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200709900 - Gold Creek (Lakeview District) Bull Trout Habitat and Migration Protection

Sponsor: Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

Budgets: FY07: $599,826 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0

Short description: Gold Creek is critically important bull trout spawning stream in the fragmented Pend Oreille Lake watershed. Migration and spawning habitat is threatened by a massive sediment source. The project would remove this threat and enhance water quality.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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


ISRP final recommendation: Response requested


The sponsors propose to restore as bull and westslope cutthroat trout habitat a section of stream that has long been buried in a pipe beneath mine tailings. The proposal is clear and to the point in its problem review and analysis. It establishes adequate rationale and significance to regional programs, and it explains relationships to other projects. The project would remove the waste rock that covers the former channel and flood plain, and then establish channel and floodplain configurations that should function as habitat for bull trout. The methods are adequately described. It is clear that the focal species would benefit from the project as long as chemical contamination does not interfere. In addition many non-focal species would likely benefit. A response is needed to clarify two items. First, will this project lure fish and wildlife, especially birds, into a toxic environment? The second item is M&E. The proposal describes the general types of physical and biological monitoring and evaluation that are planned. However, it does not explain in sufficient detail how the field measurements would be made or how the resulting data will be analyzed and interpreted. Please elaborate and include discussion of likely statistical designs. Reviewers are concerned that chemical contamination by leachates from the mine tailings may be a major consideration in this stream -- not only from materials of the stream’s present overburden, but also from mine wastes that may persist elsewhere in the area. Therefore (if proposal authors are in concurrence with reviewers), the M&E for this project needs to include statistical monitoring of water quality, of the levels of lead, mercury and other metals such as zinc in fish tissues, and of capabilities of the fish to breed in this chemical environment. In particular, liver and kidney concentrations of such pollutants should be analyzed. In addition to concerns for fish and wildlife, this issue needs to be monitored to protect the human population from mercury and lead contamination.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable

Review group: Intermountain

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