Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program
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Project Summary

Project 2000-036-00 - Mill Creek Watershed Restoration
Project Number:
Mill Creek Watershed Restoration
The Protect and Restore Mill Creek Watershed (2000-036-00) has been an on-going project since 2000. This project is being completed in cooperation with the Nez Perce National Forest (NPNF). The ultimate goal of the project is to restore the physical and biological characteristics of the watershed to provide quality habitat for anadromous and resident fish species that support the historical, cultural and economic practices of the Nez Perce Tribe. The Mill Creek watershed contains high habitat potential for steelhead trout and bull trout; it has moderate habitat potential for spring Chinook salmon. Restoration in this watershed focuses on restoring riparian processes by addressing increased water temperatures, cattle grazing degradation, fish passage issues, and noxious weed infestations.
Proponent Orgs:
Nez Perce Tribe (Tribe)
Starting FY:
Ending FY:
Province Subbasin %
Mountain Snake Clearwater 100.00%
Focal Species:
Chinook - Snake River Fall ESU
Chinook - Snake River Spring/Summer ESU
Cutthroat Trout, Westslope
Steelhead - Snake River DPS
Trout, Interior Redband
Trout, Rainbow
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 80.0%   Resident: 20.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%

Description: Page: 9 Figure 1: Big Canyon Creek culvert inlet after replacement.

Project(s): 2000-036-00

Document: P120244

Dimensions: 2304 x 1728

Description: Page: 10 Figure 2a: Mill Creek Bridge #3 replacement before and after.

Project(s): 2000-036-00

Document: P120244

Dimensions: 1152 x 864

Description: Page: 10 Figure 2b: Mill Creek Bridge #3 replacement before and after.

Project(s): 2000-036-00

Document: P120244

Dimensions: 1280 x 960

Description: Outlet and channel below culvert



Dimensions: 2304 x 1728

Summary of Budgets

To view all expenditures for all fiscal years, click "Project Exp. by FY"

To see more detailed project budget information, please visit the "Project Budget" page

No Decided Budget Transfers

Pending Budget Decision?  No

Actual Project Cost Share

Current Fiscal Year — 2024
Cost Share Partner Total Proposed Contribution Total Confirmed Contribution
There are no project cost share contributions to show.
Previous Fiscal Years
Fiscal Year Total Contributions % of Budget
2010 $51,250 14%
2009 $233,312 44%
2008 $153,706 34%
2007 $125,200 45%


The table below contains contracts with the following statuses: Active, Closed, Complete, History, Issued.
* "Total Contracted Amount" column includes contracted amount from both capital and expense components of the contract.
Expense Contracts:
Number Contractor Name Title Status Total Contracted Amount Dates
4271 SOW Nez Perce Tribe 2000-036-00 PROTECT & RESTORE MILL CREEK History $261,296 4/2/2001 - 2/28/2005
21711 SOW Nez Perce Tribe 2000 036 00 PROTECT AND RESTORE MILL CREEK WATERSHED History $79,319 3/1/2005 - 9/30/2006
26428 SOW Nez Perce Tribe 2000 036 00 MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION History $68,455 3/1/2006 - 2/28/2007
31550 SOW Nez Perce Tribe 2000 036 00 MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION History $97,158 3/1/2007 - 2/29/2008
31909 SOW US Forest Service (USFS) 2000 036 00 USFS MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION Closed $31,138 3/1/2007 - 2/29/2008
36514 SOW Nez Perce Tribe 2000-036-00 EXP NPT MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION History $73,336 3/1/2008 - 2/28/2009
36720 SOW US Forest Service (USFS) 2000-036-00 EXP USFS MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION Closed $72,277 3/1/2008 - 2/28/2009
41285 SOW Nez Perce Tribe 2000-036-00 EXP NPT MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION History $277,214 3/1/2009 - 2/28/2011
41803 SOW US Forest Service (USFS) 2000-036-00 EXP USFS MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION Closed $275,000 3/1/2009 - 5/31/2011

Annual Progress Reports
Expected (since FY2004):8
On time:8
Status Reports
On time:30
Avg Days Early:3

