BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1998 Proposal

Section 1. Summary
Section 2. Goals
Section 3. Background
Section 4. Purpose and methods
Section 5. Planned activities
Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation
Section 7. Relationships
Section 8. Costs and FTE

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Summary

Title of project
Northeast Oregon Wildlife Mitigation Project

BPA project number   9608000

Short description
Acquisition and management of 16,500 acres adjacent to the Hells Canyon NRA and mainly south of the Grande Ronde River and West of the Snake River, to mitigate losses from the Lower Snake River Dams.

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Nez Perce Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameKeith A. Lawrence, Director, Wildlife Program
 Mailing address
Lapwai, ID 83540

N/A at this time.

Section 2. Goals

Provides needed habitat protection

Target stockLife stageMgmt code (see below)
Downy Woodpecker  
Song Sparrow  
Yellow Warbler  
Marsh Wren  
Western Meadowlark  
Mule Deer  
California Quail  
Ring-necked Pheasant  
Canada Goose  
River Otter  

Affected stockBenefit or detriment
Wild SteelheadBeneficial

Section 3. Background

Stream area affected

Stream name   Joseph Creek
Stream miles affected   Not known yet
Hydro project   The Lower Snake River complex of dams, Lower Granite, Little Goose, Ice Harbor and Lower Monumental losses were evaluated in one study and have never been attributed to individual projects. Likewise all the wildlife mitigation has been attributed to all four dams rather than to an individual facility.
Subbasin   Grande Ronde
Land ownership   Tribal
Acres affected   16,500
Habitat types   10,300 acres of project lands have been acquired but not inventoried. The cover types are riparian, forested and native grasslands.

Section 4. Purpose and methods

Specific measureable objectives
The project is the subject of an agreement between the Nez Perce Tribe and the BPA. The agreement is being implemented via a contract. To successfully complete the contract the project must produce at least 5,000 habitat Units. According to the terms of the agreement the actual benefits of the project will be determined through gathering of data from the land acquired. Both BPA and the NPT believe the final benefit total will be closer to 10,000 habitat Units.

Critical uncertainties
Adequate funding for wildlife mitigation in the Columbia River Basin.

Biological need
The Pacific Northwest Power Planning and Conservation Act includes provisions to mitigate for the wildlife impacts of hydropower development within the Columbia River basin. The Northwest Power Planning Council has developed a list of the impacts throughout the basin that Bonneville Power Administration is responsible for mitigating. This project is expected to mitigate for approximately half the outstanding wildlife losses amended into the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program caused by the Lower Snake River Dams. The habitat to be acquired contains native grasslands and riparian habitats the Power Planning Council has rated as a priority to obtain and protect. More than 25 individuals and agencies, including the Governors of both Oregon and Washington, have endorsed this project.

Hypothesis to be tested

Alternative approaches

Justification for planning

The methods used are similar to most wildlife mitigation projects in the basin. Land will be acquired, protected, managed and enhanced to benefit several wildlife species. The methods will only involve tested procedures. The project does not rely on new or untested methods to achieve project goals.

Section 5. Planned activities

Phase PlanningStart 1996 End 2001Subcontractor
FY 96 - The Tribe entered into an agreement and subsequently a contract with BPA to implement the project. A total amount of funding was identified for land acquisition, inventories and management plan development. FY 97 - The Tribe acquired title to 10,300 acres of land in November of 1996. The search for the remaining 6,200 acres continues. Early plans to implement plant and animal inventories for the summer are being initiated for the land acquired as this is written. The inventories will probably last two field seasons. The Tribe will initiate an agreement to provide fire protection for the property. FY 98 - By the end of the year the project lands should be acquired. The inventories will be completed and a management plan, supported by public review, will be initiated. Early protection and management measures will be instituted. FY 99 - The Tribe will complete the management plan for the project lands and implement management of the project lands. FY 00 - Continue habitat management and protection.
Project completion date   N/A

Constraints or factors that may cause schedule or budget changes
None known. But certainly putting land acquisition on a schedule with willing sellers is hard to do. The floods in NE Oregon in 1/97 have also shown us there may be additional costs that were not evaluated.

Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation


Expected performance of target population or quality change in land area affected
When the project is fully implemented BPA will receive credit for an estimated 9,669 habitat units of mitigation. Which assumes that BPA finds a way to provide O and M to the project over time to continue to maintain the project benefits.

Present utilization and convservation potential of target population or area
The lands acquired and the lands under consideration for acquisition have recently been used to support cattle raising operations. The utilization of the available grass by cattle varies between owners and the needs of their operations.

