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A Biological Decision Analysis

for Listed Snake River Salmon and Steelhead Under Different Options for Future Operation and Configuration of the Federal Columbia River Power System
Oregon Department Fish & Wildlife, January 1999

Oregon Department Fish & Wildlife (1999) concluded:

  1. The natural river options are most likely to recover listed salmon. The natural options exceeded at three NMFS standards for spring, summer and fall chinook with one exception. The 24-yr survival standard was missed by less than one percentage point when breaching of Snake River dams was delayed 8 years. In most cases, the natural river option also met the standards under the most pessimistic assumptions. None of the transportation options met the recovery standard, except under the most optimistic assumptions.
  2. The natural river options are the least risky. Natural river options were less risky for spring, summer and fall chinook salmon. The projected likelihood of meeting the jeopardy standards under the natural river options was less variable over the full range of assumptions.
  3. The biological decision analysis is scientifically credible because it is open and inclusive, comprehensive, objective and relevant. It enables and encourages scientists to work together in a structured setting and provides opportunity for timely feedback from policy makers, other scientists and the public. It considers a wide range of assumptions, analyses and evidence developed by scientists with widely disparate views on why listed salmon and steelhead have declined and what is needed for their recovery. It relies on a rigorous and structured analytical framework and uses formal peer-review by participants and independent experts to assess and critique work products and recommend ways to improve the analyses. It is specifically designed to address the central question in the 1994-1998 BiOp on Operation of the FCRPS (Federal Columbia River Power System), i.e., "What is the likelihood of survival and recovery of listed Snake River salmon and salmon and steelhead under different options for future operation and configuration for the FCRPS?"
  4. The choice among future hydrosystem options may have significant management implications for Oregon's salmon and other fishes. Placing unwarranted conservation burden on harvest, habitat, and hatcheries may reduce directed and incidental harvest from inriver and ocean fisheries for generations of Oregonians, reduce or suspend most mititgation programs, which involve artificial production, subject uses of land and water resources to federal regulation,, and limit choices Oregon has to manage warm water fish, birds and marine mammals because of concerns about their negative interactions with listed salmon and steelhead.
  5. Experimental management, using the least risky hydrosystem option, offers the best chance of protection and recovery. Experimental management recognizes that uncetainties are unavoidable and that actions cannot wait for uncertainties to be eliminated; it enalbes policy makers to take action in the face of considerable uncertainty. Experimental management also maximizes the rate of learning to address critical unknowns. It allows for evaluation of the effectiveness of management actions and adjustment of actions in response to future conditions.
ODFW conclusions from the current PATH results are consistent with those in the PATH FY98 report (Marmorek and Peters 1998b). ODFW (1999) emphasizes the risk adverse response to natural river actions across a wide range of hypotheses and uncetainties. the IDFG (1998) assessment of risk and uncertainty, although based on earlier, more disparate PATH results, reached similar conclusions as ODFW (1999).
Oregon Department Fish & Wildlife, January 1999
A Biological Decision Analysis for Listed Snake River Salmon and Steelhead Under Different Options for Future Operation and Configuration of the Federal Columbia River Power System
ODFW staff report for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commision (January 1999)

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