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200707200 - Flathead Subbasin Flowering Rush and Yellowflag Iris Project

Sponsor: Salish Kootenai College/University of Montana

Budgets: FY07: $332,640 | FY08: $291,358 | FY09: $291,360

Short description: This research, demonstration, and education project on the environmental impacts of flowering rush and yellowflag iris on wetland and aquatic habitats will help determine the biological potential and identify the future impact and test control measures.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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


ISRP final recommendation: Not fundable


This proposal is well written, technically sound, and thoughtfully constructed but the benefits to fish and wildlife are not sufficiently demonstrated. This proposal does not make a strong case that this is a problem outside of the Flathead Subbasin (perhaps they are a problem in the Flathead). The sponsors describe a case in the St. Lawrence where the rush exploded and subsequently died back. However, without evidence to the contrary this seems to be a regional problem. Neither plant species seems to gather more than passing mention, if that, in other subbasin plans. The iris has been present for many years in other basin provinces (Hells Canyon Dam complex in Idaho, for example), and has not become dominant. Discussion of the plant species with which the iris and rush interact, and the extent to which the iris and rush impact other plants and an ecosystem would be useful.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable

Review group: Mtn Col

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

Comment: The effects of these aquatic invasive species on resident fish are unknown. However, the OG believes that these species pose a critical uncertainty and could potentially modify the entire ecosystem. Therefore the OG strongly supports the project if funded from a more appropriate source. The OG also recommends that the macro zoo-bentos and fish components be picked up by the Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake project.