Assumed historic status of utilization and conservation potential
Archeologists believe the NPT obtained horses in the early 1700ís. Before that there are no records of the Tribe having domestic stock. During the period between the arrival of the horse and the treaty of 1855 between the Nez Perce Tribe and the United States, the members of the Tribe began to keep and acquire and raise both horses and cattle. The traditional pattern of use for Nez Perce people was to spend the winters in the river canyons and the summers at the higher elevations in the surrounding Mountains. There is no doubt the Nez Perce people grazed animals in the area where the project is located today. There has been no quantitative or qualitative data available to us at this time that documents the impacts or the difference between the uses of the land by the Nez Perce people, the homesteaders that followed them or the ranchers of today. The current range trend is not known. The extent of past uses has not been documented. It is believed that a conservative approach to management of the property will slow the invasion of noxious weeds as well as preserve/enhance riparian corridors and protect the native grasslands.

Long term expected utilization and conservation potential for target population or habitat
The project is designed to manage habitat and not populations. The habitat management will be designed to benefit the target species listed in the Target Species Section, with the exception of Canada Goose, Mallard and Ring-necked Pheasant. Benefits for those species will be monitored but the benefits are expected to be low because the habitat present does not lend itself to supporting those species.

Contribution toward long-term goal
The project is expected, upon full implementation and with operation and maintenance funding, to yield approximately 10,000 Habitat Units that represent roughly 25% of the losses identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as being caused by the loss of habitat along the Lower Snake river due to the development of hydropower generation.

Indirect biological or environmental changes
None are known at this time.

Physical products
The 10,300 acres of land purchased in the first six months of the project have not been inventoried yet.

Environmental attributes affected by the project
The creation and operation of the project will protect timber, native grasslands and water quality within the project area.

Changes assumed or expected for affected environmental attributes
Promote preservation of climax communities of vegetation and associated fish and wildlife populations dependent on them.

Measure of attribute changes
The project is expected to produce a minimum of 5,000 habitat units to successfully complete the contract that is implementing the agreement between the Nez Perce Tribe and the BPA. The actual value of the project in terms of habitat units by target species will be documented through field studies after the lands are acquired.

Assessment of effects on project outcomes of critical uncertainty

Information products
There are no information products yet since the project was only started six months ago.

Coordination outcomes
Not applicable at this time.

The methods used are similar to most wildlife mitigation projects in the basin. Land will be acquired, protected, managed and enhanced to benefit several wildlife species. The methods will only involve tested procedures. The project does not rely on new or untested methods to achieve project goals.

Provisions to monitor population status or habitat quality
A monitoring plan will be developed as a part of the management plan which is scheduled to be completed in FY98.

Data analysis and evaluation
The HEP methodology developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be used to evaluate project benefits.

Information feed back to management decisions
The mechanism to accomplish this will be described in the management plan referred to earlier.

Critical uncertainties affecting project's outcomes
Not applicable at this time.

The region will be able to evaluate the project benefits, once quantified, and compare them to the estimated project benefits and the losses created by the inundation of habitat through hydropower development.

Incorporating new information regarding uncertainties
While critical uncertainties associated with this project appear to be negligible at this time it is expected the management plan will incorporate a way to evaluate the management of the project lands in the future as new information becomes available.

Increasing public awareness of F&W activities
The return of the Nez Perce Tribe to the Wallowa area as a land owner/manager after 120 years is a story that has gained national exposure. The published stories, as required by contract, mention BPA and the role of the project in mitigating a portion of the losses caused by the lower Snake river dams. The mitigation effort has gained fairly broad exposure in the Enterprise, Oregon area. Tribal staff has also made presentations to local leaders and public in Enterprise to describe the project benefits.

Section 7. Relationships

Opportunities for cooperation
FY 97 - The land in question surrounds several small tracts of land owned by the Federal Government and Managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM has stated they are in favor of the project and there may be opportunities to contract management of some lands to the Nez Perce Tribe. This would be beneficial to the project to insure compatible uses on both mitigation and federal lands. Additionally the Audubon Society, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have expressed an interest in funding either inventory or habitat enhancement projects on the project lands.

Section 8. Costs and FTE

1997 Planned  $1,500,000

Future funding needs   Past obligations (incl. 1997 if done)
FY$ Need% Plan % Implement% O and M

Other non-financial supporters
Twenty-five individuals or agencies have endorsed the project. The Us Forest Service, The Bureau of Land Management, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Wallowa County are expected to assist in the development of the management plan.

Longer term costs   The operation and maintenance cost identified above are expected to continue, at near the same rate, for the project to continue to produce the desired results.
FY97 overhead percent   The indirect rate for the Tribe for 1997 has not been approved yet.

How does percentage apply to direct costs
The Tribal indirect does not apply to equipment costs or subcontracts.

Contractor FTE   The funding currently being used by the Tribe is for land acquisition, inventories of the property resources and the development of a management plan for the property. The cost of each of these activities has not been broken into individual line items. No personnel cost have been accrued or billed to the contract as yet.
Subcontractor FTE   No subcontracts have been utilized yet.