Manage SbyC Requests

Protocol for review and approval of Separation by Code requests


The Fish Passage Advisory Committee (FPAC) has been identified as the entity that reviews requests to change the default mode setting for PIT tagged fish at the federal mainstem dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers. The review process is needed to assure that the request of one researcher does not 1) conflict with the objectives of other research planned in the region or 2) unduly impact the run at large. FPAC was considered the entity most suited to meet this need because it is comprised of representatives from the region’s states, tribes, and federal agencies familiar with the basin’s research plans.

In order for the review and approval process to run smoothly, sufficient information must be provided that clearly describes 1) the research objective, 2) the number and source of PIT tagged fish, and 3) the change in PIT tag routing being sought. A clear understanding of the terminology that directs the routing of fish is essential. The routing actions are:

  • The Default action directs PIT tagged fish detected at a project back to the river
  • The Monitor action directs PIT tagged fish detected at a project to follow the passage route of the general population in effect at the time. For example, under the monitor mode fish will be returned to the river until juvenile fish transportation is initiated. Once juvenile transport begins, fish specified as monitor mode will be transported. However, if conditions warrant a suspension or termination of transportation, fish in monitor mode will once-again be routed back to the river, along with the run-at-large
  • The Collect actions (Collect All, Collect Quota, Collect Ratio) direct PIT tagged fish detected at a project to a collection tank for hands-on sampling

If one of the objectives of the research is to obtain survival estimates to Lower Granite Dam, a significant proportion of the release should be in Default mode. If one of the objectives of the research is to obtain Smolt-to-Adult (SAR) estimates, a significant proportion of the release should be in Monitor mode. Routing a significant number of smolts, from as many basins as possible, in the Default mode provides more assurance that the region can obtain robust estimates of 1) collection efficiencies, 2) in-river survival, and 3) Smolt-to-Adult Return rates for the mainstem migration options of transportation, bypass, and uncollected juvenile passage histories. Researchers should therefore consider keeping some percentage of tagged fish in the Default mode if reasonably possible. For smolt Monitor mode separation-by-code requests, FPAC requests that researchers also indicate how many smolts from the release will be in Default mode. This information will serve solely to identify opportunities to work with researchers to monitor the Default mode representativeness of the run at large.

Separation-by-code requests received prior to the scheduled weekly FPAC meeting (generally Tuesdays) are reviewed and recommendations determined that same day. However, if any issue or problem is identified with a separation-by-code request a representative of FPAC will contact the applicant to describe the issue and gather additional information prior to FPAC deliberating again to review the updated request. Approval of a separation-by-code request will be delivered to PSMFC staff and PTAGIS updated to promptly accommodate the request.