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Michele DeHart
June 2, 2008
Fish Condition Sampling at SMP Sites: Current practices and plans for the interim
and 2009 sampling seasons.
Prior to the start of the 2007 sampling season, the FPAC requested that the FPC begin
reporting condition data collected at SMP sites. After review and discussion of present
sampling and reporting procedures the FPC has developed an interim process for 2008 and is
developing a standardized process for all of the sites for the future. The purpose of this
memorandum is to advise FPAC and the remote site project leaders of our progress to date and
to request a written response from the remote site project leaders regarding their
implementation of the interim procedure.
The fish condition data collection has been under the control of the USACE, whose contracts
with SMP crews had called for sampling fish injuries. At the start of the 2008 season the FPC
set out to develop a standardized method for reporting injuries and disease data collected at
various sites. Crews were surveyed and asked to attend a meeting at FPC to assist in
developing a standardized reporting method. It was clear that each site collected different data
and initially the FPC tried to accommodate this by gathering the diverse data and summarizing
it under two broad categories; injury and disease. However, as the season got underway it
became clear that this was only a temporary solution and that some level of standardization was
necessary. Two problems arose with this approach to data reporting. First, some sites were
tallying total injuries and as a result some fish with multiple types of injuries could be counted
twice. Second, various types of maladies were being reported as disease, injury or descaling at
various sites. Without a common standard it was difficult to compare reports from the sites.
The USACE recently reviewed condition sampling at the Walla Walla District sites and
concluded that standardization was warranted (see attached memo from Dave Hurson,
G:\STAFF\DOCUMENT\2008 Documents\2008 Files\84-08.doc
USACE). With the cooperation of the COE and FPAC the FPC is developing a standardized
method for collection and reporting of condition data for full implementation in 2009. The
goal is to report data on fish condition that is comparable from site to site. However, it is still
possible that crews at each site may want to collect other data than what FPC requests; FPC
will not discourage that practice as long as the standardized reporting is not affected.
Prior to full implementation in 2009, some changes to current SMP fish condition reporting
practices are warranted in order to achieve some level of standardization. Herein, we describe
how fish condition data are currently being collected, what changes would need to be made in
the interim, and what the ultimate goal is for full implementation in 2009.
Current Practices and Changes for the Interim:
The FPC has developed a sampling and reporting system for the interim period that is designed
to minimize disruption of current sampling and recording procedures and minimize additional
effort by the sampling site personnel. Table 1 provides information on how data are currently
being collected and reported by the various SMP sites. Table 1 also lists how these current
procedures will need to change in the interim in order to obtain a greater level of
standardization. For your reference, a copy of the standardized spreadsheet is also attached.
Future Implementation (2009 Sampling Season)
Prior to the 2009 sampling season, the FPC will develop a touch screen data entry program that
will generate a “Fish Condition” batch file that will be sent to the FPC daily for import into the
FPC database for posting onto the web. LGR and MCN currently have touch screens that will
need to be reprogrammed when the new data entry program is completed. LGS, LMN, JDA, and
BON do not have touch screens and will each need to have one installed and programmed when
new data entry program is completed. When the time comes, the FPC will assist the sites with
installation and programming of the touch screens. Also, prior to implementation in 2009, the
FPC will analyze fish condition data from 2008 and advise FPAC on future condition sampling
protocol (i.e., sample sizes) and frequency.
Table 1. Plan of action for standardization of fish condition data collection at SMP sites in the interim (Summer
Current Fish Condition Procedure
Interim Procedure
Lower Granite and
• Currently sending fish condition
• FPC will develop a standardized Master Fish
data for individual fish via Excel
Condition Table on the FPC database.
Spreadsheet (Cumulative Data).
• FPC will develop a macro allowing sites to
• FPC runs macros and SQL storage
push a single button that will take LGR and
procedures that import condition
MCN data from daily Excel file (in its
data from LGR and MCN Excel File
current form) and populate the Standardized
into LGR and MCN specific SQL
tables in FPC Database.
• Standardized Spreadsheet will be sent to FPC
for import into Master Fish Condition Table
on FPC database.
Little Goose and
• Currently not providing individual
• FPC will develop a standardized Fish
Lower Monumental
fish condition data.
Condition Data Hand Log for this site that
allows for recording of individual fish
condition data.
• FPC will develop a standardized Fish
Condition Data Entry Program that will
populate the Standardized Spreadsheet.
• Standardized Spreadsheet will be sent to
FPC for import into Master Fish Condition
Table on FPC Database
John Day and
• Currently sending fish condition
• FPC will develop a standardized Master Fish
data for individual fish via Excel
Condition Table on the FPC database.
