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Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation


Highlights from the 2023 ODFW and Tribal Partnership Annual Report

  • ODFW provided technical assistance on an Oregon Conservation and Recreation grant application for burrowing owl tagging to study winter migration routes. ODFW provided tags for a pilot year of this project and collaborated on study design.
  • ODFW continued to operate Umatilla Hatchery with funding provided by BPA to produce salmon and steelhead smolts for release into the Umatilla River in 2023.
  • ODFW provided facilities and technical support at Lookingglass Hatchery to Confederated Tribes Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) fisheries personnel conducting steelhead and bull trout counts.
  • ODFW staff worked with CTUIR representatives to develop an annual operation plan for Lookingglass, Irrigon and Wallowa hatcheries, and Big Canyon, Little Sheep, Imnaha, Catherine Creek, Lostine River, and upper Grande Ronde satellite facilities. ODFW worked with Tribal representatives to handle, spawn and transport of Chinook and coho salmon, and steelhead as outlined in the annual operation plans.
  • ODFW staff coordinated with CTUIR (and the Nez Perce Tribe) on the continued reintroduction of coho salmon into the Lostine River (Wallowa/Grande Ronde). This effort began in 2017, 2023 was the seventh consecutive year of smolt releases for the program.
  • ODFW staff participated in weekly coordination calls between CTUIR personnel and other managing entities within the Snake River Basin. These calls have effectively increased communication regarding Chinook salmon and steelhead run projections, hatchery trapping, harvest updates and disposition of trapped fish at hatchery facilities.
  • Worked with CTUIR personnel through the Snake River Harvest Forum to develop salmon harvest management options for northeast Oregon.
  • ODFW staff conducted numerous coordination efforts including:
    • with CTUIR Cultural Program Staff, Oregon State Police, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to preserve sensitive cultural sites from theft on the Columbia Basin wildlife areas.
    • with CTUIR biologists at monthly Umatilla Management, Monitoring, and Evaluation Oversight Committee meetings.
    • with CTUIR fisheries staff on operations of the Threemile dam fish collection facility.
    • with CTUIR habitat biologists through the Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program in the prioritization, planning, and implementation of fish habitat restoration projects in the Grande Ronde River Basin.
    • with CTUIR fisheries biologists to implement spring Chinook spawning surveys in the Grande Ronde River Basin.
    • with CTUIR staff on the development and initiation of operations of Walla Walla Hatchery.
    • daily coordination between ODFW and CTUIR staff to implement the Umatilla and Walla Walla fish passage operations project. Tribal and ODFW staff work jointly to ensure fish passage facilities are operated to criteria providing the best fish passage conditions.
    • with CTUIR on the implementation of fisheries in the Umatilla basin for steelhead, fall and spring Chinook, and coho salmon as per ongoing fisheries management agreements.
    • with CTUIR fisheries staff to conduct spring Chinook and steelhead redd counts on the North Fork John Day River and coordinated with CTUIR regarding the spring Chinook fishery on the North Fork John Day River.
    • with CTUIR First Foods Coordinator to organize and harvest camas, bull rush, current and other first foods at Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area.
    • monthly coordination meetings between CTUIR personnel, ODFW district, and hatchery staff. These calls have effectively increased communication regarding spring and fall Chinook and coho salmon, and steelhead run projections, hatchery trapping, harvest updates, and disposition of trapped fish at hatchery facilities.
    • with CTUIR Wildlife staff and the Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission on wildlife research activities and how Tribal and ODFW staff can cooperate on future projects.
    • with CTUIR staff on priority areas for Blue Mountains Elk Initiative/Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation project funding.
    • with the CTUIR regarding hunts at Starkey Experimental Forest and range.
    • with CTUIR wildlife staff on recovery of fawn mule deer, doe mule deer, and cow elk collars within the Umatilla Indian Reservation (UIR) boundary as well as recovery of and testing deceased animals.
    • with CTUIR wildlife staff on support for implementing the Umatilla National Forest Good Neighbor Authority Mt. Emily BGMU Effective Road Closure project.
    • with CTUIR staff on wildlife late winter elk hazing within the UIR.
    • with CTUIR Wildlife staff in expanded monitoring of bighorn sheep movements in the North Fork John Day River canyon to assess disease transmission risks.
    • with CTUIR Wildlife staff on monitoring for California bighorn sheep on ODFW’s Bridge Creek Wildlife Area as well as collar recovery on deceased animals.
  • ODFW coordinated and commented on the development of the CTUIR Geologic Assessment Action Plan (GAAP) assembled for fish habitat restoration prioritization on Desolation Creek.
  • ODFW completed the Intergovernmental Agreement with CTUIR for cultural resources survey at Umatilla Hatchery in spring and summer of 2023.
  • Lookingglass Hatchery distributed 30 jack spring Chinook for tribal subsistence and ceremonial use.
  • ODFW staff jointly developed the Annual Operating Plans for Umatilla, Irrigon, and Walla Walla Hatcheries to outline annual operations/fish production for fish released into the Umatilla and Walla Walla Rivers.
