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200726500 - Complete and Coordinate a Subbasin Plan for the Bitterroot Watershed

Sponsor: Montana Water Trust

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

Short description: The Montana Water Trust proposes to coordinate the subbasin planning process in the Bitterroot Watershed during FY 2007-2009. The project sponsors will work with local, state, federal, and tribal groups, as well as the public, to complete an effective plan.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $50,000 | FY08: $50,000 | FY09: $0

Comment: Funding for two fiscal years only, second year contingent on first year success, plan to be delivered by end of fiscal year 08.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable in part


This is a key watershed with rapidly declining conservation opportunities. The sponsors have submitted a worthwhile idea that needs fuller development. The proposal is not linked directly to the Fish and Wildlife Program, but to the Clean Water Act and other relevant public concerns. Although collaboration is described, details are few and a lack of cost-share suggests limited knowledge of, or buy-in by partners at this point. Further, not citing any plans being used by collaborators, neighboring subbasin plans or Council planning guidance suggests this effort is early in its development. Actions needed to restore lost productivity are difficult to identify in such basins because flushing flows, stable hillslopes, and flood plain dynamics no longer exist as they did in the past. Strategies for improving productivity in comparable basins are not producing desired benefits for fish. Proposers need to become thoroughly familiar with this background and develop innovative new strategies with greater probability for success (e.g., see Palmer et al. 2005. Standards for ecologically successful river restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology 42, 208-217 and cited references). Many allied aquatic and terrestrial species are likely to benefit if focal species do. Objectives are clear and measurable, but preliminary to any species benefits that may flow following successful plan development and implementation. Work elements are social and organizational rather than scientific or technical, but are reasonable for the immediate task at hand. Personnel appear well qualified although relatively new to the job. They will likely require assistance from a geomorphologist and population/conservation biologist. Only completion monitoring applies now, but they should plan eventual subbasin-wide monitoring. Information transfer is not addressed. Sponsors might benefit from studying the Blackfoot subbasin proposal as an example. Sponsors may eventually be successful in both formulating a fundable proposal for subbasin planning and in achieving the long-term goals of such a plan. This proposal is justified for one year of planning support to pull the project together and submit a more detailed proposal. Additional funding requests would be entertained after one year of satisfactory progress building partnerships, outlining a plan, inventorying useable data, identifying data needs, and building a public process.

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.