Climate change 31 Can integrated ecological monitoring be used to determine how climate change simultaneously affects fish and wildlife and the freshwater, estuarine, ocean, and terrestrial habitats and ecosystems that sustain them? 2 8 Medium High
Climate change 32 Can indices of climate change be used to better understand and predict interannual and interdecadal changes in production, abundance, diversity, and distribution of Columbia Basin fish and wildlife? 1 6 Medium Medium
Climate change 33 What long-term changes are predicted in the Columbia River Basin and the northeast Pacific Ocean, how will they affect the fish and wildlife in the region, and what actions can ameliorate increased water temperatures, decreased summer river flows, and other ecosystem changes 2 11 Medium Priority
Contaminants 34 What is the distribution and concentration of toxics, including emerging contaminants, in the Columbia River Basin, and what are/have been their trends over time? 2 2 Low Priority
Contaminants 35 How do toxic substances, alone and in combination, affect fish and wildlife distribution and abundance, survival, and productivity? 1 5 Low Priority
Non-native species 36 What is the current distribution and abundance of invasive and deliberately introduced nonnative species (e.g., the baseline condition), and how is this distribution related to existing habitat conditions (e.g., flow and temperature regimes, human development, restoration actions)? 1 9 Medium Medium
Non-native species 37 To what extent do (or will) invasive and nonnative species significantly affect the potential recovery of native fish and wildlife species in the Columbia River Basin? 3 14 Medium Priority
Non-native species 38 What are the primary pathways of introduction of invasive and nonnative species, and what methods could limit new introductions or mitigate the effects of currently established invasives? 0 2 Medium Priority
Human development 39 What changes in human population density, distribution, and economic activity are expected over the next 20 years? 50 years? 0 3 Mixed Priority
Human development 40 How might the projected changes under different development scenarios affect land use patterns, protection and restoration efforts, habitats, and fish and wildlife populations? 0 12 Low Priority
Monitoring and evaluation methods 41 Can a common probabilistic (statistical) site selection procedure for population and habitat status and trend monitoring be developed cooperatively? 3 4 Medium High
Monitoring and evaluation methods 42 Can a scientifically credible trend monitoring procedure based on remote sensing, photography, and data layers in a GIS format be developed? 2 10 High Medium
Monitoring and evaluation methods 43 Can empirical (e.g., regression) models for prediction of current abundance or presence-absence of focal species concurrent with the collection of data on status and trends of wildlife and fish populations and habitat be developed? 6 14 High High
Monitoring and evaluation methods 44 Make best professional judgment, based on available data, as to whether any new research in the spirit of the Intensive Watershed Monitoring approach should be instigated immediately. Most new intensive research should arise as a result of the interaction of existing inventory data with new data arising in population and habitat status and trend monitoring. 1 4 Low Medium