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��ࡱ�>�� 9;���� !”#$%&'()*+,-./012345678����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������q �*bjbjt+t+ w AAK‚\������]�������dDDDD��, DDt@n�,� v6F�6�6�6i;r�JlGO8_:a:a:a:B�:�o=�;@$�C��E_@�Q“:�i;QQ_@�‹���6�6��,�‹�‹�‹Q����6��6_:DD����Q_:�‹��‹�‘0�_.–J�S:�6d(l���M��DDgp@�6tDraft Flathead RiverSubbasin Summary March 16, 2001 Prepared for the Northwest Power Planning Council Subbasin Team Leader Lynn Ducharme Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation Contributors (in alphabetical order): Dale Becker, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Lynn DuCharme, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Les Evarts, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Grant Grisak, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks Barry Hansen, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Brian Lipscomb, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Brian Marotz, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks Clint Muhlfeld, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks Art Soukkala, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Alan Wood, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks DRAFT: This document has not yet been reviewed or approved by the Northwest Power Planning Council.Flathead River Subbasin Summary Table of Contents TOC \o “1-3” Subbasin Description PAGEREF _Toc509208870 \h 1 General Description PAGEREF _Toc509208871 \h 1 Subbasin Location PAGEREF _Toc509208872 \h 1 Drainage Area PAGEREF _Toc509208873 \h 1 Climate PAGEREF _Toc509208874 \h 1 Topography PAGEREF _Toc509208875 \h 3 Geology PAGEREF _Toc509208876 \h 3 Hydrology PAGEREF _Toc509208877 \h 3 Soils PAGEREF _Toc509208878 \h 5 Land Uses PAGEREF _Toc509208879 \h 5 Impoundments and Irrigation Projects PAGEREF _Toc509208880 \h 6 Protected Areas PAGEREF _Toc509208881 \h 8 Fish and Wildlife Resources PAGEREF _Toc509208882 \h 8 Fish and Wildlife Status PAGEREF _Toc509208883 \h 8 Fish PAGEREF _Toc509208884 \h 8 Wildlife PAGEREF _Toc509208885 \h 19 Habitat Areas and Quality PAGEREF _Toc509208886 \h 23 Fish PAGEREF _Toc509208887 \h 23 Wildlife PAGEREF _Toc509208888 \h 27 Watershed Assessment PAGEREF _Toc509208889 \h 31 Limiting Factors PAGEREF _Toc509208890 \h 35 Alteration of the Littoral Zone PAGEREF _Toc509208891 \h 36 Altered Hydrograph PAGEREF _Toc509208892 \h 36 Cultural Eutrophication PAGEREF _Toc509208893 \h 36 Floodplain Alterations PAGEREF _Toc509208894 \h 37 Fragmentation of Habitat PAGEREF _Toc509208895 \h 37 Human/Wildlife Conflicts PAGEREF _Toc509208896 \h 37 Inundation and Water Fluctuations PAGEREF _Toc509208897 \h 37 Non-native Species Interactions PAGEREF _Toc509208898 \h 38 Sedimentation PAGEREF _Toc509208899 \h 39 Temperature Changes PAGEREF _Toc509208900 \h 39 Vegetation Changes PAGEREF _Toc509208901 \h 39 Artificial Production PAGEREF _Toc509208902 \h 39 Sekokini Springs Natural Rearing Facility and Interpretive Center PAGEREF _Toc509208903 \h 40 Existing and Past Efforts PAGEREF _Toc509208904 \h 41 Summary of Past Efforts PAGEREF _Toc509208905 \h 41 Accomplishments by Year PAGEREF _Toc509208906 \h 43 Present Subbasin Management PAGEREF _Toc509208907 \h 48 Existing Management PAGEREF _Toc509208908 \h 48 Federal Government PAGEREF _Toc509208909 \h 50 Tribes PAGEREF _Toc509208910 \h 51 State PAGEREF _Toc509208911 \h 52 Local Government PAGEREF _Toc509208912 \h 52 Existing Goals, Objectives, and Strategies PAGEREF _Toc509208913 \h 53 Headwaters and Associated Uplands (includes all mountain tributaries) PAGEREF _Toc509208914 \h 53 Impoundments (includes Hungry Horse Reservoir, Flathead Lake, Swan Lake, and irrigation impoundments) PAGEREF _Toc509208915 \h 54 Regulated Mainstems (includes South Fork, Upper Flathead, Lower Flathead, Jocko River) PAGEREF _Toc509208916 \h 55 Unregulated Mainstems (includes North Fork, Middle Fork, and Swan Rivers) PAGEREF _Toc509208917 \h 56 Valley Tributaries & Wetlands (includes all valley tributaries and the Whitefish and Stillwater rivers) PAGEREF _Toc509208918 \h 57 Lakes (includes connected and closed-basin lakes) PAGEREF _Toc509208919 \h 58 Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Activities PAGEREF _Toc509208920 \h 59 Fisheries PAGEREF _Toc509208921 \h 59 Wildlife PAGEREF _Toc509208922 \h 62 Statement of Fish and Wildlife Needs PAGEREF _Toc509208923 \h 64 References PAGEREF _Toc509208924 \h 68 Subbasin Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc509208925 \h 75 FY 2001 Projects Proposals Review PAGEREF _Toc509208926 \h 75 Projects and Budgets PAGEREF _Toc509208927 \h 75 Continuation of Ongoing Projects PAGEREF _Toc509208928 \h 75 New Projects PAGEREF _Toc509208929 \h 79 Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Activities PAGEREF _Toc509208930 \h 89 Needed Future Actions PAGEREF _Toc509208931 \h 93 Actions by Others PAGEREF _Toc509208932 \h 94 Appendix A. Creston Hatchery HGMP (separate document) Appendix B. Color Plates (separate document) List of Figures TOC \c “Figure” Figure 1. U.S. portion of the Flathead River Subbasin PAGEREF _Toc509373320 \h 2 Figure 2. Annual Discharge of the Flathead River Subbasin in acre-feet PAGEREF _Toc509373321 \h 4 Figure 3. Land Uses in the Flathead River Subbasin PAGEREF _Toc509373322 \h 5 Figure 4. Landownership in the U.S. portion of the Flathead River Subbasin PAGEREF _Toc509373323 \h 7 List of Tables TOC \c “Table” Table 1. Population of major Flathead Subbasin Counties, 1980-1997 PAGEREF _Toc509373768 \h 6 Table 2. Flathead River Subbasin National Wild and Scenic Rivers PAGEREF _Toc509373769 \h 8 Table 3. North Fork Flathead Snorkel/Petersen population estimates (95 percent confluence interval) by section for westslope cutthroat trout PAGEREF _Toc509373770 \h 10 Table 4. Middle Fork Flathead River Snorkel/Petersen population estimates (95 percent confidence interval) by section for westslope cutthroat trout PAGEREF _Toc509373771 \h 11 Table 5. South Fork Flathead River Snorkel/Petersen population estimates (95 percent confidence intervals) by section for westslope cutthroat trout PAGEREF _Toc509373772 \h 12 Table 6. Catch data for westslope cutthroat trout collected by MFWP personnel in sections of the South Fork Flathead River PAGEREF _Toc509373773 \h 12 Table 7. Summary of South Fork Flathead bull trout spawning site inventories from 1993-1998 in the annual index sections PAGEREF _Toc509373774 \h 13 Table 8. Mean catch per unit effort (CPUE) for rainbow, westslope cutthroat, and bull trout, night electrofishing on Flathead River in February and March, 1997 and 1998 PAGEREF _Toc509373775 \h 14 Table 9. List of native and non-native fish species in Flathead Lake PAGEREF _Toc509373776 \h 15 Table 10. Percent species composition of fish caught in gill nets in Flathead Lake, annual spring monitoring series, 1981-1998 PAGEREF _Toc509373777 \h 16 Table 11. Flathead River, May 1998 electrofishing summary PAGEREF _Toc509373778 \h 17 Table 12. Flathead River, October 1998 electrofishing summary PAGEREF _Toc509373779 \h 17 Table 13. Jocko River 1998 electrofishing summary PAGEREF _Toc509373780 \h 18 Table 14. Crow Creek 1998 electrofishing summary PAGEREF _Toc509373781 \h 18 Table 15. Flathead Subbasin target mammal species PAGEREF _Toc509373782 \h 19 Table 16. Bird species in the subbasin considered a high priority for conservation PAGEREF _Toc509373783 \h 20 Table 17. Sensitive species PAGEREF _Toc509373784 \h 22 Table 18. Acres of wildlife habitat lost to hydroelectric development, mitigation accomplished through July 2000, and mitigation remaining PAGEREF _Toc509373785 \h 42 Table 19. Flathead River Subbasin land ownership PAGEREF _Toc509373786 \h 49 Table 20. Flathead River Subbasin Summary FY 2002 – 2004 BPA Funding Proposal Matrix PAGEREF _Toc509373787 \h 126 Flathead River Subbasin Summary Subbasin Description General Description Subbasin Location The Flathead Subbasin, located in northwestern Montana and the southeastern corner of British Columbia, constitutes the northeastern-most drainage of the Columbia River. Tributaries originate in Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and Canada. The mouth of the river is located at Paradise, Montana. East to west, the subbasin stretches 141 km (88 miles), north to south, 281 km (175 miles) ( REF _Ref495299355 \h Figure 1). Drainage Area The Flathead River Subbasin encompasses almost six million acres. The upper mainstem of the Flathead River begins where the North, Middle, and South Forks merge near the town of Columbia Falls (elevation 3,100 feet). The Whitefish and Stillwater Rivers, which drain the northwest part of the basin, join the upper Flathead River below Kalispell. Near Holt, the river empties into Flathead Lake. At the town of Big Fork, the Swan River flows into Flathead Lake. The lower Flathead River leaves Flathead Lake at the lake’s southwest corner and flows 116 km (72 miles) south and west to its confluence with the Clark Fork of the Columbia River (elevation 2,500 feet). The lower Flathead River’s primary tributaries are the Little Bitterroot and Jocko Rivers and Crow, Mission, and Camas Creeks. Climate The climate of the Flathead River Subbasin is strongly influenced by pacific maritime airmasses. In winter, moist air dominates, often shrouding the basin with low-lying, gray clouds and bringing mild temperatures. Kalispell, for example, has a mean January temperature of 20�F. Occasionally, continental airmasses composed of arctic or polar air spill over the Continental Divide, bringing clear skies and frigid temperatures (-20�F or colder) (Zackheim 1983; Cunningham 1982). Pacific airmasses usually dominate during the spring and early summer as well. They bring partly cloudy conditions, punctuated by rain and occasional warm, dry periods. In July, a high-pressure system often moves over the subbasin. Skies clear and temperatures range from the 70s to the high 90s with occasional, short, hotter periods. Afternoon thunderstorms are common throughout the summer. Fall repeats the unsettled weather pattern of spring; clear skies alternate with periodic cloudy weather (Zackheim 1983). Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 1. U.S. portion of the Flathead River Subbasin The varying topography of the Flathead River basin results in extreme local fluctuations in precipitation. The mountains receive between 80 and 120 inches of precipitation annually, mostly in the form of snow (Finklin 1986). Mountain ridges have snowpacks of up to 20 feet or more. Valleys annually receive an average of between 15 and 20 inches of precipitation. The rainiest months occur in May and June (Finklin 1986). Winter snowfalls seldom exceed six inches at a time in the valleys; frequent winter thaws usually keep total valley snow cover at under a foot. Topography The east half of the subbasin, which is bordered by the Continental Divide, is broken by a series of rugged mountain ranges, chief among them the Whitefish, Swan, Mission, Livingstone, and Flathead Ranges. Their ridges generally trend northwest to southeast; their highest peaks reach 8,000 to 10,000 feet. The west half of the subbasin is quite different topographically. It is basically a 160-km-long oval depression interspersed with groups of rolling hills. The north half of this depression is dominated by the upper Flathead River Valley, the south half by the Mission, Jocko, Little Bitterroot, Camas Prairie, and Lower Flathead valleys. Flathead Lake, with a surface area of 126,000 acres, lies at the depression’s center. Geology The Flathead River Subbasin is situated along the west limb of the Rocky Mountains. Precambrian rocks of the Belt Supergroup form the bedrock under virtually the entire subbasin. Belt rocks are exposed in the mountain ranges, as well as in many of the lower hills of the valleys. The major rock types include argillite, siltite, quartzite, and limestone. Almost all of the forested acres are underlain by these Precambrian rocks, which are fine grained, moderately metamorphosed sediments deposited over one billion years ago. Belt sediments are highly stable (they have low erosion potential), and they account for the generally high stability of the subbasin’s watersheds. Igneous rocks also occur but only in a few areas. Over the last 100,000 years, advances and recessions of glaciers have extensively modified landscapes. The most recent glacial advance receded about 10,000 years ago and left unconsolidated surface sediments in many watersheds that include glacial tills, glacial stream deposits, and fine grained sediments deposited in Glacial Lake Missoula. (CSKT 2000). Hydrology In terms of volume, the Flathead River is Montana’s fourth largest river (Zackheim 1983). The mean annual discharge of the river system is nine million acre-feet ( REF _Ref495299515 \h Figure 2, Zackheim 1983). The flow rate for the lower Flathead River averages over 12,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). The three forks of the Flathead together supply about 80 percent of the water carried within the system. Flows on the North Fork average about 3,000 cfs near Columbia Falls, approximately the same as the flows on the Middle Fork. On both, peak spring runoff often exceeds 10 times the average flow (Zackheim 1983). The North and Middle forks experience an average elevation drop of 26 and 15 feet per mile, respectively. On the South Fork, the average annual discharge into Hungry Horse Reservoir is 2,300 cfs (Deleray 1999). Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 2. Annual Discharge of the Flathead River Subbasin in acre-feet The Whitefish and Stillwater rivers merge just southeast of Kalispell and contribute about five percent of the flow of the upper Flathead. The Swan River provides about one tenth of the water flowing into Flathead Lake. The largest tributary of the lower Flathead is the Jocko River, but it contributes less than four percent of the total flow volume (Zackheim 1983). Flathead Lake has a surface area of roughly 197 square miles, a mean depth of 164 feet, and a maximum depth of 370 feet. It is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western U.S. The lake is classified as oligomesotrophic (Zackheim 1983). The lower Flathead River is a low-gradient river (3.4 ft/mile) draining a 954,313-acre watershed. With the exception of the first 11.26 km of the river, which flow through a steep canyon, the lower Flathead River is a comparatively smooth-flowing, shallow river in which riffle and pool areas blend. Approximately 94 percent of the river’s 116-km length fall within the Flathead Indian Reservation. The basin is nearly completely underlain with Precambrian sedimentary rock, which is characteristically deficient of nutrients. As a result, the water is likewise nutrient poor and flows distinctly clear. Soils Soils formed from residual and colluvial materials eroded from Belt rocks or in materials deposited by glaciers, lakes, streams, and wind. Wind deposits include volcanic ash from Cascade Range volcanoes in Washington and Oregon. Since glacial recession, geologic conditions have been relatively stable. This is suggested by the widespread distribution of 6,700-year-old Mt. Mazama volcanic ash in forested drainages, well developed soil profiles on many glacial features, stable stream channels, and stable slopes in forested watersheds. The volcanic ashes produce soils with very high soil-moisture holding capacity, high fertility, low strength, and high erodability. In many areas, soils formed in glacial till and are generally loamy, with moderate to high quantities of boulders, cobbles, and gravels. Although soils within the mountainous regions vary widely in character, most mountain and foothill soils are on steep slopes and are well drained with large amounts of broken rock. Rock outcrops are common. Soils deposited by glaciers or flowing water cover about 40 percent of the national forest lands. These are, for the most part, deep, well-drained, and productive soils. About 15 percent of the national forest lands have soils that developed in place through weathering of bedrock. Most of forest soils in the subbasin are somewhat resistant to erosion by water. In most of the valleys, soils are deep, relatively productive, and gently sloping (CSKT 2000; Zackheim 1983). Land Uses Within the subbasin, the upper Flathead River Valley and the Mission Valley are the areas that have been the most extensively developed for agricultural and urban uses. Additional important agricultural areas include the Jocko and Little Bitterroot valleys. The low-elevation treeless slopes in the southwestern corner of the basin provide significant rangeland, while forests dominate the mountainous terrain, which composes the vast majority of the basin area. Major land uses are summarized in REF _Ref495299827 \h Figure 3 (Zackheim 1983). REF _Ref495299835 \h Table 1 summarizes population trends in the three major counties. REF _Ref495299852 \h Figure 4 shows land ownership in the U.S. portion of the subbasin. Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 3. Land Uses in the Flathead River Subbasin Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 1. Population of major Flathead Subbasin Counties, 1980-1997 County1980 Population1997 PopulationArea (sq. mi.)People/sq. mi.Flathead51,96671,7075,09914.1Lake19,05625,3411,49417Sanders8,67510,2532,7623.7Totals79,697107,3019,35513.5 (Ave.) Impoundments and Irrigation Projects Hungry Horse Dam, completed in 1952, is located 8.4 km upstream from the confluence of the South Fork and the mainstem of the Flathead River. Hungry Horse Reservoir is 56 km long and covers 23,782 acres at full pool. The dam, operated by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), provides flood control, electrical power production, and water storage capability for the Columbia River system. Annual operations for power and flood control result in a reservoir draft toward minimum pool by mid-April and refill toward full pool (elevation 3,560 feet) during July. The maximum reservoir drawdown on record was 188 feet. Hungry Horse Dam has a peak capacity of 320,000 kilowatts. Kerr Dam, located 6.9 km downstream of the natural lake outlet, was built in 1938 and is currently operated by Pennsylvania Power and Light Montana (PPLM). The dam regulates the top three meters of water and is operated to provide flood control and power production. Its peak capacity is 180,000 kilowatts. The dam is now operated as a base-load facility. Presently, flood control and recreation require the lake level to be dropped to the low pool elevation of 2,883 feet by April 15, refilled to 2,890 feet by May 30, raised to full pool elevation of 2,893 feet by June 15, and held at full pool through Labor Day (Deleray et al. 1999). Bigfork Dam is a small hydroelectric facility with a 4,000-kilowatt peak capacity. It is located on the Swan River less than 2 km from Flathead Lake. On the Flathead Indian Reservation, the Flathead Agency Irrigation District (FAID) consists of an intricate network of natural channels, irrigation canals, and storage reservoirs that retain spring runoff and distribute the water to cultivated lands. Approximately 1,930 km of irrigation canals and 17 reservoirs exist under FAID. The larger FAID reservoirs include Pablo, Ninepipe, Crow, Kicking Horse, and Hubbard. Several natural lakes on the Flathead Indian Reservation have been adapted for controlled irrigation releases. An unquantified number of secretarial water rights also exist throughout the basin. Figure SEQ Figure \* ARABIC 4. Landownership in the U.S. portion of the Flathead River Subbasin Protected Areas In the U.S. part of the subbasin, approximately 1.9 million acres have significant protective status and 338 km of river are classified as wild, scenic or recreational ( REF _Ref495304923 \h Table 2, Zackheim 1983). In Canada, Akamina-Kishinna Provincial Park is located adjacent to the northern edge of Glacier Park. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 2. Flathead River Subbasin National Wild and Scenic Rivers RiverKMNorth Fork of the Flathead River US/Canada Border to Camas Bridge (Scenic) 65.5 Camas Bridge to Middle Fork (Recreational)28.3Middle Fork Flathead River Headwaters to Bear Creek (Wild)74.9 Bear Creek to South Fork (Recreational)87.0South Fork Flathead River Headwaters to Spotted Bear River (Wild)82.5 Spotted Bear River to Hungry Horse Res. (Recreational)14.1 Fish and Wildlife Resources Fish and Wildlife Status Fish Westslope Cutthroat Trout Westslope cutthroat trout were petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS 1998). The USFWS determined that listing is not warranted at this time. In Montana, the species has been designated a Species of Special Concern. Westslope cutthroat trout populations above Hungry Horse Dam form one of the strongest, most secure metapopulations of westslope cutthroat trout in existence (Marotz, MDFW&P, pers. com. 2000). Below the dam, cutthroat numbers have declined due to loss of habitat and negative interactions with non-native fish species (e.g. hybridization with rainbow trout and predation by lake trout). Bull Trout Bull trout were listed in 1998 as a threatened species under the ESA. The population in Hungry Horse Reservoir and its headwaters is arguably the second strongest metapopulation in existence (Marotz, MDFW&P, pers. com. 2000). Hungry Horse Dam isolated bull trout populations above and below the dam. Populations in the reservoir have stabilized at sustainable numbers, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP) established a comprehensive monitoring program to alert managers to any change in population status. MDFW&P and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) also carefully monitor the bull trout population in the Flathead system below Hungry Horse Dam. At least 20 disjunct populations have been identified (MBTSG 1995). Results have documented an alarming reduction in bull trout spawning redds since the early 1990s. The population declined to the lowest point in the 20-year record during the period from 1992 to 1996. During 1997 and 1998, redd counts rebounded somewhat but remain at 50 percent of the long-term average. Six distinct populations of bull trout occur within the Flathead Reservation (Hansen and DosSantos 1997). These populations occur in the lower Flathead River and the Jocko River and Mission Creek watersheds. Native Trout and Char Life Histories in the Subbasin The native trout and char—westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout—have evolved varied life histories to be successful in the Flathead drainage. There are three life history forms: (1) adfluvial stocks, which spawn and rear in river tributaries and move downstream to mature and reside in Flathead Lake; (2) fluvial stocks, which spawn and rear in river tributaries then move downstream to mature and reside in the Flathead River, and; (3) tributary or “resident” stocks, which spawn, rear, and reside for their entire life cycle in a tributary stream (Shepard et al. 1984, Fraley and Shepard 1989, Liknes and Graham 1988). Westslope cutthroat trout employ all three of these strategies in the Flathead system. Bull trout are primarily adfluvial, although recent radio telemetry results have documented a fluvial component (Muhlfeld et al. 2000), and individual fish may combine the two strategies. Juveniles reside in tributaries for one to three years before migrating downstream into river or lake habitats (Shepard et al. 1984). Adfluvial fish take advantage of improved forage and growth rates during lake residence and thus reach larger sizes than either fluvial or tributary residents. Tributary fish mature at relatively smaller sizes (~200 mm) and don’t grow as large (>400 mm) as fish using the other strategies (Shepard et al. 1984, Liknes and Graham 1988). These three life history forms inhabit three general types of habitat: tributary streams, mainstem river and forks, and lake. In order for fish populations in the basin to be successful, all habitats must present adequate conditions for fish survival at related life history stages. Degraded conditions in one of these habitat types may limit the population. Geographical Summary The relative abundance of bull trout and the genetic purity of westslope cutthroat trout in the upper part of the subbasin are shown on Plates 1 through 10 in Appendix B. Three Forks of the Flathead Westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish are the native gamefish species found in the South, Middle, and North forks of the Flathead River and their tributaries. Adfluvial cutthroat trout generally occur in the lower South Fork of the Flathead up to Meadow Creek Gorge and in the Middle and North forks of the Flathead River. Fluvial westslope cutthroat trout are found primarily in the mainstem of the South Fork above Meadow Creek Gorge, and portions of the Middle Fork. The resident form of westslope cutthroat trout completes its entire life cycle solely in headwater tributaries to all three Flathead River forks (Deleray 1999). (Need map showing wct distributions and bull trout distributions in enough detail so that and sampling locations are identifiable on the map.) (See for example MBTRT reports for Flathead and Swan Bull trout appear to be primarily adfluvial in the three forks of the Flathead River. At this time, MFWP biologists have not observed evidence of fish residence in tributaries for complete life cycles. They have observed all age classes during summer river surveys, which may be evidence of a fluvial component. North Fork of the Flathead River Results from three years of population estimates for the Ford section of the North Fork are summarized in REF _Ref495304985 \h Table 3 (Deleray 1999). From 1990 to 1996, overall cutthroat trout numbers dropped dramatically from 282 to 96 per kilometer. The majority of the decline occurred in the small cutthroat trout with mid- and large-size fish maintaining low numbers in all three years. It is probably that all three life history forms (resident, fluvial, and adfluvial) of cutthroat trout exist in the North Fork and its tributaries. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 3. North Fork Flathead Snorkel/Petersen population estimates (95 percent confluence interval) by section for westslope cutthroat trout Number of Fish Per KilometerDate<254 mm (10″)254-305 mm (10-12″)>305 mm (12″)All Fish Combined8/3/90411 (+/-79)16 (+/-17) 0428 (+/-82)8/18/93232 (+/-44)15 (+/-9)1 (+/-1)249 (+/-46)8/30/96*133 (+/-30)10 (+/-5)3 (+/-2)146 (+/-31)*Approximately half of previous marking effort. Bull trout core areas in the North Fork Flathead River drainage are Big, Coal, Whale, Trail, Red Meadow, Howell, and Cabin Creek drainages. The North Fork itself is a nodal habitat (nodal habitats are those that provide a migratory corridor, overwintering area, or are otherwise critical to the population at some stage of its life cycle (MBTSG 1995a)). Middle Fork of the Flathead River Estimates conducted in the Middle Fork Flathead River are summarized in REF _Ref495300423 \h Table 4. In the uppermost (Gooseberry) section, there has been an increasing trend in total cutthroat trout abundance when comparing 1988, 1991, and 1994. Cutthroat trout in the upper reaches are primarily resident fish, spending their entire life in or near the survey section (Deleray 1999). Two estimates were conducted in the Schafer Section (1988 and 1994). The estimated number of small cutthroat trout increased dramatically from 37 per kilometer in 1988 to 148 per kilometer in 1994. (Deleray 1999). Estimates have been conducted for two years (1997 and 1998) in the Spruce Park section. A higher proportion of larger fish was present in this section than in upstream sections (Deleray 1999). Estimates in the Paola Section were conducted annually from 1995 through 1997 to establish a baseline data set. Abundance of small cutthroat trout in the Paola section appeared to increase steadily over the three years (Deleray 1999). Cutthroat trout below the Schafer section appear more migratory in nature than those in above sections, suggesting the presence of all three life history forms within the Middle Fork. Lake McDonald appears to be utilized by some Middle Fork cutthroat trout. Graham (1980) documented cutthroat trout migrating upstream from Flathead Lake into the Middle Fork as well (Deleray 1999). Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 4. Middle Fork Flathead River Snorkel/Petersen population estimates (95 percent confidence interval) by section for westslope cutthroat trout Number of Fish Per KilometerSection (Length)Date<254 mm (10″)254-305 mm (10-12″)>305 mm (12″)All Fish CombinedGooseberry (3 km)7/20/88 7/29/91 7/18/9472 (+/-20) 98 (+/-27) 125 (+/-54)4 (+/-3) 4 (+/-1) 1 (+/-1)1 (+/-0) 1 (+/-0) 1 (+/-0)77 (+/-20) 102 (+/-23) 127 (+/-50)Schafer (3 km)7/20/88 8/9/94*37 (+/-3) 1480 30 137 (+/-3) 152Spruce Park (3.6 km)8/13/97 8/12/98150 (+/-29) 59 (+/-12)56 (+/-17) 21 (+/-8)14 (+/-5) 14 (+/-5)219 (+/-33) 94 (+/-16)Paola (3.2 km)8/31/95 8/21/96 8/20/9716 (+/-8) 54 (+/-16) 73 (+/-40)14 (+/-5) 12 (+/-5) 14 (+/-5)8 (+/-4) 4 (+/-2) 5 (+/-4)38 (+/-10) 70 (+/-16) 92 (+/-31) Bull trout core areas in the Middle Fork Flathead River are Nyack, Park, Ole, Bear, Long, Granite, Morrison, Schafer, Clack, Strawberry, and Bowl Creek drainages. The Middle Fork Flathead River is a nodal habitat for bull trout. South Fork of the Flathead River Beginning in the uppermost (Gordon) section of the South Fork, MFWP conducted estimates in 1984 and 1987 ( REF _Ref495300445 \h Table 5). Estimates combining all fish were quite similar between the two years. Large cutthroat trout tend to reside in this portion of the South Fork at least until fall and then seek preferred habitat for overwintering. Mean lengths and catch rates were consistently the highest in the Youngs and Danaher Creeks confluence area and in the Gordon section when compared to other South Fork sections and streams ( REF _Ref495305002 \h Table 6). The Black Bear Section consistently contained the highest estimated number of cutthroat trout per kilometer of the South Fork sections (Deleray 1999). Estimated cutthroat trout numbers in the Harrison Section were generally lower than in the Black Bear Section ( REF _Ref495300445 \h Table 5). Research suggests that cutthroat trout above Meadow Creek Gorge are generally a separate population with a fluvial life history, while cutthroat trout below the Gorge are both fluvial and adfluvial fish, some utilizing Hungry Horse Reservoir (Deleray 1999). Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 5. South Fork Flathead River Snorkel/Petersen population estimates (95 percent confidence intervals) by section for westslope cutthroat trout Number of Fish Per KilometerSection (Length)Date<254 mm (10″)254-305 mm (10-12″)>305 mm (12″)All Fish CombinedGordon (2.2 km)1984* 8/13/87No Estimate 85No Estimate 98 (>254 only)No Estimate No Estimate206 (+/-62) 183 (+/-37)Black Bear (4.4 km)8/28/83 8/7/85 7/21/89 7/2/92 7/28/95 7/23/98494 (+/-190) 419 (+/-177) 309 (+/-79) 325 (+/-82) 339 (+/-75) 232 (+/-40)105 (+/-85) 56 (+/-27) 42 (+/-20) 151 (+/-42) 60 (+/-29) 81 (+/-22)42 (+/-34) 39 (+/-31) 31 (+/-11) 51 (+/-12) 32 (+/-14) 33 (+/-9)641 (+/-220) 514 (+/-164) 381 (+/-74) 527 (+/-78) 431 (+/-81) 346 (+/-46)Harrison (2.2 km)8/9/84 8/23/85 7/30/90 8/20/93 8/15/96267 (+/-100) 186 (+/-48) 207 (+/-37) 189 (+/-57) 443 (+/-87)15 (+/-11) 26 (+/-11) 34 (+/-22) 62 (+/-18) 19 (+/-9)4 (+/-4) No Estimate 16 (+/-7) 17 (+/-8) 13 (+/-6)285 (+/-102) 213 (+/-47) 257 (+/-42) 268 (+/-53) 475 (+/-82) Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 6. Catch data for westslope cutthroat trout collected by MFWP personnel in sections of the South Fork Flathead River Section Area Year N Mean Length (mm) Range (mm)Percent >254 mm (10″)Percent >305 mm (12″)Catch Rate (Fish/Hr.)GordonMurphy Flats L. Salmon Cr. B. Salmon Cr. B. Salmon Cr. Youngs/Danaher Independence Pk. Youngs/Danaher Gordon Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher Youngs/Danaher1960 1981 1984 1985 1985 1986 1986 1987 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 199680 151 92 296 111 586 142 15 137 106 145 133 100 132 101 104 90 48228 230 240 258 255 274 268 272 264 243 244 263 266 272 277 289 274 26590-406 110-350 170-370 150-400 120-340 120-427 190-425 218-378 165-400 179-452 160-443 140-446 155-442 180-442 200-440 170-445 170-431 165-47034 26 46 59 42 61 42 60 56 28 38 53 53 59 61 63 57 3111 8 18 24 23 31 24 20 20 12 11 20 23 23 24 40 28 27N/A 3.7 N/A 7.0 7.7 8.7 8.8 1.3 7.7 6.0 9.7 9.2 8.5 11.0 7.8 8.3 5.1 4.6Black BearMid Cr. Black Bear Black Bear Black Bear Black Bear Black Bear Black Bear Black Bear1983 1985 1986 1987 1989 1992 1995 1998112 595 54 38 428 477 329 432213 228 231 274 215 239 219 220160-378 117-401 101-421 203-381 120-430 109-440 112-404 112-4018 28 26 61 24 38 19 322 8 13 26 11 13 8 10N/A 6.3 N/A 1.7 4.1 5.2 4.1 4.6HarrisonHarrison Harrison Harrison Harrison Harrison Harrison Harrison1984 1985 1987 1989 1990 1993 1996153 142 31 90 208 151 287197 212 241 198 216 230 188112-238 152-343 157-358 123-396 135-390 136-352 124-42010 13 25 10 14 34 82 0 16 6 7 7 31.7 2.4 3.8 3.8 5.7 2.2 4.9 Over the initial four years of redd counts, field crews observed an average of 280 bull trout redds in our annual monitoring sections. The 1997 total of 269 is 4 percent below this average figure (Deleray 1999). Data are summarized in REF _Ref495300699 \h Table 7. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 7. Summary of South Fork Flathead bull trout spawning site inventories from 1993-1998 in the annual index sections Reservoir TributariesUpper River Tributaries19931994199519961997199819931994199519961997Wounded Buck22 29 34 41 14 5 Youngs40 24 34 74 43 Wheeler12 10 1 3 1 4 Gordon35 44 46 58 30 Sullivan25 8 — 52 50 54 White River39 60 45 86 31 Quintonkin5 3 7 4 0 11 Little Salmon56 47 43 134 100 Totals64 50 42 100 65 74 Totals170 175 168 353 204 Mainstem of the Flathead River upstream of Flathead Lake Salmonids using the mainstem of the Flathead River have diverse life history strategies, which makes it difficult to assess the status of populations. Mountain whitefish, westslope cutthroat trout, and bull trout have both fluvial and adfluvial life histories, while rainbow trout appear to be primarily fluvial. Within a species, individual fish of one life history are generally not visually distinguishable from those of another life history. Determining population status for these species is difficult due to the timing of seasonal migrations and overlapping habitat use by the different life histories. Adfluvial westslope cutthroat trout use the mainstem river and North and Middle Forks as a migratory corridor. Adults migrate to and from spawning tributaries from early winter through summer, while juveniles migrate from rearing streams toward the lake from early summer through winter (Shepard et al. 1984, Liknes and Graham 1988). Similarly, juvenile bull trout emigrate from tributaries to the Flathead River and Lake system from early summer through winter. In early summer (April to July), adult adfluvial bull trout migrate from the lake into the river and move toward staging areas. They then move into spawning tributaries generally in August, and following spawning in September, move rapidly back downstream to Flathead Lake (Shepard et al. 1984). Adult mountain whitefish also make spawning migrations as the fall spawning period approaches, and rainbow trout adults move in response to spring spawning. Thus, at any time of the year, different salmonids, life histories, and age groups are migrating throughout the river system. A recent investigation found the mountain whitefish to be the most numerous species (hundreds per night) in both river sections (Deleray et al. 1999). Investigators also observed but did not enumerate largescale suckers. They captured rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout, lake trout, brook trout, and lake whitefish. Rainbow, westslope cutthroat trout, and bull trout dominated the trout and char catch. Future surveys are needed to assess trends in population abundances and to relate variation in catch to river discharge, water temperature, or other factors. Hybridization between rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout is prevalent in the upper Flathead River. The concentration of hybrid trout appears higher in the Columbia Falls section than in the Kalispell section. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 8. Mean catch per unit effort (CPUE) for rainbow, westslope cutthroat, and bull trout, night electrofishing on Flathead River in February and March, 1997 and 1998 Kalispell SectionRainbowWestslope CutthroatBull TroutYearCPUEAll Sizes>300 mm<300 mmAll Sizes>300 mm<300 mmAll Sizes>400 mm<400 mm1997#/hr3.1 2.2 1.0 2.7 2.0 0.6 1.5 0.4 1.11998#/hr6.1 1.8 4.3 18.9 8.8 10.1 3.5 0.3 3.2 1981#/km/hr0.5 —— 4.2 2.1— ——0.41997#/km/hr1.1 0.7 0.3 0.9 0.7 0.2 0.5 0.1 0.4 1998#/km/hr2.1 0.6 1.4 6.4 3.0 3.4 1.2 0.1 1.1 Columbia Falls Section 1997#/hr17.9 7.2 10.8 4.5 2.6 1.9 2.2 0.61.6 1998#/hr21.3 7.6 13.7 3.0 0.8 2.2 2.7 0.9 1.8 1981#/km/hr2.5 —— 3.0 2.8— ———1997#/km/hr9.0 3.6 5.4 2.3 1.3 1.0 1.1 0.30.8 1998#/km/hr10.7 3.8 6.9 1.5 0.4 1.1 1.4 0.50.9 Flathead Lake From a fish community perspective, Flathead Lake has supported three very different species assemblages. Prior to settlement by Europeans, the fish community was solely comprised of native species, which colonized the waters following the last glacial period, roughly 10,000 years ago. Bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, and mountain and pygmy whitefish were the only salmonids. Bull trout and northern pikeminnow were the dominant piscivorous fishes. Most likely, the minnows (n. pikeminnow and peamouth) dominated in fish abundance and biomass (Elrod, et al. 1929). Accurate depiction of relative species abundance is difficult due to a lack of recorded and quantified surveys or fishery encounters. Europeans arrived in the mid-1880s, and beginning in the early 1900s introduced a number of other fish species ( REF _Ref495301077 \h Table 9, Hanzel 1969, Alvord 1991) (Hanzel 1969; Alvord 1991). By the 1920s, a new fish community had established itself with abundant kokanee, lake trout, lake whitefish, and yellow perch in addition to the native species. Kokanee and yellow perch dominated the recreational fishery. Angler creel surveys in 1962, 1981, and 1985 show kokanee provided the majority of the sport fishery—from 77 to 97 percent of harvested fish numbers (Evarts 1998). This new community was relatively stable until the mid-1980s. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 9. List of native and non-native fish species in Flathead Lake NativeNon-NativeDate IntroducedBull TroutLake Trout1905Westslope Cutthroat TroutLake Whitefish1890Mountain WhitefishKokanee1916Pygmy WhitefishYellow Perch1910Longnose SuckerNorthern Pike1960’s (Illegally)Largescale SuckerRainbow1914Northern PikeminnowBrook Trout1913Peamouth ChubLargemouth Bass1898Redside ShinerPumpkinseed Sunfish1910SculpinsBlack Bullhead1910 Beginning in 1968, MFWP introduced opossum shrimp (Mysis) into Ashley, Swan, Tally, and Whitefish lakes in the Flathead Lake drainage. Mysis moved out of these lakes and downstream into Flathead Lake, where they were first collected in 1981. By the mid-1980s, mysis established an abundant population and caused the third shift in the fish assemblage in Flathead Lake. Following their first collection in Flathead Lake in 1981, the mysis population increased exponentially from under three mysis/m2 in 1984 to a peak of 130 mysis/m2 in 1986 (Beattie and Clancey 1991, Spencer et al. 1991). Mysis density then dropped below 60/m2 by 1988 and has since varied between 16 and 68/m2 (Spencer et al. 1991, Beattie and Clancey 1991, Flathead Basin Commission 1993, Stanford et al. 1997). This created unforeseen and far-reaching changes in the Flathead Lake system due to unique feeding behavior of mysis. Mysis became a competitor with fish species dependent on the zooplankton forage base. It also provided an abundant food source for benthic fishes, such as lake trout and lake whitefish, and substantially increased survival, recruitment, and abundance of these species. REF _Ref495301200 \h Table 10 shows how the fish population has changed since the introduction of mysis. Percent species composition has changed dramatically. For gillnet surveys, sample years 1981 and 1983 describe the pre-mysis fish community and provide baseline fishery information for comparison to current populations. In the sinking nets, there was a shift in species composition from numerical dominance by peamouth (pre-mysis) to lake whitefish (post-mysis). In 1981 and 1983, peamouth comprised about 40 percent of catch composition, while lake whitefish comprised only about 15 percent. In recent catches, lake whitefish comprised roughly 75 percent of the catch. One of the more dramatic transformations has been in the relative abundance of bull trout and lake trout. In 1981 and 1983, bull trout numbers comprised 10 and 13 percent of fish caught in sinking nets, while lake trout numbers comprised only 0.2 and 0.9 percent, respectively. Since 1996, bull trout comprised roughly one percent, while lake trout comprised six to 14 percent of gillnet catch. Similar declines have been observed in mountain whitefish in sinking net catch. Mountain whitefish comprised roughly four percent of catch composition in the early 1980s and now have a very low incidence (<1 percent). Westslope cutthroat trout showed the greatest declines in floating net catches. In the early 1980s, westslope cutthroat trout made up 20 to 40 percent of the catch, while in recent years they composed less than 20 percent. With the exception of lake trout and northern pikeminnow, the other species have not shown obvious changes in percent composition. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 10. Percent species composition of fish caught in gill nets in Flathead Lake, annual spring monitoring series, 1981-1998 Percent Species CompositionYear# of NetsTotal # of FishWCTBTLTLWFMWFKOKNSQPMLNSUCSUYPSinking Nets198123450 0.4 13.3 0.2 16.2 4.42.215.6 41.1 3.80.91.8198330459 0.2 10.7 0.9 13.7 4.11.111.1 39.0 8.12.28.7199218369 0.0 2.4 8.4 55.8 0.30.012.7 15.7 1.91.11.6199318299 0.7 0.7 8.7 46.2 0.30.024.1 10.4 4.73.30.7199418555 0.0 0.7 10.1 49.9 0.00.09.5 26.5 2.50.20.5199524304 0.0 0.3 9.2 54.9 0.00.015.5 13.5 2.62.02.0199630286 0.0 0.7 13.6 74.8 0.00.06.6 2.1 1.70.30.0199730524 0.0 1.4 10.3 74.7 0.00.011.1 0.4 1.40.60.0199830633 0.2 0.6 6.3 74.9 0.20.012.8 2.1 2.10.00.9Floating Nets198130232 43.5 10.9 0.0 1.7 8.72.614.8 17.8 0.00.00.0198330268 22.8 7.1 0.0 2.6 2.64.911.9 46.3 0.71.10.0199228149 38.9 3.4 10.1 8.7 6.00.08.1 22.1 0.70.00.7199328102 9.8 0.0 6.9 19.6 1.00.037.3 20.6 0.03.90.0199430116 16.4 4.3 8.6 7.8 0.90.023.3 37.9 0.00.00.919952451 13.7 2.0 7.8 21.6 0.00.031.4 17.6 2.03.90.019963041 17.1 17.1 12.2 2.4 4.90.019.5 26.8 0.00.00.0199730134 11.2 8.2 4.5 2.2 3.00.037.3 23.9 0.78.20.0199830608 4.3 2.1 1.5 4.1 0.50.237.7 46.7 0.01.20.3Key: WCT = Westslope Cutthroat, BT = Bull Trout, LT = Lake Trout, LWF = Lake Whitefish, MWF = Mountain Whitefish, KOK = Kokanee, NSQ = Northern Pikeminnow, PM = Peamouth, LNSU = Longnose Sucker, CSU = Largescale Sucker, YP = Yellow Perch In summarizing the information available on Flathead Lake bull trout, it appears that between 1980 and 1991 total estimated bull trout spawner escapement fluctuated between 2,000 and 4,000 fish. Limited information from the early 1950s suggests similar numbers of spawners at that time. A significant decline in redd numbers occurred during the early 1990s due to alteration of the trophic dynamics in Flathead Lake. From 1992 to 1997, the number of bull trout redds remained relatively stable, but this level was approximately 70 percent below the average during the preceding 12-year period (1980-1991). Our 1998 count showed an encouraging increase over the previous six years, but it was still 50 percent below its pre-mysis levels. The mechanisms causing the decline are not completely clear and there remains considerable uncertainty about bull trout ecology and trophic interactions in Flathead Lake. Separate bull trout populations occupy the Swan and South Fork Flathead drainages. Those populations are presently stable or increasing. Lower Flathead River and Main Tributaries The results of 1998 spring and fall electrofishing surveys on the lower Flathead River are summarized in REF _Ref495301938 \h Table 11 and REF _Ref495301942 \h Table 12. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 11. Flathead River, May 1998 electrofishing summary Species/LengthsMeanMedianSESDRangeMinMaxCountPercentageBull Trout374nananananana10.5%Westslope Cutthroat32630926.163.817127244362.8%Rainbow-Cut Hybrid345nananananana10.5%Rainbow Trout34535617.585.72811874682411.3%Brown Trout4044169.988.63851855708038.0%Mountain Whitefish1421307.532.6145120265198.9%Northern Pike56652524.9119.34293567852310.8%Yellow Perch15215271.0100.41428122320.9%Northern Squaw33735524.882.4320105425115.2%Longnose Sucker4844855.631.21254255503114.6%Peamouth33333327.538.95530536020.9%Largemouth Bass40940984.0118.816832549320.9%Smallmouth Bass25228423.562.216914030973.3%Pumpkinseed14414410.014.12013415420.9% Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 12. Flathead River, October 1998 electrofishing summary Species/LengthsMeanMedianSESDRangeMinMaxCountPercentageBull Trout48448434.548.86944951820.2%Westslope Cutthroat31030120.445.610526537050.4%Rainbow-Cut Hybrid40541419.952.513834948770.6%Rainbow Trout35837817.682.7237228465221.7%Brown Trout37238111.596.3351210561705.5%Mountain Whitefish2843002.168.74600460105983.8%Northern Pike58760514.8129.3558279837766.0%Perch19218617.455.2172113285100.8%Largemouth17316313.034.59714223970.6%Smallmouth25222034.476.818417535950.4% The results of electrofishing surveys on tributaries to the lower Flathead River are summarized in REF _Ref495302135 \h Table 13 and REF _Ref495302136 \h Table 14. The Jocko River and its tributaries have the most significant native trout populations on the reservation. Genetic samples taken above the Jocko Upper “S” canal diversion have confirmed that the irrigation structure functions as a fish barrier keeping the Middle and South forks of the Jocko River free of rainbow trout. Thus, the area remains a stronghold for pure-strain westslope cutthroat trout. In all, a total of nine separate pure-strain westslope cutthroat trout populations persist above fish barriers in the watershed. Bull trout have been documented in the North, Middle, and South forks of the Jocko as well as the mainstem. Introduced trout species are also well distributed within the river. Brook trout occur throughout the drainage, but are less prevalent in the lower reaches. Below Arlee, rainbow trout and brown trout dominate the river. Studies in the 1980s documented an exchange of both westslope cutthroat and bull trout between the Jocko and the Flathead rivers (DosSantos et al. 1988). The Jocko River is the only designated “core area” and has the most significant potential for recovery (MBTSG 1996). Core areas provide significant spawning and rearing areas and are considered important in the overall recovery of the species within Montana (CSKT 2000a). However, the Jocko population is currently classified as “functioning at unacceptable risk” (Evarts, CSKT, pers. com. 2000) due to habitat degradation. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 13. Jocko River 1998 electrofishing summary Species/LengthsMeanMedianSESDRangeMinMaxCountPercentageJocko River, Dixon Reach, October 1998 ElectrofishingBrown Trout264254682.741910152016444.7%Rainbow Trout2873029113.84087448216845.8%Rainbow-Cut Hybrid3373311371.2260207467308.2%Westslope Cutthroat2943092351.711323434751.4%Jocko River, N. Valley Reach, September 1998 ElectrofishingBrown Trout222198699.04228851026059.5%Rainbow Trout19819512111.1367694368419.2%Rainbow-Cut Hybrid3173043174.81632424058419.2%Bull Trout1491490na014914910.2%Eastern Brook Trout2482481926.23722926661.4%Mountain Whitefish275282482.63509544520.5%Jocko River, Spring Creek Reach, Sept. 1998 ElectrofishingBrown Trout24221212122.04278951610543.8%Rainbow Trout24626624135.1486745603313.8%Rainbow-Cut Hybrid4364363346.76640346920.8%Eastern Brook Trout1501500na015015010.4%Mountain Whitefish261278991.8343964399941.3% Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 14. Crow Creek 1998 electrofishing summary Species/LengthsMeanMedianSESDRangeMinMaxCountPercentageReach 2 November 1998Brown Trout172143672.932710543212722.3%Rainbow Trout134116.5764.5335714067813.7%Rainbow-Cut Hybrid152125472.73228540726346.2%Largemouth Bass135135735.810785192244.2%Mountain Whitefish155152317.5109133242478.3%Yellow Perch145140319.095115210305.3%Reach 3 November 1998Brown Trout163147457.530910541418634.4%Rainbow Trout169150466.34869958531257.7%Rainbow-Cut Hybrid3473481249.1152273425173.1%Largemouth Bass152153312.847129176193.5%Mountain Whitefish168175512.23015018071.3% Wildlife The Flathead River Subbasin encompasses a wide diversity of habitats from its source to its mouth. These habitats, in turn, provide niches for a diverse array of birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Approximately 308 species of birds, 69 species of mammals, eight species of amphibians, nine species of reptiles, and 23 species of fish occur in the watershed (Ratti 1990; CSKT 2000). Target Species Mammals REF _Ref495302233 \h Table 15 lists the abundance and status of target mammal species in the subbasin. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 15. Flathead Subbasin target mammal species SpeciesAbundanceDescription of StatusElkAbundantElk populations in the South, Middle and North Fork drainages experienced long-term declines over the last 40 years; however, populations have remained relatively stable over the last 10 years (Vore and Schmidt 1997). Populations in the remainder of the basin have also been relatively stable over the last 10 years.Mule deerAbundantMule deer populations throughout the subbasin have been declining over the last 15 years.MooseUncommonMoose populations increased from the mid-1980’s through 1995 and have subsequently experienced sharp declines.Black bearCommonPopulations have remained relatively stable, although they fluctuate depending on natural food production.Grizzly bearRarePopulations are increasing in undeveloped Canadian portions of the Flathead subbasin (Hovey and McLelland 1996). However, they are declining to stable in the Swan Mountain Range, which is heavily impacted by surrounding human developments and activities (Mace and Waller 1998).LynxUncommonLynx have historically existed at very low-densities. Current populations are relatively high compared to long-term averages, in response to high snowshoe hare populations.FisherUncommonFisher populations were supplemented with transplants during the 1950’s and 1960’s. They continue to persist in the subbasin at low-densities, as they have historically.WolverineUncommonWolverine populations exist at very low densities in the higher elevations of the sub-basin. Populations have probably increased since poison baits were banned in the early 1970’s.River OtterUncommon Birds Montana Partners-In-Flight (PIF) Bird Conservation Plan (Casey 2000) classified breeding bird species in Montana based on their priority for conservation action within the state. REF _Ref495302332 \h Table 16 lists the highest priority breeding bird species that are found in the Flathead River subbasin along with their habitats and abundance. All neotropical migrant birds are also considered target species, as are wood ducks, common goldeneye, and sandhill cranes. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 16. Bird species in the subbasin considered a high priority for conservation SpeciesPriorityHabitatAbundanceCommon LoonIwetlanduncommonHorned GrebeIIwetlanduncommonTrumpeter SwanIwetlandrareHarlequin DuckIriparianuncommonBarrow’s GoldeneyeIIwetland; riparianuncommonHooded MerganserIIwetland; ripariancommonBald EagleIIwetland; ripariancommonNorthern GoshawkIIforestuncommonPeregrine FalconIIwetland; riparian; uniquerareRuffed GrouseIIripariancommonColumbian Sharp-tailed GrouseIIgrassland; riparianextirpatedLong-billed CurlewIgrasslanduncommonFlammulated OwlIforestrareBlack SwiftIIriparian; uniquerareVaux’s SwiftIIriparian; forestcommonCalliope HummingbirdIIriparian; forest; shrublandabundantLewis’s WoodpeckerIIriparian; forestrareRed-naped SapsuckerIIriparian; forestabundantWilliamson’s SapsuckerIIforestuncommonThree-toed WoodpeckerIIforestcommonBlack-backed WoodpeckerIforestuncommonPileated WoodpeckerIIforestcommonOlive-sided FlycatcherIIforestcommonWillow FlycatcherIIripariancommonHammond’s FlycatcherIIriparian; forestabundantCordilleran FlycatcherIIriparianuncommonBrown CreeperIforestuncommonWinter WrenIIforestcommonVeeryIIriparianuncommonRed-eyed VireoIIripariancommonLazuli BuntingIIriparian; shrublandcommonBrewer’s SparrowIIshrublandrareGrasshopper SparrowIIgrasslandrarePriority Levels from Montana Bird Conservation Plan: Level I species exhibit declining populations and require conservation plans; Level II species are under fewer threats; may be declining or stable but still must be monitored. Amphibians and Reptiles Amphibians are present in many of the wetter parts of the subbasin, especially wetland and riparian habitats. A 1993 survey of the Flathead Reservation found the long-toed salamander, chorus frog, spotted frog, and boreal toad occur throughout the lower Flathead drainage area, although populations of the boreal toad and spotted frog appear diminished (Werner et al. 1995). The tailed frog occurs but is significantly more restricted in its distribution. The leopard frog, historically common in some areas, was not found during the survey. The survey also found that two species of garter snakes (the common and western terrestrial) and painted turtle are common in valley and foothill habitats. The prairie rattlesnake, bull snake, racer, and rubber boa also occur. Western skinks are thought to be present as well, and northern alligator lizards have been documented at lower elevations in the Mission Mountains (Tribal Wildlife Management Program Unpubl. Data). Target amphibian species include the northern leopard frog, the spotted frog, and the boreal toad. Threatened, Endangered, and Sensitive Species Four federally listed wildlife species occur in the subbasin. The northern gray wolf is listed as endangered the grizzly bear and Canadian lynx as threatened. The peregrine falcon was recently removed from the ESA list due to recovery, and the bald eagle is proposed for removal, but is currently listed as threatened. Grizzly Bear Grizzly bears are found mainly in Glacier National Park and adjacent areas, and in and around the Scapegoat, Bob Marshall, Great Bear, and Mission Mountains Wilderness areas and the South Fork of the Jocko Primitive Area. The Flathead Subbasin is located within the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, which is thought to contain one of the most productive populations in the lower United States. The Canadian and U.S. portions of the North Fork of the Flathead River Drainage support the highest density of inland grizzlies in North America. Grizzly bear management is primarily focused on reducing human/bear conflicts, minimizing bear mortality, and providing secure high quality habitat for bears. Human/bear conflicts are currently the leading cause of bear mortality. Note: for illustration, the NCDE Grizzly Bear management area is available in GIS. Northern Gray Wolf Wolves occupy several areas of the upper subbasin including parts of Glacier National Park and the North Fork of the Flathead Valley, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, and an area to the east of Kalispell. Wolves have also been documented on the Flathead Indian Reservation. They occasionally pass through the reservation, and they have denned near the southern, northern, and western boundaries. They may eventually repopulate some areas of the reservation. Wolves are habitat generalists and are dependent on healthy prey populations. Big game habitat that wolves utilize include calving and fawning areas, winter range, and summer range. Maintaining healthy prey populations by protecting these important habitats will help to ensure the long-term survival of the wolf within the subbasin. More direct management, such as the protection of denning and rendezvous sites, will also be needed. Canada Lynx The Canadian lynx is listed as a threatened species. The status of the lynx in the subbasin is unknown at this time, although it is known lynx habitat exists and persistent populations exist. Winter track surveys and remote-sensing camera surveys have detected the presence of lynx on the Flathead Indian Reservation in potentially low densities (Tribal Wildlife Management Program unpubl. data). Track surveys throughout the remainder of the subbasin are detecting an increasing distribution of lynx. Studies of their status in the upper Swan drainage and the Middle Fork of the Flathead River are underway. Bald Eagle North of the Flathead Indian Reservation, bald eagle occupy habitats on the three forks and mainstem of the Flathead River, on some of the sloughs adjacent to the river, on the north shore of Flathead Lake, and numerous rivers and lakes throughout the remainder of the subbasin. Twenty bald eagle breeding territories occur within the Flathead Indian Reservation. Most of these are along the lower Flathead River, on islands or the shoreline of Flathead Lake, or along tributaries and irrigation reservoirs. Migrant and overwintering bald eagles may number as high as 70 birds during peak periods. Bald eagles are also present along Flathead Lake. There are 28 occupied territories in the remainder of the Flathead subbasin. The northern portion of the subbasin (except for Glacier National Park) supports a productive bald eagle population. Most nests fledge one, and often two, young per nest. One new territory has been established in each of the last two years. Peregrine Falcon This species was undoubtedly once more common, but habitat destruction and the widespread use of DDT and other pesticides have dramatically reduced the numbers. Since banning DDT in the U.S., and with a captive breeding program in place, peregrine falcons have increased steadily in many parts of their former range. North of the Flathead Indian Reservation, most peregrine observations have been of migratory birds. Recently, some residents have been observed in isolated locations such as Lower Stillwater Lake. However, no surveys have been completed. On the Flathead Indian Reservation, the species probably inhabited portions of the Mission Mountains and possibly the lower Flathead River. Prior to the early 1990s, peregrines were observed as occasional migrants during fall and spring, and were seen during the summer as recently as 1990. In the early 1990s two reintroduction sites were established on the reservation. Reintroduction has been successful at both of these sites, and two additional nesting territories may be productive during 2001. Sensitive Species The tribes and state classify 39 terrestrial, vertebrate wildlife species in the subbasin as sensitive ( REF _Ref495302503 \h Table 17). All are considered sensitive due to low populations, threats to their habitats, or highly restricted distributions. These species do not necessarily have legal protection but are considered sensitive to human activities and attention to their habitat and population needs may be warranted during the planning of resource management activities. The status of many of these species is not known because there have been few population or habitat studies. