This proposal deals with acquisition of floodplain land in the Methow Basin, and is coordinated with efforts of other entities in the Methow, such as the Nature Conservancy, WDFW and others. Spawner surveys and monitoring of juvenile salmonid abundance are being conducted in the area as part of other projects of the Yakama Indian Nation. The proposal includes good justification for the importance of the habitat, but they may get comparable benefit through purchase of a subset of the properties or by purchasing the property in increments. Some of the properties will require rehabilitation, dikes, etc., however, budgets for this work are not included in the proposal. The proposal is recommended by state and the urgency is the availability of the parcels now.
ISRP Comment: "…, but they may get comparable benefit through purchase of a subset of the properties or by purchasing the property in increments."
Response: The observation that a subset of these properties may provide comparable benefit for spring chinook is correct. In preparation for this project proposal, the sponsor communicated primarily with the Methow Nature Conservancy (MNC). Given that the opportunities and status of available properties varies through time, the approach for this project, if funded in whole or in part, will be to work with MNC, WDFW, and the Okanogan Planning Unit to identify which available parcels will provide the most benefit for salmonids in the Methow Basin. There may be opportunities to dovetail with properties being purchased or with conservation easements to maximize the biological benefit within a particular river reach for salmonids. For example, the State of Washington has monies to purchase properties in the Methow Basin, and if fact, purchased some parcels in 2000. Working with the NRCS and other agency personnel, opportunities may exist to secure funding to initiate or complete the rehabilitation activities some of these parcels will require realizing their maximum benefit for salmonids. There is positive communication occurring between the various governments, conservation groups and private landowners with respect to habitat restoration for salmon. This project represents another piece of the restoration puzzle in the basin, which can be meshed with other going projects to maximize the benefit of everybody's restoration dollar.