Subscribe to RSS Feed

Friday, April 1st
10:20 AM

Flathead River Basin Plan for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council

Lynn Ducharme, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Brian Marotz, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

10:20 AM - 10:40 AM

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) have completed the Flathead River Subbasin Plan in cooperation with the Northwest Power Planning Council. This plan uses existing information to establish goals for protecting and restoring fish and wildlife populations and their habitats in the Flathead River Basin.

The Northwest Power Planning Council was created in 1980 by Congress to give the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington a voice in how the region plans for its energy needs, while at the same time mitigating the effects of the hydropower system on fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin. Each year the Council reviews proposals for on-the-ground projects and research to implement the program. The Council's 2000 Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program outlines a new review and selection process, one that emphasizes the development of local sub-basin plans to guide project funding. Sub-basin plans are intended to be a blueprint for recovery efforts, and to guide the review, selection and funding of projects to carry out the Council's program.

The Flathead River Sub-basin Plans has been developed in an open public process that includes the participation of a wide range of state, federal and tribal governments, local managers, landowners, local governments, and other stakeholders.

The Flathead River Sub-basin Plan:

  • identifies the goals for fish, wildlife and habitat;
  • defines the objectives that measure progress toward those goals;
  • establishes the strategies to meet those objectives; and
  • incorporates much of the existing information related to fish and wildlife activities in a sub-basin in a
  • single document.

10:40 AM

Placing River Restoration Projects in a Watershed Context: The Jocko River on the Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana

Seth Makepeace, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

10:40 AM - 11:00 AM

Part of the Lower Flathead River basin of western Montana, The Jocko River’s 235,000 acre Jocko Watershed initiates in makes up 18% of headwater areas on the Flathead Indian Reservation and joins the lower Flathead River on the Reservation. The Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes are pursuing a variety of watershed restoration strategies, supported in part by a damage award to the Tribes to compensate for their loss of traditional uses of the upper Clark Fork River which was damaged by historical mining. Watershed-scale restoration efforts are ongoing, and are in part supported by a damage award to the Tribes for their loss of traditional uses in Silver Bow Creek and the upper Clark Fork River.

Watershed restoration is guided by a strategy with four elements – assessment, protection, passive restoration or modification of land uses, and active restoration. Assessment efforts encompasses developing a full environmental history of the basin, measuring its current condition, and defining key dynamic physical and ecological processes required to achieve and maintain a desired future condition. Protection includes development of criteria to identify critical habitat and implementing mechanisms to protect these habitats. In situations where full protective measures cannot be achieved, effort is focused on theto modification ofy land uses that are disrupting the floodplain environment. Active river restoration has been, and will be employed only in river reaches where disturbance is significant and geomorphic processes are moving the river toward a new equilibrium thatwhich does not support ecological processes inferred to exist prior to disturbance. Each of these approaches is illustrated with examples from the Jocko.

11:00 AM

Watershed Planning in the Pend Oreille River basin in Washington

Bryony Stasney, Golder Associates

11:00 AM - 11:20 AM

The Pend Oreille River watershed in northeastern Washington State is also referred to as Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 62. WRIA 62 encompasses about 1,300 square miles but only represents about five percent of the total Pend Oreille River drainage basin. The Pend Oreille River, one of the major sub-basins of the Columbia River, drains the Clark Fork – Pend Oreille watershed which spans about 26,000 square miles and includes the fourth and fifth largest lakes in the United States: Flathead Lake in Montana and Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho, respectively.

In accordance with Washington’s Watershed Planning Act (Chapter 90.82 RCW), the WRIA 62 Planning Unit was formed in 1998 and includes federal, state, tribal and local government representation, members from industry, mining, private lumber, real estate and development, agriculture, environmental groups as well as residents of the watershed. The Planning Unit’s mission is “to develop and implement a Watershed Plan addressing local concerns, watershed health and economic stability.”

The WRIA 62 Watershed Management Plan (Plan) is the product of over six years of work, during which the Planning Unit has overseen technical studies, reached consensus on watershed issues and has developed management actions to address these issues. The Plan is due to be approved by the Planning Unit and the Pend Oreille County Commissioners at the end of February 2005. It is intended to be a locally-supported, long-term Plan, focusing on water availability, and also addressing water quality and habitat in the Pend Oreille River watershed in Washington.

11:20 AM

The Blackfoot Community Project: Partnerships for Valley-wide Land Conservation

Caroline Byrd, The Nature Conservancy
Steven Kloetzel, The Nature Conservancy

11:20 AM - 11:40 AM

The Nature Conservancy in partnership with the Blackfoot Challenge is purchasing up to 88,000 acres of Plum Creek Timber Company lands in the Blackfoot River Valley. According to a plan developed through extensive community involvement, the lands will then be transferred to public land management agencies including the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, MT Fish Wildlife and Parks and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (State lands). Other lands will be sold to private landowners with conservation easements. "The Blackfoot Community Project" is very ambitious in its scope and is one of the largest land deals ever undertaken by The Nature Conservancy.

11:40 AM

Considering Natural Vegetation Development Processes in Restoration Planning for Western Montana Ecosystems

Thomas Parker, Geum Environmental Consulting
Sarah Flynn, Geum Environmental Consulting

11:40 AM - 12:00 PM

Revegetation is often part of restoration projects that involve rivers, streams, roads, unstable slopes, mine reclamation, and re-naturalization of agricultural lands. Because vegetation can develop without human intervention, understanding how plant communities develop naturally in different settings can help determine which revegetation methods, if any, are best for a particular restoration project. Some processes are inseparable from plant community development, including alluvial bar development in some river channels, hydroperiod in wetlands, ice and beaver action along rivers, source/transport/deposition zonation in translational landslides, organic matter accumulation in soils, and salt or nutrient accumulation near roads and industrial areas. Considering different vegetation development pathways in the context of these processes may result in restoration plans that rely less heavily on planting large quantities of plants within a short time frame—yet produce more stable, functional plant communities over the long term. This natural revegetation design approach can influence how baseline data is collected, how project objectives are stated, which restoration strategies are used and which metrics are selected to determine project success.