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 17. Sensitive species AmphibiansBoreal toad Tailed frog BirdsCommon loon Common tern American white pelicanForster’s ternBlack-crowned night-heronBlack tern White-faced ibisYellow-billed cuckoo Trumpeter swanFlammulated owlHarlequin duckBurrowing owlBald eagle Great gray owlNorthern goshawk Boreal owlFerruginous hawkBlack swiftPeregrine falconBlack-backed woodpeckerColumbian sharp-tailed grouseLoggerhead shrikeBlack-necked stiltBaird’s sparrowFranklin’s gullLe conte’s sparrowCaspian ternMammalsTownsend’s big-eared batWoodland caribou Northern bog lemmingWolverineGray wolfFisherGrizzly bearRiver OtterLynx Habitat Areas and Quality Although fish and wildlife are separated in the discussion that follows, the quality of habitat in riparian and wetland areas as well as upland areas affect both fish and wildlife. Upland areas that have been heavily roaded or overgrazed affect big game populations, but they also can contribute sediment to waterways impacting fish and other aquatic organisms. Similarly, when wetlands and riparian areas are lost or degraded, both fish and terrestrial wildlife species suffer. Conversely, habitat improvements in upland areas that are designed to benefit wildlife usually have beneficial effects on fish, just as measures designed to rehabilitate riparian and wetland areas for fish almost certainly benefit wildlife. Fish Barriers to trout movement in the upper part of the subbasin are shown in Plate 11 of Appendix B. Plates 12 through 16 show the general quality of habitat for westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout in the upper part of the subbasin. North, Middle, and South Forks of the Flathead River In the headwaters of the Flathead Subbasin, fish habitat quality is high. Headwater reaches are largely undeveloped in Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall and Great Bear Wilderness, Jewel Basin, and other national forest lands. They retain a high percentage of the original wild attributes and native species complexes. Protection of these remaining pristine areas and reconnection of fragmented habitats in the subbasin are high priorities. The remainder of the upper subbasin ranges from extremely degraded to nearly pristine. Many stream reaches have been blocked to fish passage by man made or natural barriers. Outside of the South Fork of the Flathead drainage, approximately one-third of the spawning areas in the upper half of the subbasin have been degraded by excessive sediment inputs, which have decreased egg-to-fry survival to <30 percent (Weaver and Fraley 1991; 1993). An additional one-third of the remaining spawning reaches are inhabited by introduced fish species that can compete or hybridize with genetically “pure” native stocks. Hungry Horse Dam Impacts on Fish Habitat Hungry Horse Dam impounds the 4,403-km2 South Fork drainage basin. Completion of Hungry Horse Dam in 1952 on the South Fork of the Flathead River inundated 124 km of high-quality spawning and rearing streams. Fish passage structures were never installed in the dam, which became operational in 1953. Complete replacement of this inundated stream habitat is not possible. However, mitigation efforts are underway to protect, re-open, or reconstruct the remaining tributary habitat to offset the loss. Reservoir drawdowns have ranged as deep as 188 feet, exposing over 70 percent of the reservoir area to desiccation and erosion. Drawdown affects all biological trophic levels and influences the probability of subsequent refill during spring runoff. Refill failures are especially harmful to biological production during the productive warm months. Annual drawdowns impede revegetation of the reservoir varial zone, resulting in a littoral zone of nondescript cobble/mud/sand bottom with limited habitat structure. Power operations cause rapid fluctuations in dam discharges (as great as 400 percent change in daily discharge), which are inconsistent with the normative river concept. Flow fluctuations widen the riverine varial zone, which becomes biologically unproductive. Implementing watershed-based dam operations to recover all native species (Marotz et al. 1999) can mitigate this effect. Hungry Horse Dam operation reversed the Flathead River hydrograph for power and flood control and altered the annual temperature regime, causing impacts typical of dam tailwaters. As part of Hungry Horse mitigation, a selective withdrawal, temperature control structure was installed on Hungry Horse Dam. The device restored naturalized water temperatures to 71 river kilometers of the mainstem Flathead River. Model estimates predict a two to three-fold increase in growth potential for the fish that remain in the affected reach due to temperature control. Sampling is ongoing to document the influence on target species and their prey. Fish passage problems in tributaries to Hungry Horse Reservoir were documented following the reconstruction of roads to accommodate higher water levels (Morton 1955; MT Fish and Game Commission 1963). Sixteen percent of the existing westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout spawning and rearing habitat above full-pool elevation was blocked by poorly placed culverts (MDFW&P and CSKT 1991). Natural barriers include beaver dams and sections of stream channels that intermittently become dry due to subsurface water flow. An unforeseen benefit of Hungry Horse Dam is that it has prevented introduced fish species in the lower Flathead system from accessing Hungry Horse Reservoir and its tributaries. Kerr Dam Impacts on Fish Habitat The Kerr Dam project is located on the lower Flathead River approximately 7.2 km downstream from the natural outlet of Flathead Lake. The project includes a 200 foot-high, 381 foot-long dam, a 126,000-acre reservoir, three penstocks, and a powerhouse containing three generating units, each rated at 60 megawatts. Annual operations of the Kerr Project affect the first 35-km of the upper Flathead River, the entire Flathead Lake shoreline, and the entire 116 km of the lower Flathead River below Kerr Dam. Seasonal lake-level fluctuations associated with Kerr Dam operations are considered responsible for causing adverse impacts to shoreline and near-shoreline fisheries habitats. Under the current Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license, continued manipulation of the Flathead Lake hydrograph will result in shoreline habitats (those located within the varial zone, which lies between lake-level elevations 2,893 feet and 2,883 feet) being inundated from June through late fall of every year. Lake levels are then gradually reduced to low pool level (2,883 feet) by April 15, after which the lake-filling cycle begins again. This artificial hydrograph differs from Flathead Lake’s natural hydrograph. Under natural conditions, the lake typically filled to approximately 2,893 feet during the annual June snowmelt period. It then dropped fairly rapidly until it reached approximately 2,883 feet in late summer. The adverse habitat effects of these continued operations include: (1) winter dewatering of preferred shoreline spawning areas for salmonids; (2) degradation of deep spawning habitat (below elevation 2,883 feet) by distribution of fine sediments (a consequence of shoreline erosion during the extended full-pool period); (3) and degradation of varial zone and deeper spawning and rearing habitats for non-salmonid fishes and invertebrates resulting from a reduction in the time of beneficial wave cleaning action due to extended deep-water periods over these habitats. These direct habitat impacts, which limit shoreline invertebrate and juvenile fish production, result in indirect negative impacts to the foraging habitats of other fish species, including native bull and cutthroat trout (FERC 1996, MPC 1990). Flathead Indian Reservation (Lower Flathead River Drainage) General Description The fisheries resources of the Flathead Indian Reservation have been affected by a variety of human activities. The initial and probably greatest influence has been the construction and operation of the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project. Historic impacts from irrigation include stream dewatering, the blockage of migration routes by diversion structures, and the loss of large numbers of fish as water is diverted into the canal system. Another major influence on the reservation fisheries has been the introduction of exotic species. These introductions have produced some thriving fisheries, but have reduced native populations through competition and hybridization. Agriculture and grazing have influenced fisheries by degrading water quality and modifying stream bank vegetation. The primary influence from past forestry practices has been extensive road construction in watersheds, which has resulted in increases in sediment and encroachment on channels. The current goal for reservation forests is to achieve a total road density of less than 6.5 miles of road per square mile by removing 15 percent of road spurs in currently roaded areas. Between 1994 and 1997 the tribes collected samples from 15 streambeds using the McNeil coring method (McNeil and Ahnell 1964). The samples were from sites in both the commercial and noncommercial forest. For each stream the samples contained an average content of particles less than 4.75 mm in diameter ranging from nine to 40 percent. Between 1993 and 1997 the University of Montana Riparian and Wetland Research Program evaluated 102 reaches of stream on the reservation. The average score for all reaches was 74, which is described as a functional riparian condition, but considered at risk if remedial management actions are not taken. Of the 102 inventoried reaches, 15 rated as nonfunctional, 46 were functional-but-at-risk, and 41 were in proper functioning condition. Lower Flathead River The lower Flathead River is unique in its geology and temperature regime. The river cuts through highly erosive lacustrine and alluvial sediments deposited during the life span of glacial Lake Missoula. Cottonwood habitat types and a mixed deciduous/coniferous overstory has been forced toward a conifer-dominated overstory due to the abatement of periodic flooding activity and constrained flows under recent peaking operations (DosSantos et al. 1988). Kerr dam operations historically had significant impacts to the riparian community due to load-following and power-peaking practices. Many of these impacts were addressed in 1997 when the facility was changed to a “baseload” operation under the new license agreement. Current monitoring under mitigation programs centers around assessing the benefits to the biotic community. The river channel itself is largely unaltered by development. The railroad cut off several meander bends or side channels between the town of Dixon and its confluence with the Clark Fork River, but the channel is considered relatively stable. Current impacts to fish habitat quality include bank trampling and vegetation disturbances from grazing and elevated fine sediment input and temperatures from its major tributaries and irrigation return flows. However, due to its size relative to these impacts, fish habitat quality in the mainstem river remains largely unaltered from historic conditions. Naturally high water temperatures occur in the river, primarily due to the configuration of Flathead Lake. A large shallow bay near the outlet of the lake results in high water temperatures that decrease habitat quality for native salmonids in the lower Flathead River, at least seasonally (Hansen, CSKT, pers. com. 2000). During the summer, lower Flathead River water temperatures are 3 to 4� C higher than those recorded in the upper Flathead River above Flathead Lake due to the natural warming of the lake. Summer water temperatures in the main river are near 20� C, as much as 10� C warmer than any lower river tributary inflow. Winter temperatures reach 0.0� C. The average annual water temperature is 9� C (DosSantos et al. 1988). Tributaries The overall health of fish habitat in the upper Jocko River is good to fair. In the lower reaches where water courses have been channelized, water quality degraded, and flows altered, it is poor (CSKT 2000a). Adding to these impacts are problematic irrigation diversions. Important trout spawning areas have been degraded by sedimentation (DosSantos et al. 1988); the sediment originating from irrigation returns and poor riparian management. The habitat quality of all the tributaries to the lower Flathead has suffered significant adverse impacts due to the construction and operation of the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project and general agricultural practices. In general, impacts include the trapping of fish in unscreened irrigation diversions, frequent, erratic changes in streamflow below irrigation diversions, return flows laden with silt, reduced gravel recruitment in streams, and blocking of access to spawning and rearing habitat. Cutthroat Trout and Bull Trout Habitat on the Reservation Populations of cutthroat and bull trout on the Flathead Reservation have been greatly reduced from pre-European levels, and because many of today’s populations are not secure, the decline is continuing. Reasons for the decline include impacts from irrigation practices, the introduction of exotic species, and habitat degradation. Artificial migration barriers have isolated many populations. The barriers have hastened the demise of some populations but protected others by preventing exotic species from invading. Habitat condition will likely stabilize or improve if road densities decrease and road standards improve. Six populations of bull trout survive within the Flathead Indian Reservation. Prior to the construction of dams, adults from these populations may all have shared habitats within the Flathead River and Flathead Lake. Today, three populations are isolated behind dams at the base of the Mission Mountains. They spawn in streams within noncommercial forest lands and are most vulnerable to changes in dam operations and to hybridization with non-native brook trout. There is no timber harvest or roading planned within the ranges of these three populations. The population of bull trout that resides in Flathead Lake spawns off the reservation and is only minimally influenced by forestry activities on the reservation. The populations that reside in the Jocko and Flathead rivers are the most subject to influence by forestry activities. Much of its range is in the forks of the Jocko River, in areas that are noncommercial forest lands. The Jocko population is currently classified as “functioning at unacceptable risk” (Evarts, CSKT, pers. com. 2000). Primary causes for this ranking are identified as habitat fragmentation from irrigation diversions within the Jocko drainage and mainstem Clark Fork River dams. Other impacts include irrigation dewatering, riparian degradation, channelization, and competition from exotic species. By 1999, the Tribal Fisheries Program had identified 21 separate populations of pure-strain westslope cutthroat trout. Most of these are isolated behind barriers and are widely distributed across the forested landscape. Perpetuation of these populations will require protecting habitat, reducing fragmentation, and separating them from introduced brook and rainbow trout. Subbasin-wide Bull Trout Habitat Risk Factors The Montana Bull Trout Study Group identified and rated various habitat risk factors in the subbasin. The major habitat risk factors for the species include: (1) rural residential development especially around Flathead Lake, the North and South forks of the Flathead, and the Swan River; (2) dam operations in the areas affected by Kerr and Hungry Horse Dam operations; (3) forestry practices throughout the subbasin; and (4) agriculture and grazing in the lower Flathead River drainage. These activities have lowered habitat quality for bull trout and threaten to continue to do so in the future. Wildlife Priority Habitats Wildlife habitats that are considered management priorities within Flathead River Subbasin include the following: Riparian Deciduous Forest (Cottonwood/Aspen), Mixed Forest (Deciduous/Conifer), and Riparian Shrublands The habitat integrity and availability of riparian deciduous forest and riparian shrublands have been compromised in many parts of the subbasin, and there are continued threats to these habitats. Generally, degradation has resulted either through interruption or alteration of natural flood processes, or through direct removal of vegetation through grazing, clearing, or logging. Changes in flow regimes can have a profound effect on the mix of seral stages present along river reaches, as cottonwoods require flooding and silt deposition for germination. In many cases where the seasonal pattern of high flows has been removed or stabilized, there is a threat of inadequate recruitment to replace older trees as they die. In the most extreme examples of flow alteration—dewatering on the one hand and inundation through damming on the other—all riparian habitat values can be lost. Mixed forest riparian habitat exhibits co-dominants of cottonwood and ponderosa pine. These are habitat types in successional transition, generally with the coniferous type in some stage of achieving dominance over the cottonwood type. These types provide a large number of niches for a wide variety of wildlife species, but it is likely that in the future they will offer less diverse habitat due to succession toward a dominant conifer type. Specific activities, which have the most direct effects on riparian habitats, include: • Flood control and channelization through rip-rapping and other means; • Dam construction and operation; • Logging, particularly of older cottonwoods for lumber or pulp; • Water diversion for irrigation; • Clearing for agriculture (crops, hay, pasture); • Grazing; • Residential development; and • Recreational use. Riparian Coniferous Forest Many upper elevation reaches are in good to excellent condition because of their inaccessibility. Fire suppression has altered species composition in some areas by favoring western red cedar, western hemlock, and grand fir over seral species such as western larch, sub-alpine fir, and lodgepole pine. Lower and mid-elevation reaches are more susceptible to the pressures of overgrazing, flood and erosion control efforts, irrigation withdrawals, road building, logging, and firewood cutting. Long-term grazing impacts in low elevation stands have reduced shrub, forb, and grass cover and created open understory conditions. Grazing has also destabilized stream banks and increased erosion. Prairie Wetlands Prairie wetland habitats occur in the Mission Valley, and significant conversion of these habitats has occurred there. Pothole habitats have also been impacted by the loss of surrounding uplands from conversion to croplands, degradation of uplands due to overgrazing, subdivision, contaminated runoff from agriculture, selenium contamination (from leaching due to irrigation or saline seeps), invasion by exotic plants (purple loosestrife), road building and filling. Wildlife values of many wetlands have also been dramatically reduced due to fragmentation, isolation, and high disturbance levels from subdivision and resultant high homesite densities. Intermountain Valley Wetlands Unquantified but substantial wetland losses in the subbasin have resulted mostly from filling or draining for subdivisions and agriculture. Intermountain wetlands have also been impacted by development of surrounding uplands (especially cabins and rural subdivisions along shorelines), contaminants, invasion of non-native plants (purple loosestrife), introduction of non-native fish, and disturbance from increasing recreational use. Intermountain Grasslands The most immediate threat comes from conversion of existing native grasslands to other types. Conversion primarily occurs in three ways—urban sprawl, establishing tame pastures, and conversion to cropland. Another major concern is the introduction and spread of noxious weeds, particularly knapweed. Other management issues include: 1) grazing regimes, 2) replacement of fire regimes, 3) fragmentation of existing grasslands, and 4) shrub