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199401807 - Improve Habitat For Fall Chinook, Steelhead in the Lower Snake and Tucannon Subbasins

Sponsor: Pomeroy County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD)

Budgets: FY07: $199,345 | FY08: $200,237 | FY09: $201,154

Short description: To obtain funding to continue with the districts effort to reduce soil erosion on the uplands and along the streams of Garfield County to improve water quality and fish habitat.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $64,000 | FY08: $65,000 | FY09: $64,000

Comment: Move to Lower Snake in database. ISRP fundable qualified: programmatic habitat m&e issue, see decision memo discussion. Project to be implemented with reduced scope.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

The response did not satisfy the ISRP questions and there remains uncertainty about the biological benefits of the work completed and planned. The dilemma is that the work very likely does have positive benefits if carried to completion; i.e., no-till is widely practiced. Evidence to that effect was not provided. The literature on no-till has shown benefits to habitat issues, but benefits need to be shown to fish for this project. This after all is being funded as a fish benefit project. To assume this is tied to spawning in the mainstem is a bit of a leap. This project, however, isn't the likely project to do this monitoring (it may be the project to pay for the monitoring), but some project in the basin needs to do this analysis of data from an existing project. The Forest Service needs to be brought in. If the project sponsors summarized all the data on no-till from projects elsewhere, described successes and failures, and added a piece on fish benefits that could make a justified project and provide a basis for a good brochure on the benefits of no-till. Since the sponsor reports that bio-engineered projects they have completed were found to be economically infeasible and not a good habitat benefit for steelhead, they should publish these results to provide guidance for other similar projects. Sponsor reported that many acres are now in CREP and that sediment, water temperature, habitat diversity are all improving, but no data are provided. Benefits to salmon and steelhead spawning are assumed to be improving. Improved spawning condition is the reason for the project, so there should be some indication of its success. They should now be in a position to show skeptics that they are producing the expected benefits. Absent an evaluation, the initial hypothesis that no-till in the Pataha Basin would reduce sediment yield in important spawning areas and help overcome limits on survival caused by embedded spawning grounds remains untested. Another primary question is, "At what point in time can it be concluded that encouragement of farmers by means of such demonstration projects will no longer be necessary?" Some sort of periodic survey would be useful. The qualification associated with the ISRP recommendation is that the sponsors secure provisions for monitoring of biological responses.

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: Washington

Review group: Washington list

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: See Washington guidance