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Featured Professional: Jim Colla, Northwest Management Inc.

Jim Colla, Northwest Management, Inc.

Grant to Aid Salmon Restoration Efforts

In early 2006, Northwest Management, Inc. applied for and received a grant from the Idaho Office of Species Conservation. For years, a number of public agencies and other interests have collected considerable data related to endangered salmonid species; data such as fish passage barriers, riparian forest stand conditions, in-stream wood, and sediment sources. NMI proposed to consolidate this data into one dataset, then contact the affected landowners to validate or amend any information and to gage their interest in pursuing mitigation projects. Based off this information, projects designed to enhance fish passage, reduce sediment delivery, improve riparian vegetation to meet shade and future large wood recruitment needs, and add in-stream structures would then be proposed for future funding. The project is limited to private family forest and range lands in the Clearwater basin. Many landowners desire to improve conditions for endangered salmonid species, but may be reluctant to seek assistance, or do not have the technical skill or fiscal resources to accomplish these tasks on their own.

The project commenced in March by contacting various state agencies, tribal interests, and conservation districts. Contacts expressed a great deal of support for the project, but the site specific nature of the data request, i.e., where exactly on the stream is this problem, has thus far yielded limited results. Most of the information tended to be either anecdotal, not in an easily retrievable format, or too general to be applied at a specific location. The IDL provided site-specific data that detailed fish barriers and other management problems. This dataset, along with information canvassed from local resource professionals, provided an initial pool of dozens of candidate restoration projects for consideration.

The next step in this process was for NMI’s GIS lab to combine the data with county ownership information to identify affected landowners. With ownerships identified, NMI then made direct contact with affected landowners. In August, approximately 60 letters were sent to landowners seeking their interests in undertaking restoration projects. Fifteen of the landowners contacted expressed interest in the project and requested an on-site assessment by NMI personnel.

NMI personnel determined project type and economic and environmental viability, and confirmed landowner interest. As a result of this effort NMI has identified 16 separate restoration projects on four streams in the Clearwater area. Projects include removal of fish barriers, installation of rocked stream crossings, bank stabilization, riparian fencing, and riparian plantings. With potential projects identified, the last step in this project is to apply for grants to get them installed. Total cost for all these projects is estimated at $50,000. For further information, or if you think you may have a viable restoration project, contact Jim Colla at Northwest Management, Inc.’s Hayden office (208) 772-8554.

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