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Science Panel Supports Basin Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative With Some Suggestions
Posted on Friday, January 05, 2018 (PST)

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 lamprey actions.

 

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 explicit objectives.

-- 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

 

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