At the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s May 1, 2015 request, the ISRP reviewed the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ Southern Idaho Wildlife Mitigation Program Management Plan (project #1995-057-02). This project mitigates Federal Columbia River Power System impacts to wildlife by acquiring, restoring, enhancing, and protecting properties within the Upper and Middle Snake Provinces.
In 2009, as part of the Wildlife Category Review, the Council placed a condition on this project to produce a management plan that addressed the ISRP’s review concerns.
ISRP Recommendation: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
In response to the recommendations by the Council and the ISRP, the project sponsor developed a Management Plan. The proposed Management Plan does not fully address all qualifications outlined in the last ISRP review. The sponsors refer to adaptive management numerous times, but the management plan does not describe a formal, quantitative adaptive management framework. They should define an adaptive management process that they will apply to individual properties. Specifically, the ISRP recommends that the Management Plan be improved in three areas critical to effective adaptive management:
- Objectives: Quantifiable management objectives (the sponsors refer to them as management strategies) and time schedules are generally lacking but are needed.
- Monitoring and Evaluation: The sponsors need to identify specific monitoring and assessment techniques (i.e., effectiveness monitoring tools) associated with individual management objectives (i.e., management strategies) in either Part I or in the management plans for individual properties. The sponsors should also acknowledge the limitations of the Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) within the draft management plans for individual properties; the plan would be improved by including wildlife population monitoring to validate the results of habitat work.
- Results Reporting: The ISRP recommends that the sponsors provide summaries of annual activities that have occurred since the purchase of the properties. On p. 40-41, the sponsors identify the information for multiple categories (e.g., O&M and Restoration, Public Use, Inventory and Monitoring) that they will include in annual reports. Soda Hills and Rudeen Ranch have been under management since early 2000. Not including annual summaries of these activities is a major shortcoming of this report. A summary of the management actions that have occurred on these properties over the past 15 years is lacking and is critical for adaptive management to occur. A strength of the plan is the inclusion of partners’ specifications (e.g. 2005 BLM fuel reduction, p.54-57) and figures showing recent GIS coverage of wetlands and habitat conditions (p. 80-82). To improve this report, the ISRP requests that the sponsors link monitoring with these quantitative specifications for each of the properties.
The ISRP recommends development of a revised adaptive management plan, including a summary of annual results, to be completed in time for the Council’s upcoming Wildlife Review tentatively scheduled for 2016. The revised plan should incorporate all comments in this ISRP review.