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200704800 - Transboundary Watershed Coordination in the Kootenai River Basin

Sponsor: Kootenai River Network, Inc.

Budgets: FY07: $300,000 | FY08: $300,000 | FY09: $300,000

Short description: Fosters "grass-roots" public involvement and interagency cooperation for habitat restoration to offset deleterious impacts to the Kootenai River watershed fisheries by information transfer and public interface.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Admin (see comments)

Comment:

In spite of designation as a new project, this is clearly a follow-on/expansion of previous projects offering environmental education and outreach for the Libby Dam project - 199500400. There is no cost-sharing, yet such a collaborative project should be able to generate cost sharing and/or grant support in addition to BPA, leveraging BPA investments, increasing buy-in and reflecting growing value and relevance to partner organizations. Coordination functions look reasonable, but the other projects don't mention this group. There is not much science to review in this project. Benefits to species are indirect and have not been measured. The proposed objectives are not very concrete. This is an operational or social approach rather than a technical or scientific one; however, there is substantial research documenting the long-term effectiveness of such approaches to improving natural resource management, especially in cases of mixed ownership and jurisdiction. This program seems to bring together more interests and activities in the subbasin than any other proposals from the subbasin even hinted existed. An extensive list of accomplishments supports their credibility. Monitoring and evaluation consists of names, dates, and numbers of participants in activities. Would an overall program effectiveness evaluation be advisable? The proposal is to hire existing staff at higher FTE levels and do more of same activities. What larger goals would be possible if this were funded and how might the accomplishments resulting from this increased level of support be documented? As an outreach program, almost all they do is information transfer. Data in the scientific sense are not generated, but program ideas, successes and such might be shared at conferences or in semi-technical publications.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable

Review group: Mtn Col

Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0

Comment: Project may be a good education project but OG fails to see the connection with BPA mitigation program. New project not directly tied to implementation of the Libby Mitigation program and there are no net cost savings to the province by funneling MFWP mitigation funding through this group.  The OG places great emphasis on on-the-ground benefits for fish and wildlife based on BPA direction. Education and outreach projects like this are better funded by other sources. Necessary coordination among F&W managers is already occurring through various groups, many of which share members, e.g., Libby Mitigation program, International Kootenai River Ecosystem Recovery Team, White Sturgeon Recovery Team, KVRI, Research Design and Review Team for Operational Loss, and System Modeling Team. One member of the OG, Region 6 representative of the USFWS, objected to the majority view (stated above). He believes that in the past the Kootenai River Network did a good job with public education (for example on the Grave Creek Project) and wonders if MFWP will pick up that task in the future if this project is not funded. He also believes that KRN is able to work across the International Border and gain coordination with Canada. He wondered who would do this if this project is not funded. The Oversight Group responded that all of the management entities working in the U.S. portion of the Kootenai already coordinate well with and have excellent relations with their Canadian counterparts, so this is not an issue.