At the Council’s request of March 22, 2021, the ISRP reviewed a response from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP), regarding Project 1991-019-01, Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E) and Project 1991-019-03, Hungry Horse Mitigation Habitat Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E). The proponents’ submittal, Response to final ISRP and Council Resident Fish and Sturgeon category review comments and recommendations for Hungry Horse Mitigation (Projects 1991-019-01 and 1991-019-03), March 2021, is intended to address conditions placed on the projects, by the Council, as part of the Resident Fish and Sturgeon Project Review in October 2020. The Council requested, as part of their decision, that CSKT and MFWP also address the conditions placed on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Project 1991-019-04, Hungry Horse Mitigation-Creston Hatchery.
These projects address the loss of habitat, both in quality and quantity, in the interconnected Flathead Lake and River basin resulting from the construction and operation of Hungry Horse Dam. The projects implement mitigation actions and monitor the biological responses to those actions with the overarching goal to support ecosystem integrity and resilience, and thus conserve self-sustaining fisheries, native fish assemblages, and the habitats they occupy. The projects’ collective actions encompass passage improvement and lake and stream habitat restoration to benefit native fish, including bull trout and local westslope cutthroat trout; management and suppression of non-native fish, including lake trout, non-native rainbow trout, brook trout, and northern pike; fish stocking to partially mitigate for lost angler opportunity; and research and monitoring to evaluate changes in fish populations and the ecosystem to assess the efficacy of mitigation actions.
The ISRP finds that the CSKT and MFWP’s responses adequately address and meet the scientific review conditions for Project 1991-019-01, Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E) and Project 1991-019-03, Hungry Horse Mitigation Habitat Restoration and Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E), and partially meet the conditions for project 1991-019-04, Hungry Horse Mitigation-Creston Hatchery.