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199901600 - Protect & Restore Big Canyon Creek Watershed

Sponsor: Nez Perce Tribe Dept. Fisheries Resource Management Watershed Division

Budgets: FY07: $455,312 | FY08: $478,301 | FY09: $507,369

Short description: This project is to protect, restore, and return critical spawning and rearing habitat using a ridgetop to ridge top approach, based on a complete watershed assessment and following the Clearwater Subbasin Management Plan.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $165,000 | FY08: $165,000 | FY09: $165,000

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:

The preliminary ISRP review of this proposal principally raised three questions. What was the historic and current status and importance of the steelhead population in the Big Canyon Creek watershed? What are results from habitat restoration undertaken by this project to date? And what is the potential to restore this water and if restored what kind of contribution will the steelhead population contribute to restoring the ESU and providing benefits to the focal species? The sponsor replies that because there was a paucity of data on fish and their habitats the first few years of the project were spent determining fish distribution and abundance and performing stream and riparian habitat assessments. The sponsor reports that the field collections for these assessments are completed and that reports are presently being finalized. In the interim period the sponsor has undertaken habitat improvement in areas thought to be "hot spots." It is not clear whether these are areas that have outstanding potential to produce fish if improved, or if they are areas that are especially degraded. There is an intent announced to remove possible barriers in the form of agricultural equipment crossings that are very high in the tributaries for $1-2 million, but no biological justification was advanced. The ISRP is uncomfortable agreeing with the sponsors that this is a stronghold for steelhead based on earlier surveys, when the sponsors themselves argued that more abundance information was needed to initiate habitat actions. Further, until the reports from the fish abundance and habitat surveys are completed it is not possible to conclude that the watershed has the potential to contribute to improving the status of the focal species and provide fish and wildlife benefits. Although the response shows significant effort in its preparation, the response provided does not constitute an adequate reporting of satisfactory results. Based on this situation, the project is Fundable in Part for FY07 to complete the reports on fish abundance, habitat status, and a comprehensive presentation of prioritized restoration projects. 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: $165,000 | FY08: $165,000 | FY09: $165,000

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.