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Project Summary

Project 2007-311-00 - Acquire Land to Protect Critical Habitat in the Upper Lochsa
Project Number:
2007-311-00
Title:
Acquire Land to Protect Critical Habitat in the Upper Lochsa
Summary:
This 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.
Proposer:
None
Proponent Orgs:
Nez Perce Tribe (Tribe)
Starting FY:
2007
Ending FY:
2011
BPA PM:
None
Stage:
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Mountain Snake Clearwater 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.

Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review

Legal Assessment (In-Lieu)

Assessment Number: 2007-311-00-INLIEU-20090521
Project Number: 2007-311-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 10/6/2006
In Lieu Rating: No Problems Exist
Cost Share Rating: None
Comment: Purchase Clearwater NF inholding, assume MOU covers.

Capital Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-311-00-CAPITAL-20090618
Project Number: 2007-311-00
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Completed Date: 2/27/2007
Capital Rating: Does Not Qualify for Capital Funding
Capital Asset Category: None
Comment: None

Independent Scientific Review Panel Assessment

Assessment Number: 2007-311-00-ISRP-20060831
Project: 2007-311-00 - Acquire Land to Protect Critical Habitat in the Upper Lochsa
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:
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?
Documentation Links:

Council Recommendation

Assessment Number: 2007-311-00-NPCC-20090924
Project: 2007-311-00 - Acquire Land to Protect Critical Habitat in the Upper Lochsa
Review: FY07-09 Solicitation Review
Approved Date: 10/23/2006
Recommendation: Do Not Fund
Comments:

Project Relationships: None