                Count of Contract Deliverables
Earliest Contract Subsequent Contracts Title Contractor Earliest Start Latest End Latest Status Accepted Reports Complete Green Yellow Red Total % Green and Complete Canceled
4271 21711, 26428, 31550, 36514, 41285 2000-036-00 EXP NPT MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION Nez Perce Tribe 04/02/2001 02/28/2011 History 26 55 0 0 0 55 100.00% 1
31909 36720, 41803 2000-036-00 EXP USFS MILL CREEK WATERSHED RESTORATION US Forest Service (USFS) 03/01/2007 05/31/2011 Closed 17 10 0 0 1 11 90.91% 0
Project Totals 43 65 0 0 1 66 98.48% 1

The table content is updated frequently and thus contains more recent information than what was in the original proposal reviewed by ISRP and Council.

Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2000-036-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2000-036-00 - Mill Creek Watershed Restoration
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Fund
Comments: 2007 Revised Budget: Eliminate noxious weed treatment and education component. Ongoing project; previous investment; implementation complete after FY 08; FY09 reduced to O&M only.

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2000-036-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2000-036-00 - Mill Creek Watershed Restoration
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria
Final Round ISRP Comment:
This proposal is for continuing a six-year-old project to provide fish habitat in Mill Creek and its tributaries by restoring the watershed's physical and biological characteristics from damage caused by such human activities as grazing, timber harvest, and road building. The focal species are Chinook salmon and steelhead. Non-focal species include cutthroat and rainbow trout.

Response was needed on the issues identified below.

(1) The section on technical and scientific background adequately describes the basic problems but could be improved by omitting the descriptions of proposed or contemplated actions. These descriptions belong in the work elements and methods of proposal Section F. The sponsors made these revisions.

(2) Significance to the subbasin plan is adequately shown, but some of the material presented here would be more appropriate for the section on technical and scientific background (Section B). For example, under the heading, Barrier Removal, on page 9, it was stated that "Salmon and steelhead require a network of connected spawning and rearing habitats …" and "reasons for decline" are discussed on page 12. These and other basic considerations should be covered in Section B, not here. The response was adequate.

(3) The project history describes actions performed, but response was needed on the physical (habitat response) and biological (fish population response) results of this work, which should be shown in tables and graphs, and then discussed. For example, fencing around the upper meadow was finished in 2001. What changes in the riparian zone, the stream channel, and the fish population resulted? The 1927 aerial photo set as the goal for riparian restoration (85% cover vs. 5% today) is a good example of work continuity. The response was brief but generally adequate. The sponsor wrote that fish population surveys, rather than being done under this project, are by the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery Monitoring and Evaluation project. The sponsors should obtain the pertinent results from that project and present them in future proposals.

(4) The data that were collected on fluvial geomorphology indicate a good fieldwork effort but need to be used to assess the dynamics of the process, in addition to just describing the in-stream state. For example, is there good connectivity with the floodplain? Is there evidence of incision or aggradation? What changes are taking place in the short- and long-terms? An assessment of morphological change over time should become standard methodology in such projects.

The sponsors responded that connectivity with the floodplain is good, that data collected show no evidence of drastic incision or aggradation (but do show that habitat complexity is increasing), and that number of pools is increasing, resulting in more diverse habitat within the stream. They referred the ISRP to their attached monitoring report for more detail. The ISRP observes that although the subbasin plan gave little or no direction on fluvial geomorphology, the project's Monitoring Report contains many measurements, such as Wolman pebble counts, cobble embeddedness, width/depth ratios etc, and indicates that floodplain connectivity is good, and that efforts to reduce sediment input have resulted in greater D50 measurements, etc. Although a commendable number of measurements have been taken, the implications of this data have not been developed to the extent that we know the dynamic state of the creek. What do these measurements say about the dynamic process, for example the balance between erosion and deposition, and the causes that might lead to a change in the current balance? For the work program currently identified, the level of geomorphic inquiry is good, even if it has yet to be interpreted in dynamic terms.

