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

Project 2007-103-00 - Skookumchuck Watershed
Project Number:
2007-103-00
Title:
Skookumchuck Watershed
Summary:
DRAFT: The Skookumchuck Watershed project is a multi-phased effort to protect a right bank tribuatry of the Columbia River that supports threatened steelhead.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) (Govt - State)
Starting FY:
2007
Ending FY:
2011
BPA PM:
None
Stage:
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Columbia Cascade Columbia Upper Middle 100.00%
Purpose:
Habitat
Emphasis:
None
Focal Species:
Species Benefit:
Anadromous: 100.0%   Resident: 0.0%   Wildlife: 0.0%
Tags:
None
Special:
None
BiOp Association:
None

No photos have been uploaded yet for this project.

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: 2007-103-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-103-00 - Skookumchuck Watershed
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund
Comments:

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-103-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-103-00 - Skookumchuck Watershed
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 8/31/2006
Final Round ISRP Date: None
Final Round ISRP Rating: Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified)
Final Round ISRP Comment:
This proposal would benefit from a much more thorough treatment of the planned monitoring elements. A better description of methods to be employed to assess habitat changes (photo points, wildlife use) in response to actions such as removing a road, reducing grazing impacts or riparian plantings should be included. Contingencies for monitoring fish populations if the WDFW native fishes proposal is not funded also should be addressed. In addition, a more comprehensive description of the objectives and work elements would improve the proposal. Regardless, the contribution this land purchase will make to the preservation of shrub-steppe habitat in this area of the Upper Middle Mainstem Columbia (UMM) subbasin indicates that the project is very worthwhile. Although the ISRP is not requesting a response, the project would be strengthened by addressing the following comments.

Technical and scientific background: A fairly lengthy background section is provided. The case they make for this land acquisition project from the standpoint of establishing a large, contiguous block of shrub-steppe habitat is compelling. Less convincing is the argument for steelhead. There is relatively little information provided to indicate either the abundance of steelhead utilizing this stream or the significance of these fish to the diversity or meta-population dynamics of the upper Columbia evolutionary significant unit (ESU).

There are some statements made indicating that the Skookumchuck steelhead are important but no evidence is provided to indicate that this is the case. There is one statement in the "Genetics" section that current knowledge about straying and natal stream fidelity supports the importance of this population to the ESU. But what is known about these subjects is never presented.

The other argument made to support the significance of this stream to steelhead is the observation that some proportion of the steelhead passing Priest Rapids Dam does not pass Rock Island Dam. The failure of the fish to appear at Rock Island is taken as an indication of tributary habitat use somewhere between the two dams.

However, the decline in steelhead may be due to mortality or even spawning in mainstem habitats. Also, two different values for the proportion of fish disappearing between the dams are presented in the proposal: 23.14% on page 5 and 13.8% on page 10. This inconsistency further clouds the issue of the significance of Skookumchuck Creek to steelhead. Despite the less than convincing argument for steelhead, the background information does make the case sufficiently that this should be a worthwhile project.

Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: This section is complete. The fit with the priorities in the subbasin plan is evident and the relationship to other regional programs is also clear.

Relationships to other projects: There is an ongoing effort to purchase other land in the Skookumchuck watershed for conservation purposes. The proposed project is a perfect complement to these other programs and may be a key piece, as the proposed purchase will secure land lower in the watershed, near the confluence with the Columbia. Also, ties with some proposed fish monitoring efforts in the subbasin are logical links and these are described.

Objectives: The objectives are listed but very little detail is provided in this section. Some of the supporting information on the objectives can be gleaned from the background section at the beginning of the proposal.

Tasks (work elements) and methods: The description of the work elements is very brief, simply a short list. The methods are more administrative than technical. This project is primarily a land acquisition. Some description of plans for management of the area should have been included. There are some management plans mentioned that apparently apply to the purchased land (Area Wildlife Management Plan, WDFW Habitat Conservation Plan), but no specifics on these plans are given.

Monitoring and evaluation: Monitoring is covered by reference to another proposal, which might not get funded. This monitoring effort will focus on fish populations in the Upper Middle Mainstem Columbia subbasin. There is no indication of a process for monitoring wildlife. Perhaps the wildlife plans mentioned above will include some monitoring but this is not clear from the proposal.

Facilities, equipment, and personnel: Not much information is given, but since the effort would be mostly administrative, it seems adequate.

Information transfer: There is no mention of an information transfer process.

Benefits to focal and non-focal species: Steelhead is given as the focal species for this proposal, and the purchase of the land may contribute to their conservation, assuming this watershed proves to be important for this species. However, given the contribution the purchase of this land would make to the conservation effort being mounted in the surrounding area, this project should have a significant beneficial impact on shrub-steppe wildlife populations.

There are very few non-focal species as the project lists all shrub-steppe obligates as part of the focal species list. Because this is a land purchase, with little deliberate manipulation of habitat, negative impacts are very unlikely.
Documentation Links:

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-103-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-103-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: Habitat acquisition for fish protection, irrigation/road/grazing mitigation; okay assuming no other entity (eg Grant Co PUD) required to obtain parcel.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-103-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-103-00
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: None