Review of a revised proposal and response for the Yankee Fork Salmon River Restoration Accord project (#2002-059-00), Pond Series 3

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At the Council’s June 18, 2012 request, the ISRP reviewed the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ response to the ISRP qualifications for the Yankee Fork Salmon River Restoration Accord project (2002-059-00). The qualifications were raised in the ISRP’s latest review in which it was found that the proposal met scientific review criteria (qualified) (March 12, 2012, ISRP 2012-5, also see ISRP 2008-11). The response includes a Taurus proposal titled Yankee Fork PS3 Side Channel, which is the subject of this review.

The Yankee Fork of the Salmon River, located in central Idaho in the Salmon-Challis National Forest east of Stanley, is one of the larger watersheds (190 sq mi) within the Upper Salmon River Basin. The project proposal describes that the primary goal for the Pond Series 3 (PS3) Side Channel Project is to create and maintain high-flow refuge and year-round rearing habitat for juvenile Snake River Chinook salmon. The project is also intended to improve habitat for adult Chinook salmon, Snake River steelhead, bull trout, and westslope cutthroat trout.

The ISRP finds that the proposal Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified).

The proposal for the Pond Series 3, habitat-specific actions appears adequate for construction to begin during the summer of 2012. The Qualification refers to several programmatic proposal elements that require future attention and discussion. As noted by the proponents, "The Tribes are in the process of preparing a programmatic proposal explaining their multi-year implementation plan. The programmatic proposal will further address the baseline status of the focal species, habitat, limiting factors, improvements in life-stage survival, and monitoring and evaluation plans." The ISRP looks forward to reviewing that document. Elements that the ISRP currently concludes need further development include biological objectives for focal species in terms of Viable Salmonid Population (VSP) parameters, physical habitat objectives developed in reach scale assessments consistent with the Tributary Analysis, and monitoring and evaluation sufficient to evaluate fluvial geomorphic conditions following habitat construction and fish population response.

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