Conference Call

March 6, 2019


Rod Wittler, Matt Brown, J.D. Wikert, Shelly Hatleberg, Mike Hendrick, Erica Meyer, Chester Lindley, Cesar Blanco, Chris Hammersmark, Tricia Bratcher, Lori Smith, Michelle Workman


  1. Core Team Comments on FY20 Tech Memo (Cesar)

    a. Shelly sent the comments to the SIT via email prior to today's call (see attached)

    b. Before finalizing the FY20 Tech Memo, an issue came up regarding habitat decay. Cesar will send out proposed language to the SIT and request comment on how the SIT would like to address. Once comments are received back, the Tech Memo will be amended and sent back to the SIT.

    c. Matt asked if this is something the Core Team can add to their list of priorities?

    i. Rod said the SIT sets priorities, not the Core Team. The SIT needs to decide if it's a priority. This can easily be done by issuing the addendum to the Tech Memo.

    d. Shelly will work with Cesar to also add language regarding CVPIA streams.

    i. JD asked how it relates to B13. Rod said that SIT should not be dealing with legislative language and needs to make the recommendation from a scientific perspective.

    ii. Chris said he agrees it should extend beyond CVP streams.

    e. Comments were received from NMFS, DFW and DWR

    i. See specific comments in the attached document

    ii. Shelly will make sure the Tech Memo file name does not include the Core Team since the document is from the SIT, not the Core Team.

    iii. With regards to Dan Kratville's (DFW) comments about the American River, Chris said that temperature challenges are a result of management decisions (i.e., sending a slug of water downstream for irrigation in the summer). Chris also mentioned that in addition to operational constraints on the American, there are also hardware constraints (e.g., ways temperature could be improved, such as temperature control devices, is expensive). Having studied this for many years, he understands it is largely a political issue.

    iv. Erica said she's not speaking for Dan, but he may not have understood the process of getting to this point because the Tech Memo was a bit confusing and hard to follow. Low participation due to furlough and quick turnaround may also be a factor.

    v. Cesar will work with Shelly to schedule a call with Jim and Adam to further discuss DFW's comments on the American River and Battle Creek (steelhead).

    vi. DWR (Kevin) did not provide written comments, but verbally mentioned SRCS in the Stanislaus. Again, Cesar and Shelly will have a discussion with Jim and Adam to address this comment.

    vii. JD asked for clarification in the Call for Charters (C4C) regarding tiers for monitoring (i.e., clarify how funding will be determined for Tier 1, etc.). Again, Cesar and Shelly will have a discussion with Jim and Adam to address this comment.

  2. FY20 Charter Selection Criteria (Rod)

    a. Shelly sent Excel Spreadsheet with scoring rubric to the SIT during the call

    b. Core Team hasn't reached consensus yet

    i. Matt mentioned that it may appear that SIT members have an advantage when developing charters since they are aware of the scoring criteria when others outside the SIT may not. He suggests that the criteria be clearly spelled out in the C4C. Also, it's a bit confusing (e.g., the difference between rows 1 and 2). Rod explained that Row 1 is specific and Row 2 is general.

    ii. Cesar said that since consensus on the scoring rubric has not been achieved it was not included in the C4C. It can be added to the C4C if warranted.

    iii. JD asked how the range (0 to 10) is further explained. Should have the Core Team all on the same page and it should be more quantitative than qualitative and not so subjective. Others on the call agreed.

    iv. Matt pointed out that Row 2 mentions the Near-term Restoration Strategy, but that hasn't been developed yet.

    v. Rod mentioned that it was sent to the SIT only as an FYI and we were not asking for the SIT to comment/approve. He recommended that SIT members provide comments to their appropriate Core Team members.

  3. New Business/Other Information

    a. Rod said the Near-term Restoration Strategy should be a priority and is scheduled for fall 2019 completion. He and others from BOR will be meeting next week to develop candidate strategies to give to Jim and Adam to run through the DSMs. He suggests others do the same. Cesar mentioned that any proposed strategies need to be compatible with the DSMs. Matt asked if BOR is developing one or many strategies. Rod said most likely a strategy with several options. Matt also asked if BOR would be collaborating or if there would be individual agency strategies? Rod said both. Matt suggested we let the SIT know about this meeting so that others are aware and may want to be included. Shelly will send out the invitation to SIT if Rod feels it is appropriate. Tricia said if BOR's effort is independent from the SIT, we need to let members know for the sake of being transparent.

    b. The next SIT Call-in Meeting is scheduled for March 20 at 10:00. It will be back to the original WebEx and call-in information. Matt mentioned there is an Upper Sacramento River meeting that same day so many folks may not be able to participate in the call. Cesar said he would make sure they all receive pertinent information prior to the call.

Core Team Comments to Sit Tech Memo


"Due to unforeseen time constraints on the Implementing Agencies for the FY2020 AWP process, including the Federal Government shutdown, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was not able to fully review and evaluate the FY2020 priorities and evaluation criteria at the Core Team level. As such, NMFS does not affirm (or disagree) with the priorities, considerations, and evaluation criteria in this document."

Tech Memo: a couple minor issues

  • the Tech Memo file name implies that the document was developed in part by the Core Team, but it's a memo from the SIT to the Core Team.

  • Top of page 2 states, "For Chinook Salmon, six priorities were identified that benefitted all runs and then by winter, spring and fall Chinook runs (Table 1)." That statement is confusing in itself and the Table reference is incorrect. Table 1 deals with SIT monitoring needs.


Tech Memo:

  • Table 18: Most of the priorities do seem reasonable; however, it is unclear how the final list of Chinook salmon SIT priorities was created. When comparing to the other summary tables that precede this Table (Table 11 and Table 8 for example), the highest "priorities" are very different from each other and different from what is in Table 18. It is unclear how from a process standpoint you get from one summary table to the next and then a final list of priorities. I am not sure why the fifth highest priority for spring-run is spawning habitat on the Stanislaus River. I think there are arguably bigger priorities for spring-run in the Central Valley. For fall-run it is becoming evident to the Department that fall-run in the American River are becoming less and less viable due to water temperatures in the fall months. Is the model able to look at this? For steelhead priorities it seems strange that Battle Creek spawning habitat is the highest priority for steelhead restoration. There are much larger steelhead streams that could have spawning restoration on them that would have a much larger impact on the Central Valley steelhead population as a whole. That is my impression at least. Could we have a description of how Battle Creek was picked as the priority for steelhead in the valley?


We only received verbal comments from DWR. They questioned whether these were the highest priorities, but none rose to the level of "red-flags". They did specifically question why the fifth highest priority for spring-run is spawning habitat on the Stanislaus River, especially since NMFS Recovery Plan does not recognize spring-run on the Stanislaus.