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200207200 - Protect & Restore Red River Watershed

Sponsor: Nez Perce Tribe

Budgets: FY07: $592,236 | FY08: $633,002 | FY09: $550,207

Short description: Protect and restore the Red River 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: $393,118 | FY08: $393,118 | FY09: $393,118

Comment: Address ISRP concerns about streambank stabilization during contracting. 2007 Revised Budget: Weed program cut back to road decommissioning/improvement only, education component significantly reduced, road decomm/improvements significantly reduced or eliminated, culvert replacement postponed until 2008, # of culvert designs reduced.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)


The funding qualifications are (1) that actions to stabilize stream banks are fundable only if the bank reinforcements are done by planting vegetation, installing simulations of naturally lodged wood debris, or bioengineering methods that will eventually allow natural rates of channel migration, i.e., funding for hard-engineered structures, such as ones built primarily of rock is not justified, and (2) preparation of an appropriate, clearly organized and well-designed monitoring and evaluation plan must be done for this project. The project’s purpose is to protect and restore Red River habitat for fish. The sponsors take a watershed approach. It includes work to treat upland, riparian, and instream problems. In particular, actions will protect existing productive riparian habitats from human disturbance and development. Protection and restoration are needed with respect to damage caused by such human activities as urbanization, livestock grazing, mining, road building, logging, channelization, agricultural activities, and even recreation. Much of the proposed actions involve road improvement and decommissioning to reduce stream sedimentation and culvert replacement to remove fish migration barriers. The focal species are Chinook salmon, steelhead, and Pacific lamprey. The secondary species include four other salmonids and mountain whitefish. Other animals expected to benefit include moose, elk, and deer. Upon receiving ISRP review comments, the sponsors discovered they had mistakenly included the 2002 Provincial Review Narrative in their proposal submission instead of the 2007 version. This complication resulted in various ISRP comments that are no longer applicable. We have tried to disentangle them from the extensive re-review that was needed. The ISRP called for Ecosystem Analysis at the Watershed Scale (EAWS). The response clarifies that this analysis was done in 2002, and how the project plan relates to it. The project’s emphasis is on roads and road rehabilitation, but the value of improved aquatic habitat is clearly recognized in the proposal. The sponsors also noted that this proposal is tied to other important initiatives within the subbasin and the Columbia Basin. Significance to the subbasin plan is adequately shown, as are relationships to other projects. The ISRP commented that, because funding actually began in 2002, a response was needed which includes a more thorough and quantitative summary of results produced to date. The correct narrative and the response document provide a more quantitative summary of the project’s accomplishments to date. These are mainly statements of actions performed, and, of course, many physical and most biological results may not be detectable until more years have passed. The long list of work elements and methods in Section F was not organized in hierarchical fashion to show how the elements related. Organization of work elements by objective exists in that section’s table. The table is a useful supplement but does not substitute for narrative text, which would be more informative. This proposal, like several others did not bother to 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 ISRP is concerned that the project’s plans for in-channel restructuring may focus too much on rock work (boulders). Emphasis on “softer” forms of soil bioengineering using live, flexible woody vegetation in combination with root wads and other wood “debris” is recommended. The proposal’s statement, “working to stabilize stream banks and create pools,” conveys good intent but is much too vague. Inappropriate techniques of bank stabilization would harm fish habitat. The use of such hard-engineered structures as rock riprap and rock “vanes” or “J-hooks” (not specified in this proposal but implied or at least not ruled out) would not be justifiable, given the evidence provided. Qualification is placed on the funding recommendation partly for this reason. The ISRP suggests that choice of technique depends greatly upon the quality of the fluvial geomorphologic analysis, which should address whether the stream is stable, incising, or aggrading. Only when the dynamic state of the stream is known can structural work be confidently proposed with the understanding that it is unlikely to become scoured out or buried in sediment. The project’s M&E plan still needs to be organized as such and presented in detail. In the present (“correct” 2007) narrative, the probable M&E elements are still scattered among the unorganized list of work elements. This is a major deficiency, which accounts for another part of the recommended funding qualification. 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: $393,118 | FY08: $393,118 | FY09: $393,118

Comment: 2007 Revised Budget: Weed program cut back to road decommissioning/improvement only, education component significantly reduced, road decomm/improvements significantly reduced or eliminated, culvert replacement postponed until 2008, # of culvert designs reduced.