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Council Recommends Funding For Lake Rufus Woods Stocking, 8 Other F&W Projects
Posted on Friday, May 16, 2008 (PST)

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council this week recommended $247,465 in within-year funding adjustments for eight fish and wildlife projects, as well as a $464,000, two-year spending package to implement the Colville Tribes' Lake Rufus Woods creel survey and stocking proposal in central Washington.

The Rufus Woods funding will allow the tribes to stock triploid rainbow trout in the lake to provide increased tribal subsistence and tribal and non-tribal recreational harvest. The project includes a tribal evaluation of stocking success with creel data collection. Rufus Woods is a reservoir located on the Columbia River backed up by Grand Coulee Dam.

This new project, proposed in April 2007, will have a budget of $223,192 in fiscal year 2008, and $240,638 in 2009.

It has survived a back-and-forth exchange with the Council's Independent Scientific Review Panel that resulted last month in the ISRP saying the tribes had provided enough information to justify, scientifically, the funding.

The Council has, primarily from its funding recommendations for FY 2007-2009, required numerous project proponents to address ISRP concerns as a condition of funding. The ISRP reviews project proposals for scientific merit and found many lacking during the 2007-2009 project selection process.

Council members said Wednesday that the Rufus Woods project is a shining example of how science feedback can work.

"They (the tribes) also felt that the collaborative process with the ISRP went well," said Dick Wallace, Washington Council member.

Colville Fish and Wildlife Director Joe Peone said the tribes "appreciated that opportunity" to set the scientific record straight.

The Council also recommended funding for eight with-year budget requests to supplement ongoing projects.

They are:

-- a Colville request for $16,507 in 2008 to collect additional information needed for their investigations during the feasibility phase of the tribes' "Develop a Locally-adapted Summer Steelhead Program to Supplement Natural Production" project.

-- an Idaho Department of Fish and Game request for $55,000 in 2008 and $55,000 in 2009 to monitor and evaluate the effects of nutrient supplementation on Dworshak Reservoir water quality and biological response. The "Dworshak Dam Resident Fish Mitigation" project is a cooperative program between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and IDFG. The project overall is intended to improve resident fisheries as mitigation for losses and continuing impacts from construction and operation of Dworshak Dam.

-- a Shoshone-Bannock Tribes request for $19,500 in 2008 to replace limnological sampling gear (i.e., hydrological lab) used to sample variables to fulfill permit requirements, estimate lake carrying capacity, and recommend stocking levels for juvenile sockeye salmon. The work is associated with the tribes' "Snake River Salmon Sockeye Captive Propagation" project.

-- a Cascadia Conservation District request for $40,425 in 2008 to cover higher costs realized between the application budget in 2005 for its "Entiat River - UPA - Knapp-Wham Hanan Detwiler Irrigation System Consolidation" project and the lowest acceptable bid for work to be implemented in September 2008. The project's objective is to consolidate the Knapp-Wham and Hanan Detwiler irrigation systems to eliminate partial fish passage barriers associated with two surface water diversions, addressing metrics for additional in-stream habitat and enhance in-stream lows within the lower Entiat River via the water saved. The Council approval is conditioned on confirmation that the issues raised by the ISRP have been addressed.

-- a Bonneville Power Administration request for $65,000 in 2008 to finalize water rights at the juvenile salmon and steelhead acclimate sites associated with the Umatilla Hatchery in the Umatilla Basin.

-- a Nez Perce Tribe request for a scope change to its "Reestablish Connectivity and Restore Fish Habitat in the East Fork of the South Fork Salmon River Watershed" project. This project originally intended to reestablish fish passage through a 30-foot tall cascade and rehabilitate one mile of fish habitat through a degraded reach of the upper mainstem East Fork of the South Fork Salmon River. That opportunity is no longer available so the tribe would like to change the area and scope of the project to other high priority needs of the South Fork Salmon River in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service. The proposed change would address passage (i.e., culverts), road decommissioning and relocation, and riparian habitat enhancements in the drainage below the original project site.

-- an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife request for $23,750 in 2008 and 2009 to maintain the integrity of the project to maintain wetland restoration projects on Ladd Marsh Wildlife Management Area.

-- an ODFW request for $27,283 for 2008 and 2009 to maintain the integrity of the Burlington Bottoms Wildlife Mitigation Project project to restore and maintain wildlife habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species on 417 acres of wetlands and

riparian forests. The agency ODFW is concerned that current funds will not allow them to complete existing activities to maintain the habitat.

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