FY07-09 proposal 200731100

Jump to Reviews and Recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Proposal titleAcquire Land to Protect Critical Habitat in the Upper Lochsa
Proposal ID200731100
OrganizationNez Perce Tribe DFRM Watershed Division
Short descriptionThis proposal seeks to protect the critical habitat in the upper Lochsa by working with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to aquire 40,640 acres of land at risk of development.
Information transferAll information about the land exchange will be available in Bonneville Power Administration reports or through data available from project sponsor or Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation upon request.
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
Form submitter
Rebecca Lloyd Nez Perce Tribe rebeccal@nezperce.org
All assigned contacts
Rebecca Lloyd Nez Perce Tribe rebeccal@nezperce.org

Section 2. Locations

Province / subbasin: /

Crooked Fork Lochsa River This is a central location for the area proposed for land acquistion. It is the confluence of Crooked Fork Creek and Colt Killed Creek which join to form the Lochsa River.

Section 3. Focal species

primary: Steelhead Snake River ESU
secondary: Chinook Snake River Spring/Summer ESU
secondary: Westslope Cutthroat
secondary: Bull Trout
secondary: All Wildlife

Section 4. Past accomplishments


Section 5. Relationships to other projects

Funding sourceRelated IDRelated titleRelationship
BPA 200207400 Restore Crooked Fork Creek 84% (34,464 acres) of the land proposed for acquisiton occurs within this project area. This project is a holistic watershed restoration project that has implemented road removal, road improvement, and passage replacement in cooperation with the Clearwater Nat Forest and Plum Creek Timber Company.
BPA 199607703 Restore Fishing to Bear Creek This project area is contiguous to BPA project #200207400. A little less than 1% or 2,822 acres of land proposed for acquisition occur withing theLegendary Bear Drainage of this project area. Restoration work in the area already completed includes fish passage improvement, road removal, noxious weed treatment, and road improvement. Work has been in partnership with Nez Perce Tribe, Clearwater National Forest, and Plum Creek Timber Company.
PCSRF - Idaho 032 04 CW Crooked Brushy Road Decommisio This project area is the same as BPA project #200207400 and, as such, 84% of the land proposed for acquisition occurs in this project area. This project will provide funds for road decommissioning in 2006.
PCSRF - Idaho 033 04 CW Lochsa River Fish Passage Impr Thie project area is the same as BPA project #200207400. The project will match funds with BPA funds in 2006 to replace three culverts. One culvert is on an arterial road that access both USFS lands and sections proposed for acquistion.
BPA 198909800 Salmon Studies Id Rvrs IDFC Five streams labeled as either treatment or control in this research/supplementation project run through sections proposed for acquisition. The streams are Crooked Fork, Colt Killed Creek, Brushy Fork, and 'Imnamatnoon.
Other: Plum Creek Timber Company [no entry] Plum Creek Timber Company Native Fish Habitat Conservation Plan Plum Creek Timber Company was the previous owner of the sections proposed for replacement (sold in November 2005). Since January 2000, Plum Creek has been implementing elements of their Habitat Conservation Plan within the sections proposed for replacement. Activities include road decommissioning, road improvement, and fish passage improvement.

