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199801900 - Wind River Watershed Restoration

Sponsor: Underwood Conservation District

Budgets: FY07: $767,217 | FY08: $775,382 | FY09: $849,551

Short description: This project is a continuation of the 2001-2006 Wind River project. The project involves continued monitoring of fish populations, project effectiveness, restoration work, public involvement, and technical assistance to landowners.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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

Comment: Sponsors should take the ISRP comments into account. See comment for project 200707700.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

Monitoring for this project by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is extensive. Sponsors are unusually well positioned to continue an excellent program - they are one of the few to have an active watershed council, no hatchery stocking, and data from a modeling effort to aide in limiting factor analysis by stream reach and fish life-stage. A good general summary of project activities is provided, but summaries of how key habitat attributes and fish populations have responded over time are not included, which is a shortcoming of this proposal. In the province reviews four years ago we recommended that results of the Wind River project would likely be publishable. We continue to emphasize that results be published. There is no need to wait until everything is perfect. The ISRP is not requesting a response, but the proposal would be improved be addressing the following comments: A summary of results and a plan for publishing and/or further efforts to disseminate the information should be included in the proposal. This project has the potential to be a demonstration monitoring site for the entire basin. The importance of the Wind River as a research area will increase further if Hemlock Dam is removed. This project is one of the few watershed efforts that include tasks dealing with most of the Hs -- hatcheries, harvest, and habitat, excluding hydro, which isn't present in the subbasin. The broadly based attempt to monitor trends in each of the other Hs (hatcheries, harvest, and habitat) should be applauded. This is very much a fisheries project; there was no reference to wildlife restoration although some of the tasks will certainly affect some wildlife species. It would be helpful to provide some discussion of wildlife benefits. The proposal would be improved by describing how EDT results, the Subbasin Plan, etc., were specifically used to prioritize the activities proposed for 2007-09 funding. Also a table showing the project’s target habitat conditions would be helpful. The Bayesian approach to modeling spawner-recruit relationships using Markov Chain Monte Carlo simulations seemed quite sophisticated for a watershed council. The new PIT-tag study should also be helpful in further documenting the 3-year "canyon" life cycle of steelhead, as this is a fairly unusual life history pattern (although logical, given the oligotrophic nature of the watershed). Additional work on the presence and significance of the protozoan parasite, especially in Trout Creek - perhaps the dam and sediment-rich reservoir have something to do with this - should also be helpful in other systems where dams are scheduled for removal. These topics could provide additional opportunities for publication.

State/province recommendation:

Review group:

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

Comment: