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NPCC Approves Another $2 Million for 11 Subbasin Work Plans

by Barry Espenson
Columbia Basin Bulletin - May 9, 2003

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council on Tuesday approved the spending as much as $2 million over the coming year for the development of 11 subbasin fish and wildlife management plans in Idaho and Oregon.

The approvals include the expenditure of up to $50,000 the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission to provide library services for planners now working across the Columbia/Snake river basin. That library will serve as a repository for information developed through the Council's subbasin planning process.

The Council launched the process nearly 2 years ago to identify limits to fish and wildlife production within each of the Columbia Basin's 62 subbasins and develop and prioritize projects that answer those needs. The Council's fish and wildlife program, funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, earmarked $15 million for the development of those subbasin plans in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Most are scheduled for completion in May of next year. Final products would ultimately be added as amendments to the Council's program after scientific review and scrutiny in a public process.

All 11 subbasin planning efforts moved forward Tuesday are expected to culminate with the submittal of plans by May 28, 2004.

The latest approvals, made during the Council's meeting in Walla Walla, Wash., include subbasin planning work plans for two groups of subbasins in Idaho's Upper and Middle Snake river provinces. For the purposes of its fish and wildlife review process, the Council has broken up the Columbia Basin into 11 geographic provinces.

Both Idaho strategies call for individual plans to be submitted as "subbasin planning chapters in a provincial package," Lynn Palensky, the Council's subbasin planning coordinator, said Tuesday

The Council's executive director, Steve Crow, has been authorized to negotiate contracts with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for as much as $475,000 and $225,000, respectively, to develop three subbasins plans in the Upper Snake Province. The province includes the Upper Closed, Headwaters and Upper Snake subbasins. The Upper Snake subbasin is the basin's largest.

The work plans call for the Shoshone-Bannock to serve as lead entity responsible for submitting the three subbasin plans to the Council. The tribes will subcontract for project management and coordination, technical writing and public outreach. The IDFG will be responsible for completing the assessment and inventory sections of the plans.

The Council also authorized the negotiations of contracts up to $677,588 with the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes and $175,000 with the IDFG for the development of six subbasin plans in the Middle Snake Province. The subbasins include the Boise, Payette, Weiser, Upper Middle Snake, Lower Middle Snake and Bruneau. Again, the IDFG will develop the subbasin assessments and inventories for four of the six plans will the tribes will be responsible for submittal of all six final plans.

The Council also approved the expenditure of up to $135,176 for the development of the Malheur Subbasin plan. Oregon's Malheur County Soil and Water Conservation District is fiscal agent for the project. The Malheur Coalition -- comprised of the Malheur Watershed Council and Burns Paiute Tribe -- will develop the plan. Representatives of basin organizations, cities, counties, irrigation districts, state agencies and federal land and resource management agencies will participate in the process via a stakeholders advisory group.

Also approved Tuesday was the expenditure of as much as $222,475 for the development of a John Day subbasin plan. The Columbia-Blue Mountain Resource Conservation and Development Area, Inc. is lead entity for the project. The John Day Coordination team -- comprised of 19 stakeholder organizations -- will provide guidance in the plan's development.

The contract to be negotiated with CRITFC for up to $49,953 is intended to provide the means for subbasin planning participants across the Columbia Basin to access scientific literature, policy guidance, and other information relevant to subbasin assessment and planning. It is also intended to provide a means to secure, store and disseminate key products developed during the subbasin planning process, according to an April 30 memo from Peter Paquet, the Council's wildlife and resident fish manager.

"There's a lot of information that we're going to ask subbasin planners to provide us," Paquet, as well as make available relevant technical information those planners will need. The proposal is to "provide library services to subbasin planning including dissemination of literature and storage of subbasin plan products."

According to Paquet's memo, the StreamNet Library managed by CRITFC is the only entity in the basin region that possesses the combination of profession library skills and infrastructure and experience with fish and wildlife information management necessary to undertake the assignment.

The Council on Tuesday also authorized Crow to negotiate a contract of up to $70,000 with Alison Squier for the continued coordination of subbasin planning in the Intermountain Province. The province includes five subbasins -- the San Poil, Upper Columbia, Coeur d'Alene, Pend Oreille and Spokane -- in northeast Washington and north Idaho.

Barry Espenson
NPCC Approves Another $2 Million for 11 Subbasin Work Plans
Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 9, 2003

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