Biology Committee Meeting Summary

February 12, 1998

Holiday Inn- DIA, Denver, Colorado

CONVENE: 9:00 am
ADJOURN: 4:00 pm

ATTENDEES: Larry Crist, Frank Pfeifer, Mike Carnevale, Tom Pitts, Gary Burton, Dave Swanson, Leo Lentsch, John Hawkins, Robert Forrester for Bill Davis, Henry Maddux, Angela Kantola, Tom Czapla, Pat Nelson, Anna Toline, and Kevin Bestgen.

Action or "to-do" items are identified by a ">."

Recommendations to the Management Committee are in ALL CAPS.

Monday 2/3/97

1. Review/modify agenda - The agenda was modified as it appears below.

2. Revision/approval of draft January meeting summary -The draft January Biology committee meeting summary was accepted as final with the following changes:

3. University of Colorado request for samples - The student needs a larger piece of the sample (but can leave the head and otolith). He only needs a subsample of the fish available.

>Crist will amend the memo to the Program Director allowing the student to take the requisite subsamples (up to, but not including the head and otolith). The memo will request that the student save the DNA.

3. Management Objectives

Status of Final Draft: Robert Wigington and John Hawkins posted comments to the listserver. Tom Pitts also sent comments. Tom Nesler was going to provide comments at this meeting. Leo said that Tom Pitts requested that the reference to subpopulations be removed and that Table 6 stay at the species level (not include subpopulations). Larry Crist suggested revising the subpopulations that are identified to be consistent with the ones identified in the current Genetics Management Plan, with a footnote that they are subject to change with revisions to the Genetics Management Plan. With regards to the humpback, the Committee agreed to add as statement saying that the listing of these populations in this document does not imply any priority for use by the Recovery Team for use in downlisting the species. The Committee accepted these changes. With regards to Wigington's and Hawkins' comments on addressing the habitat and threat components, Leo said that they've attempted to address that, and will try to make additional clarifications. Leo said he's double-checking on the inconsistency between the numbers in Table 5 on page 15 and Crowl's values. Leo is also addressing the other miscellaneous editorial comments. Pfeifer noted that on page 10, his concern regarding Osmundson's citation has not yet been addressed (should say 86%, not 80%). Leo said he'd fix that. John Hawkins said his approval of the document has some reservations, since he has yet to see how his comments will be addressed. The Committee accepted the report as a final project completion report, give n that the aforementioned revisions are made.

4. Review and discuss and RIPRAP Revision Recommendations

Page Item

20 IIA3 Add footnote: "Subject to review and approval after evaluation of levee removal study.

22 IIIB5 Need to flag this item somehow to make sure that the Service does indeed work discuss the nonnative fish stocking procedures with the Tribes. >The Program Director will send a memo to the Service asking that they do this (and check to see if this wasn't identified as a Service responsibility under the old nonnative fish stocking procedures scope of work).

22 IVA1 Add "update as needed" to the status column.

23 IVA5 Leave this and IVA5a in. Complete by 9/98.

23 IVE1 Revise Coordinated hatchery facilities plan by 4/98, then December of each year thereafter.

24 IVB2 Remove shading. Ongoing, x's in all years.

24 IVB2a Change to "evaluate need for imprinting based on reintroduction plans."

24 VC1 We need to address and resolve the policy issue on batch marking as opposed to pit-tagging for stocked fish. >The Biology Committee made this an assignment to itself, and added it to the agenda for their next meeting.

24 VE Lead is just Program.

24 VIF >Kantola, Pitts, and Hawkins will develop recommendations for keeping the library up to date and making it more widely available.

25 VIIA2a&b >Program Director's office will revise this section to more accurately reflect the process planned for finalizing the MO's and writing recovery goals.

28 IIA2d& Add footnote: Subject to review and approval following evaluation of levee

IIA3b removal study and review of floodplain acquisition program. (Add same footnote to Colorado and Gunnison rivers on page 45 and 49.

29 IVA2 Utah will provide dates.

30 IA4a3ai Add CDOW to lead.

31 IA4a3f Change completion date to 7/98; delete note regarding draft.

31 IA4a3fi Delete (is part of IA4a3ai on page 30).

31 IA4a3fii Delete x in '98. This item will need clarification in later years, because the plan has more pieces than the Recovery Program has interest in. Move to nonnative fish control and make language more specific

33 IIIB3 Retitle nonnative fish removal in Yampa Canyon.

33 IIIB4 Add item in '99 guidance - small mouth bass and northern pike removal.

46 IIB2a4 Delete note regarding removal. If the decision is to remove the structure, we can change the RIPRAP at that time.

46 IIIA1 Change to determine relationship between Aspinall test flows and nonnative abundance.

47 IIIA4 Add UDWR to lead.

47 IVA1b1 Delete (this is covered under broodstock development)

47 IVA1b2&3 Changes x's to reflect that this will start in FY 99 (five-year study).

50 IIIA1 >Tom Nesler to find out when the creel survey report will be completed.

51. IVA1b2 Stock fish should be a carated item. Remove the acquire fish item above (covered under broodstock development). Note that stock fish and augment fish items throughout the RIPRAP are supposed to have carats only, no asterisks (this is inconsistent throughout the RIPRAP).

5. Review and discuss Draft Program Guidance

I. Instream Flow Identification and Protection

A temperature gage also is needed at Rulison on the Colorado River (gages under Aspinall studies are no longer funded and temperature information will be important with regards to fish using areas above passage facilities).

