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199106100 - Swanson Lake Wildlife Mitigation Project (Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area)

Sponsor: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)

Budgets: FY07: $258,085 | FY08: $236,322 | FY09: $244,596

Short description: Protect, increase, and maintain a viable sharp-tailed grouse meta population, increase mule deer use of the project site, and enhance habitat for shrubsteppe obligate species, as mitigation for losses associated with the Grand Coulee Dam.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $83,333 | FY08: $83,333 | FY09: $83,333

Comment: Interim funding pending wildlife o&m review.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable

Comment:

The proposal clearly relates the need for intervention to increase and maintain sharp-tailed grouse populations on SLWA. The proposal adequately describes the relationship between the objectives in the project and the Crab Subbasin Plan. However, because of the continuing decline in sharp-tailed grouse numbers, it is not clear if the facilities and personnel are appropriate to achieve restoration. The history of the project is effectively documented. Some evaluation of results is included but more indication of possible reasons for the continuing decline of sharp-tailed grouse populations despite intensive intervention efforts is recommended. While results to date are not promising it may be that habitat enhancement activities that are in place, coupled with protection and supplementation, will show signs of success in the near future. The ambitious monitoring and evaluation component may serve as an example for others if conducted, documented, and distributed effectively. The ISRP was pleased to see plans for monitoring vegetation, planted shrubs, and marking supplemental birds from Idaho and British Columbia. A few additional considerations could improve the monitoring and evaluation component of the proposal. Participants should monitor livestock trespass to ensure the adequacy of smooth wire bottom strand of new fencing. The proposal could include some analysis of genetic composition of individuals on the area as well as samples from birds added annually. These data could serve as baseline information and allow a critical evaluation of the importance of genetics in recovery of these birds. Measurable objectives in terms of sharp-tailed grouse numbers as well as habitat alterations are clearly stated. The proposal, however, should better present support for the importance of fragmentation of habitats for this population. The sponsors do a good job of clearly indicating the relationship of this project with other projects and identifying cooperative efforts for sharing information on sharp-tailed grouse with other projects.

State/province recommendation:

Review group:

Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)

Comment: