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199706000 - Focus Watershed Coordinator - Nez Perce Tribe

Sponsor: Nez Perce Tribe

Budgets: FY07: $411,315 | FY08: $431,469 | FY09: $459,510

Short description: Manage and implement a comprehensive system to coordinate multiple jurisdictions, agencies, and private landowners within the Nez Perce Tribe's Treaty Territory. These efforts work toward protecting, restoring, and enhancing watersheds.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $147,000 | FY08: $147,000 | FY09: $147,000

Comment: Scope expansion not accepted. Budget at the FY 2006 level.

ISRP final recommendation: Admin (see comments)

Comment:

Although the ISRP places this proposal in the administrative category, this proposal is not justified as presented. This proposal provides similar functions as the Soil and Water Conservation Districts’ coordinator, proposal 199608600, and the ISRP comments for both projects apply to each. This project may be an essential element of stewardship for the subbasin. But based on the proposal, it is not clear that this project is showing results in the basin for restoration and evaluation. This project is supposed to provide vital services, but it is not clear what essential functions this individual provides, and what would happen regarding Clearwater subbasin integration and facilitation of other Council Fish and Wildlife Program proposals if this coordination was not available. Almost all the proposals covered under this focus coordination project also request FTE and funding to perform the same tasks. It does not appear that critical monitoring and evaluation or watershed assessment coordination is being performed under this project. The projects under the NPT Focus watershed auspices from the Clearwater and Grand Ronde subbasins need substantial improvement. So it is unclear how the supervision provided by this project is informing those efforts. Further evidence of essential functions being provided by this coordination is needed. The ISRP’s province review recommendation included the statement: “This project should demonstrate performance by the next review cycle otherwise it should be terminated.” As with other watershed coordinator proposals, the proposed effort would be better integrated into a proposal that is directed toward management based on science including on-the-ground work and monitoring. Technical and scientific background: The details of the essential functions this project provides to the various subbasins in the Nez Perce ceded lands in not clear from the technical and scientific background. Coordination across the subbasins in developing standards for conducting habitat and fish inventories, watershed assessments, decision matrices for picking projects, and evaluating the efficacy of habitat restoration is not sufficiently described. Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: There is identification throughout this section that the Fish and Wildlife Program and NOAA recovery programs call for integration and coordination. What is not clear is that the tasks executed through this project actually accomplish that integration and coordination. Relationships to other projects: There are a number of important projects listed. What is missing is the actual tasks this project performed for these other projects. Each of these other projects request time and funds for their own coordination and integration and BPA and NEPA permitting. It is not clear what functions this project adds to those. Project history: A short history of the origin of the Focus Watershed Coordinator for the Nez Perce tribe is given. The history does not provide evidence of implications for management, i.e., that management actions have been influenced by the outcome of the coordination. Objectives: The objectives are laudable. Note, however, that the project history does not contain results in terms of the stated objectives. There are some measurable objectives identified, for example, "Continue riparian recovery to achieve at least 75% riparian function (Tucannon River).” For other objectives, like "Coordinate with groups and the public when developing and implementing fish and wildlife activities in the subbasin" (Imnaha), it is more difficult to define measurable objectives. The coordination objectives are quite vague in almost all cases. Tasks (work elements) and methods: The exact work elements are vague. For example, page 19: Identify and select highest priority watershed restoration projects with the treaty territory based on the respective subbasin management plans. This does not tell reviewers what decision and analytical framework is employed in establishing the priority list. Monitoring and evaluation: Coordinating monitoring and evaluation is not formally discussed. Facilities, equipment, and personnel: 3.3 FTEs are requested. The specific tasks these individuals perform and the time allocated is not adequately described. Information transfer: Information will be provided upon request and in quarterly and annual BPA reports. The documentation is not likely to provide easy evaluation of the need for the coordination.

State/province recommendation: MS: Multi-province

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $140,000 | FY08: $140,000 | FY09: $140,000

Comment: This project would be more appropriately reviewed in subbasin processes. The criteria that the MSRT developed for reviewing proposals does not support an adequate review of this proposal. This project should be reviewed with other multi-province projects with criteria established for that review.