A science review panel cleared the way for
potential Northwest Power and Conservation Council and Bonneville Power
Administration funding of lamprey projects in the Northwest once the project
proponents meet certain criteria.
The Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative
Columbia River Basin Projects was developed by Northwest tribes and fish and
wildlife agencies in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California to
achieve long-term persistence of Pacific lamprey, as well as to support
traditional cultural use of the lamprey.
The Council sent the Lamprey Conservation
Initiative to the Independent Scientific Review Panel for review in November,
saying that the project’s intent was to address a critical emerging priority
and support the efforts of the Conservation Agreement for Pacific Lamprey (see https://www.fws.gov/pacificlamprey/AgreementMainpage.cfm).
The Agreement is a cooperative effort among
natural resource agencies and tribes to reduce threats to Pacific lamprey,
while improving the habitats where they live and their population status, and
is included in the Council’s 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program. The overall goal
of the Initiative and the review process is to eventually secure funding from
the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program, as well as other funding sources, to
implement restoration actions, and to monitor and evaluate unfunded or
partially funded projects in the Columbia River basin.
In its instructions to the ISRP, the Council
Fish and Wildlife Committee said the scientists should focus solely on the
operating guidelines and project criteria that guide implementation of the priority
The ISRP said the proposal meets scientific
review criteria. “The Lamprey Initiative proposal provides a comprehensive
overview of the need for the Initiative, its history, and the procedures for
generating, prioritizing, and funding projects,” the ISRP said.
However, it listed several qualifications that
the Initiative proponents should consider as they seek funding from the Council
and BPA. Among those are:
-- develop and implement studies to further
elucidate regional population structure and the spatial scale of adaptations in
the lamprey populations they seek to restore or enhance.
-- critical requirements of an adaptive
management process are needed at the project level. A first step in any
adaptive management approach is the formulation of quantitative and time
-- the proponents should strengthen processes
to reduce conflicts of interest and ensure the scientific objectivity of the
Conservation Team during the proposal review process.
-- in addition to the proponents taking steps
to ensure the Conservation Team’s objectivity, the ISRP recommends that
proposals containing research and assessment elements be reviewed by the ISRP
to ensure sound study designs and to further alleviate concerns about potential
conflicts of interest.
More detail is available in the full November
28, 2017 ISRP review at https://www.nwcouncil.org/media/7491434/isrp-2017-13-pacificlampreyinitiative28novdocx.pdf