At the Council’s June 1, 2010 request the ISRP reviewed the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board’s project titled Willamette Bi-Op Habitat Restoration (2009-012-00). This is a new start and is intended to be a comprehensive, programmatic approach to prioritizing and funding efforts to restore native fish and wildlife habitat in the Willamette River and its floodplain below the major federal hydro projects.
The ISRP requests a response. The narrative provides a clear description of the planning process, and it is based on a sound conceptual foundation. However, the proposal lacks project-specific scientific details and sufficient description of restoration activities by location. The ISRP also requests a summary of what has been learned from the existing habitat projects that would be folded into this new umbrella project.
In addition to the ISRP's project specific comments, the ISRP notes that this and other umbrella habitat proposals present a programmatic issue regarding the review process that deserves a policy level discussion, especially since the use of this approach seems to be increasing with the recent submittal of the Willamette, Upper Columbia, and CREST Estuary proposals. Such a discussion could result in agreement on the elements needed in umbrella habitat proposals (e.g., multi-year action plans, agreed upon prioritization criteria, comprehensive M&E plans); articulation of local review team’s responsibilities and qualifications; and the ISRP’s (and Council’s) review approach.