On May 12, 2022, the Council asked the ISRP to review a second revised proposal (hereafter “2022 proposal”) from the Shoshone Bannock Tribes (SBT), regarding Project #1992-010-00, Fort Hall Habitat Restoration. The project has three primary, overlapping goals: 1) maintain and restore ecological health and resilience in coupled river-floodplain and stream-riparian ecosystems of the Fort Hall Reservation; 2) achieve a naturally sustainable population of Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout (YCT) and maintain a fishery for Tribal members; and 3) foster place-based education for Tribal members and promote traditional ecological knowledge and culture.
This is the ISRP’s third review concerning this project stemming from the Resident Fish and Sturgeon Project Review 2019/2020 (ISRP 2020-4). This third review is specifically a follow-up to the ISRP’s Response Review of Fort Hall Habitat Restoration Project (ISRP 2021-9), in which the ISRP recommended “Meets Scientific Review Criteria – Conditional" and asked that the proponents to update their proposal to address four conditions concerning 1) the need for quantitative, time-bound (SMART) objectives; 2) a strategy to address expanded activities; 3) a timeline for major activities; and 4) details on fish and habitat sampling methods.
Final ISRP Recommendation: Meets Scientific Review Criteria – Conditional
The ISRP appreciates the revised proposal and finds that the 2022 proposal is much improved from the 2021 proposal. Much more detail is provided for specific methods and sampling designs. In addition, the revision of some objectives with measurable criteria and timelines provided additional clarity. Based on this progress, the ISRP finds that the two conditions regarding timelines for major activities and details on sampling methods were sufficiently addressed, although the ISRP’s review comments offer suggestions for further improvement. However, the ISRP finds that the other two important conditions regarding SMART objectives and a strategy to guide expanded activities were not adequately addressed.
The ISRP is not requesting a response to be submitted for further scientific review to satisfy these two remaining conditions. Instead, the ISRP expects that the conditions will be addressed through deliberations and processes directed by Council staff and BPA as the project moves forward. However, the ISRP believes it is in the best interest of all for the proponents to complete a strategic plan and revise the proposal to provide clear project guidance for the near and long term in two cohesive documents. An updated proposal would also serve well as a foundation for future proposals and project reviews.