Response for project 199101901: Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathe

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

We desire renewal of this project for FY 2006, and the budget appears consistent with our expectations.

Accomplishments since the last review

2003 - Monitoring: Flathead Lake trend series on native species abundance, ongoing creel survey, measurement of lake trout biology parameters. Research: Development of bioenergetics model and identification of shoreline erosion rates. Restoration: 3 miles of riparian fence, 2 culvert upgrades, 3 miles of road decommissioned, 200 m riparian planting, 1500 lake trout suppressed, 50 m channel reconstruction, 600 m lake shoreline restoration. 2004 - Monitoring: Flathead Lake trend series on native species abundance, ongoing creel survey, measurement of lake trout biology parameters, off-site reservoir creel. Research: Development of bioenergetics model and identification of shoreline erosion rates. Restoration: 1 mile of riparian fence, 200 m riparian planting, 3500 lake trout suppressed. 2005 - Monitoring: Flathead Lake trend series on native species abundance, ongoing creel survey, measurement of lake trout biology parameters, off-site reservoir creel. Research: Development of bioenergetics model and identification of shoreline erosion rates. Restoration: 2 miles of riparian fence, 800 m riparian planting, 4 miles road decommissioning, 9500 lake trout suppressed.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Objective 1: Monitor native species abundance Metric: Collect/Generate/Validate Field Data Conduct annual gillnetting to determine the population responses to mitigation measures. This work has been conducted in every year of the project, contributing to a very long and important data set defining trends in native species. Objective 2: Monitor angling pressure and harvest Metric: Collect/Generate/Validate Field data Conduct the ongoing creel survey to quantify catch and harvest rates with roving and access site interviews, and quantify pressure through aerial counts. This work has been ongoing since 1998 and provides feedback on non-native species suppression and population responses to mitigation. Objective 3: Monitor lake trout biology Metric: Collect/Generate/Validate Field Data Measure age and length at maturity, fecundity, growth and mortality rates, and year class strength. These parameters are measured annually and are critical data for understanding and monitoring suppression of this top predator. Without suppresion we cannot achieve our goals of native species restoration. Objective 4: Monitor success of off-site stocking Metric: Collect/Generate/Validate Field Data This work is done annually to confirm the success of stocking in small reservoirs, which we do to replace lost opportunity. Objective 5: Research food web interactions Metric: Collect/Generate/Validate Field Data The bulk of this work will be completed in 2005 with the finalization of the comprehensive bioenergetics model. Limited monitoring will continue in future years. Objective 6: Research and design solutions to shoreline erosion. Metric: 1)Collect/Generate/Validate Field Data 2)Upland Erosion, Sedimentation Control 3)Enhance Floodplain, Restore Wetland Objective 7: Conduct fisheries habitat restoration Metrics: Potentially all habitat improvement metrics. Specifically we plan to decommission roads, install fence, plant riparian areas, remove passage barriers, reconstruct degraded channels, and suppress non-native species.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The strategy to accomplish restoration of native species and their habitats is completely consistent between the subbasin plan and this project. We have been identifying and developing understanding of limiting factors through research and inventory, implementing physical solutions to identified problems, and monitoring the biological responses to our treatments. This project closely addresses the following objectives within the subbasin plan: M1, M2, M3, M4, T1, T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, L1, L2, R1, R2, R3, BT1, BT2, BT3, BT4, WCT1, WCT2, WCT3, RW1, RW2, RW3, RW4, RW5, RW6, (pages 21-63 of the management plan). This project is also consistent with Basin Level Resident Fish Objectives 2 through 4 (pages 16 and 17 of the management plan and Basin Level Wildlife Objectives 1 through 5 (page 17 of the management plan).

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

This project primarily addresses the Flathead Indian Reservation portion of the Flathead Basin. In striving to restore native species and their habitats we prioritize goals consistent with the subbasin plan in that we specifically address the limiting factors identified in the plan, and we first address populations with existing connectivity to other populations. We also prioritize populations of native species that are isolated but in large enough habitats to be reasonably viable.

Other comments

I expect that this form has not been filled out as the developers intended, especially regarding the metrics. After implementation of pisces, this process may be easier to follow.