At the Council’s August 2, 2010 request, the ISRP reviewed the Tucannon River Programmatic Habitat Project (#2010-077-00). This project is proposed by the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board. The goal of this project is to restore habitat function and channel processes in the priority reaches of the Tucannon River to improve spring Chinook productivity, as identified in the 2008 FCRPS Biological Opinion.
Recommendation: Response Requested
This proposal does not contain enough detail to support an ISRP review in its current form.
The objectives of reach-scale restoration actions and the process for identifying future actions were not adequately described for scientific review. More information on the current conditions of habitat and fish populations at the project sites, and how these determinations were made, must be provided to justify implementing restoration actions here. In addition, a much more thorough justification of the habitat criteria should be provided, and this justification should include some indication of how these standards will incorporate natural variability in habitat conditions. If this supporting information for these standards is provided in another document, access to this document should be provided in the proposal. The proposal also should clearly describe how the planned actions will contribute to achieving habitat objectives (e.g., how do levee setbacks and large woody debris [LWD] additions help cool water temperature or reduce embeddedness). Quantification of the contribution that achieving the habitat standards would make to achieving Viable Salmonid Population (VSP) goals also should be provided.
A more complete description of the RM&E effort also is required. Details on the interaction with ISEMP should be included. How will the goal of improving Chinook productivity be measured? Will changes in VSP parameters be tracked? Description of the experimental design or sampling protocols to be used in assessing project-level effectiveness was insufficient. A decision framework for modifying restoration actions if sufficient improvement does not occur should be added.
The justification for a program to identify and support projects in the future was not provided. Such a justification should address the scale of the program area; it is far smaller than the area of any other recently proposed programmatic habitat restoration program in the Columbia River Basin. In addition, details about the composition of the review committee, the criteria they will employ in project selection and overall program structure and governance would need to be provided for an ISRP review.