(5) The proposal's objectives were logical and clearly stated. The work elements and methods, however, were vague and unclear in certain respects. For example, under objective 1, "Improve anadromous fish habitat," none of the methods was directed at doing any improvement. They involve only administrative work and collecting data. What form is the improvement supposed to take? If the idea is to evaluate previous work, this should be explained -- and the processes by which whatever "habitat improvement" actions were performed were supposed to benefit the fish. The linkages between the work, expected physical processes, and the fish needed to be described in the response.

The sponsors explained that administrative and data collection functions were listed under the Objective titled "Improve anadromous fish habitat" because "it is that work that leads us to the on-the-ground activities and monitors our successes after implementation," and that rather than listing administrative and evaluation work under each of the other objectives, they are grouped only under "Improve anadromous fish habitat" to avoid duplication. The ISRP observes that this is still an illogical and potentially confusing situation that could lead to misunderstandings and inefficiencies. It probably arose in this proposal because the proposal format or template calls for "Biological Objectives," whereas non-biological objectives—such as an Administrative Objective and often some Physical Objectives, etc.—are needed, as well.

(6) The ISRP asked specification of vegetation to be planted. The response was adequate.

(7) Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are ongoing and featured in work elements. ISRP asked the sponsors to tell how the project will be modified to show the statistical design for the project M&E. ISRP observed that many variables are to be monitored every five years, and that a five-year interval between data collections may be too long. Other parts of the proposal indicate that biological monitoring is done annually. The results should be shown in the project history.

The response referred the ISRP to a monitoring report (including methods) attached in response material. The sponsors relate that statistical design has been used to develop the monitoring plan. Depending upon the parameter being monitored, sampling designs vary from systematic sampling, to cluster sampling. In general, the analysis is completed by determining trends among the variables. Some variables are monitored on an annual basis, such as macroinvertebrates and water temperature, but parameters such as channel morphology are only measured every five years. They point out that the project is focused at on-the-ground habitat improvement actions; it is not a research project that involves intense monitoring with large amounts of statistical analysis.

Sampling design of monitoring is apparent in the referenced document that is attached. Such reference (with attachment) seems the best way to cover that issue, where design is too complex for presentation in a proposal—but it would still help for design to be summarized in proposals.

(8) The ISRP found that the project will benefit focal and non-focal species but asked that in the response, the sponsors clearly describe the physical and biological processes by which they expect this to happen. The sponsors responded with ample but concise discussion that demonstrated understanding of stream habitat issues. Included was the following, which well describes physical and biological relationships for the species involved: "The physical processes are ever changing, as the environment changes. Cover is provided by overhanging vegetation, undercut banks, submerged vegetation, logs, rocks, deep water or turbidity. Vegetation also provides for physical barrier to the effects of high velocities, and creates roughness and relative stability to streambanks. It also provides shade to the streams which reduce stream temperature to levels acceptable to salmonids. Channel bank shape and condition are highly correlated with the quality of fish habitat and can influence fish distribution. Collectively, these factors affect biological conditions, including fish populations."

(9) The ISRP recommended that, in the response loop, the Nez Perce Tribe prioritize and rank the numerous proposals submitted under "protect and restore" titles. This was covered in response attachments.

For full comments on "restore and protect" type projects, please see heading "General comments concerning Nez Perce Tribe proposals to protect and restore various watersheds" at the beginning of the ISRP comments on project # 199607702, Protect & Restore Lolo Creek Watershed.
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2000-036-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2000-036-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: Multiple watershed restoration activities, appears to be entirely within/on National Forest lands; assume BPA-FS MOU applies.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2000-036-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2000-036-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Project Relationships: This project Merged To 2010-003-00 effective on 11/5/2009
Relationship Description: Starting in FY11, projects 1996-077-05 and 2000-036-00 are merged to form new project 2010-003-00. This request was made through the BOG process (Sept 30, 2009). The 2 projects have mis-lined contract end dates. Thus NPT/BPA decided to start this new project in FY11.

Name Role Organization
Heidi McRoberts Project Lead Nez Perce Tribe
David Kaplowe Project Manager Bonneville Power Administration
Mark Johnson Project Lead Nez Perce Tribe
Paul Krueger (Inactive) Supervisor Bonneville Power Administration
Brenda Aguirre Env. Compliance Lead Bonneville Power Administration