Response for project 199506700: Colville Confederated Tribes P

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The Colville Tribes would request 6 million dollars from the BPA Capital budget be set aside for land acquisitions in FY 06. This money will be used to fully mitigate for the original construction and inundation losses from Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph Dams. The CCT will continue to proitect, restore, and enhance lands acquired for mitigation until fully mitigated. Full mitigation will occur when the losses are nullified by wildlife habitat gains through acquisition and restoration efforts. Currently we are 2/3 complete and expect to continue until done. The CCT has identified several key parcels of land that provide necessary habitats for mule deer winter range and sharp-tailed grouse conservation. Currently these lands are at risk of being developed or used for purposes that will add to the decline of these and other management species.

Accomplishments since the last review

The wildlife mitigation program under the CCT Fish and Wildlife Department began in 1992 with the first land purchase using BPA funds under the Washington Agreement. The CCT has been trying to acquire land to offset identified loses from Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph Dams. The CCT have asked for 1.5 million dollars per year since FY2000 to complete mitigation losses. Currently 25,501 acres distributed over 4.1 million acres of the Colville Reservation. An additional 18,431 acres are being acquired to bring the program total up to 43,932 acres. The CCT is only 2/3 complete for original construction and inundation losses and to complete this process for full mitigation will require 10 to 20 thousand more acres at a 1:1 crediting ratio. Crediting BPA for identified losses using the Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) for the CCt is 14,708 HUs on 25,501 acres. To fully mitigate the losses (35,820 HUs)will require more land.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

To fully mitigate wildlife losses from Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph Dams. The CCT will continue through the Fish and Wildlife Department's Wildlife Mitigation program to protect, restore and enhance lands acquired for mitigation until complete. Full mitigation will occur when identified losses are nullified by wildlife gains through acquisition and restoration efforts. Currently 2/3 mitigated for the CCT expects to continue acquiring lands until done. Funding for continued O&M for these lands is expected to continue to protect those wildlife values acquired on project lands. Management activities for FY 06 is to acquire lands with the requested funds until complete mitigation occurs.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

Acquireing land was identified and included in all the sub-basin plans for the Inter mountain and Columbia Cascade Provinces. The CCT has identified several key tracts to address wildlife mitigation. All future acquisitions and work for terrestrial wildlife will be addressed under the Tribes wildlife mitigation program (Hellsgate project) with the main focus to fully mitigate hydropower losses from Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph Dams. Land acquisition is consistent with and an integral component of all sub-basin plan priorities for wildlife projects. The CCT has proposed this request for funding to address completion of terrestrial wildlife losses from the hydropower projects bordering the Colville Reservation. The resulting acres of habitat will be protected and managed for indicator/management species as well as other components of a healthy ecosystem for the life of those projects. These managed lands will provide secure areas for wildlife populations to remain viable over time and prevent future losses to important/key species and habitats on the Colville Reservation.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

Mitigation for Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee Dams was the highest priority in the Intermountain Province. This request from the Capital budget for FY06 directly addresses mitigation for losses by land acquisition and protection activities to satisfy BPA obligation under the Power Act. In the Intermountain Province Plan, the top priority has been to fully mitigate for wildlife losses resulting from Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph hydropower projects. Each sub-basin Rufus Woods, San Poil, and Upper Columbia identifies those losses as priorities within each area. Specific references to these sub-basins can be found in the IMP under San Poil Terrestrial Objectives and Strategies Pages 42-22 through 42-30 and Prioritized in 42.4.1 Table 42.4-1, Rufus Woods Terrestrial Objectives and Strategies pages 50-1 through 50-35 and Summarized in Table 50.4-1, and Upper Columbia summary Table 34.4-1 on pages 34 through 37. All these sub-basins address the NPPC mitigation obligation for each hydropower project found in Table 11-4 of the Columbia River Basin 2000 Fish & Wildlife Program on pages 25-34.

Other comments

The project has continued to protect, enhance, and restore habitat losses by acquiring lands for mitigation. Starting in 1992 with the first acquisition, the project has increased its land base every year to address mitigation losses. However the funding has not kept up and the Tribes have had to use monies from their General Fund to cover costs and acquire properties at risk or lost opportunity lands. We now have over 43,000 acres of land and are 2/3 complete to reach full mitigation for construction and inundation losses. The CCT needs secure funding for an additional land base of 10 to 20 thousand acres to finish original construction and inundation losses. Funding for continued O&M on these lands will be carried out through the Tribes Hellsgate Big Game Winter Range Wildlife Mitigation Project.