Biology Committee Meeting Conference Call Summary

April 8, 1998

PARTICIPANTS: Larry Crist, Frank Pfeifer, Chrissy Wilson for Leo Lentsch, Dave Swanson for Gary Burton, John Hawkins, Tom Pitts, Mike Carnevale, Robert Forrester for Bill Davis, Bob Muth, Tim Modde, Kevin Bestgen, Anna Toline, Todd Crowl, Henry Maddux, Tom Czapla, and Angela Kantola.

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

2. Review recommendations for the report "Downstream transport of Colorado squawfish larvae in the Green River: temporal and spatial variation in abundance and relationships with juvenile recruitment" - Recommendations were posted to list server by Kevin Bestgen on 3/30/98. This report was finalized at the January 15-16 Biology Committee meeting pending review of the recommendations. The Biology Committee approved the report in final, including the recommendations.

3. Review recommendations for final approval of "A population model for four endangered Colorado River fishes" (Crowl and Bouwes 1998). Frank noted the discrepancy in the Management Implications which talk about spring and fall ISMP -- there is no spring ISMP. Todd will correct that. Frank asked when the researchers will get a copy of the model, and Todd replied that they'll get a copy of the next version could be sent out with the final report (in the report jacket). The Committee recommended that be done. Todd asked if zip disks would be acceptable for this next version and the Committee agreed. Regarding the statement in the fourth paragraph of the Management Implications that says "past experience suggests that augmentation programs are not sustainable solutions (see the Columbia basin results for an example)," Tom Pitts commented that he doesn't believe that's a generally applicable statement. Todd defended this statement, but agreed to modify it somewhat. Tom asked Todd to elaborate on the sentence in the fifth paragraph that says "We suggest that specific management actions, such as nonnative control or habitat rehabilitation (e.g., floodplain enhancement) be tied to changes in age- and species-specific survivorship and carrying capacity so that priorities can be set to optimize population responses." Todd agreed. >Any additional specific editorial comments should be submitted to Todd by Monday, April 13. The Biology Committee approved this version of the report with these recommendations. >The Committee will expect the final report from Todd by the end of the month.

4. Review of Genetics Management Plan (March 17 version) - Highest priority for this discussion will be given to reaching agreement on stocks and priorities for the Genetics Management Plan (Tables 1 and 3). Additional comments on the Plan will also be accepted and the schedule for completion established. Tom Czapla said he thinks some additional changes need to be made based on reports coming in from Flaming Gorge studies and so forth.

The group discussed Table 1 on page 30. One change from the previous plan is the addition of the razorback in the lower Green River. The Committee agreed to that change, with the exception of Tom Pitts who is still reviewing Muth's report, and may have additional comments after that. >If he has concerns, Tom Pitts will let the Committee know. John Hawkins pointed out that there may be additional information from the razorback monitoring program, also. John will send that information to Tom Czapla and will post it to the listserver so others can review it as well.

Another change was that the razorback stocks for the middle Green and Yampa rivers were combined (they were separate in the original plan). John Hawkins expressed concern about this based on the distance between the two spawning sites and the general fish fidelity to those. John said he thinks the table at least needs to reflect the two spawning sites, even if we do consider it one stock. Committee members countered that there's considerable mixing between the two sites. If that's the case, then John Hawkins recommended that the information this is based on be better reflected in the text. Frank Pfeifer agreed with John Hawkins that the radiotelemetry data isn't precise enough to conclude that these are one population. >Tim will send a copy of his manuscript to Tom Czapla. After more discussion, the Committee asked >Tom Czapla to better reflect in the text the available data bearing on this issue. >Tom also will explain why the stocks were once considered separate and now have been combined. For management purposes, the middle Green and Yampa will be considered one stock with all the qualifying information.

In summary, for management purposes, the committee agreed to stocks listed in Table 3 of the March 17,1998 draft version of the Genetics Management Plan. Exceptions and reservations by individual committee members are as noted above.

Tom Pitts said he thinks the overall document has evolved over time into something that's not very workable. Thus, he will be making recommendations for major structural changes. Tom Czapla asked >Committee members to provide all remaining comments by April 10. >Comments should be posted to the listserver, or at least to all Biology Committee members and Anna Toline. Once those comments are received, >Larry and Tom Czapla will propose a way to address those comments and get this document finalized.

5. Facilities Plan - The primary focus of this agenda item will be to develop recommendations for short-term facilities needs. Comments on the draft Facilities Plan and the schedule for completion will also be reviewed. Tom Pitts noted that table 7 shows existing facilities, and a table at the end of the document identifies facility needs. Table 7 needs to be broken down so it can be compared to the needs table and then we need recommendations for how to meet these needs. Tom Pitts said that the water users won't accept a recommendations that says we only need to address razorback suckers and we just need to do a few small things. We also need recommendations for immediate short-term needs for this year. John Hawkins agreed that we need more specific recommendations, but the environmental groups have some substantial problems with using the States' draft stocking plans. They're only going to agree to facilities addressing approved stocking plans and agreed-upon priorities. If there's additional monies to be spent beyond that, they might agree to facilities that addressed nearly-approved plans, if they're based on agreed-upon priorities. Tom Czapla said he thinks we're pretty close to having the facilities needed for approved stocking plans. Need: recommendations for two different levels: additional facilities to meet needs in approved stocking plans, and recommendations for additional facilities to meet needs in "almost-approved" stocking plans. >Tom Czapla will develop a table that looks at the difference between available and needed facilities and the Biology Committee will discuss this on a conference call at 8:00 a.m. on April 14. The table needs to highlight presumptive numbers that are based on draft (unapproved) stocking plans.

John Hawkins said he thinks our only short-term facilities needs are the 3 stocking plans for the highest priority species and stocks and the only thing we need to add is the lower Green River. Frank agreed, but said we need to decide if we need to do additional stocking in the Middle Green River (beyond what was approved for FY 96 and FY 97). Tom Czapla said he believes the Program Director's office supports additional Middle Green River stocking.

6. Next meeting: Conference call at 8:00 a.m. on April 14 (>Program Director's office will set up). May 21 meeting in Grand Junction from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.