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199401500 - Idaho Fish Screening and Passage Improvements

Sponsor: Idaho Department of Fish & Game

Budgets: FY07: $974,740 | FY08: $1,015,982 | FY09: $998,842

Short description: The project protects anadromous fish and improves fish passage in Idaho’s anadromous fish corridors by consolidation and elimination of irrigation diversions, conservation of water, and screening fish from gravity and pump water withdrawal systems.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Capital

Recommended budgets: FY07: $834,740 | FY08: $834,740 | FY09: $834,740

Comment: Capital Project or at least elements of the project can be capitalized. Final determination will most likely not occur until contracting (per BPA 8/11/06).

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable

Comment:

This was a very nicely prepared proposal that included an excellent overview of project history and results to date. Very clear and detailed responses were provided to reviewers' questions. Responses were requested on two items. First, the ISRP asked where the agency currently stands in the process of completing the needed fish screens. The response indicated that 75% of all the known main stem river corridor diversions, including those on the Lemhi River, Little Salmon River, Pahsimeroi River, East Fork Salmon River, North Fork Salmon River, and main stem Salmon River, have had fish screens installed. At present there is one Salmon River diversion with an antiquated fish screen in need of replacement. There is one diversion on the Lemhi River that also is in need of a better fish screen. The North Fork Salmon River has two unscreened diversions. The East Fork Salmon River has three diversions in need of NOAA Criteria screens. One is currently under contract, and the other two are in design phase. In addition, "there are many years of future work to screen tributaries that are in occupied anadromous habitat. These diversions number several hundred in occupied anadromous waters of the upper Salmon River Basin. Unlike the main stem river diversions which generally do not involve dewatered reaches and water–savings projects, almost all tributaries have potential water-savings projects due to seasonally dewatered reaches and unscreened diversions. This makes fish screening that much more complicated in tributaries as there are generally multiple water conservation projects that are needed to complement a fish screen project in order to make a fish screen effort effective. These primarily include improving fish passage with fish passable diversions and fish screens, and increasing instream flow by water-savings projects and installation or improvement of water control structures." The second issue was whether water saved due to these projects was being returned to the streams and remaining in the stream channel. The response indicated, "The purpose for installing sprinkler systems and installing pipelines is to keep water instream. These systems are only installed if there can be some assurances the water will remain instream. The Idaho Screen Program works on a tributary wide approach in order to provide the best possible results. Unless the saved water can be shepparded (sic) through the tributary and allow fish passage in lower stream flow conditions, then the project is not considered." While in general this is a beneficial approach for fish, the statement "if there can be some assurances the water will remain instream" is not as concrete as it might be. Whether such projects include any legal provision for instream flow was unclear. Reviewers encourage the sponsors to continue to strengthen this emphasis to the greatest extent possible. Reviewers appreciate the detail provided in the response regarding how the risk of passage blockage and diversion entrainment varies over an irrigation season by fish species and life stage. Certainly the number of smolting fish diverted and killed in these projects represents an important loss that can only be compensated via factors outside-the-basin, perhaps an unlikely scenario. Because the loss of smolting fish would be the most important loss in freshwater apart from the death of an adult fish, the sponsors might (if not already done) assign higher priority to screening needs at sites where smolting fish predominate than for sites typically entraining younger fish. It would be helpful in the future to see more details regarding this issue and its relative importance at various sites.

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: $834,740 | FY08: $834,740 | FY09: $834,740

Comment: no tasks removed - across the board reduction