Response for project 200303100: Precious Lands Wldlf Hab Expan

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

This project was approved during the last Provincial Review but has never received funding from BPA due to unresolved policy issues. Questions about capitalization and crediting have resulted in this project remaining un-funded since 2002. However, the project sponsors believe this project has merit and is consistent with the goals, objectives, and priorities of the recently completed subbasin plan. Move funding request to Expense side of budget. Requested funding for FY06 = $3,086,090.00 Planning = $127,000.00 Land Acquisition = $2,959,090.00

Accomplishments since the last review

Not Applicable. Project has not been funded yet due to unresolved policy issues.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

# of acres of new purchase/easement (0.1 ac.)5000 acres fee title acquisition
# of riparian miles protected (0.01 mi.)unknown at this time
Produce Environmental Compliance DocumentationProduce NEPA review for land purchase
Identify and Select ProjectsIdentify and map potential land acquisition areas and evaluate their benefit to wildlife and fish resources.
CoordinationCoordinate with local landowners, county commissioners, and other natural resources agencies.
Produce PlanDraft management plan for new property
Prepare HEP ReportConduct baseline HEP assessment on acquired lands
Conduct Pre-Acquisition ActivitiesThird-party appraisal, title search, site visits, etc.

The project goal is to expand the Precious Lands Wildlife Project to include an additional 5,000 acres of high-quality wildlife and fisheries habitat in the lower Grande Ronde Subbasin.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

This project addresses the following goals, objectives, and strategies found in the Grande Ronde Subbasin Plan: Goals: (pg 258) Protect high quality aquatic habitats and provide connectivity. Over 16 miles of perennial streams protected by this project – most fish-bearing. The project addresses priority attributes for Joseph Creek by reducing sediment, improving riparian cover to mitigate for high temperatures and improve woody debris recruitment. (Pg 258). The following aquatic strategies are addressed: Improve density, condition, and species composition of riparian vegetation. (pg 260, 262) Maintain woody debris by promoting BMP’s for forestry (pg 260) Manage grazing in riparian areas to improve condition (pg 261) Promote minimum tillage practices (pg 261) Implement integrated weed management strategies (pg 261) Improve hydrologic function by managing for historic forest conditions (pg 263) The project addresses four of the high priority terrestrial cover types in the subbasin: ponderosa pine, aspen, riparian wetlands, and grasslands. (pg 267-269) The following terrestrial strategies are addressed: Ponderosa pine: Protect extant habitat, convert back to pine type, use prescribed fire, weed control, and protect wildlife corridors (pg 267) Quaking Aspen: Increase size & vigor of stands, conduct inventories and map stands, remove conifers in aspen stands, promote low-intensity ground fires (pg 268) Grasslands: Weed control, restore grassland function, protect wildlife corridors, and use of bio-control on weeds (pg 268) Wetlands (Riparian): Protect extant habitat in good condition, weed control, restore wetland function by re-planting natives, restore riparian function through livestock management, vegetation enhancement, and protect wildlife corridors (pg 268) Winter Range: Protect unconverted winter range in good condition through easement and acquisition, implement forage improvement activities (pg 269)

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The Grande Ronde Subbasin Plan Supplement provides the framework for prioritization of effort within the subbasin. Six priority themes were identified (pg 45) and the Precious Lands Project addresses three of those: Reduce upland erosion, restore channel condition, and restore riparian function. It also addresses the recurrent theme of habitat connectivity. Table 5-6 in the Grande Ronde Subbasin Plan Supplement (pg 46) details the screens used for prioritizing work in the subbasin. An expansion of Precious Lands is consistent with the management philosophy outlined in that Table. It builds from strength by conserving intact, good condition habitat areas, it is working to restore watershed processes through passive and active measures, and is helping to preserve or restore riparian function. Terrestrial resources were not prioritized in the Plan or the Plan Supplement but the Precious Lands Expansion project addresses many of the resource issues and limiting factors in the subbasin plan as outlined above.

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