Biology Committee Meeting Summary

March 23, 1998

Fish and Wildlife Service, Lakewood, Colorado

CONVENE: 9:15 am
ADJOURN: 3:45 pm

ATTENDEES: Larry Crist, Frank Pfeifer, Mike Carnevale, Tom Nesler, Tom Pitts, Dave Swanson for Gary Burton, John Hawkins, Robert Forrester for Bill Davis, Henry Maddux, Tom Czapla, Pat Nelson, and Todd Crowl.

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

Recommendations to the Management Committee are in ALL CAPS and bold

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

Review of Crowl population model report moved to after agenda item number 4

Catfish SOW will be dealt with after agenda item number 2.

Add item - Leota update under Number 5.

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

Substitute tributary Program guidance for "activity" in first sentence of paragraph 4 under monitoring section

3. Approval of catfish removal SOW - Committee discussion included the following points:

Based on the above discussion the Biology Committee Recommendations for Finalization of the Catfish Removal SOW include:

3. Review/Approval of proposed procedures for collection of razorback sucker broodstock in the Green River and use of electrofishing over spawning bar.

The Biology Committee Approved the Draft Procedures for Collection of Razorback Sucker Broodstock developed by the workgroup in Salt Lake City. In addition the Committee recommended that if opportunity allows, more than 40 fish be collected so that maximum number of lots (up to 16)can be produced in 1998. Any increase in collection of fish over 40 would be contingent on the approval of the State of Utah and Service.

4. Report Review Process - discussion of need to modify based on Implementation Committee recommendations.

The Biology Committee recommends the following changes in the Review Process to meet Implementation Committee concerns. The Report Review Process was then Approved as Modified.

5. Status/Updates

6. Report Reviews

Tom Nesler noted that he had not received a copy of the report from Utah. The Committee noted that there are still some outstanding issues that have not been addressed in the current version of the report, including a sensitivity analysis recommended by the Service. Todd Crowl indicated that while future refinements are planned including a sensitivity analyses that it would take several months to complete those tasks. The Committee suggested that recommendation section be updated to include other issues and items that need to be incorporated into the model, both structural changes and updating data. In addition, the committee recommended that a version number be added to the report (i.e Version 1.0) to differentiate it from future versions. The report was accepted pending approval of the recommendations. Todd will post to the list server the recommendation section by April 1.

>Anyone with recommendations that they wish to submit for Todd Crowl's consideration need to contact Todd prior to March 30.

Final approval will occur during next conference call.

Needs to be spell-checked. Data doesn't seem to support recommending managing degree days for recruitment. Data indicated no significant differences between degree days and size of fish, etc. Paper discusses that larger fish have better chance for survival, however this disagrees with work by Bestgen. Report needs to discuss in more detail differences between conclusions of the two studies. Needs a conclusion section. Needs to include statement of objectives and whether objectives were achieved. Report needs to provide direction on how to improve recruitment. Recommendation #1 on obtaining scale samples from ISMP, need to know what size fish they are talking. #2. strong statement, recommend rather than state emphatically, i.e., "should" #4 is for Green River only, is it important to other populations, applicability question. Colorado River. Biology Committee Does Not Recommend Approval at This Time. Report should be revised based on the above comments. Tom Nesler can provide additional clarification if needed..

Accepted as final report with one minor revision. Recommendation: Added recommendation of levee removal in Delta area. Recommendation accepted.

Frank reported that none of Bob Burdick's comments were addressed and included in the report. Tom will ask Bill Elmblad to address Burdick's comments. Tom asked that if there are other comments that they be provided to him and Bill within the next two weeks. Report will come back to the Committee.

>Any additional comments are due to Tom Nesler by April 6.

Numerous editorial inconsistencies with the report. Data seems to be misplaced in document. Needs to be updated with current information. Many of previous comments provided seem to have been ignored.

> Any additional technical/editorial comments should be sent to Pat Nelson by April 1, who will be responsible for working with the authors to incorporate comments.

Biology Committee Did Not Accept Report at This Time. Authors will be asked to revise report and resubmit to Program.

Review deferred to next meeting due to lack of sufficient time for review

5. Status/Updates (continued)

The Committee primarily reviewed the rationale and identification of fish stocks in the Genetics Management Plan at Tom Czapla's request. Discussion points included: -HBC in Westwater and Black Rocks, few individuals have moved, but don't know if they're contributed to genetics. -Razorback in Yampa should be split? The biology of the RBS are more migratory more movement, have more individuals moving between populations than HBC. The HBC, have larger populations, but fewer individuals appear to move between populations. - Does the number of stocks mean we have to recover all of them. Need further time to review. In general, Committee members agreed that existing stock identifications were probably valid and that justification for changes in stock identification proposed in the revised Genetics Management Plan should be carefully examined

>Have Bob Muth provide Pitts a copy of recent information regarding a razorback sucker stock in the lower Green River.

The Committee scheduled a conference call for April 8 at 2:00 pm to resolve issues of stock identification in the revision to the Genetics Management Plan. The primary issue for the conference call will be identification of endangered fish stocks in the revised Genetics Management Plan. Other issues related to the Genetics Management Plan can be brought up and also be addressed at the conference call as time permits.

Additional discussion centered around where priorities are set, in which program documents? >Specific written comments are due by April 6 (post to list server) for a conference call on April 8 at 2:00 pm.

Tom Czapla presented an overview of the Plan and the information used in its development. The committee recommended that citations be added to tables that reference the stocking plans, in order to know which plans are being discussed. Report contains total acreage of ponds needed for maintaining brood stock and producing fish for augmentation.

>Comments on Facility Plan to Czapla by April 6.

Comments on Facility Plan will be addressed during the April 8 conference call if time permits.

Tom Czapla request guidance from the Biology Committee on disposition of surplus fish from the Chemoreception project. The Committee Recommended That the Chemoreception Razorbacks Not be Stocked in the Green River and if There are Insufficient Facilities or Other Reason That Require Disposition of These Fish, That the Fish Disposition Policy be Followed. Reasons for not stocking the razorbacks in the Green River or for using them for radio telemetry experiments were based on previous decisions and concerns that fish of unknown parentage should not be introduced into the system.

7. Upcoming agenda items -

Review/Approval of Monitoring cobble-gravel embeddedness in the stream bed of the Upper Colorado River

Review/Approval of Estimate of winter survival, movement and dispersal of young Colorado squawfish in the Green River, Utah

8. Schedule next meeting - May 21, 1998 in Grand Junction 8:00-4:00

9. Agenda Items for April 8, 2:00 pm Conference Call:

1) Review of recommendations section for Todd's model report;

2) reach agreement on stocks and priorities for Management Genetics Plan (Tables 1 and 3);

3) make short-term facility needs recommendations.