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200103300 - Hangman Restoration Project

Sponsor: Coeur D'Alene Tribe

Budgets: FY07: $1,359,863 | FY08: $1,500,050 | FY09: $1,507,841

Short description: This project will manage approximately 1,200 acres in the Upper Hangman Watershed for wildlife HU crediting against Albeni Falls Dam and protect additional native trout habitats through purchase of conservation easements, leases and possibly fee title.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $566,407 | FY08: $699,403 | FY09: $706,271

Comment: ISRP fund in part (qualified): fund elements of project except stream channel realignment as per ISRP comment. Budget will have to be adjusted to match funded work elements. Submit conservation easement through the water entity program.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable in part (Qualified)

Comment:

Funding is scientifically justified for land acquisition, conservation easement, riparian management, and M&E only. The qualification is that M&E methods need to be expanded to include fish (even before trout return to the project area, if they do). This long, disorganized proposal contained much irrelevant material and was exceedingly hard to review. The project might work out in the long term, but the proposal did not give confidence that the effort is being soundly conducted. The response retrieved the situation to some extent. The proposal did not present an adequate strategy for the project. The technical and scientific background was poorly organized and contained much information more suited to the project history. The project is a mix of land purchase and managements; the latter not clearly described. The problems to be dealt with are not clearly defined, and the purpose of the project was not stated until page 6. The “original” project goal (page 6) was: “Protect and/or restore riparian and priority upland habitats . . . to promote healthy, self-sustaining wildlife populations,” the present project goal being left unstated. The proposal next says this will involve landscape-level management to complement a companion project (200103200) that deals with fish habitat in the same system. However, the sponsors describe no habitat requirements for wildlife species, allude to little about the area as wildlife habitat, and apparently name wildlife species only once (“monitoring . . . will include parameters on land birds, waterfowl, bald eagles, small mammals, herpetofauna”). Instead, it delves more into matters of fish and streams, including a section on “Native Fish Habitat Protection Work Elements,” and even genetic make-up of redband trout. Thus, the project inexplicably changed to deal with both fish and terrestrial wildlife, and to deal with in-stream management, as well as upland and riparian matters. The sponsors do not adequately explain the relationship of this change to Project 200103200, which was to deal with aquatic matters. Significance to the subbasin plan was adequately shown in the proposal. The response’s reporting of results was adequate, considering the short duration of the project. The proposal’s section F, Biological Objectives, Work Elements and Methods, contains no outline of objectives but is a rambling, partly historical discussion involving various diffuse statements of objective with no clearly listed work elements, and with some intermixture of methods. The ISRP asked for response on the extent to which this project is expected to benefit fish and wildlife, asked how fish and wildlife would use the properties protected by the easements, and commented that the project history section described activities, not results or management implications. A response was needed describing these results and how they have been shown to benefit fish and wildlife. The detailed response augmented the original proposal and clarified the logic behind the effort. As a result, the acquisition and conservation easement portions of the proposal appear justified, although biologically there is some risk. The ISRP asked why no cogent information was provided to indicate that the proposed activities would benefit redband trout, which compose the fish population at issue. The response explained how obtaining easements and promoting riparian vegetation could help reestablish the habitat connectivity that the small, isolated redband populations need. It did not show that the fish need the proposed in-channel restructuring. The proposal mentioned “Enhancement opportunities” in Section F, but techniques to enhance stream channels for trout were not discussed in any useful detail. From the description of work elements, $400K would be used to realign 0.7 miles of Sheep Creek and $400K would be used to change the channel morphology of 2 miles of upper Hangman Creek. Passive restoration appeared not to have been considered in the proposal, and the response indicated judgment that a fully passive approach would not suffice, but that further physical analyses need to be done. The proposed channel work is not yet scientifically justified. Judging scientific soundness is not possible for the large ($600K) program to realign the Sheep Creek channel and change morphology in Hangman Creek. Given more information, such actions might be justified, but the proposal contains insufficient information on this subject to enable a review. If the sponsors undertake a proposal for stream habitat work in a future review cycle, it should draw significantly on the expertise of hydrologists and fluvial geomorphologists, working in conjunction with stream fish ecologists. A problem not covered in the proposal is the unfavorable and apparently ongoing pattern of climate and stream flow, in which high stream flow is occurring earlier in the year and is followed by months of extreme low flow during worsening annual droughts. This does not bode well for re-population by trout from higher elevations into re-created habitat lower in the valley, where the water is already excessively warm in summer. Promoting riparian vegetation could help overcome this problem (and would benefit many forms of wildlife, as well), but the proposed channel restructuring, as described, would not. The ISRP was critical in the past review of this project’s lack of M&E, and M&E still was not adequately described in the 2007-2007 proposal either. The response presented detailed material on the M&E plan, which concentrates on terrestrial matters. No M&E elements concerning fish and fish habitat were evident, and this is a major deficiency in view of the project’s trend in planned activity toward emphasis on fish habitat. The M&E's aquatic aspects could be improved by more specific linking with the other projects that cover the fish.

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

Review group: Intermountain

Recommended budgets: FY07: $566,407 | FY08: $699,403 | FY09: $706,271

Comment: Budget reduced by $787,843 in FY07, $872,882 in FY08, $886,702 in FY09. If, and when, additional funds are available this project's budget will be made whole to include an additional average $165,225 per year in FY07, FY08 and FY09. The project sponsors would prefer that the total of $495,675 be made available in either 2009 or 2008 to more easily facilitate easement acquisition. If and when this occurs, the CDAT will work with BPA in contracting to identify specific changes to work elements and associated budgets.