Tom Pitts said that both Tyus & Saunders and Mussetter Engineering have suggested several studies that the water users would like to see included in FY 99 guidance. The Committee reviewed the recommendations from Tyus and Saunders and agreed they were already being implemented with the exception of humpback chub relocation (which should be addressed as part of the augmentation plans under development). The Committee reviewed the recommendations from Mussetter engineering and agreed that the Program is addressing most of those, also (and the remainder are premature until results from ongoing studies are available.)

Frank Pfeifer said that Bob Muth has some concerns that the recommended San Rafael new start may have overlap with the razorback monitoring work, but that can be more carefully evaluated when we get a scope of work.

II. Habitat Restoration

Tom Pitts said they'll be looking closely at the scope of work submitted for CAP-6 SE (field verification of lab results) and for the experimental spawning and rearing of razorback suckers to make sure that these studies have good experimental designs that can provide the desired results.

III. Reduce Nonnative Fish and Sportfish Impacts

Ongoing project #87b and the suggested new start for large-scale centrarchid removal should be combined in one "ongoing needing revision" scope of work.

The Yampa River catfish removal scope of work should be under "ongoing revised," since the Committee has not yet seen a revised FY 98 scope of work addressing their earlier comments. Henry will get a revised FY 98 scope of work from the principal investigators. Finally, this should be titled Yampa Canyon Nonnative Fish Removal.

IV. Propagation & Genetics Management

The line item costs for CAP-7 will be taken out. These decisions will be made in the context of the coordinated hatchery facility plan (and genetics management plan).

Frank Pfeifer said that with regards to the translocation new start, he's not sure where they would get the razorback suckers. Tom Pitts said the incidental take issue will need to be resolved before this work goes forward.

Since the Management Committee approved partial funding for the Gila hybridization study in FY 98 (originally conceived as a multi-year study), it should be added as an ongoing revised study.

V. Monitoring, Life History, and Research

Move the database management project to ongoing revised and request recommendations for modifying this process, incorporating new technology, etc.

For the determination of razorback and bonytail survival, the Management Committee recommended making it early life stages as opposed to 1-3 year old (although there's a data gap for this age, the age-0 stage is more sensitive in the model). They also recommended doing this only for razorback right now, and leaving the approach up to the researcher.

The Committee discussed the ISMP assessment proposed new start at length, with many members stating that they did not believe that this would be a useful effort as outlined. Determining the objectives of ISMP is a job for Program participants. Before this scope of work is implemented, the >Biology and Management committees will meet and agree on objectives for ISMP. The Committee generally agreed that peer review is wise, but their role would be to determine whether the methodology is adequate to achieve the objectives. Tom Pitts said he doesn't believe that a peer review panel can handle all this information, which is why he recommended hiring a biostatistician to take the lead in this work. The Committee agreed to leave the approach out of the Program Guidance at this point.

Tom Pitts said he doesn't agree with the goals, but thinks this activity needs to look at the relative importance of the tributaries and their relative contributions to recovery. Developing an action plan for tributaries is premature until the relative value of tributaries to mainstem habitat has been assessed. The Committee agreed to leave this in the guidance with minor modifications.

6. Report Review process - The group reviewed and approved the biological report review process submitted by Larry Crist (with minor revisions). >Larry Crist will make the revisions and send it to >Angela Kantola who will make final editorial changes and post it the final to the listserver. >Angela Kantola will add this report review process as well as the report format to the Program Guidance.

7. The Committee considered Frank Pfeifer's proposal regarding larval razorbacks. (Because of poor survival of larval razorbacks produced from Horsethief adults in the spring of 1997, we do not have any fish to stock into Clymer's growout pond this year. The San Juan Program needs to raise 10,000 Lake Mohave razorbacks to pit-taggable size and Frank would like to use Clymer's pond to rear these larval fish. This would help the San Juan Program, not cost us anything, and we'd gain knowledge of how Clymer's pond will function in growing razorbacks that are stocked as fry.) The Committee approved the proposal.

8. Revised FY 98 CAP-7 Scope of work - Tom Czapla distributed a revised FY 98 CAP-7 scope of work (final approval pending approval of Facilities Operation Plan)

9. Genetics Panel response - Tom Czapla distributed a copy of the letter he sent to the Genetics Panel regarding the Genetics Management Plan and a response he received from Fred Allendorf. A group of interested Biology Committee members is meeting on March 2 to discuss the Genetics Management Plan. >Tom will send a letter to the Panel immediately that identifies the issues we're addressing in the Genetics Management Plan and asks if they believe there are major issues that aren't being addressed.

10. Draft memo to Management Committee regarding the status of ISMP - Tom Czapla distributed a draft memo that Tom Pitts asked him to prepare and have the Biology Committee review.

11. Upcoming reports: Gunnison River habitat/flow relationships (McAda); Colorado River cobble imbededness (Pfeifer's shop); ice study (WAPA)

12. Schedule next meeting - (Meeting set for March 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fish and Wildlife Service office in Denver).

Proposed Agenda Items:

Population Model report to be reviewed and approved

Address and resolve the policy issue of batch marking versus pit-tagging stocked fish.

Review Colorado's augmentation plan

Review of ISMP status memo to Management Committee

Stocking issues January 15-16 Biology Committee meeting

>Larry Crist will compile a list of additional reports that need to be reviewed at the March 23 Biology Committee meeting in Denver