and tree encroachment. Dry Forest (Ponderosa Pine/Douglas-fir) The major change common to most dry forest types (especially ponderosa pine) in Montana and elsewhere in the American West is a profound alteration in age-class structure, physical structure, tree density, and tree species composition as a result of logging and fire suppression. Stands that were largely dominated by mature and old growth ponderosa pine trees in an open-parkland setting have been changed to abnormally dense stands dominated by younger Douglas-fir trees. Moist Douglas-Fir/Grand Fir The combination of logging and fire suppression has produced a more homogeneous landscape dominated by mid-seral forests, as opposed to historical conditions where more young and old growth forest existed. Whitebark Pine Whitebark pine is associated with the federally listed grizzly bear, which relies on whitebark pine nuts. An assessment of the interior Columbia River Basin found that the amount of area in whitebark pine cover type has declined by 45 percent since the turn of the century. This decline, which has been due to a combination of factors (the most prominent of which are mountain pine beetle and whitepine blister rust), has had strong negative consequences for grizzly bears. Most of the loss occurred in the more productive, seral whitebark pine types, of which 98 percent has been lost. Aspen Aspen trees are in poor condition in many areas of the subbasin. Most of the aspen remaining are in the older age classes and are in critical need of regeneration. Older stands are usually less vigorous and the least likely to regenerate successfully. Competing conifers are currently crowding out many of these stands. Aspen will eventually be lost from these sites. In addition, pure and mixed stands in the older age classes are of low vigor and are often heavily infested with pathogens. Effective fire suppression over the past 50 years has permitted competition and disease to reduce clone vigor to levels lower than would be expected under natural conditions. Compounding the situation, fire suppression has drastically reduced fire-induced regeneration resulting in few younger-aged stands. Many stands have also been converted to pasturelands or can be classed as a grazing disclimax with little or no regeneration because of heavy grazing pressure. Upper Flathead Subbasin habitat areas of special concern Key areas within the Flathead Subbasin critical to native species restoration are experiencing a rapidly progressing change in land ownership and management patterns. Subdivision and residential development of agricultural and timberlands adjacent to waterways in the drainage poses one of the greatest threats to sensitive riparian wildlife. Plum Creek Timber Company, a major landholder in the Flathead drainage, is currently divesting itself of large tracts of its lakeshore and streamside holdings basin-wide. Growth of small tract development throughout the area and its tributaries is occurring at a record rate. Flathead Indian Reservation (Lower Flathead River Drainage) habitat areas of special concern Plate 17 in Appendix B shows habitat areas of special concern for wildlife on the Flathead Indian Reservation. This map is not inclusive, however. Wetlands, stream corridors, and riparian areas are important for wildlife but could not be effectively mapped at this scale. In addition, there are many other unmapped dispersed or local sites on forested and open lands that are valuable wildlife habitat. Zone 1 habitat for grizzly bears constitutes critical habitat and recovery areas. Zone 2 habitat is the area immediately adjacent, is occupied by grizzly bears, and that has the potential to be reclassified to Zone 1. In many parts of the Flathead Indian Reservation human activities continue to diminish wildlife habitats. Perhaps the most noticeable changes are reductions in the ranges of larger carnivores such as the northern gray wolf and grizzly bear. Another significant change is loss of big game winter range due to high road densities, housing developments, and competition with livestock. In addition, the habitats of other species have been altered by fire suppression, logging, grazing, various forms of development, and the introduction of exotic plant and animal species. Fire suppression alone has had major consequences. For example, at low elevations, open stands of old ponderosa pine, which provided important habitat for many wildlife species, have been converted to dense thickets of Douglas-fir. At higher elevations, fire exclusion policies have meant fewer natural openings, which also provide important habitat. Although there is still great ecological diversity on the Flathead Reservation, humans have altered many of the natural ecological processes that influence wildlife habitats. Arresting the degradation and managing wildlife for the long-term benefit of tribal members is one of the tribes’ highest priorities. Flathead Lake The wildlife habitat along the edge of Flathead Lake has changed greatly since the beginning of operations at Kerr Dam due to changes in the natural hydrograph coupled with seasonal flooding of an additional ten vertical feet of lake shoreline habitats. The desiccation and flooding regime existing under past and current operations of Kerr Dam have adversely impacted 1,792 acres of wetland and riparian habitat along the shoreline of the lake. These habitat changes will not be repaired under the current and future operations. Under past operations, shallow bays, which were emergent marshes during much of the year, became either dry mudflats or inundated shallow areas, depending upon the time of year. Other areas that supported riparian vegetation were affected by higher and longer water levels and were converted to areas of bare ground due to inundation (Mackey et al. 1987, Mack et al. 1990). The altered hydrograph has created a more stable annual hydrograph, which has allowed for homesite development on most of the lake shoreline, with an attendant level of wildlife habitat loss or degradation. Lower Flathead River The annual hydrograph for the lower Flathead River shows a reduction in peak flows and an increase in winter flows from the pre-impoundment hydrograph. These changes in flows cause the normally vegetated varial zone to become abnormally inundated. Similar to the lake, this does not allow riparian vegetation to exist where it normally would. This is especially true in the lower half of the river’s course. The area between the high and low water levels of these two reaches has become a largely unvegetated zone dominated by mud and rock. Deciduous and mixed deciduous/coniferous vegetation has moved toward a conifer-dominated vegetative community due to the curtailment of periodic flooding activity and constrained flows under recent peaking operations. Studies have also shown that constant fluctuation in water levels and flows have not allowed a stable enough situation for vegetation to become established (Mackey et al. 1987, Mack et al. 1990, Hansen and Suchomel 1990). Other habitat impacts associated with Kerr Dam include: dewatering of the floodplain, which has resulted in the direct loss of approximately 6,731 acres of riparian area and accelerated the conversion of riparian areas to agricultural lands and livestock grazing; a reduction in the recruitment of early successional riparian species such as cottonwood and sandbar willow; and wetland losses (2,352 acres) within the zone of fluctuating water levels (CSKT 2000b). Other Habitats The Mission Valley contains a (unique), high density of prairie pothole wetlands. Tributary streams trend from low sinuosity, gravel-bedded streams near the mountain front, to more sinuous or winding silt and gravel-bedded streams near the valley floor. Several small valley-floor tributaries or segments of tributaries (in addition to Ronan Spring Creek) are sustained by ground-water discharge. Many reservation streams contain excellent wetland and wet meadow habitats. Adjacent uplands are largely used for agriculture, primarily pasture and hay and grain production. The lower part of many of the drainages encompass scattered shrub-dominated and grassland sites bordered mainly by irrigated agricultural lands used for pasture and hay production. Watershed Assessment Watershed assessments are an important tool for identifying projects and limiting factors. Past studies and habitat surveys provide extensive assessment-type data. In 1977, the U.S. Congress funded an “overview environmental impact study” to assess the impacts of population growth and proposed natural resource development in the Flathead River Subbasin. The study, which ran from 1978 to 1985, was funded through the Environmental Protection Agency and included a significant program of basic research on the condition of the subbasin’s water, land, air, and socio-cultural resources. The most intensive research effort was directed toward aquatic systems on Flathead Lake and its major tributaries. In all, more than one hundred original research documents were produced during the course of the study. Among the most significant assessments were fish and habitat inventories of streams in the North and Middle Forks drainages of the Flathead River (Read et al. 1982 and Weaver et al. 1983). In the 1980s and 1990s, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) funded a series of fish and wildlife studies in the basin as part of the agency’s program to protect, mitigate, and enhance fish and wildlife affected by the development and operation of hydroelectric facilities on the Columbia River and its tributaries. Under this funding, MDFW&P conducted studies of kokanee in Flathead Lake (Decker-Hess and Clancey 1984) and the upper Flathead River (Fraley 1984). The agency also examined Hungry Horse-caused fishery losses in the Flathead system (Zubik and Fraley 1987) and studied Canada geese (Casey et al. 1984) in the northern Flathead Valley. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes studied Canada geese in the southern Flathead valley (Mackey et al. 1985) and the fishery in the lower Flathead system (DosSantos, et al. 1988). The Forest Plan for the Flathead National Forest, completed in the mid-1980s contains assessment information for those portions of the subbasin managed by the US Forest Service (Brannon, E.B. 1985). Under contract with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), staff of the Flathead Lake Biological Station studied the aquatic insects of the lower Flathead River (Hauer and Potter 1986). Among the other assessment-type reports authored in part or whole by Flathead Lake Biological Station personnel are: Baseline water quality conditions for the North Fork Flathead River, British Columbia and Montana (Appleman et al. 1990); Hydrologic data for the North Fork Flathead River, British Columbia and Montana (Appleman et al. 1990); Limnology of Flathead Lake; and Water Quality Data and Analyses to Aid in the Development of Revised Water Quality Targets for Flathead Lake, Montana (Stanford et al. 1997). The station has also issued numerous water quality monitoring reports for the lake and tributaries and conducted many aquatic surveys and research investigations in the subbasin. It maintains an extensive scientific database on a variety of fisheries-related aspects of lake limnology and other related topics. In 1987, MDFW&P issued a report titled Effects of Water Level Fluctuations on Aquatic Furbearer Distribution, Abundance and Habitat in the Northern Flathead Valley (Bissell and Brown 1987). The project was designed to determine the effects of Kerr Dam on semi-aquatic furbearers in the upper Flathead. Another effort focused on the effects of water level fluctuations on ospreys and bald eagles in the upper Flathead. Both these projects were coordinated with similar efforts conducted for the BIA in the lower Flathead drainage (Mack et al. 1990). The Montana Riparian and Wetland Association conducted a riparian inventory of the lower Flathead River in 1990. The association also gathered riparian condition data on selected reservation watersheds from 1993 to 1997 (MRWA, unpublished data 1993-97). The MDFW&P and CSKT issued the Hungry Horse Dam Fisheries Mitigation (1991) and Implementation Plan (1993) for losses attributed to the construction and operation of Hungry Horse Dam. In 1985, MDFW&P issued the Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat Mitigation Plan for Construction of Hungry Horse Dam (Bissell and Yde 1985). The mitigation plans quantify fish and wildlife losses and mitigation actions above and below Hungry Horse Dam, as called for by the Northwest Power Planning Council’s (NWPPC) Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program (Program). In 1992 the CSKT completed a management plan for the lower Flathead River that compiled general assessment information, especially on human use (CSKT 1992). National Wetlands Inventory maps were produced for the Flathead Indian Reservation in 1992 under a cost-share agreement between the tribes and USFWS. In 1995 the CSKT issued a report on the status of amphibian and reptiles on the Flathead Indian Reservation (Werner et al. 1995). The BIA completed an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the segment of the Yellowstone Pipeline that cuts through the southern part of the Flathead Indian Reservation. The document contains assessment information for watersheds along the pipeline route, most notably, the lower Flathead River west of Dixon. Bull trout assessments and recovery actions are coordinated with the Montana Bull Trout Scientific Team, USFWS, and BC Environment. In the mid-1990s, the Montana Bull Trout Study Group compiled a series of bull trout status reports. Status reports that include waters within the Flathead Subbasin are (1) Middle Clark Fork River including the lower Flathead River to Kerr Dam; (2) Flathead Lake, including the North and Middle forks of the Flathead River and Stillwater and Whitefish Rivers (3) South Fork of the Flathead River, upstream of Hungry Horse Dam; and (4) Swan Lake/River. These status reports are intended to provide the most current and accurate information available to the Bull Trout Restoration Team and local bull trout watershed groups. In 1996, Makepeace and Mladenich documented the contribution of nearshore nutrient loads to Flathead Lake. In 1997 the Flathead Basin Commission issued a report prepared by the Flathead Lake Biological Station titled Water Quality Data and Analyses to Aid in the Development of Revised Water Quality Targets for Flathead Lake, Montana. The report examines long-term trends and relationships in Flathead Lake nutrient loading data and in-lake responses from the long-term monitoring program. It also presents the results of synoptic studies done during 1995-6 that was designed to better understand anthropogenic sources of nutrients from within the watershed. Research and monitoring of the threatened bull trout and the petitioned westslope cutthroat trout is a collaborative effort between MDFW&P and CSKT. The backbone of the existing fisheries knowledge on Flathead Lake comes from data collected over many years by the fisheries co-managers—CSKT and MDFW&P. North of the lake, most of the work is conducted by MDFW&P, south of the lake, by CSKT. Deleray and others (1999) summarize recent survey work done by MDFW&P and CSKT. The work summarized in this report includes: (1) Flathead Lake monitoring (annual relative fish abundance surveys, lake trout otolith analysis, lake trout tagging, lake trout food habits study, Mercury and PCBs in fishes, angler creel surveys, kokanee reintroduction test, bioenergentic modeling; (2) Hungry Horse Reservoir gill net surveys; (3) Flathead River mainstem and South, Middle and North Fork monitoring (water temperature monitoring and assessment of selective withdrawal, westslope cutthroat trout abundance estimates, Flathead River winter trout abundance, and angler cutthroat trout tagging project); and (4) tributary stream monitoring (streambed coring, substrate scoring, stream electrofishing/juvenile salmonid abundance estimates, and bull trout redd counts). Fisheries assessment data collected by and held at the MDFW&P Kalispell office includes: annual counts of spawning redds in index streams correlated with periodic basin- wide redd surveys; site specific redd counts and migrant trapping to document the strength of spawning runs before and after habitat restoration and /or fish passage improvements; mark/recapture and extinction method population estimates and annual or seasonal gill net surveys to document population trends and community structure; angler creel census (watershed-wide and site specific); photo-point documentation of habitat improvements; quantitative habitat surveys; sediment coring and scoring in spawning areas, correlated with results of fry emergence trapping over the range of sediment types; measures of fish growth, fecundity and condition factor that can be related to environmental factors; water temperature monitoring specifically related to riparian restoration and the selective withdrawal structure on Hungry Horse Dam; and measures of total available habitat and habitat use as related to dam discharge. In 1998, CSKT and MDFW&P prepared the Dayton Creek Watershed Restoration Progress Report Information pertaining to limiting factors, water quality, fish species present, and riparian function are contained in this report (DuCharme et al. 1998). CSKT (Makepeace 1998) described stream channel morphology at reference reaches in forested watersheds on the Flathead Reservation. The Wetlands Conservation Plan for the Flathead Indian Reservation (Price 1999) contains general assessment-type information for wetland and riparian areas on the reservation. In 2000, the CSKT issued a comprehensive report titled: Nonpoint Source Assessment for Stream, Rivers, Lakes, and Wetlands of the Flathead Indian Reservation. It describes watershed analysis areas, places waterbodies within attainability groups, and outlines existing tribal programs and resource management efforts that can address nonpoint source management issues (Makepeace 2000). The CSKT completed a forest management plan and EIS in 2000 for over half a million acres of forest land on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Both the EIS and the draft and final plan contain general assessment information on forested reservation watersheds within the reservation (Rockwell et al. 2000). A watershed plan for the Jocko River Watershed on the Flathead Indian Reservation was completed in 2000. This document compiles all existing natural resource information for the Jocko River (CSKT 2000). The Fish and Wildlife Implementation Strategy and Annual Reports for the Kerr Mitigation Project (CSKT 2000b) contain assessment information for watersheds on the Flathead Reservation. Other water quality assessment information comes from work currently in progress by the Flathead Basin Commission (FBC), University of Montana Yellow Bay Biological Station, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. This includes water quality monitoring done by the FBC as well as work done in conjunction with MDFW&P through FBC’s Volunteer Monitor Program. Yellow Bay Biological Station conducts water quality analyses in their mid-Flathead Lake studies. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have a Water Quality Program which tracks water quality within the reservation’s boundaries. This program also monitors water supply or streamflow discharge monitoring, fluvial geomorphology, sediment levels, and the presence/absence of aquatic invertebrates to determine lake, stream, and river health. A great deal of the data that has been collected in various assessments conducted within the subbasin have been digitized and are stored in various Geographic Information System (GIS) databases. The CSKT Natural Resources Department and the Montana State Library (the Montana Natural Resource Information System (NRIS) and the Montana Rivers Information System MRIS keep the databases). Limiting Factors At almost six million acres, the Flathead Subbasin is roughly the size of New Hampshire. Because habitats and land uses vary across such a large area, the limiting factors in the subbasin also differ, depending on where you are. The following list groups the subbasin into six zones based upon the major types of waterbodies and land uses and lists the primary limiting factors for each. The list is followed by a brief description of each of the limiting factors. Headwaters and Associated Uplands (includes all mountain tributaries)Fragmentation Sedimentation (fish) Non-native Species Interactions (fish and wildlife) Vegetation Change (fish and wildlife)Impoundments (includes Hungry Horse Res., Flathead Lk, Swan Lk, and irrig. impoundments)Non-native Species Interactions (fish) Fragmentation of Habitat (fish and wildlife) Cultural Eutrophication — Flathead Lake only (fish) Inundation and Water Fluctuations (fish and wildlife)Regulated Mainstems (includes South Fork, Upper Flathead, Lower Flathead, Jocko River)Altered Hydrograph (fish and wildlife) Floodplain Alterations – includes bank instability and floodplain restrictions (fish and wildlife) Non-native Species Interactions (fish)Unregulated Mainstems (includes North Fork, Middle Fork, and Swan Rivers)Non-native Species Interactions (fish and wildlife) Fragmentation of Habitat (wildlife) Human/Wildlife Conflicts (fish and wildlife)Valley Tributaries & Wetlands (includes all valley tributaries and the Whitefish and Stillwater Rivers)Floodplain Alterations (fish and wildlife) Sedimentation (fish) Non-native Species Interactions (fish and wildlife) Temperature Changes (fish) Fragmentation of Habitat (fish and wildlife) Human/Wildlife Conflicts (fish and wildlife)Lakes (includes connected and closed-basin lakes)Non-native Species Interactions (fish and wildlife) Human/Wildlife Conflicts (fish and wildlife) Alteration of the Littoral Zone (fish and wildlife) Cultural Eutrophication (fish) Alteration of the Littoral Zone The Flathead Subbasin has experienced significant growth and development over the past twenty years, much of it near or adjacent to lakes and streams. The result has been the loss of significant riparian and wetland areas, which is some of the most important fish and wildlife habitat in the subbasin. These areas are important because so many species depend on them. For example, of the 256 resident and migratory bird species that occur on the Flathead Indian Reservation, 142 depend on wetlands and riparian areas for one or more of their habitat requirements. These areas are used by many of the subbasin’s threatened, endangered, and sensitive species, for example: trumpeter swans, bald eagles, grizzly bears, boreal toads, and leopard frogs. Wetlands and riparian areas also provide much of the food consumed by a number of fish species. In addition, they serve as nurseries and spawning areas. The loss of riparian areas has resulted in a net loss of security cover, bank stability, and pool formation. Altered Hydrograph Hydropower related discharge fluctuations on the South Fork and upper mainstem of the Flathead River have resulted in a wider zone of water fluctuation, or varial zone, which has become biologically unproductive. Reduction in natural spring freshets due to flood control has reduced the hydraulic energy needed to maintain the river channel and periodically re-sort river gravels. Collapsing riverbanks caused by intermittent flow fluctuation and lack of flushing flows have resulted in sediment buildup in the river cobbles, which is detrimental to insect production, fish food availability, and security cover. Changes in the annual hydrograph for the lower Flathead River cause the normally vegetated varial zone to become abnormally inundated. This does not allow riparian vegetation to exist where it normally would. The area between the high and low water levels has become a largely unvegetated varial zone dominated by mud and rock. Deciduous and mixed deciduous/coniferous vegetation has moved toward a conifer-dominated vegetative community due to the curtailment of periodic flooding activity and constrained flows under recent peaking operations. Studies have also shown that constant fluctuation in water levels and flows have not allowed a stable enough situation for vegetation to become established (Mackey et al. 1987, Mack et al. 1990, Hansen and Suchomel 1990). Cultural Eutrophication Open-water primary production is a main measure of water quality in lakes like the Flathead.� This is a very sensitive measure of the ability of a lake to grow algae.� Lakes polluted with plant-growth nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, typically have high rates of primary production, poor water clarity due to blooms of algae, and bad tastes and odors associated with the decomposition of the blooms.� These are symptoms of a process called eutrophication, which in its worst stages can result in floating mats of blue green algae and dense growths of aquatic macrophytes. Over the long-term, primary production has steadily increased in Flathead Lake, although the rate of increase slowed substantially in the mid-1990s. The reduction has been due primarily to substantial improvements in the Flathead Basin’s urban sewage treatment plants during the period from 1989 to 1993, which reduced human sources of nutrient pollution by about 15 percent (Stanford 1999).� However, in 1997 and 1998, nitrogen concentrations in the Stillwater River and the upper mainstem Flathead River were among the highest levels ever recorded.� Anthropogenic sources of nitrogen and phosphorus in those rivers include runoff from hard surfaces (parking lots, city streets) and near-shore housing construction, poorly managed farm and timberlands and groundwater pollution from faulty household drain fields.� The long-term record shows that as much as 40 percent of the annual input of phosphorus to Flathead Lake comes from the airshed. The nutrient is contained in particulates from slash and other burning and fugitive dust from rural roads.� This so-called “nonpoint nutrient loading” in the Flathead Basin is a very serious pollution problem and it is getting worse.� Floodplain Alterations Channelization, road fill, bank armoring and other encroachments along stream segments have narrowed channels and limited meander inside floodplains. This has created shorter channels, steeper gradients, higher velocities, loss of storage and recharge capacity, bed armoring, and entrenchment. In impacted stream reaches, even minor flood events have often resulted in significant deterioration. Erosion has increased, and the number of pools and the extent of riparian cover has decreased. The changes have lowered the quality of fish and wildlife habitat. Fragmentation of Habitat Fish migrations have been blocked from other man-caused barriers, including road culverts, dewatered stream reaches, irrigation diversions, etc. For wildlife, fragmentation has been caused by a combination of human and natural factors. Human factors include timber harvesting, housing development, power transmission lines, hydroelectric development, and road construction. Fragmentation has had negative effects on many species, but it has especially affected species like lynx, fisher, and pileated woodpecker that require large, contiguous forest patches. Species like elk, mule deer, and sharp-tailed grouse, that need large open patches, have also suffered from human-caused fragmentation. Human/Wildlife Conflicts Increasing numbers of humans in sensitive wildlife habitats has led to an increasing number of human/wildlife conflicts. For example, increasing residential development and recreational activities has resulted in an increase in human-caused grizzly bear mortality. It has led to winter recreationists displacing wintering elk; jet skis disturbing nesting loons, and poachers illegally harvesting bull trout. Humans continue to introduce non-native fish species that impact native species restoration efforts. Inundation and Water Fluctuations When Hungry Horse Reservoir filled, 124 km of high quality stream habitat was lost. Filling of the reservoir also inundated large areas of low elevation forest, wetland, and riparian habitats, including seasonal habitat for a wide variety of avifauna, spring and fall grizzly bear habitat, and important big game range and calving areas. Excessive reservoir drawdowns now expose vast expanses of reservoir bottom to drying, thus killing aquatic insects, which are the primary spring food supply. Reduced reservoir pool volume impacts all aquatic trophic levels due to the diminished size of the aquatic environment. During summer, reservoir drawdown reduces the availability of terrestrial insects for fish prey because fewer insects are trapped on the diminished surface area. Impoundment by Hungry Horse Dam and the removal of riparian vegetation altered the annual temperature cycle in the river. These changes have affected the food base for the many wildlife species that feed on aquatic organisms. Seasonal lake level fluctuations associated with Kerr Dam operations are considered responsible for causing adverse impacts to shoreline, near-shoreline fisheries habitats, and the Flathead River upstream of the lake. Under the current FERC license, continued manipulation of the Flathead Lake hydrograph will result in shoreline habitats being inundated from June through late fall of every year. The adverse habitat effects of these continued operations include: (1) winter dewatering of preferred shoreline spawning areas for salmonids; (2) degradation of deep spawning habitat (below elevation 2,883) by distribution of fine sediments (a consequence of shoreline erosion during the extended full-pool period); (3) and degradation of varial zone and deeper spawning and rearing habitats for non-salmonid fishes and invertebrates resulting from a reduction in the time of beneficial wave cleaning action due to extended deep-water periods over these habitats. These direct habitat impacts, which limit shoreline invertebrate and juvenile fish production, result in indirect negative impacts to the foraging habitats of other fish species, including native bull and cutthroat trout (FERC 1996, MPC 1990). Shallow bays, which were emergent marshes during much of the year, are now either dry mudflats or inundated shallow areas, depending upon the time of year. This has eliminated habitat for wildlife. Other areas that supported riparian vegetation, including 35 km of the Flathead River upstream of Flathead Lake, have been affected by higher water levels for longer periods; have been converted to areas of bare ground due to inundation and subsequent dewatering (Mackey et al. 1987, Mack et al. 1990). These changes have affected the food base for the many wildlife species that feed on aquatic organisms. Non-native Species Interactions Non-native species now threaten the diversity and abundance of native species and the ecological stability of ecosystems in the subbasin. Illegal and unintentional introductions of non-native fish species have set up negative inter-species competition with native fish. Non-native species have also hybridized with native species. Conversely, impoundment has greatly benefited the native northern pikeminnow and peamouth chub, which now compete with or prey upon species of special concern for food and space. The introduction of opossum shrimp (Mysis relicta) into the Flathead system has had serious repercussions on the Flathead Lake kokanee salmon. The introduction of kokanee salmon and lake trout into Flathead Lake may have adverse effects on native bull and westslope cutthroat trout. Bullfrogs on the lower Flathead River have displaced native chorus and spotted frogs. The quality of fish and wildlife habitat has been reduced or eliminated by a host of exotic plants (noxious weeds) able to out-compete native species. Sedimentation Logging activities, road building, residential development, and agricultural practices have increased the amount of fine sediments entering streams. Fine sediments accumulating in spawning substrates reduce egg-to-fry survival. In some areas sedimentation has reduced natural reproduction to the point that it is insufficient to fully seed available rearing habitat with juvenile fish. Pools and rearing habitat have become clogged with sediment, reducing the productive capacity of the stream. Sediment has also killed aquatic insects and algae. All of these changes have affected the food base for the many wildlife species that feed on aquatic organisms. Temperature Changes The removal of riparian vegetation, especially trees and overhanging shrubs, has changed stream water temperatures, making the water warmer in the summer and colder in the winter. These changes have interfered with fish spawning and generally degraded the quality of stream habitats for native fish and other aquatic life. This has affected the food base for the many wildlife species that feed on aquatic organisms. Vegetation Changes Fire exclusion policies and logging have fundamentally transformed the structure and composition of subbasin forests. At lower elevations, dense thickets of Douglas fir have replaced open park-like stands of ponderosa pine. Mid-elevation forests, which historically formed a complex mosaic composed of many different patch sizes, age structures, and species, have become much more uniform. As a result, there has been a significant loss of habitat diversity, and habitats important to some species, like the grizzly bear, have become much less common. The changes have also altered runoff patterns, which has adversely affected fish and other aquatic organisms. Artificial Production A Hatchery Genetics Management Plan (HGMP) for the Creston National Fish Hatchery is included in Appendix A. The bull trout facility at the Creston Hatchery allows for experimental culture of bull trout in captivity. Initially, gametes from wild adults were hatched to provide eggs, fry, and fingerlings for an imprint-timing experiment. Developing eggs, fry, and fingerlings were incrementally sacrificed to measure thyroxine hormone levels, a surrogate for determining when the fish imprint on their water source. Remaining juveniles were reared through adult stage and spawned in captivity. Progeny have provided a source for experiments on temperature sensitivity and susceptibility to whirling disease. This benefited the listed population through increased knowledge and by reducing the need to take individuals from wild stocks. Approximately 50,000 rainbow trout and 60,000 cutthroat trout are reared at Creston annually to provide subsistence and recreational fisheries for tribal and non-tribal anglers in closed-basin lakes on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Approximately 20,000 westslope cutthroat trout were propagated at Creston in 1999 and 35,000 in 2000 for release in closed-basin lakes in State-managed waters. Nearly all of the offsite lakes planted under this program do not support natural reproduction. Where natural reproduction is possible, the primary objective is to create genetic reserves for isolated populations of native stocks. In these cases, habitat restoration is performed to enhance fish passage and natural reproduction in the closed system. This hatchery program does not supply fish to waters scheduled for native species restoration. The closed-basin lakes that are planted through this program provide alternative fisheries to meet public demands for harvest and partially offset fishing bans or reduced limits enacted for native species recovery. This program may indirectly benefit native species recovery by redirecting harvest away from sensitive recovery areas in the contiguous Flathead watershed. Rehabilitated lakes remove undesirable species that are a source for additional illegal introductions (e.g. illegally introduced yellow perch, northern pike, sunfish, fathead minnow and in one case, grass carp). Occasionally, illegal introductions occur after lakes have been reclaimed and fisheries established. This negatively impacts the program. An additional chemical treatment may be required within approximately ten years. During the interim, fisheries established by this program remain viable until the undesirable introduced fish become reestablished. The offsite lakes program is monitored through periodic gill net surveys, angler interviews, and the annual statewide angler creel survey. Stocking rates are established to a large degree by trial and error. Gill netting provides data on species relative to abundance, growth rates, and fish-condition factor. Angler surveys are qualitative indicators of catch rates, angler satisfaction, and rough estimates of harvest. Although rigorous quantitative analyses of CPUE, survival, and total harvest are possible, the number of lakes involved makes this level of monitoring economically impractical. Rigorous sampling is reserved for aspects of the Hungry Horse Mitigation Program directed toward native species restoration. Qualitative assessments have shown that small, closed-basin lakes yield an efficient hatchery-plant to angler-creel ratio. Project lakes are put, grow, and take fisheries, entirely dependent on artificial production to support the fishery. Many have been chemically rehabilitated to remove illegally introduced species. Gill netting, site visits to interview anglers, and an annual statewide angler creel survey provide managers with qualitative information on species composition, growth, condition factor, and angling success. Periodic spot checks at individual lakes have revealed great success. For instance, angler pressure on Lion Lake grew to the highest small lake in Region One. Sekokini Springs Natural Rearing Facility and Interpretive Center Sekokini Springs was a private trout pond that propagated rainbow trout for purchase by private pond owners. Unfortunately the site probably leaked rainbow trout into the Flathead River, where they were a threat to the native westslope cutthroat population. Evidence suggests that rainbow trout escaped for nearly 40 years. The Hungry Horse Mitigation program first leased the site to remove all rainbow trout from the facility. After removing trout from the water source and performing a comprehensive analysis for fish diseases, the State fish health specialist listed the Sekokini Springs water source as safe for experimental culture of westslope cutthroat trout. The program then bought the improvements on the US Forest Service property and secured a no-cost special use permit for use of the site by MDFW&P and CSKT. With the cooperation of the USFWS Creston National Fish Hatchery, approximately 40,000 fingerling westslope cutthroat (designated pure strain M012 brood source) were reared to assess the water source at Sekokini Springs. The water source follows a natural annual flow and temperature regime that successfully raised westslope cutthroat with an exceptional condition factor. The M012 fish were planted in closed-basin lakes. There are no fish at the site at this time. Sekokini Springs is in step one of the NWPPC’s three-step Artificial Review Process. A genetic management plan is being developed prior to any additional fish being moved to the site. Three spring sources that provide water to the small hatchery building and outdoor rearing streams will be capped to protect the site from fish diseases. Partnerships have been formed with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and U.S. Forest Service to develop a master plan for the site. Other groups (such as Trout Unlimited and Boy Scouts of America) have shown interest in cooperating on renovating the habitat at the site. BOR has contributed $70,000 for an interpretive pathway featuring water conservation. Future plans for the pathway include two fish viewing areas and exhibits explaining the need for native species restoration. Future plans are to allow for natural reproduction of