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200724700 - Priscilla Peak Wildlife Habitat Restoration (Prescribed Fire)

Sponsor: US Forest Service

Budgets: FY07: $103,000 | FY08: $103,000 | FY09: $104,500

Short description: The project sponsors would like to apply prescribed fire to about 4,800 acres of forest and grass-shrub communities that have been degraded by fire suppression. Prescribed fire will enhance habitat for bighorn sheep and improve the potential for grizzly bear reoccupancy.

view full proposal

Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

This is a discrete, short-term controlled burn project with likely immediate and longer-term benefits to bighorn sheep, and possible benefits for grizzly bear reoccupation. Many of the subbasin plans identify fuel and forest succession problems, but controlled burn proposals are scarce. Prescribed fire as a treatment would be widely applicable. Habitat Units likely would accrue, but HUs to be gained are not reported. The proposal notes that this is not in a planned subbasin, but cites surrounding plans. The proposed action is consistent with the Program and with other relevant Federal and State initiatives and is related to projects on the same USFS district and adjacent National Forest. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks is responsible for wildlife populations. In the original proposal, only general burn procedures were described. The Forest Service response provided useful details in answer to ISRP questions including pre-burn surveys, environmental clearances, information reporting and other details. Monitoring had been deemed unnecessary, but in response to the ISRP, an aerial photo monitoring procedure is proposed to examine changes in timber type following burning. The response addressed concern about infiltration and sedimentation following controlled burns with general information, but the ISRP notes that the intensity of the proposed burns, including 53% mixed lethal/moderate and 8% stand replacing, is greater than that described in that discussion. Site specific characteristics, such as the steepness of these south and west slopes and preference for fall burning that will leave slopes less vegetated during peak precipitation were not addressed. The ISRP remains concerned about sediment dumping into the Thompson River. The Thompson feeds a segment of the Clark Fork where bull trout spawn (the ISRP is not clear if there is spawning in the Thompson as well). As stated, the watershed impacts of a natural burn would probably be more destructive than controlled burning, but that does not negate concern for impacts of this project. Perhaps burning from low to high elevation over several years would establish some buffering vegetation and reduce overall potential impact on streams.

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: No recommendation

Review group: Mtn Col

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

Comment: Oversight group did not rank this project because there are no federal hydropower impacts and no subbasin plan for the subbasin in which the project is proposed.