Section 6. Biological objectives

Biological objectivesFull descriptionAssociated subbasin planStrategy
Anadromous Fish Problem 2. Objective B Increase anadromous fish production and productivity, and life stage specific survival through habitat improvment. Clearwater Strategy 1: Identify and prioritize primary limiting factors in each PMU. Refer to Sec 4.4 of Plan. Strategy 2: Evaluate alternative habitat treatments and expected outcomes to address limiting factors in each PMU. Strategy 7: Monitor and evaluate
Environmental Problem 10. Objective BB. Protect and Restore an additional 300 miles of riparian habitat. Clearwater Strategy 1: Identify and prioritize riparian habitats for protection. Strategy 2: Protect and Restore riparian habitats.
Environmental Problem 11. Objective CC. Protect existing quality, quantitiy, and diversity of native plant communities. Clearwater Strategy 1: Identify and prioritize native plant communities for restoration. Strategy 2: Prevent reproduction. Strategy 6: Prevent establishment. Strategy 7: Monitor and evaluate the effort to protect native plant communities.
Environmental Problem 16. Objective JJ. Reduce impact of transportation system on wildlife and fish populations and habitat. Clearwater Strategy 1: Plan restoration through transportation system anaylsis. Strategy 2: Reduce road impacts-implement road closures and decommissioning programs. Strategy 3: Protect habitats. Strategy 4: Monitor and evaluate projects.
Environmental Problem 7. Objective P. Reduce number of artificially blocked streams by 2017. Clearwater trategy 1: Compile database of fish barriers. Strategy 2: Prioritize fish passage barriers for replacement. Strategy 3: Replace barriers. Strategy 4: Restore adequate flows where hydrographs have been altered.
Environmental Problem 7. Objective Q. Reduce water temperatures. Clearwater trategy 1. Identify and prioritize areas for restoration work. Strategy 2: Restrore hydrologic functions for temperature. Strategy 3: Restore riparian function. Strategy 5: Identify additional problems. Strategy 6: Monitor.
Environmental Problem 7. Objective S. Reduce instream sedimentation. Clearwater Strategy 1: Use watershed scale assessments to identify problems. Strategy 2: Research ecosystem function and sediment budgets. Strategy 3: Prioritize areas for sediment reduction. Strategy 4: Reduce sediment. Strategy 5: Monitor.
Environmental Problem 7. Objective U. Improve aquatic habitat diversity. Clearwater Strategy 1: Identify need. Strategy 2: Follow existing plans and continue habitat improvement efforts. Strategy 3: Prioritize action. Strategy 4: Restore ecosystem function. Strategy 6: Monitor effectiveness.
Resident Fish Problem 4. Objective E Evaluate opportunities and needs to increase native resident fish populations of bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout by 2005. Clearwater Strategy 2: Prioritize opportunities for protection and restoration. Refer to Sec 4.4 of the Plan. Strategy 3: Repeat strategies 1 and 2, using new monitoring and evalauation data.
Resident Fish Problem 4. Objective F. Increase populations of bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout where they are extirpated by 2017. Clearwater Strategy 2: Improve habitat conditions for native resident populations. Strategy 3. Evaluate physical and biological response to habitat projects. Strategy 4: Provide research, monitoring, and evaluation data.
Socioeconomic Problem 18. Objective LL. Develop programs and project proposals compatible with existing community needs and integrate objective with local objectives. Clearwater Strategy 2: Coordinate plan implementation with federal, tribal, and state, local, and other interests.

Section 7. Work elements (coming back to this)

Work element nameWork element titleDescriptionStart dateEnd dateEst budget
Land Purchase Purchase Private Land in the Upper Lochsa [Work Element Description Not Entered] 1/1/2007 1/1/2008 $10,000,000
Biological objectives
* # of acres of new purchase/easement: 40,640
Conduct Pre-Acquisition Activities Work with Partnering Agencies to Deveop MOUs for Transfer Coordination will require numerous partners to be in negotiations and the expertise of Nez Perce Tribe Office of Legal Council. 1/1/2007 1/1/2008 $31,200
Biological objectives
Anadromous Fish Problem 2. Objective B
Environmental Problem 10. Objective BB.
Environmental Problem 11. Objective CC.
Environmental Problem 16. Objective JJ.
Environmental Problem 7. Objective P.
Environmental Problem 7. Objective Q.
Environmental Problem 7. Objective S.
Environmental Problem 7. Objective U.
Resident Fish Problem 4. Objective E
Resident Fish Problem 4. Objective F.
Socioeconomic Problem 18. Objective LL.

Section 8. Budgets

Itemized estimated budget
Capital Equipment Funds will go to Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation $10,000,000 $0 $0
Personnel Project Lead $1,000 $1,000 $0
Personnel NPT Office of Legal Council $12,000 $4,000 $0
Personnel NPT-Watershed Division Program Manager $3,000 $3,000 $0
Fringe Benefits [blank] $4,800 $2,400 $0
Totals $10,020,800 $10,400 $0
Total estimated FY 2007-2009 budgets
Total itemized budget: $10,031,200
Total work element budget: $10,031,200
Cost sharing
Funding source/orgItem or service providedFY 07 est value ($)FY 08 est value ($)FY 09 est value ($)Cash or in-kind?Status
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Coordination and Legal Staff $33,000 $0 $0 Cash Confirmed
Totals $33,000 $0 $0

Section 9. Project future

FY 2010 estimated budget: $0
FY 2011 estimated budget: $0
Comments: [Outyear comment field left blank]

Future O&M costs: The project will bring 40,640 acres into unified management with protected status.

Termination date:

Final deliverables:

Section 10. Narrative and other documents

200731100n_ISRPresponse_2006.doc Jul 2006
umbrella comments to council_07-13-06_v4.doc Jul 2006
NPT DFRM Watershed Umbrella Comments Jul 2006
Mtn Snake NPT DFRM Project Recommendations with comments Jul 2006

Reviews and recommendations

FY07 budget FY08 budget FY09 budget Total budget Type Category Recommendation
NPCC FINAL FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS (Oct 23, 2006) [full Council recs]
$0 $0 $0 $0 Expense ProvinceExpense Do Not Fund
NPCC DRAFT FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS (Sep 15, 2006) [full Council recs]
$0 $0 $0 $0 ProvinceExpense


