In response to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s request, the ISRP reviewed the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho’s “Kootenai River Reconnection Prioritization Framework” for the Reconnect Kootenai River with Historic Floodplain Project (#2002-008-00).This Prioritization Framework document was submitted to address a Council condition and ISRP qualification from the Resident Fish, Data Management, and Regional Coordination Category Review (ISRP 2012-6). The Prioritization Framework is intended to provide an ecologically based foundation to assess reconnection potential of the Kootenai River and its floodplain.
The ISRP finds that the Framework “Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified).” The ISRP notes that the general Framework approach is a step toward meeting the need to provide a landscape-scale prioritization of the relative restoration potential of individual potential projects. It provides an interesting and potentially useful tool for a broad-scale, strategic approach for restoration and potential mitigation in this area. The ISRP understands that the Tribe submitted the Framework as a draft document, and the ISRP recommends that the Tribe address the following seven issues as they finalize and then implement the Framework:
- Explore linkages between the specific anticipated benefits to wildlife and fish in relation to the Evaluation Conceptual Model.
- In further detail, describe the Gatekeeper, Cost, and Cost/Benefit components and how they will be employed to develop final project priority scores and rankings.
- Describe plans for validating and refining the Framework after its initial implementation.
- Explain how GIS and professional judgment will lead to a description of expected outcomes, what items will be used as indicators, and what metrics will be used to measure outcomes.
- Discuss the weighting of individual Framework/model components.
- Reconsider the assumption of uniformity in effects of climate change throughout the project area as the program progresses.
- Clearly address if and how long-term restoration is possible given the current operations of Libby Dam.
At intervals of about three years, the ISRP recommends review of the progress in improving the Framework, the overall site prioritization process, and how well Framework predictions were achieved.
See the ISRP’s full memo for review details.