A total of 10 funding proposals “meet scientific review criteria” while another 14 meet criteria with some “qualifications,” according to a preliminary review completed this week of 71 Columbia River basin Resident Fish, Data Management and Regional Coordination projects.
The review which was prepared by the Independent Scientific Review Panel, can be found at:
This 320-page report provides preliminary comments and recommendations on proposals submitted for funding through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Columbia River Fish and Wildlife Program, which is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. The 11 member ISRP was created at the behest of a 1996 amendment to the Northwest Power Act to provide another level of scientific accountability for projects seeking funding from BPA.
BPA considers the Council’s and ISRP’s recommendation in making final funding decisions.
The Council has, as part of the project selection process, grouped like projects together for review. Completed are the wildlife and research, monitoring and evaluation/artificial production “categorical” reviews. Still ahead is a “geographic” review of more than 100 anadromous fish habitat project proposals. That review will begin later this year.
The ISRP in the Feb. 9 review requested responses from sponsors on 30 proposals submitted in the Resident Fish, Data Management and Regional Coordination category. Project proponents are asked to respond to ISRP concerns by March 7.The ISRP will then judge the proposals/responses before submitting its final report to the Council on April 3.
In the preliminary review posted Thursday the ISRP made a specific programmatic recommendation that applies to the 17 regional coordination proposals. Coordination projects involve activities and tasks that directly support Fish and Wildlife Program implementation, reporting, and technical policy development,
The ISRP in its most recent review also considered nine “contextual” projects that had been reviewed recently but were included in this review for reference because of their relation to the proposals under review.
In addition to comments on each proposal, the ISRP has identified programmatic issues – some old, some new – that are introduced in the Feb. 9 review. These will be further discussed over the next two months and updated in the final ISRP report. Programmatic topics include non-native fish management, trout stocking strategies, monitoring and evaluation, regional coordination, results reporting and process issues.
The ISRP says that it continues to support the categorical/geographical review approach, which was launched in 2010.
“It incorporates some of the best features of past reviews such as site visits, presentations, and a response loop,” the ISRP preliminary review says. “It also adds some positive new features such as an emphasis on topical reviews (e.g., data management) and a recognition of program commitments.
“The ISRP especially appreciates the efforts of project sponsors and Council and BPA staff in organizing and providing invaluable site visits and presentations. These tours and presentations demonstrated that the projects are led by dedicated and articulate staff and progress is being made.
“Specifically, greater understanding and appreciation of the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program goals for native species and ecosystem restoration are evident in the projects the ISRP visited and reviewed,” the ISRP said.