Recommendation: Response requested

NPCC comments: The sponsors have not made a convincing case that the patchwork of parcels proposed for purchase will provide significant benefits for focal species. In response, the sponsors need to address the unresolved issues and questions identified in the following assessment. The proposed purchase consists of blocks of habitat (size not provided) that apparently have been degraded. The parcels proposed for purchase are interspersed with private land, but there is no assurance that the parcels of private land could be purchased. Land-use activities on the private parcels could impact the areas that were purchased. The sponsors did not provide an estimate of the increase in fish or wildlife production that eventually would be achieved from the purchase. Nor was there an explanation of how the land would be managed after purchase and by whom. A monitoring and evaluation program was not discussed. The sponsors clearly establish the importance of the upper Lochsa and the three watersheds. The sponsors are seeking funding to purchase land in the three watersheds within this area. The watersheds in question should be clearly identified on a map. A major concern is that the area proposed for purchase is a patchwork of parcels interspersed with private land rather than a single large, contiguous parcel. It is unclear just how well the parcels that will be purchased are functionally connected. The interspersed parcels of private land leaves open the possibility that land use activities on the private parcels could impact the areas that were purchased. Has purchase of the private parcels been explored? The habitat to be purchased apparently is in a degraded state and would require substantial restoration over long periods of time. The sponsors do not provide any specifics about the nature of the degradation. The sponsors state that areas degraded by timber harvest have substantial resilience and can recover from habitat degradation faster than areas affected by other human activities. The sponsors need to cite the scientific literature that justifies this assertion. One way the sponsors propose to prioritize is to purchase the areas with highest development potential but they do not define “development.” The prioritized areas are not shown on a map nor is any information provided about them. The sponsors do not indicate how the purchased area will be managed. The sponsors provide no estimate of the gain in fish production that will accrue for this land purchase. Apparently an EDT analysis was not conducted. The sponsors do not address the issue of whether passage through the Clearwater and Lower Lochsa is a limiting factor. Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: The proposed work generally is consistent with the Clearwater Plan, the Fish and Wildlife Program, the 2000 Biological Opinion, and other management documents. The sponsors do not indicate whether the proposed purchase is clearly identified as a priority in the plans. The proposed project is related to several projects funded through the Fish and Wildlife Program. The sponsors do not indicate whether these projects will link directly to the proposed purchases. A list of references to objectives (document unknown) is referred to, but there is no explanation of the objectives. The work elements are not explained. The only “methods” are those related to arranging for the purchase. There is no stated plan for M&E. No facilities are required. Personnel are listed, but not enough information is provided to judge their qualifications. Information transfer is not discussed. It is uncertain how much the purchase would benefit focal species. No estimates of increases in fish production were given. Impacts on non-focal species are uncertain, but negative impacts are unlikely. Finally, in the response loop, the ISRP recommends that the Nez Perce Tribe suggest a priority and rank of the numerous proposals submitted under the titles “protect” and “restore.” Where do habitat actions and protection in the Clearwater offer the most potential benefit?

ISRP FINAL REVIEW (Aug 31, 2006)

Recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

NPCC comments: The sponsors have clarified a number of issues related to this project. The parcels of land in question are interspersed with land managed by the US Forest Service, which answers an important question posed by the ISRP. The amount of land in question is large -- 40,000 acres -- and its purchase would provide 300,000 contiguous acres in the Upper Lochsa that would be under USFS management. Benefits to fish and wildlife were not estimated by the sponsor, but the sponsors argue that they could be substantial by, for example, substantively reducing sediment input into the stream and opening 20-30 miles of potential spawning area. At a broad level this purchase is justified in terms of consolidating management of the area under common conservation goals and should have benefits to fish and wildlife, given that it at the headwaters. Substantial benefits to fish downstream of the proposed area of land acquisition would be likely, however these benefits have not been estimated. The sponsors are to be commended for seeing this opportunity and acting immediately, albeit with incomplete information. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) is a good partner for any future transactions; however, for a project of this scale, other partners may be needed as well and the ISRP urges the Tribe, Forest Service and RMEF to work together to form as broad an alliance as possible to acquire and manage these lands. Such an alliance might also influence USFS decision makers regarding a land exchange. There should be a process in place to acquire this habitat block for future conservation of this headwaters ecosystem as a whole and all of the species that would benefit. This opportunity may never come again. There are two major uncertainties associated with this project. First, the disposition of the land, now privately owned, is not clear. The owner has offered to exchange the land for USFS land elsewhere, but the sponsor does not think this action will occur. If the exchange does not occur, the owner will sell the land. If this is the case, the sponsor will attempt to buy the land and gift it to the USFS, or buy a conservation easement and then sell the land to a conservation buyer. At this point in time, it appears as though there is no certainty that the sponsor can obtain the land. Second, the land apparently will require major active restoration efforts. The sponsors state that there are 200 culverts and 400 miles of road that would require action at some time on the future. Qualification: The sponsors need to provide better biological justification for this project in terms of its potential benefits for fish and wildlife. The sponsors should employ principles of conservation biology in developing this justification. They also need to justify the cost of the land they propose to purchase. Where did the $10 million estimate come from?