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ISRP Rejects Estuary Habitat Monitoring Plan

by CBB Staff
Columbia Basin Bulletin - May 14, 2004

While the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) generally supports a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan proposed by the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership for the Lower Columbia River and Estuary, it rejected that part of the monitoring plan for habitat, saying it lacks detail and so is not "fundable."

In a letter from ISRP Chair Rick Williams to Doug Marker, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Director of Fish and Wildlife Programs, the ISRP said that its reading of the scope of work for water quality monitoring should be funded, "subject to more detailed documentation of the sampling protocols (location, time, and methods)." However, the Council's scientific review committee said that the habitat monitoring program should not be funded at this time because it lacks the information needed to implement.

The ISRP reviewed the document because a portion of the funding for the M&E activities would potentially be paid by the Bonneville Power Administration.

"It remains a plan to develop a monitoring program, providing very little detail on the sample design, the proposed classification system, habitat performance indicators, or methods of analysis," the letter said. "Specific descriptions of current M&E activities and critical knowledge gaps – the type of information expected to be provided in a proposal’s literature review – are absent."

It went on to say that the scope of work for the Lower Columbia River Ecosystem Monitoring and Data Management Project provided for habitat monitoring lists proposed tasks that should have been done while preparing the scope of work. It listed as an example the review of literature and the development of a sample design, which the ISRP said should have been done for the scope of work, not as a future activity.

In addition, the M&E plan lacks any discussion of how habitat monitoring would be linked to fish population monitoring, the letter said, and, in fact, there is no inclusion of fish in the monitoring tasks or protocols.

Among the other criticisms of the M&E plan are:

On the other hand, the ISRP said the water quality monitoring scope of work is fundable, but that is needs "more detailed documentation of the sampling protocols (location, time, and methods)." The scientists said this part of the scope of work "was professionally written, informative, and worth supporting. It was better organized and provided more specific details on performance measures, sampling sites and methods of sampling and analysis than did the Habitat Monitoring SOW."

Among the positive aspects of the water quality monitoring scope of work are:

Related Sites:
ISRP letter to Council:

CBB Staff
ISRP Rejects Estuary Habitat Monitoring Plan
Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 14, 2004

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