  • ODFW Monitoring and Evaluation staff coordinate activities and provide information to CTUIR fisheries staff to inform fish management activities in the Umatilla and Walla Walla Basins.
  • ODFW staff worked with CTUIR habitat program managers on the development of Umatilla and Walla Walla River habitat assessment and implementation plans.
  • Continue to work closely with CTUIR fish habitat restoration staff on all aspects of cooperative fish habitat projects including planning design, project implementation, monitoring and maintenance in the Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Grande Ronde Basins.
  • ODFW continues to make use of the CTUIR native plant nursery for in stream restoration projects in the Umatilla and Walla Walla Basins.
  • ODFW staff participated with CTUIR staff in the development of the Walla Walla flow study, which looks to restore flows to the Walla Walla River, while ensuring agriculture remains intact in the area and coordinated with CTUIR and other basin partners on the initiation of the Walla Walla Water 250 project that began initial operations in 2021.
  • ODFW staff participated with the CTUIR staff on the Walla Walla Basin Advisory Committee as part of a wider group of stakeholders focusing on water management and development in the Walla Walla Basin.
  • ODFW staff work cooperatively with CTUIR staff on the removal of fish passage barriers on the Umatilla, Walla Walla, and John Day basins. This includes fish passage projects at Reynolds Creek, a series of projects in the Middle Fork John Day and Bates Pond.
  • ODFW staff participated with CTUIR staff in the John Day OWEB FIP and Atlas prioritization process (BPA) and in the John Day Bull Trout Working Group, the Umatilla-Walla Walla Bull Trout Working Group, and the Grande Ronde/Imnaha Bull Trout Working Group.
  • The ODFW fish habitat program continued to provide CTUIR North Fork John Day Fish Habitat Biologist with technical assistance on Hidaway Creek restoration project planning.
  • ODFW staff met with CTUIR wildlife program staff to discuss bighorn sheep, mountain goat and moose seasons and tags.
  • ODFW staff serve on the Blues Intergovernmental Council (BIC) with CTUIR to discuss NE Oregon forest plan structure with the USFS and county governments within the footprint of the affected forests and with CTUIR as the governing board of the Blue Mountain Habitat Restoration Council which supplies funding for projects in specific portions of the Blue Mountains of Oregon.
  • ODFW staff continued to provide materials and assistance for wildlife disease sampling through CTUIR collections of hunters harvested deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.
  • ODFW staff cooperated with CTUIR Wildlife staff on wolf locations and management in Tribal ceded lands as well as adjacent to the reservation.
  • ODFW continue to cooperate with CTUIR on implementation of the Blue Mountain Habitat Council mitigation funds. The fund was set up to mitigate for the construction of the railroad over the Blue Mountains.
  • ODFW and CTUIR continue cooperation with the USFWS to re-establish elk hunting on Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge for both state and tribal hunters when feasible.
  • ODFW met with CTUIR Wildlife staff no less than once every 2 months to discuss ongoing wildlife projects for both ODFW and the Tribes. Topics include cervid population management, research priorities and activities, cross-jurisdictional wildlife damage coordination, both state and Tribal season structures and aspirations, energy development and review approaches, habitat enhancement efforts and possible areas of coordination.
  • ODFW staff assessed elk migratory patterns and winter habitat use in the Mt. Emily WMU. Assessed use of security cover by elk in the Mt. Emily and Sled Springs WMUs. Project was a cooperative effort between CTUIR, ODFW, and U.S. Forest Service biologists as part of a funding from the Pacific Northwest Research Station, Civil Rights Advisory Group, Research with Underserved Community Fund.
  • ODFW wildlife staff continue to work with CTUIR biologists to implement a multi- year strategy to manage Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (M. ovi) within the Lookout Mountain and Burnt River bighorn sheep herds.
  • ODFW staff partnered with CTUIR to conduct bull trout spawning surveys on the South Fork of the Walla Walla River to collect redd density data and locations.
  • ODFW staff partnered with CTUIR to implement a stream nutrient enhancement program in the Umatilla basin using spawned hatchery fish where both spring Chinook and summer steelhead carcasses were out planted into the stream.
  • ODFW staff worked with CTUIR staff to conduct creel on the Umatilla River both inside and outside the reservation boundary.
  • ODFW cooperated with CTUIR fisheries staff on the in-basin management of the Umatilla and Walla Walla River spring and fall Chinook salmon, summer steelhead, and coho populations. Efforts include developing annual run size prediction, run reconstruction efforts, joint harvest sampling, and consistency with angling regulations.
  • ODFW staff coordinated with Tribal staff considering the disposition of spring and fall Chinook salmon, summer steelhead and coho eggs, juvenile rearing, and release strategies for fish collected at Three Mile Falls Dam and then transferred to Umatilla, Irrigon, and Walla Walla Hatcheries.
  • ODFW staff coordinated with CTUIR staff in monthly and quarterly Umatilla and Walla Monitoring Evaluation Operations and Committee pertaining to fisheries management, fish passage, hatchery management, and research.
  • ODFW coordinated with CTUIR staff on possible future research regarding predation of juvenile salmonids by American white pelicans in the Umatilla River.

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