200712800 - Protect & Restore Little Salmon Watershed
Sponsor: Nez Perce Tribe DFRM Watershed Division
Budgets: FY07: $327,000 | FY08: $318,600 | FY09: $365,600
Short description: This project entails conducting road/stream crossing surveys and analysis, implementing fish barrier remediation, and riparian protection/restoration in the Little Salmon watershed. Interagency coordination and watershed planning will also be targeted.
Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)
Funding category: Expense
Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0
ISRP final recommendation: Response requested
(Although this proposal did not participate in the fix-it loop, for full comments on "restore and protect" type projects, please see heading “General comments concerning Nez Perce Tribe proposals to protect and restore various watersheds” at the beginning of the ISRP comments on project # 199607702, Protect & Restore Lolo Creek Watershed. The comments below are from the ISRP’s June 2006 preliminary review of this proposal.) This purpose of this project is to protect and restore riparian and aquatic habitats within the Little Salmon River watershed. This objective should flow directly from the subbasin plan and an adequate watershed assessment and prescription. It does not do so. There is a shopping list of habitat projects with no clear priority or connection to plans or limiting factors. The latter are not defined in terms of productivity or fish survival, but as physical elements: 1.) lack of adequate, shade-providing, bank-stabilizing riparian vegetation, 2.) decreased recruitment of large woody debris (LWD), and 3.) floodplain and channel encroachment from roads and development. Some clear examples of problem areas are provided, with photos, but reviewers cannot judge how these might play out in an overall assessment of the watershed. The response needs to include a demonstration of how needs flow from the issues identified in the subbasin planning exercise, with clear indication of connections. The technical aspects of this proposal target the recovery of riverine-riparian zones, water quality, and instream habitat. We expect the projects proposed herein to: reduce sediment delivery, improve riparian function, decrease water temperature, improve flood storage, increase habitat complexity and improve wildlife and aesthetic attributes with the completion of riparian planting, bank stabilization and cattle exclusion measures. The benefits described above directly contribute to increased survival during the egg-to-smolt life stage. This is accomplished by decreased sedimentation in spawning gravels, decreased water temperature during critical spawning and incubation periods and improved connectivity. Additionally, the NPT DFRM Watershed Division strives to disseminate information to the public and provide a sense of watershed and cultural awareness for the local students and community. This would be more effective if results on the effectiveness of the habitat work were available. The presentation is not tightly focused on limiting factors, physical attributes of the habitat that limit survival at critical life stages. The Little Salmon lies within a very constrained and flashy canyon. It may be best to focus habitat work on the lower river section and its tributaries (Squaw Creek and Rapid River) rather than work in the mid and upper basin at this time. Specifically, the sponsors should concentrate work in the bottom third of the subbasin, while focusing the work on steelhead habitat in tributary systems, thus dealing with culvert and road blockages and land use impacts from grazing, forestry, and agricultural practices. Work in the upper basin should be delayed, particularly above impassable falls, until after the pending decision on funding for the passage improvements. Barrier removals were noted in the subbasin plan. What of the other tasks? Several planning exercises and agency relationships are presented. It is time to roll these into an overall plan of habitat for the subbasin - an integrated component of a set of studies. This proposal does not do this effectively, but does indicate linkages. The objectives are presented as tasks, and listed. The response needs to include a clear statement on objectives, as defined in the proposal guidelines. Objectives, tasks, and work elements are confused and fail to follow proposal guidelines. Work elements are described as management tasks (coordination, outreach) but also surveys and reporting, providing documentation (compliance) and designing. Real tasks are listed last: fish passage, culvert replacement, fencing, off-site watering, re-vegetate, then data collection and more reporting. Physical works appear to comply with BMP. There is no experimental design. Currently, the monitoring and evaluation planned for this project will involve project-specific effectiveness monitoring. Data will be used to determine level of project success and resource response. Parameters to be monitored under project specific plans will vary depending on the nature of the project. They may include: temperature, bank stability, riparian vegetation response, fish presence/absence, and biological productivity variables. Results will be used to determine changes needed in out-year planning, effectiveness determinations, and restoration approaches undertaken in the future. The evaluation seems superficial. Culverts will be monitored for implementation effectiveness. Some coordination with regional M&E is required, and may require the advice of a statistician; the personnel on this project appear adept at habitat work but not experimental design and evaluation. The response should provide convincing evidence that a sound experimental design and a rigorous M&E program are available for this project.
State/province recommendation: Not fundable
Review group: Snake
Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0
Comment: Project not prioritized