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199901700 - Protect & Restore Lapwai Creek Watershed

Sponsor: Nez Perce Tribe DFRM Watershed Division

Budgets: FY07: $738,199 | FY08: $760,332 | FY09: $797,824

Short description: This project will protect, restore and return critical spawning and rearing fish habitat using a ridge top to ridge top approach, based on a complete watershed assessment.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $389,765 | FY08: $389,765 | FY09: $389,765

Comment: ISRP fundable in part. Funding in FY 2007 to complete reports on abundance, habitat status and a comprehensive presentation of prioritized restoration projects. Funding for restoration actions in 08 and 09 is conditioned on favorable ISRP and Council review of revised proposal linked to completed reports (per ISRP comments). 2007 Revised Budget: Significant reductions in salaries (FTEs), implementation tasks, land leasing, and NEPA/Cultural consultations. Implementation of proposed tasks at 100% is dependent on the acquisition of supplemental funding.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable in part

Comment:

This is an ISRP response to the fix it loop for proposal 199901700 Protect and Restore Lapwai Creek Watershed (NPT) and 200207000 Lapwai Creek Anadromous Habitat (NPSWCD) – integrated sister projects to address habitat restoration and protection on Lapwai Creek on tribal and private land, respectively. The sponsors addressed the questions raised by the ISRP in the preliminary review. The adequacy of the answers varied by question. The ISRP thanks the sponsors for the time and effort in producing the revised proposal narrative and explanations of the projects’ history. The ISRP had many questions for the sponsors, so the evaluation of the response to each is beyond the space and time available in this fix it loop review. Briefly, the proposal(s) were to execute tasks related to both inventory and assessment of fish populations and habitat, and habitat restoration implementation. From the proposal it was not clear to the ISRP how important to the focal species the watershed was; the focal species current status in the watershed; the role the watershed could contribute to the focal species’ status if restored; if the watershed could be restored; and how long it would take. Replies were provided to the ISRP’s questions and a revised narrative was produced. The answers to the questions and the narrative revision go a long way to clarifying for the ISRP the status and progress of anadromous fish species (primarily steelhead) and restoration potential in this watershed. Much more is needed however, before the ISRP can confidently assess whether the proposed activities in the Lapwai Creek system are scientifically sound, have quantifiable biological objectives that are measurable, and will benefit fish and wildlife (A-run steelhead). Sponsors indicate that it became apparent early in the project history (1999) that insufficient data existed to effectively address improving the status of anadromous fish in Lapwai Creek. Little was known about the status of the fish or the habitat. In the intervening period the sponsors state they have treated "hot spots" of habitat degradation, and nearly completed inventories of habitat conditions and fish population status. They report that inventory work will be completed in 2006 and that evaluation and analysis should be prepared in 2007. In the current revised narrative the biological objectives are tasks. The sponsors provide an ultimate goal: "to protect and restore the ecological and biological functions of the Lapwai Creek Watershed to assist in the recovery of anadromous and resident fish species," and this is reasonable. What is needed is a specific goal, with a timeframe for changes in habitat conditions and fish population abundance and productivity. Sponsors clarify for the ISRP their understanding of compliance and effectiveness monitoring, and inform the ISRP that they appreciate the necessity of effectiveness monitoring, but that it is beyond the willingness of Council and BPA to fund those data collections and analysis. The ISRP understands the constraints placed on sponsors, but also believes sponsors need to be creative in developing methods to determine whether their restoration efforts are providing a benefit. Can riparian habitat be evaluated by photopoints or aerial photography and be cost effective, how can stream flow and stream temperature be monitored? How can adult fish in and smolts out be measured? Sponsors indicate that stream habitat and watershed inventories, and fish population abundance will be completed soon and final assessments available in 2007. Based on that commitment, these projects are Fundable in Part (incrementally). In 2007, fundable only for completion of the inventory and assessments. Possibly fundable in 2008 and 2009 for restoration actions contingent upon a proposal narrative that uses those assessments to establish biological objectives, strategies and actions to get to those objectives, and an approach to measure whether progress is being made in achieving the objectives. 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.

Response loop edit

See the sponsor's revised proposal from the response loop. You'll be taken to CBFWA's proposal system in Section 10 where most sponsors uploaded revised narratives or other responses to the ISRP comments.

State/province recommendation: Fundable, but at a reduced level

Review group: Snake

Recommended budgets: FY07: $389,765 | FY08: $389,765 | FY09: $389,765

Comment: 2007 Revised Budget: Significant reductions in salaries (FTEs), implementation tasks, land leasing, and NEPA/Cultural consultations. Implementation of proposed tasks at 100% is dependent on the acquisition of supplemental funding.