westslope cutthroat from the Flathead River and experimental outdoor rearing of up to six genetic strains of wild cutthroat trout from the Flathead watershed. The genetic management plan and future uses are being drafted for peer review. Needs for local genetic strains include restoration of wild runs where natives have been extirpated to replace hybridized populations in headwater lakes that are threatening pure westslope cutthroat trout stocks downstream in each drainage. Periodic spot checks at individual lakes stocked with M012 cutthroat trout from Sekokini Springs have revealed great success. For instance, Rogers Lake now supports a genetic reserve for Red Rocks Lake fluvial grayling (provided by the state of Montana hatchery system) and a major fishery for westslope cutthroat trout (Knotek et al. 1997). Existing and Past Efforts Summary of Past Efforts From 1982 through 1985, MDFW&P and CSKT compiled biological data needed to construct the quantitative reservoir model HRMOD. With aid from Montana State University (MSU), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), BOR, Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and scientific reviews, Montana completed the model and developed Biological Rule Curves (BRCs) for Hungry Horse Dam (first published in 1989). The BRCs were integrated with power and flood control during the Columbia Basin System Operation Review, and by 1995 the Integrated Rule Curves were completed and adopted by the Northwest Power Planning Council (NWPPC). The IRCs were subsequently superseded by operations dictated by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and have not been fully implemented to date. Habitat restoration efforts outlined in the Mitigation Plan have been completed or are ongoing. Monitoring and evaluation of restoration techniques and fish population responses continues. Cooperative programs and projects have been established with a variety of other entities for ongoing agency management and regulatory activities. MDFW&P modeled the potential of retrofitting Hungry Horse Dam with a temperature control structure to modify downstream temperatures. This selective withdrawal structure was funded through a congressional appropriation and became functional in 1996. Temperatures have been returned to naturalized conditions in 71 km of the mainstem Flathead River. Kokanee reintroduction was attempted but unsuccessful in Flathead Lake from 1992 through 1997. That program at the USFWS Creston National Fish Hatchery has now shifted to using standard and experimental hatchery techniques to hatch and rear native species at low densities for restoration stocking and to create fishing opportunities in closed-basin lakes using native, and where appropriate, non-native trout. Public education and new angling opportunities are being used to redirect angling pressure and harvest away from sensitive recovery areas. In the first 24 months, the CSKT Focus Watershed Program began coordinating and assisting in several local projects including Dayton Creek, the east and south forks of Valley Creek, Marsh Creek, Post Creek, Mission Creek, DuCharme Creek, the Little Bitterroot River, and Jocko River. The watershed coordinator has worked closely with the Flathead Basin Commission, Bull Trout Restoration Team, Lake, Lincoln, Sanders, and Flathead County Conservation Districts, NRCS personnel, tribal personnel, Montana Watercourse, Montana Watershed Inc., and several locally led community interest groups. Over 10,000 acres of wildlife habitat have been enhanced or conserved through mitigation projects funded in partnership with BPA since the 1970s. This work has resulted in over 4,000 acres of mitigation credit for wildlife habitat losses associated with Hungry Horse Dam. MDFW&P have completed 21 percent of upland forest losses, and 29 percent of riparian/wetland losses. REF _Ref495303512 \h Table 18 summarizes acres of wildlife habitat lost to hydroelectric development, mitigation accomplished through July 2000, and mitigation remaining for each component of the program. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 18. Acres of wildlife habitat lost to hydroelectric development, mitigation accomplished through July 2000, and mitigation remaining Habitat CategoryHungry HorseHydropower LossesMitigated through 7/00Mitigation RemainingRiparian/Wetland6,8765,2261,5003,726Upland Forest16,80412,7712,70110,070Total23,68017,9974,20113,796 Kastler (1998) completed a graduate study of elk reproductive success in the South Fork of the Flathead River. In 1996, Bissell completed the Hungry Horse and Libby Riparian/Wetland Habitat Conservation Implementation Plan, which describes the means by which MDFW&P will implement this program from 1996 through 2006 (Bissell 1996). Mace and Waller (1997) provided a compilation of published and unpublished data obtained from radio instrumented grizzly bears in the Swan Mountains. Their report includes information on resource selection, denning ecology, spatial and temporal interactions, and grizzly relationships to the human environment, activity and time budgets, and demography and population trends. Accomplishments by Year 1992 MDFW&P completed a study examining the enhancement of benthic insect production in Hungry Horse Reservoir. The study concluded that insect production can be enhanced through installation of slash piles, but the practice was not implemented fully because its cost effectiveness was questionable. MDFW&P completed a chemical rehabilitation of Lion Lake in which illegally introduced perch and pumpkinseed were removed. The lake is located approximately 1.6 km from Hungry Horse Reservoir. The project restored the trout fishery and increased angler use nearly ten-fold. The lake had the highest angler pressure per acre among some 500 lakes in northwestern Montana. 1993 Brook trout were eradicated and spawning and rearing habitat was enhanced in Elliott Creek, a direct tributary to the Flathead River. The project partially met the biological objective in that brook trout eradication was not complete, but cutthroat trout were established. They spawned and offspring were reared in improved habitat. MDFW&P completed the offsite chemical rehabilitation of Rogers Lake in which perch were removed and cutthroat trout and arctic grayling were reestablished. The lake is now a genetic reserve for the rare Red Rocks Lake strain of arctic grayling. 1994 CSKT completed the 1992-93 Flathead Lake Creel survey. MDFW&P chemically rehabilitated Devine Lake, successfully eradicating non-native brook trout in order to reduce the hybridization threat to bull trout in Hungry Horse Reservoir, one of the strongest remaining populations. MDFW&P also completed a bank stabilization and sediment abatement project at a massive landslide in Big Creek, a major bull trout-spawning stream. The slide was directly above a known spawning area. The large bank slump was re-vegetated and stabilized, reducing sediment inputs to bull trout spawning areas downstream. 1995 CSKT reconstructed groundwater seepage on Polson Golf Course into a stream channel flowing into Flathead Lake. MDFW&P completed sediment-source surveys on road systems associated with six major, connected, bull trout spawning tributaries to Hungry Horse Reservoir. MDFW&P completed a cooperative culvert-improvement project on Margaret Creek, a direct tributary to Hungry Horse Reservoir. The project opened 3.8 km of high quality habitat. Adfluvial cutthroat redds and juvenile bull trout are now upstream of a former culvert barrier. MDFW&P also completed thermal modeling and the installation of selective withdrawal structures on Hungry Horse Dam to restore normative river temperatures (Marotz et al. 1994; Christenson et al. 1996). Thermal targets are now being met (1996-98). The response of benthic invertebrates and fluvial fish is being evaluated in the Flathead River. 1996 A fish ladder at Taylor’s Outflow was completed to allow access for spawning populations of cutthroat trout in the Flathead River. A trap weir now excludes rainbow trout attempting to enter the stream. Westslope cutthroat trout used the ladder in 1997-98 and gained access to restored spawning and rearing habitat. MDFW&P completed baseline data collection of bull trout spawning habitat quality and utilization in reservoir and backcountry tributaries of the South Fork Flathead River to monitor population trends and spawning and rearing habitat quality. MDFW&P completed cooperative fish-passage projects replacing culverts on Murray and Riverside Creeks, tributaries to Hungry Horse Reservoir. The project opened 7 km of quality habitat. Adfluvial cutthroat trout redds and juvenile bull trout are now above the culvert barrier. MDFW&P completed a fish passage and habitat enhancement project at Hay Creek, a tributary to the North Fork Flathead River. The lower reaches of this stream no longer flow subsurface, a condition that created a passage barrier, during the summer and support native trout. MDFW&P completed willow-survival experiments in the drawdown zone of Hungry Horse Reservoir and examined methods for re-establishing vegetation in the varial zone. The project identified survival rates for different willow species and the duration of inundation in a drawdown zone. In 1996 MDFW&P completed an offsite chemical rehabilitation of Bootjack Lake in which introduced pumpkinseed were removed and westslope cutthroat and rainbow trout were introduced. The trout fishery is now recovering. The lake has fish up to 20 inches in length and is fished heavily. MDFW&P also completed the development of Integrated Rule Curves (IRCs) for Hungry Horse Reservoir (Marotz et al. 1996; updated 1999). 1997 MDFW&P completed cooperative culvert-improvement projects on seven Hungry Horse Reservoir tributaries. The purpose of the project was to eliminate passage barriers for adfluvial cutthroat trout. It resulted in 16 percent more spawning and rearing area in Hungry Horse Reservoir. MDFW&P completed the offsite chemical rehabilitation of Murray and Dollar lakes. Illegally introduced fathead minnows and redside shiners were removed and trout were re-established. Fishing improved dramatically. MDFW&P completed a food habits study for lake trout and northern pikeminnow in the Flathead River. Researchers collected and analyzed over 850 stomachs and estimated species-specific losses to predation (Malta et al. 1997; Zollweg 1998). The project quantified the diet composition of the primary predator in the Flathead System, which is believed to be a major limiting factor for native trout. 1998 MDFW&P completed a study quantifying zooplankton entrainment at Hungry Horse Dam under various operational scenarios using selective withdrawal (Cavigli et al. 1998). The results provided dam operators with instructions for using the duel intake ports. MDFW&P completed offsite chemical rehabilitation of Little McGregor Lake in which illegally introduced perch were removed. Trout were re-established in the lake in 1999. MDFW&P completed the Griffin Creek fencing project, which excluded cattle from 8 km of stream containing genetically pure westslope cutthroat trout. MDFW&P completed the construction of the Crossover Wetlands project in which a subsurface diversion structure was installed to expand the wetland in the reservoir varial zone. The wetland has expanded over several acres. Biological monitoring is ongoing. MDFW&P completed the development of a basin-wide radio-telemetry monitoring system for the upper Flathead River drainage. Seasonal movement studies on lake trout and northern pike were completed, and habitat use and movement studies on bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout were initiated. MDFW&P completed the channel reconstruction of 2 km of Taylor’s Outflow spring creek, which improved habitat complexity and channel stability in the spawning reach. CSKT completed a channel reconstruction in Skidoo Creek to allow passage of fish through a culvert barrier. CSKT completed a channel reconstruction in Skidoo Creek to allow passage of fish through a culvert barrier and cost-shared riparian fencing in Valley View with Pheasants Forever to exclude stock from irrigation canal/creek entering Flathead River. CSKT completed monitoring of the Flathead Lake kokanee experiment. CSKT completed the Dayton Creek Watershed Restoration Progress Report and the Focus Watershed Project contributed cost-share to a Small-Landowner workshop sponsored by Montana DNRC and to the Flathead Basin Commission for a voluntary monitoring program. CSKT revised a grazing plan for East Valley Creek and constructed a riparian and headwater fence. 1999 MDFW&P completed a fish passage improvement project on Paola Creek, a major spawning tributary to Hungry Horse Reservoir. A culvert barrier was removed and baffles were installed to allow fish passage. MDFW&P initiated a contract for stream survey and design work with Land and Water Consulting to reconstruct the lower 1.6 km of Emery Creek, a major spawning tributary to Hungry Horse Reservoir. CSKT and MDFW&P established livestock management agreements and eliminated point sediment/nutrient sources (e.g. fencing and streambank stabilization) in Dayton Creek. MDFW&P pursued land acquisition and developed preliminary channel-and-pond-complex designs for Sekokini Springs Natural Rearing Facility. The water source proved to promote impressive growth and condition factor of westslope cutthroat trout. MDFW&P began a westslope cutthroat trout hybridization risk assessment in the mainstem of the Flathead River in addition to stepping up the commitment to remove compromising genetic material from high-elevation lakes in the North, Middle and South Fork drainages. MDFW&P completed a riparian fencing project in lower Hay Creek to exclude cattle in conjunction with a USFS grazing allotment modification. MDFW&P completed project-specific monitoring and evaluation of ongoing and completed projects throughout the Flathead River drainage (i.e. Taylor’s Outflow, seven Hungry Horse Reservoir tributaries, Crossover Wetland Area, Hay Creek, Griffin Creek, and area lakes). MDFW&P completed a site evaluation, feasibility analysis, constant flow rate and water quality tests, and landowner scoping for Rose Creek stream/pond project. MDFW&P monitored watershed level fish and habitat parameters in cooperation with fish management staff and other agencies. Efforts included population surveys, streambed coring, redd counts, and gillnetting (ongoing since 1991). MDFW&P initiated an Instream Flow Incremental Methodology study (IFIM) in cooperation with Miller and Associates (Fort Collins, CO) on the Flathead River. The study targets size-classes of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. CSKT completed the 1998-99 Flathead Lake Creel survey. CSKT constructed over 7,000 feet of riparian fence and 200 feet of livestock exclusion corral panels in cooperation with landowners and MDFW&P to exclude livestock from the riparian area along the mainstem of Dayton Creek. CSKT constructed 200 feet of livestock exclusion corral panels in cooperation with a landowner and MDFW&P to exclude livestock from the riparian area; constructed 5.6 km of riparian fence on the Middle and East forks of Dayton Creek in cooperation with Plum Creek; constructed 2.7 km of riparian fencing along Valley Creek; constructed 800 feet of livestock-exclusion fence along DuCharme Creek; completed habitat restoration projects on the Redhorn Range Unit; and wildlife habitat improvements through prescribed burning in the Boulder and Ferry Basin areas. CSKT made land acquisitions along the Mission Front and constructed fences to deter grizzly bear conflicts. Ongoing Fisheries Projects A comprehensive study is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Montana to examine the degree and threat of hybridization between native cutthroat trout and non-native rainbow trout throughout the Flathead River drainage. Construction has begun on the Emery Creek project. A wetted perimeter study is nearing completion in the South Fork downstream of Hungry Horse Dam to calculate a new minimum flow requirement for the reach. Spring caps are being installed at Sekokini Springs. Population electrofishing surveys, bull trout redd counts, whirling disease sampling, spring migrant trapping, and radio-telemetry surveys are being completed for the Flathead River drainage. A winter growth analysis of westslope cutthroat trout in headwater populations will be completed soon. Ongoing Wildlife Projects MDFW&P has been conducting a 12-year study of white-tailed deer in coniferous forests of northwestern Montana to develop techniques to determine basic biological and ecological parameters for white-tailed deer and relate those parameters to characteristics of individual habitats and potential limiting factors. Final reports for this project are scheduled for 2002. MDFW&P have two full-time positions to deal with human/wildlife conflicts in northwestern Montana. With this focus, the Department has developed innovative techniques using aversive conditioning to teach grizzly bears to avoid potential conflict situations. They are also involved in an information and education program to provide public information on how to coexist with wildlife. These people, along with regular wardens and biologists, respond to hundreds of calls resulting from situations where wildlife presence is either undesirable or poses a public safety issue. The workload continues to increase as more people move into previously undeveloped wildlife habitat. Similar activities are undertaken by the CSKT on reservation lands where the activities are conducted by tribal wildlife biologists and conservation officers. MDFW&P and CSKT are expanding their efforts to educate all hunters. These efforts are intended to decrease game law violations and cases of mistaken identity, foster increased public acceptance of hunters and hunting, and to improve relationships between hunters and landowners. This is being accomplished through development of advanced hunter education classes and other information and education efforts. Wildlife surveys and inventories are conducted annually on a variety of game, furbearer, and non-game species in the subbasin by state, tribal, and federal agencies. Also, MDFW&P conducts annual hunter harvest surveys to monitor population trends and demographic patterns in harvested wildlife populations. Tribal, local, state and federal agencies annually spend significant sums of money for the control of various noxious weeds found in the Flathead Subbasin. Tribal, state and federal natural resource management agencies, as well as some large corporate landowners have been involved in interagency efforts to recover listed species of fish and wildlife. These efforts include active management activities to protect listed species and their habitats, reduce or mitigate adverse impacts of various human developments, protect important habitats, reduce species mortality, and reduce direct human/wildlife conflicts. From 1993 through 1997, MDFW&P purchased 475 acres of land in the Mission Valley. These lands are the latest additions to their 3,462-acre Ninepipe Wildlife Management Area that is managed to provide food and cover for local wildlife populations. The area includes numerous pothole wetlands that have been created or restored. The CSKT has a proactive land acquisition program that aims to re-acquire the reservation land base. Much of this land is then subjected to inter-disciplinary planning processes, in which wildlife habitat values are considered. In addition, the CSKT is currently acquiring wetland and riparian habitats and adjacent upland habitats under mitigation planning processes for Kerr Dam and for off-reservation mining impacts. When these tracts are acquired they will be managed for fish and wildlife benefits. Currently in the upper portion of the Flathead River Subbasin, there are two ongoing habitat enhancement projects being conducted in cooperation with the Flathead National Forest. Both projects are designed to enhance 6,000 acres of important wildlife habitat adjacent to Hungry Horse Reservoir. The Firefighter Mountain Project (900 acres) is nearing completion. The Paint/Emery Project (5,100 acres) will begin in fiscal year 2000. In addition, the goal to conserve or enhance 5,303 acres of riparian and wetland habitats in the Flathead River Subbasin over the next 45 years is considered an ongoing habitat conservation project. On the Flathead Reservation, the CSKT have developed several habitat restoration and enhancement projects for the benefit of riparian, aspen seep, and wetland habitats. Many of these projects are in the initial stages of development or have recently been completed. Several other projects will be initiated during the next few years. In an effort to restore viable populations of extirpated species on the Flathead Reservation, the CSKT have successfully re-introduced the peregrine falcon and have restored the species as a breeding bird. Current efforts aimed at the restoration of trumpeter swans are also underway. Planning efforts are underway to restore Columbian sharp-tailed grouse and the northern leopard frog. The final settlement of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ mitigation claims related to the construction and operation of Kerr Dam will be completed during the fall of 2000. This settlement includes provisions for the acquisition of 985 acres of wetland and riparian habitat to replace varial zone habitat lost due to the operations of Kerr Dam on the lower Flathead River. It also includes provisions for acquisition of 312 acres of riparian habitat. For Flathead Lake impacts, the settlement dictates acquisition of 1,792 acres of wetland habitat to replace lakeshore varial habitat that was lost. Habitats acquired under the settlement will be restored to provide the optimal wildlife habitat and productivity. In addition, other opportunities for restoration at other sites on the reservation will be pursued. Wildlife monitoring will center on representative habitat tracts and existing and acquired habitats to gauge the degree of change in wildlife status following restoration activities. It will also maintain long-term population monitoring of particular species.