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200738100 - Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group Community-Based Multi-Sub-Basin Habitat Restoration Program

Sponsor: Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group

Budgets: FY07: $150,000 | FY08: $150,000 | FY09: $150,000

Short description: The Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group seeks program-level support to expand its community-based salmon and steelhead habitat restoration program and activities directly linked to implementation of Sub-Basin and Recovery Plan Priorities.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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


ISRP final recommendation: Not fundable


The sponsors have not defined the purpose of their organization very well. Their stated mission is to restore salmon through habitat restoration, education and outreach, and developing partnership. In the proposal, they emphasize only the habitat restoration part of the mission. The proposal has no objectives related to education and outreach and partnership development, nor do they discuss accomplishments in these areas. The group apparently acts much like Oregon's Watershed Enhancement Board in providing funds to watershed councils. But watershed councils or groups are not mentioned in the proposal. The proponents do not perform the research or restoration actions themselves. The sponsors indicate that their program is directly tied to a number of Lower Columbia Subbasin Plans by implementing habitat projects called for in the Plans. Subbasin plans often indicate only the areas of a watershed that require restoration efforts or the general kinds of restoration activities that are needed for specific areas. The plans often do not identify specific habitat projects such as culverts that need to be replaced, roads that need to be decommissioned or maintained, and specific stream reaches that require riparian restoration. Ten of the subbasins in Washington are listed. There is no rationale for whether these are integrated components of a set of studies and no time sequencing is explained and documented. The sponsors needed to provide more detail about how they go about the project implementation process going from the subbasin plans to actual on-the-ground activities. The objective listed by the sponsors are all laudable and would likely have benefits to fish and wildlife, but no details or metrics are given on how to measure the success of any actions, and no references are provided. For example, "reduce water temperature" is an objective, but no documentation is given where the proposed actions have resulted in significant reductions in temperature. These objectives and methods do not address a primary intent of the proposal, which is to request funds to hire three new managers for their group. There are no objectives/explanations of the specific duties and responsibilities of these individuals. The need for this organization is unclear. Why can’t implementation of habitat projects and coordination be done by management agencies and tribes, as is the case throughout most of the Columbia Basin? What role do agencies and the public play in implementation of the sponsor's projects? How do agency personnel work with the sponsors in planning and implementation? What process do the sponsors use when developing a project from the subbasin plan? Reviewers are directed to websites and a list of other plans and reports for most of the technical and scientific background information. The sponsors did not discuss their accomplishments and activities related to outreach and partnership development. There are no specific projects or experimental designs proposed. Evaluation of whether or not the proposed methods are scientifically sound is difficult or impossible without detailed site-specific information. Little is given on the science supporting the actions proposed or methods to determine effectiveness of actions. Many of the proposed work elements involve an "engineering approach" with addition of rock structures, gravel, large wood; bank stabilization; increasing off channel habitat; addition of carcasses; replacement of culverts. Where have such actions proven more effective in enhancing stream productivity than passive restoration? These actions are predicated on the assumption that they are critical factors in the life cycle of salmonids, and that either upstream or downstream problems are less important. A watershed or landscape perspective and analysis would be more convincing method to ascertain critical habitats and problems. The sponsors propose to use local cost-share funds to support all facilities and equipment for staff hired with BPA program funds, but there are no specific descriptions of facilities and equipment. Based on past work it would seem that the sponsor's are experienced in developing engineering solutions to habitat problems. The names of key personnel were listed, but no resumes were provided in the narrative. The narrative does not include explicit plans for information transfer. A monitoring and evaluation program for their projects is not described. It difficult to determine whether this proposal will be beneficial to focal species because its intent is to seek funding for managerial positions. The implementation of habitat restoration projects by the sponsors might have benefits to the focal species (lower Columbia River Chinook, coho and steelhead) that would persist; however, this is not specifically addressed in the proposal narrative. Habitat restoration projects for salmon might have either adverse or beneficial effects for non-focal species, but these are not discussed. If the sponsor's decide to resubmit their proposal for the next round of funding, they should document their long-term strategic approach, methods for prioritizing projects within and among watersheds, the science background for proposed actions, and the effectiveness of previously supported work.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable

Review group: OSPIT - Estuary

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


State/province recommendation: Washington

Review group: Washington list

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

Comment: See Washington guidance