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200003500 - Rehabilitate Newsome Creek

Sponsor: Nez Perce Tribe

Budgets: FY07: $766,830 | FY08: $657,029 | FY09: $463,784

Short description: Protect and restore Newsome Creek Watershed for the benefit of both anadromous and resident fish using an overall watershed approach. This project is a cooperative effort between the Nez Perce Tribe and the Nez Perce National Forest.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $317,474 | FY08: $317,474 | FY09: $317,474

Comment: 2007 Revised Budget: Weed program cut back to road decommissioning/improvement only, education component significantly reduced, road decomm/improvements significantly reduced or eliminated, stream/riparian/floodplain restoration reduced.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

The qualification is that the sponsors carry out a genuine geomorphic analysis to ensure the effectiveness of their instream work (see item 4, below). The purpose of this project is to restore stream fish habitat from damage cause by human activities, mainly upland and riparian road building, excessive timber harvest, and mining. Proposed actions include reducing sediment input from roads, rehabilitating channel reaches damaged by dredge mining, and replacing culverts to allow fish passage. The focal species are Chinook salmon, Pacific lamprey, and steelhead. Non-focal species include bull, redband, westslope cutthroat and rainbow trout, as well as mountain whitefish. This project will benefit the focal species and non-focal species. This proposal is well written and reasonably thorough. It contains comprehensive description of the problems. Significance to the subbasin plan and relationships to other projects are adequately shown. The ISRP asked the sponsors to respond on the following: (1) The project history listed actions performed but did not present evidence of physical and biological results. Some data were presented in an appendix (not referred to in the project history), but without narrative interpretation, it was not always clear whether they represented benefits from the project's restorative efforts. The sponsors responded that the appendix data came only from pre-construction measurements in 2003 for project planning purposes. The only management completed to date is six miles of road decommissioning. Thus, little of the planned restoration work has been done, and no results exist. The sponsors are collecting more pre-restoration data. (2) The project’s objectives apparently came verbatim from the subbasin plan. They were arranged in no logical sequence but seemed to cover the problems. The long list of work elements and methods in Section F was not organized in hierarchical fashion to show how the elements related. The sponsors responded by pointing out that the organization of work elements by objective is better seen in that section’s tables. The tables usefully supplement but do not substitute for narrative text, which needs to be more informative. This proposal, like several others did not incorporate much narrative into Section F (objectives, work elements and methods). This made it hard to know in many respects what is actually planned for the methods. The next problem relates to this. (3) Some of the descriptions of methods were vague. For example, under work element 13, it was not said what would be done to increase “stream habitat complexity” (a vague concept—what are the units of complexity?). The sponsors stated they plan to modify instream structures built in the 1980s-1990s to bring them up to “today’s design standards.” The ISRP asked for descriptions of the structures involved, explanation of what is wrong with them, and descriptions of the new designs and how they will benefit fish. The sponsors responded that habitat complexity would involve “restructuring several reaches of the 4 mile section of mainstem Newsome Creek,” that a feasibility study gave detailed reach drawings of conceptual channel alignment and tables on “what type and how many habitat units will be constructed.” They included some of drawings in the response document. The sponsors, in explaining why they feel some earlier artificial structures should be replaced, may reveal some misunderstanding about stream form and fish habitat. They say with respect to log structures that were placed perpendicular in the stream (and which create scours on the stream banks) that “today’s design standards would put them more at a natural angle, therefore reducing bank scour.” The ISRP points out that perpendicularity of logs to the stream course is not necessarily unnatural (logs can fall that way in nature) and need not cause bank erosion if suitably installed. Logs placed at some other angles can indeed have more beneficial effects than perpendicular installations, including diversion of current toward a stream bank to form a scour pool and undercut bank where fish will find shelter with drifting food within close reach. The sponsors failed to respond on the question of how their work would benefit fish. They could have responded with information such as is shown in the last sentence in the preceding paragraph. However, the response information shows in general, by drawing on referenced documents, greater cognizance of fish habitat characteristics than the original proposal did. It includes a table showing intended quantifiable changes in physical parameters of the channel but does not indicate how this relates to fish. (4) The ISRP asked that the response give detailed attention to geomorphic analysis of reaches affected by the mining, including the impacts of headward incision (disconnection of stream from floodplain, for example). The ISRP commented that it is imperative that the proposal incorporate these considerations. The sponsors responded that a major part of their feasibility study was “geomorphic analysis, including past, present, and the desired (as close to historic as possible) geomorphology of the stream,” that the study analyzed current geomorphology of the stream in detail, and that “the final design for the stream rehabilitation will incorporate geomorphic analysis and potential impacts of headward incision as well as other issues such as sedimentation, gradient, sinuosity, etc." This response indicates that the sponsors’ understanding of geomorphic analysis is the past, present and desired future shape of the stream - in effect, three “snapshots.” However, the analysis should include assessment of the dynamic changes taking place--incision or aggradation, for example. Unless the stream is assessed in this way, it is unlikely that the sponsors will know whether their proposed works will be scoured out or buried within a few years. The ISRP recommends the qualification that the sponsors will carry out a geomorphic analysis to ensure the effectiveness (including cost-effectiveness) of their instream work. (5) The statistical design of the sampling and analysis involved in project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) (work elements 18 through 21) was missing. The proposed M&E was presented largely as a listing, rather than as a synthesized approach to identifying what is needed and describing how to measure it. The ISRP asked that this deficiency be corrected in a response. The response indicated that a more detailed M&E plan is being developed between agencies via consultation. It noted that this project was not designed to have extensive M&E, but rather to collect enough M&E data to evaluate project compliance and effectiveness. (6) The ISRP recommended that, in the response loop, the Nez Perce Tribe prioritize and rank the numerous proposals submitted under “protect and restore” titles. This was covered in response attachments. For full comments on "restore and protect" type projects, please see heading “General comments concerning Nez Perce Tribe proposals to protect and restore various watersheds” at the beginning of the ISRP comments on project # 199607702, Protect & Restore Lolo Creek Watershed.

Response loop edit

See the sponsor's revised proposal from the response loop. You'll be taken to CBFWA's proposal system in Section 10 where most sponsors uploaded revised narratives or other responses to the ISRP comments.

State/province recommendation: Fundable, but at a reduced level

Review group: Snake

Recommended budgets: FY07: $317,474 | FY08: $317,474 | FY09: $317,474

Comment: 2007 Revised Budget: Weed program cut back to road decommissioning/improvement only, education component significantly reduced, road decomm/improvements significantly reduced or eliminated, stream/riparian/floodplain restoration reduced.