Arrowleaf Property Conservation Project
The Northwest Power Planning Council (NWPPC) requested that CBFWA
review a request by the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) to purchase
conservation easements on 1,100 acres of riparian lands on the upper
Methow River. The Arrowleaf Property Conservation Project was
anticipating getting funding through a separate funding source (the
Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund) in September, but was late in
submitting their proposal for that process due to negotiations with
local stakeholders. The closing date for this property was October 31,
2000. When the initial funding fell through, TPL was able to negotiate
an extension until December 21, 2000.
In September 2000, the TPL made a presentation to the NWPPC in Spokane
and requested funding for this project. At that time, the NWPPC suggested
that TPL seek funding through the High Priority Solicitation process. It was
expected that recommendations for High Priority projects would be complete
in December 2000. As the development of the Fish and Wildlife Program
Amendments and the High Priority Solicitation process were finalized, the
deadline for project recommendations in that category was delayed until
March 2001. This project is now facing a real deadline of December 21, 2000
to establish funding. Considerable pressure has been applied to the NWPPC to
consider funding for this project.
A major concern expressed in this meeting was that there are $20 million
worth of Tier 2 projects in the FY 2001 Draft Annual Implementation Work
Plan (DAIWP) that were placed on hold until funds became available. If there
truly is $10-15 million available in the Anadromous Fish Placeholder, these
projects should first be considered for that money. Funding for this project
should probably come from outside of the Direct Fish and Wildlife Program.
This is really an early High Priority project and should be funded from
similar funds as those projects.
In the Methow Basin, the number one limiting factor is instream flows
(irrigation diversions). This project doesn't directly address that limiting
factor. The Tribes are concerned that funding this project may hinder
funding of future projects that address the instream flow problems. This
project does address protection of existing key habitat which is addressed
in the 2000 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Biological Opinion.
Also, the Methow is one of three first year priority subbasins identified in
the All H Paper (Habitat, Harvest, Hatcheries, & Hydrosystems). The U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) would also support this project for key
bull trout habitat protection.
The greatest concern expressed is the impact funding this project will
have on other important projects in the Methow, or for that matter,
throughout the rest of the basin. There is a large list of projects being
submitted for the high priority solicitation and the CBFWA have no idea how
this project would rank among them.