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NOAA Fisheries Service has funded research to investigate the effects of fish disease on Klamath Basin salmonids. In response to observations of infectious disease in Klamath River Basin salmon, NOAA Fisheries Service has collaborated with other federal agencies, state agencies, tribes, and stakeholders, to develop strategies to investigate and combat fish disease. Since 2005, NOAA Fisheries Service, along with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has convened Klamath River fish health workshops which have served the scientific community with a forum for developing research and monitoring strategies, as well as informing management on ways to improve salmon survival. NOAA Fisheries Service, in partnership with USFWS was convened the Klamath River fish health workshop in February, 2007.
In the first two days of the new legislative session, two companion bills were introduced, that if passed, would authorize the appropriation of $60.4 million for California and Oregon's fishermen, tribes and businesses impacted by the commercial fishery failure declared in August 2006 by Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez.
To review the bills go the Library of Commerce search engine and reference the bill identification (in red above). We apologize for the indirect link.
Biological Opinions/National Academy of Sciences --
NOAA Fisheries Service fully incorporated the advice of the National Academy of Sciences in the Biological Opinion (BO) issued on the operations of the Klamath Reclamation Project. NOAA Fisheries Service and the Bureau of Reclamation will reinitiate consultation under section 7 of the ESA and will incorporate the best available scientific information available during that consultation. New information has been developed through scientific research and through the evaluation of the information gathered in monitoring the results of operating the project under the standards established in the current BO. One key long-anticipated science contribution that is undergoing review is a thorough examination of the influence of various flow levels on the availability of fish habitat in the Klamath River.
NOAA Fisheries Service undertook cooperative studies with the Yurok Tribe on sea lion predation on salmon in the Klamath River in 1997-1999. The studies demonstrated that California sea lions were consuming about 10 percent of the returning fall Chinook. As a result of this and other salmon predation studies on the west coast, NOAA Fisheries Service recommended to Congress that the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) be changed to allow state and federal authorities to more effectively deal with site-specific situations of salmon predation by California sea lions and Pacific harbor seals. To date, no changes have been made to the MMPA, and the deterrence measures allowed under the MMPA have been largely ineffective in addressing sea lion predation on salmon on the west coast.
The NOAA Fisheries Service accounting practices for natural and hatchery-origin fish are consistent with provisions of the Pacific Fishery Management Councils (Council) Pacifc Coast Salmon Fishery Management Plan (Salmon Plan), and long-standing past practice of the Klamath River Technical Advisory Team. Ocean salmon fisheries are managed to achieve a spawning escapement goal of 33-34 percent of the potential, naturally-spawning adult fall Chinook in the Klamath-Trinity Basin. That goal also specifies that the escapement should not fall below a floor of 35,000 natural spawning fish. Each year agencies cooperate in forecasting the abundance of Klamath fall Chinook including a forecast of the percentage of spawners that will return to the Basins two hatcheries.
The reason for distinguishing hatchery and natural area spawners is to ensure the continued wild production of Klamath fall Chinook in river habitat outside the hatcheries. The Basins natural area sub-stocks are considered vital for maintaining the genetic diversity, productivity, and spatial structure of this resource. Runs of hatchery salmon can sustain a greater harvest rate than runs of naturally reproducing salmon. Combining the hatchery and natural spawning goals, therefore, would increase the risk of seriously depleting or even extirpating certain natural area subpopulations and thereby reducing the long-term productive potential and viability of the overall stock composite.
Moving fish from lower river to upper river --
NOAA Fisheries Service is working to open more upstream habitat to salmon and steelhead through the process of requiring effective fish passage past the dams on the mainstem Klamath. We are pursuing this objective under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing of the hydroelectric facilities. Learn More.
The question of what interventions would help to reduce the mortalities due to disease such as moving fish from the lower river to the upper riverwas considered at the 3rd Annual Klamath River Salmon Disease Conference. In the future, the health and productivity of lower river tributaries will be essential to restoring the full productivity of the Klamath River. Regarding sediment barriers to fish entering and leaving tributaries, this is a question of achieving appropriate channel forming flows within the tributaries and the main stem Klamath.
NOAA Fisheries Service is currently working with the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the States of California and Oregon to evaluate the application of genetic stock identification (GSI) technologies to Pacific coast salmon fisheries management. A pilot project conducted in 2006, which collected DNA samples from a limited area, provided some preliminary information on the lab processing time required for genetic stock identification, as well as some of the logistical requirements in conducting such a sampling program. A program proposed to begin in 2007 would be designed to determine the spatial-temporal distribution of Klamath River fall Chinook (KRFC) as well as other stocks of concern off the coasts of Oregon and California, and would include an investigation of the potential differences in KRFC contact rates in near-shore versus off-shore waters. It is too early to apply GSI technologies real-time to West Coast salmon fishery management, but NOAA Fisheries Service and the Council may consider a pilot study for applying GSI sampling to determine in-season stock composition of catch in a limited area fishery in 2007. Real-time GSI-based technology will yield a different type of harvest metric than currently being used, and if implemented too quickly without due consideration of impacts on management objectives and forecasting methods could cause fishery disruptions. The proposed GSI program for west coast salmon fisheries is contingent upon sufficient funding.
Flow rates under the NOAA Fisheries Service Biological Opinion (BO) are adjusted throughout the year to achieve the greatest benefit for ESA listed coho salmon. Higher flows are required in the spring to support outmigration of juvenile salmon and in the fall to aid in the upstream migration of returning spawners. The absolute level of those flows varies with the amount of water available in the basin each year. Another flow consideration that is emerging is the need for very high flows that often occur in the winter and spring and that spill uncontrolled by the dams. These high flows are necessary for the forming and maintenance of river channel features critical to salmon habitat. The flow studies commissioned by the Department of the Interior and now under final review will provide additional scientific guidance in managing flows in the Klamath for the benefit of salmon.
The landmark October 13, 2004 agreement among four cabinet-level federal agencies, and the governors of Oregon and California establishes federal and state commitments to future collaboration and cooperation in the entire Klamath Basin watershed as they work together to resolve complex water quantity, water quality, and fish and wildlife resource problems. The agreement commits to establishing a coordinated approach to implement a long-term management approach for restoration, a common vision, and integrated planning to enhance fish runs and protect habitat while providing water for irrigation and other uses. Co-chaired by representatives from the governors offices and including regional directors from federal agencies, a working group to implement the agreement was also established under the agreement in 2004. In 2005, the working group decided to direct its resources to settlement discussions associated with FERC consideration of PacifiCorp hydropower license. Settlement discussions have brought Tribes, fishing interests, agricultural interests, environmental organizations, Federal, state and local governments together for the first time. The agreement should be revisited once the settlement discussions advance over the next 6 months.
Flow releases at Iron Gate Dam are managed according to a biological opinion (BO) issued by NOAA Fisheries Service. The flow release operations under the BO are calculated to provide the necessary protections for the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed coho salmon in the Klamath River and are not designed specifically to protect Chinook salmon, which are not listed under the ESA.
NOAA Fisheries Service Disaster Relief
Up coming Meetings
Pacific Fishery Management Council