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200104101 - Forrest Conservation Area Management

Sponsor: Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon

Budgets: FY07: $318,783 | FY08: $278,947 | FY09: $200,597

Short description: The Forrest Conservation Area consists of 4,232 acres and contains 8.5 miles of critical fish habitat in the Upper Mainstem and Middle Fork John Day River systems. Management prioritizes protection of fish, wildlife and their associated habitats.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $206,635 | FY08: $206,635 | FY09: $206,635


ISRP final recommendation: Fundable


This is a well-written proposal with a clear history and clear objectives, methods, M&E, and demonstrated cooperation with other related projects. The Forrest Conservation Area was purchased by the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon (Tribes) in 2002 as a high priority project with BPA mitigation funds. The project has since received BPA annual funding for O&M as part of the Memorandum of Agreement between the Tribes and BPA. The Conservation Area is 4,232 acres and is split into two geographically separate parcels located along the Upper Middle Fork and Upper Mainstem John Day Rivers in the John Day Subbasin. Though currently well below its potential for fish and wildlife due to previous habitat degradation, the property contains critical habitat used by spring Chinook, summer steelhead, and a variety of wildlife. Spawning spring Chinook densities on the Middle Fork property are the highest in the basin and the property represents 4,083 Habitat Units (HU) of protection for 7 wildlife mitigation species for BPA. Benefits from this project to focal and non-focal species should persist over the long term. Previous ISRP reviews of this proposal were very positive and noted that it was an important high priority project. The current project proposal recounts biological results (gains) that have occurred since acquisition of the property. Technical and scientific background: The technical and scientific background is excellent. It describes in detail the subbasin context and the Forrest Conservation area within it. It includes a description of the property, assessments conducted, baseline conditions, limiting factors, desired future conditions, and restoration strategies to achieve these. It also contains information that probably should be included in other sections (ties to other projects, history, objectives, etc). The section on spring Chinook contains a statement that the fish are protected under MSFCMA, when the reference should be to ESA. Helpful photos are provided. A good description of habitat issues that need to be addressed by the activities proposed in this project is also provided. Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: The proposal establishes good rationales and significance through linkages to the 2000 FCRPS BiOp and to the John Day Subbasin Plan (JD SBP). The conservation area is a key component of the JD SBP. Recovery strategies identified as highest priority in the SBP for are consistent with activities contained in the proposed project. Project actions are motivated by the limiting factors and their corresponding strategies in the JD SBP. The proposal also describes links to the 2002 Fish and Wildlife Program habitat strategies. The proposal also notes links to the Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi-Wa-Kish-Wit. Relationships to other projects: An extensive list of direct links to and complementarities with other projects is provided. These projects are managed by CTWS, ODFW, CTUIR, OYCC, BOR, Grant SWCD, ODEQ, public schools, USDA NRCS, etc. The proposal describes very strong links with description of the nature of the link. Project history is extensive and well documented, particularly for a project that is only 3+ years old. A short history of project development and funding is presented, followed by an extensive description of project activities by category such as fencing, planting, CREP, flow enhancements, irrigation improvements, fish screening, etc. The project clearly has implemented a substantial amount of restoration work. Good detail is provided as justification for the activities. A detailed description of monitoring of project activities is included. Objectives: Objectives relate to those specified in the JD SBP and to specific restoration goals for the Forrest Conservation Area. Objectives are stated in general form, but become more specific in the expression of work elements and quite specific and measurable in the metrics presented in the administrative section. Objectives are reasonable and comprehensive. Tasks (work elements) and methods: Several work elements are associated with each objective. Some of the work elements are presented in general, rather than specific terms ((e.g. remove vegetation) but do contain discussion that establish the intention, context and rationale in more detail. Other work elements (replace culverts) are specific and measurable. The objectives and work elements cover a lot of ground and consist of reasonable sounding activities, but lack discussion of their motivation contained in the Oxbow proposal. Each work element contains collection of data for monitoring and evaluation. Specific measurable quantities are contained in the work element metrics (admin and budgeting section). Monitoring and evaluation: A detailed description of monitoring activities is included in the section on project history. Work elements also contain components to "collect, generate, validate field and lab data" with a description of how these data will be used in evaluating success of the strategies. It would be useful to see the Forrest Area Management Plan to see how the monitoring is integrated to inform decision making on the area as a whole. Facilities, equipment, and personnel: Facilities and personnel are well situated in place with strong ties to related projects. A specific list of equipment and facilities, with functions and conditions noted, is provided. Information transfer: Good description of not only routine reporting to BPA but also specific details on information sharing and coordination with other projects and agencies. Indirectly addressed through listing of proposed reports.

State/province recommendation: Fundable, but at a reduced level

Review group: OSPIT - Plateau

Recommended budgets: FY07: $146,635 | FY08: $146,635 | FY09: $146,635

Comment: OSPIT recommends maintaining funding at the FY06 level and flatlining in the out years. High priority for CTWSRO for O&M funding.