Spreadsheet (Daily Data).
• FPC will develop a macro allowing sites to
• FPC runs macros and SQL storage
push a single button that will take JDA and
procedures that import condition
BON data from daily Excel file (in its
data from daily JDA and BON
current form) and populate the Standardized
Excel File into JDA and BON
specific SQL tables in FPC
• Standardized Spreadsheet will be sent to
FPC for import into Master Fish Condition
Table on the FPC database.
TO: Fish Passage Center
FROM: Dave Hurson and John Bailey, Walla Walla District, Corps
of Engineers
SUBJECT: Review of Smolt Monitoring Program/Transport Program
Fish Injury Protocols.
1. Background. The Corps contracts with PSMFC to provide
biological assistance for the Juvenile Fish Transportation
Program at each of the Walla Walla District transport
facilities; Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and
McNary dams. The contract requires PSMFC to provide a biologist
(transport biologist) 8 hours per day seven days per week (56
hours per week) from late March through early October or
November, depending on the project. One of the contract
requirements is for the transport biologists to assist
biologists from the Smolt Monitoring Program (SMP biologist) in
sampling fish. PSMFC subcontracts this work to WDFW for work at
Lower Granite, Lower Monumental, and McNary dams and ODFW for
work at Little Goose Dam. At Lower Granite and McNary dams,
there are 3 state biologists working at each dam so there is
always a transport biologist working alongside a SMP program
biologist when the sample is done. At Little Goose and Lower
Monumental dams, there are only 2 biologists working at each
dam, so about 4 days per week the only biologist on duty is the
transport biologist. The remaining 3 days per week, there are 2
biologists there. This staffing level though is sufficient to
meet the sampling and other requirements for both programs.
2. Common Practices. Fish at each project are sampled using
similar methods. All fish are anesthetized in preanesthetic
chambers in the sample holding tanks. Fish are then passed via
gravity flow into handling troughs in the sample rooms where
they are identified by species, clipped versus unclipped, and
evaluated for descaling. All projects do what we call full
sample descaling examinations using the standard criteria: a
fish is descaled if it has 20% or greater descaling on one side
of the fish. This descaling data is reported by both the SMP
and Transport Program as descaling in daily data submissions.
This descaling rate is what is primarily used by the Corps for
managing facility operations for debris and other requirements.
3. From this point on, what the state biologists do in terms of
evaluating fish for further maladies varies considerably from
dam to dam. For instance ODFW at Little Goose examines all fish
for maladies if numbers are not too great. State biologists at
the other three dams examine only a subsample of fish for
maladies, like 50 to 100 of each predominant species. McNary
and Lower Monumental ignore all descaling that is less than the
standard criteria, while Little Goose classifies less than 20%
descaling as body injuries, and Lower Granite has five
subcategories for various descaling levels for the subsample.
Outside of descaling conditions, projects appear to be either
“lumpers” or “splitters” when dealing with other maladies with
the number of different categories/conditions ranging from 19 at
Lower Monumental to 30 at Lower Granite. Protocols appear to
have partly evolved based on what dam some person(s) in the past
worked at and then adopted those protocols to the next dam they
worked at. In most cases, these persons are not involved in the
programs anymore but protocols have carried on. In some cases
biologist at a project just started recording data on what they
have observed over time.
4. There is some commonality to the types of injuries and other
maladies that are recorded, and here is sort of a
combined/lumped list by category so everyone can see what is
recorded. Some of the projects keep track by right side versus
left side, but we don’t think that really matters.
Head injuries:
Pop eye
Operculum damage
Other head injuries
Body injuries:
Body injuries – including lacerations, abrasions,
punctures, and bruises
Fin damage (other than apparent hatchery eroded fins)
Predation marks:
Bird bites
Fish bites
Lamprey marks
Fin hemorrhaging
5. Recommendations. Descaling data should continue to be
gathered using the standard descaling criteria and full sample
descaling evaluations. Other non-standard descaling data can be
kept on the subsample examined fish, but it should be clearly
labeled as other descaling data and not injuries or combined
with the standard descaling data. Other maladies examined
should somewhat conform to the list above, unless there are some
specific reasons to add more items or break down the categories
further. Again, these other maladies are not really used for
the Juvenile Fish Transportation Program, but may be of interest
to the Salmon Managers and the SMP.
Head Injuries
Clip or Length Weight
Batch Sequence Species Unclip mm FL
1 CH1
2 CH0
3 ST
4 SO
5 CO
Page _________ of __________
Body Injuries
Other Head
Injuries Injuries
Predator Marks
Lamprey Other Fungus
Parasites Deformity
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