At the Council’s request (November 19, 2012), the ISRP reviewed a response for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program (WWMP) (#2011-003-00). This program was established by the Willamette River Basin Memorandum of Agreement regarding Wildlife Habitat Protection and Enhancement between the State of Oregon and the Bonneville Power Administration in October 2010. The program has developed a new public process and criteria to be used for prioritizing project proposals for land acquisition using funding from BPA. The program’s habitat protection and restoration focus is on protecting those habitat types that have been identified as most at risk in the Willamette basin.
The ISRP reviewed an earlier version of this proposal and requested a response (ISRP 2012-14, September 26, 2012) that focused on selection criteria for acquiring lands. The ISRP recommended that the protocols for monitoring and evaluation of lands purchased should be reviewed in the future. The ISRP also had questions about management plans for previously acquired properties.
The ISRP finds that the project continues to meet scientific review criteria with qualifications.
A number of improvements have been made to the proposal, especially in the areas of management planning for acquired parcels; program and project monitoring; project selection criteria; and the organization and procedures for the selection process. The proposed improvements in direction for management plans; program and project monitoring and evaluation; and development of a comprehensive program database and data management system are all major items that are not scheduled for resolution and implementation for at least 18 months. Given the current list of completed acquisitions and the lack of planning and monitoring for them, further delays in direction will only aggravate the backlog of work and the ability to develop an efficient program. The fact that this is an ongoing program amplifies the urgency to establish a solid direction.
1) During contracting, a clear interim set of directions is needed, until such time that long term program direction is completed. In addition, a reasonable timeline for the development or acquisition of a program database and data management system should be provided.
2) A complete plan for program and project monitoring and a framework for adaptive management should be provided to the ISRP for review by January 2014. The ISRP would also like to see the application form used for 2012 and 2013 proposal reviews as well as the revised 2014 form.