199901900 - Restore Salmon River (Challis, Idaho)

Sponsor: Custer County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD)

Budgets: FY07: $480,295 | FY08: $480,295 | FY09: $480,295

Short description: Passive restoration by securing easements will assist restoration efforts via the Corps 206 Program. The development of side channels will help create a more naturally functioning floodplain, provide a wide array of environmental and ecological benefit.

view full proposal

Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

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

Comment:

ISRP final recommendation: Not fundable

Comment:

This project has changed so much since the ISRP site visit and previous review that it is unrecognizable. Previous ISRP comments were "Fundable in part for study of the importance of temperature as the potential limiting factor in the proposed study reach and to pursue passive activities such as purchase of priority easements and fencing projects. Temperature modeling similar to that alluded to in items 5 & 6 of the response, as well as additional physical and biological watershed assessment, will be crucial in assessing potential benefits of the project, including components of the heavy construction work. It is clear that the agencies involved have indeed done a nice job in getting local landowners poised to ‘collaborate on a single vision and to consider the reach in a holistic sense.’ Unfortunately, it is not clear to the ISRP that enhancement of anadromous fish populations will necessarily follow from all of the tasks. A watershed assessment should indicate the priorities of tasks in this project. For example, if high stream temperature generated upstream is the key limiting factor, the heavily engineered approach proposed in the project may be secondary in priority. Evidence that this reach provides a number of high quality thermal refuges and assessment of the potential to provide more should be given. The proponents are referred to the programmatic section of this report on Monitoring, the specific comments on Aquatic Monitoring and Evaluation, and the specific comments on Terrestrial Monitoring and Evaluation." Reviewers were concerned that extensive (expensive) active restoration efforts in this 12-mile section might be ineffective because of overwhelming water temperature constraints. Apparently some temp modeling was done, but no results seem to be given. Instead this has evolved to be a 35% cost-share for a heavily engineered rehab program with the US Army Corps of Engineers. The proposal lays out some benefits to control flooding, but the link to fish and wildlife is tenuous. Although the sponsors did temperature monitoring in 2002, they didn't analyze the data to justify the proposal. In other words, they've ignored the ISRP's recommendation from the province reviews and are seeking to acquire easements without assurance that benefits will accrue to fish and wildlife. Are reviewers to assume that they going to exclude grazing? What are they going to construct? What are their methods? What are they going to monitor? Is monitoring/project assessment left to others not mentioned here? Monitoring remains in the planning process. Apparently, to date (since 1999) $800k of BPA money has been spent and one 180-acre easement has been secured.

State/province recommendation: Not fundable

Review group: Snake

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

Comment: Project not prioritized