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200718600 - Middle Fork Willamette River Bull Trout Passage and Habitat Restoration

Sponsor: US Forest Service

Budgets: FY07: $365,000 | FY08: $50,000 | FY09: $50,000

Short description: Proposal to complete fish passage and spawning ground restoration in an area on the Middle Fork Willamette River where bull trout have been re-introduced by a multi-agency partnership.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

Overall, the ISRP believes that this proposal should be funded, but the fundable recommendation is qualified because the proponents need to provide better justification for the generally proposed bull trout spawning habitat improvements. If funded, the proponents should provide more detail in the Technical and Scientific Background section with documentation and references regarding the habitat problems needing restoration in this six-mile section of the Middle Fork Willamette. Along these lines, the Methods section only generally describes the proposed habitat improvements in up-river bull trout release areas. An improved proposal should include much more detail for the planned habitat improvements, in order to determine if the most appropriate designs, techniques, locations, and types of improvements will be used. Other comments: Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: The proposal does a very good job in demonstrating how the project addresses a specific high priority objective in the Northwest Forest Plan, but only generally refers to the Willamette Subbasin Plan. Relationships to other projects: This proposal documents that the proponent has a number of relationships with eight other similar projects, plus collaboration with the Willamette bull trout recovery team. This work will directly fit into the draft Bull Trout Recovery Plan and support their goals. The eight other partnerships are only generally listed. Tasks (work elements) and methods: Design and methods for installing the new Indigo Springs improved passage culvert and the habitat improvements in up-river bull trout release areas are only generally described. Much more detail is needed, especially for the habitat improvements, in order to determine if the appropriate designs, techniques, locations, and types of improvements will be used. Monitoring and evaluation: In Section 2 of the proposal, a general statement is made regarding the USFS's intent to use this proposed restoration program as a framework for improved coordination, successful habitat enhancement, and integration of monitoring efforts. The statement continues, "the USFS will restore, monitor, and evaluate the status and trends of bull trout at the Province and subbasin scales. The purpose of the restoration, monitoring and evaluation program is to assure that the effects of actions taken under sub-basin plans are measured, that these measurements are analyzed so that we have better knowledge of the effects of the action, that this improved knowledge is used to choose future actions, and for the watershed as a whole, including ESA species, to benefit both short and long term in all associated programs." However, specific details are lacking regarding monitoring and evaluation of bull trout passage success and habitat use following completion of this project. Benefits to focal and non-focal species: If this project is successful, bull trout and the Upper Willamette River Chinook ESU are likely to realize long-term benefits from improved passage opportunity and access to improved spawning and rearing habitat.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable due to budget constraints

Review group: OSPIT - Estuary

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

Comment: Though OSPIT believes this is important work, the budget will not accommodate this project.