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198710002 - Umatilla Subbasin Fish Habitat Improvement Project

Sponsor: Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW)

Budgets: FY07: $321,767 | FY08: $335,282 | FY09: $349,395

Short description: The ongoing Umatilla Subbasin Fish Habitat Improvement Project (19871-100-02) is aimed at protecting (where possible) and enhancing/rehabilitating (where required), degraded fish habitat on private lands using passive and active restoration techniques.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $280,264 | FY08: $280,264 | FY09: $280,264

Comment: The project sponsors are to work with the Council and others to structure an ISRP/Council review of the coordinated subbasin activities in the Umatilla at some point in the next two years.

ISRP final recommendation: Not fundable (Qualified)


See comments under 198343600 and 198710001, and in particular, 199000501, as well as others from this subbasin. The Umatilla ecosystem and the human intervention within it remains complex, and the ability to comprehend the interactions of habitat work, as proposed, and flow augmentation, power repay, adult and smolt migration, etc. remains confusing. One concludes that it is adult and smolt migration within the Umatilla as the key limiting factor (particularly, in this case, from Birch Creek to the Three Mile Falls Dam site). Nonetheless, habitat husbandry is a requirement, and the response has clarified several areas of the proposal. There remains the need to develop an adaptive management experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of habitat improvement techniques, ultimately to the smolt yield stage. ISRP has recommended to Council that some assistance to subbasins may be required to standardize and establish this process within the basin, and we remain hopeful that Umatilla projects will form part of that exercise. Success should be measured in terms of increased smolt production in the system. Sponsors should by now be able to defend their work on the basis of similar treatments by others or results of their own. Absent these results there is no scientific basis for continuing the work. They incorrectly reject the idea that smolt production is the best measure of habitat productivity for anadromous fish. They seem to believe that EDT is the final answer to habitat quality and not merely a basis from which to develop a testable hypothesis. There has been no test of such hypotheses and therefore no basis in science to support continuation of these projects. This project and others like it are individual parts of what the Council has referred to as the “Umatilla Initiative.” As such, none of them is a stand-alone project that can be subjected to scientific peer review on its own merits, but the projects need to be reviewed in the larger context of a plan for restoration of anadromous fishes in the Umatilla Basin. The ISRP’s recommendation of “Not Fundable (Qualified)” for the set of projects that constitute the Umatilla Initiative is explained under project 198343600, Umatilla Passage O&M.

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: OSPIT - Plateau

Recommended budgets: FY07: $316,767 | FY08: $316,767 | FY09: $316,767

Comment: OSPT recommends a reduction of 5K from FY07 proposed for expected decrease in indirect rate. Flatline out years to FY07.