In response to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s May 17, 2016 request, the ISRP reviewed a report for the Flathead River system titled Retrospective Report Hungry Horse Mitigation. The report was by developed by the Salish and Kootenai Confederated Tribes (CSKT) through Project #1991-019-01, Hungry Horse Mitigation/Flathead Lake Restoration and RM&E, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) through Project #1991-019-03, Hungry Horse Mitigation Habitat Restoration RM&E. The intent of the report is to address a condition that the Council placed on these projects (based on the ISRP review, ISRP 2012-6) as part of the Resident Fish, Data Management and Program Coordination Category Review, in July 2012. The specific Council recommendation for the project directed the “sponsors to co-lead in the development and submission of a retrospective report for the interconnected Flathead River system, as described by the ISRP for Project # 199101903 and to include a joint M&E plan as described for project # 199101904 and that addresses ISRP comments.”
The ISRP recommends that the qualification for a retrospective report is satisfied. The Retrospective Report is a useful summary of past activities and will help to guide future directions for HHM activities. It is well written and concise. The authors briefly summarized research and monitoring results and pointed to the numerous reports and publications that HHM collaborators have produced. The genetics research and applications approach is innovative, management relevant, and should have important implications for fisheries recovery both in the study basin and beyond.
The proponents were asked to “address previous long term efforts within the context of how well actions have met or not met mitigation goals/objectives associated with the loss statement and mitigation plan.” Although the report summarizes completed tasks, the report could be strengthened by evaluating how past actions and evaluations could be used to guide future directions for HHM activities. More discussion is needed on what has been learned at both project and program scales. Clear statements are needed on lessons learned, ideas or hypotheses about what is currently limiting progress, and what should be implemented to overcome these limitations. Also, long-term strategic guidance and project prioritization are not included in the Retrospective Report but would seem to be logical and important products that should be developed from this effort. Future annual reporting, statements of work, and proposals for this program will benefit from more emphasis on these important aspects. The ISRP’s specific recommendations for future reporting are highlighted in the ISRP’s full report.