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Sent to 10 Federal Caucus Agencies, September 11, 2018

What is the Early Warning Indicator (EWI)?

The EWI was established by NOAA Fisheries in 2014 as part of the Adaptive Management Implementation Plan (page 419) of the Federal Columbia River Power System's 2014 Biological Opinion:
3.7.1 Early Warning Indicator and Significant Decline Trigger
The Early Warning Indicator alerts NOAA Fisheries and the Action Agencies to a decline in a species' natural abundance level that warrants further scrutiny. This indicator is a combination of 5-year abundance trends and rolling 4-year averages of abundance, based on the most recent 20 to 30 years of adult return data, depending on the species. The Early Warning Indicator would be tripped if the running 4-year mean of adult abundance dropped below the 20th percentile, or if the trend metric dropped below the 10th percentile and the abundance metric was below the 50th percentile. Tripping this indicator results in an assessment of whether or not a future significant decline is likely to occur in the next 2 years and if so which rapid response actions should be readied for possible implementation.
Its sole purpose is to raise red flags and alert the responsible Action Agencies that an endangered species (Snake River Steelhead) have declined dramatically and the current mitigation methods and efforts may have failed. NOAA is ignoring their EWI.

Rather than using "the most recent 20 to 30 years of adult return data" as they prescribed, NOAA Fisheries is insisting on using only 1989-2007 data to determine if the "abundance metric was below the 50th percentile."

This document was sent by Certified Mail to all ten of the Federal Caucus agencies:
BIA, BPA, EPA, FS, FWS, NOAA, NRCS, USACE, USBR, USGS on September 11, 2018.

Related Pages:
2017 AMIP Abundance and Trend Tracking NOAA's spreadsheet uses only 1989-2007 data to set 50th percentile.

Letter to James Dalton, Director of Civil Works, USACE 7/25/18
First notice of EWI, hand-delivered to James Dalton, USACE Headquarters, 10/26/17

In the news 2018
More Small Fish Led to Undercount of Idaho's Prized (B-run) Steelhead Last Year by K.C. Mehaffey, NW Fishletter, 9/4/18
Down to a Trickle; Steelhead Numbers Continue Descent by Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune, 8/31/18

In the news 2017
Worst-ever Start to Steelhead Season as Low Flows, 'The Blob,' Voracious Sea Lions Take Toll by Eric Barker, Times-News, 8/15/17
Steelhead are in Hot Water Struggling in Record Low Numbers by Lynda Mapes, Seattle Times, 8/18/17
The River's Steelhead are Struggling by Steve Hawley, The Drake, 6/13/17
Snake River Steelhead Triggers Early Warning Indicator
Sent to 10 Federal Caucus Agencies, September 11, 2018

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