- pull language from FWIS Wildlife habitat monitoring will be conducted to determine the success of various restoration and enhancement actions. The Jocko River Watershed Restoration Program is a large-scale watershed restoration project directed at the restoration of riparian and wetland habitat and enhancement of native bull trout populations. This program will involve acquisition and management of wetland, riparian, and adjacent habitats and management of these tracts to benefit fish and wildlife resources. Present Subbasin Management Existing Management Federal, state, county and tribal governments have management authority within this subbasin. REF _Ref495303853 \h Table 19 (adapted from Zackheim 1983) shows the major administrative authorities in the subbasin and their holdings. The U.S. government controls slightly more than half of the land, most of that is administered by the U.S. Forest Service. The majority of the southwestern part of the subbasin—from the middle of Flathead Lake south—falls within the Flathead Indian Reservation and is administered by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation. The Canadian portion of the subbasin includes 274,280 acres administered as British Columbia Crown Lands. Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 19. Flathead River Subbasin land ownership OwnershipAcresPrivate Lands Corporate Timber 274,372 Other Private 1,567,022Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Lands Tribal Lands (total) 669,064 Mission Mountains Tribal Wilderness 92,000 Thompson Peak Tribal Wilderness 4,800 Sleeping Woman Tribal Wilderness 17,600 Tribal Primitive Areas 98,000State Lands Department of State Lands Coal Creek State Forest 15,064 Stillwater State Forest 93,815 Swan River State Forest 38,345 Other State forest lands 41,749 Other State lands 1,722 Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Lands 3,025Federal Lands Glacier National Park 614,882 Flathead National Forest Bob Marshall Wilderness Area 709,356 Great Bear Wilderness Area 286,700 Mission Mountains Wilderness Area 73,877 Jewel Basin Hiking Area 15,000 Other forest lands1,264,999 US Fish and Wildlife Service National Bison Range 18,540 Pablo & Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuges4,523 Swan River National Wildlife Refuge1,576 Other federal wildlife lands4,555 In 1982, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a judgement that the bed and banks of the southern half of Flathead Lake are held by the U.S. in trust for the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. This decision gives the CSKT the authority to regulate the fishery in the southern half of the lake and protect fishing rights given to them by the Hellgate Treaty of 1855 (Vashro, et al. 1989). The U.S. portion of the subbasin, all of which lies in Montana, includes all of Lake County, most of Flathead County, some of Sanders County, and small portions of Missoula, Lincoln, Powell, and Lewis and Clark counties. The major towns are Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and Kalispell in the north and Polson, Ronan, Hot Springs, St. Ignatius, and Arlee in the south. No significant settlements occur in the Canadian part of the subbasin. The following is a list of the major entities having regulatory/management authority in the subbasin and a short description of their responsibility areas. The list below is incomplete. I will develop this list after August 25. �Go to http://water.montana.edu/default.htm for info on the following agencies as they relate to water: Montana Association of Conservation Districts; Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology; Montana Department of Environmental Quality; Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks; Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation; Montana University System Water Center; Natural Resources Information System (NRIS); US EPA, Region 8 – Montana Office; USDA – Natural Resources & Conservation Service; Bureau of Reclamation; US Geological Survey Federal Government U.S. Forest Service The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) manages approximately 40 percent (2,349,932 acres) of the subbasin. USFS policies and federal legislation guide management of these lands. Management guidelines are contained in the Flathead National Forest Land and Resource Management Plans and in more site-specific planning and environmental documents. Bonneville Power Administration The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) operates the federal Columbia River hydropower system as if it were a single owner enterprise to maximize power efficiency. BPA schedules Hungry Horse Dam operations for power production and coordinates the power transmission system. BPA also serves as the funding source for projects mitigating the construction and operation of federal dams. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) operates Hungry Horse Dam. U.S. Army Corp of Engineers The Army Corp of Engineers (ACOE) is the regulatory entity that controls water levels within federal Columbia River storage projects for flood control. Since the 1960s, the agency’s regulatory program’s aim has been expanded to consider the full public interest in protecting and using water resources.� Section 404 of the Clean Water Act prohibits discharging dredged or fill material into U.S. waters without a permit from the ACOE. Because the definition of “discharge of dredged material” was modified in August 1993, activities that impact waters, including wetlands, will most likely require an ACOE permit. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the regulatory agency that controls the operation of Kerr Dam. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service In addition to administering the National Bison Range and various National Wildlife refuges and wildlife lands, the USFWS administers the Endangered Species Act as it pertains to resident fish and wildlife. USFWS reviews and comments on land-use activities that affect fish and wildlife resources such as timber harvest, stream alteration, dredging and filling in wetlands and hydroelectric projects. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implements federal� laws� designed to promote public health by protecting the nation’s air, water, and soil from harmful pollution. EPA also coordinates and supports research and anti-pollution activities of state and local and tribal governments, private and public groups, individuals, and educational institutions. EPA also monitors the operations of other federal agencies for their impact on the environment. The agency is responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act, including approving Total Maximum Daily Load plans. Natural Resource Conservation Service The Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) provides technical support to the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) with distribution of federal cost-share monies associated with reducing soil erosion and increasing agricultural production on privately owned land. They provide engineering and technical support for land and water resource development, protection, and restoration projects. National Park Service The USDI National Park Service manages Glacier National Park, which incorporates approximately 615,000 acres of the basin. Tribes Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation The Flathead Indian Reservation encompasses approximately 1.2 million acres of the basin. Within the reservation, the tribes own approximately 662,000 acres. In addition to the administration of their own lands, they review proposed management on public lands within the subbasin and provide comments relative to protection of fish and wildlife resources. Management of tribal lands is guided primarily by the tribes’ Comprehensive Resources Plan (CSKT 1994), the Flathead Reservation Forest Management Plan (CSKT 2000), the Kerr Project Fish and Wildlife Implementation Strategy (FWIS) (CSKT 2000a), the Wetland/Riparian Habitat and Bull Trout Restoration Plan (CSKT 2000b), and the Flathead Reservation Wetlands Conservation Plan (Price 1999). Tribal game wardens regularly patrol the Flathead Reservation to enforce laws and regulations designed to protect fish and wildlife. Tribes and State The Flathead Lake and River Fisheries Co-Management Plan describes fisheries management strategies and objectives for ten fish species: bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, lake trout, rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, yellow perch, lake whitefish, mountain whitefish, northern pike, and largemouth bass. While the management plan addresses all sport fish species in Flathead Lake and provides an overview of management, four other fisheries plans specifically address, or will address, three of these species in detail: (1) the Hungry Horse Fisheries Mitigation Implementation Plan (DosSantos, et al 1992) addresses dam-caused losses of bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, and kokanee salmon; (2) the Montana Bull Trout Restoration Plan (scheduled for completion in 2000) addresses bull trout; (3) the Bull Trout Recovery Plan (USFWS, scheduled for completion in 2001) addresses bull trout; and (4) the FWIS addresses dam-related impacts to the fishery in Flathead Lake. Thus, the Flathead Lake and River Fisheries Co-Management Plan serves as an umbrella document encompassing the portions of other plans that affect, or will affect, fish management in Flathead Lake during the 2000 to 2010 time period. State Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MDFW&P) MDFW&P is responsible for protecting and enhancing Montana’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. Management of the fish and wildlife and their habitats in the subbasin is guided by MDFW&P policies and federal and state legislation. Policies and plans that pertain to the subbasin include the Montana Elk Management Plan (Youmans 1992), Management of Black Bears in Montana (FWP 1994), and Management of Mountain Lions in Montana (FWP 1996). State game wardens regularly patrol the Flathead Subbasin to enforce laws and regulations designed to protect fish and wildlife. Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) is responsible for promoting the stewardship of Montana’s water, soil, forest, and rangeland resources and for regulating forest practices and oil and gas exploration and production. The department includes four divisions involved in land management in the subbasin. The Conservation and Resource Development Division coordinates, supervises, and provides financial and technical assistance to Montana’s 58 conservation districts. It also provides technical, financial, and administrative assistance to public and private entities to complete projects that put renewable resources to work, increase the efficiency with which natural resources are used, or solve recognized environmental problems. The Forestry Division protects the state’s forested and non-forested watershed lands from wildfire, provides aviation services, operates a nursery and provides shelterbelt, windbreak, wildlife habitat improvement, reclamation, and reforestation plantings on state and private lands. The Forestry Division also regulates forest practices and wildfire hazards created by logging or other forest management operations on private lands. The Trust Land Management Division is responsible for managing the surface and mineral resources of forested, grazing, agricultural, and other classified state trust lands to produce revenue for the benefit of Montana’s public schools and other endowed institutions. The Water Resources Division is responsible for many programs associated with the uses, development, and protection of Montana’s water. Activities include interstate coordination of water issues, centralized water rights record keeping, state water planning, dam safety regulation, floodplain management, and drought planning. Montana Department of Environmental Quality The Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s mission is to protect, sustain, and improve a clean and healthful environment throughout the state. It oversees implementation and enforcement of the state’s environmental protection laws. Local Government County Governments County governments in the subbasin are responsible for planning and land use. They also issue building permits. Flathead and Lake County Conservation Districts Conservation districts administer the Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act, also known as the “310 Law.” Any private individual or corporation proposing to undertake a project or construction activity in a perennial stream must first apply for a permit from the local conservation district. Conservation districts are the local contact for the control of non-point source (NPS) pollution. Districts conduct projects that demonstrate NPS pollution control practices, preferring voluntary, educational, and incentive-based approaches to regulatory approaches. Additionally, district boards work with state and federal regulatory agencies (for the most part, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) to identify problem areas and prioritize treatment. Recently, the manner in which these problems are addressed has become the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads for impaired streams in Montana. Conservation districts often draw people and resources together to catalyze or assist in the development of watershed planning efforts. Conservation districts sponsor many stream restoration projects, conduct landowner workshops, produce and distribute informational and educational materials, and hold demonstrations and tours of innovative riparian management techniques and projects. Existing Goals, Objectives, and Strategies The goal for the Flathead River Subbasin is to restore and protect the abundance, productivity, and diversity of biological communities and habitats, particularly those containing native fish and wildlife populations within the subbasin. The fish and wildlife populations of the subbasin are of economical and cultural significance to the people of the State of Montana, the Northwest, and the Nation and to members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Our objectives are intended to address the primary limiting factors in the subbasin, and so they follow the same grouping used for limiting factors. Headwaters and Associated Uplands (includes all mountain tributaries) Objective 1 Reconnect five blocked tributaries over the next three years. Strategy 1. Provide passage to migratory fish by removing potential man-caused barriers, i.e. impassable culverts, hydraulic headcuts, water diversion blockages, landslides, and impassable deltas. Objective 2 Reduce fine sediments in critical spawning areas in five indexed streams over the next three years. Strategy 1. Maintain and protect habitat by achieving compliance with existing habitat protection laws, policies, and guidelines. Strategy 2. Work with the U.S. Forest Service to lower forest road densities. Strategy 3. Implement stream bank stabilization measures where necessary. Strategy 4. Implement riparian revegetation/rehabilitation projects. Strategy 5. Agitate embedded gravels to remove silts and fine sands. Strategy 6. Install artificial spawning structures where necessary. Objective 3 Restore natural pool frequency to that of undisturbed referenced reaches in five streams over the next three years. Strategy 1. Using Rosgen-type rehabilitation techniques, place large rocks and woody debris in the stream to restore the appropriate channel morphometry. Objective 4 Eradicate or suppress non-native or hybridized populations from five streams over the next three years. Strategy 1. Restore habitat to favor native species assemblages. Strategy 2. Use RSI’s to increase native species densities in areas where natural colonization is not possible. Strategy 3. Protect native populations in headwater areas by installing barriers to upstream invasion by non-native species. Remove barriers where the threat of invasion is corrected. Strategy 4. Selectively remove non-natives using effective management tools. Objective 5 Alter 2,008 acres of forest structure and composition in the South Fork of the Flathead over the next three years, consistent with management and mitigation plans. Strategy 1. Implement wildlife enhancement and protection projects in cooperation with all interested parties in the subbasin as opportunities arise. Objective 6 Acquire and/or protect key habitat parcels (endangered, threatened, and sensitive species habitats) through purchase, conservation easements, or conservation agreements to assist in maintenance of viable populations. Impoundments (includes Hungry Horse Reservoir, Flathead Lake, Swan Lake, and irrigation impoundments) Objective 1 Reduce negative non-native species interactions in Flathead Lake and three irrigation impoundments over the next three years. Objective 2 Meet the TMDL goal for reduction in phosphorus. Strategy 1. Support new techniques for bank stabilization as alternatives to the standard riprap material. These new techniques would serve as landowner demonstration models for the reduction of sediment to the mainstem and lake. Strategy 2. Protect critical wetland and riparian habitats through acquisition or conservation easements. Identify and rank all high priority areas and establish purchase/protection mechanisms. Strategy 3. Work with the Focus Watershed Coordination project to identify site-specific wetland/riparian restoration projects and to coordinate with landowners, agencies, and other funding sources. Objective 3 Reduce the frequency of Hungry Horse refill failure (to within five feet of full pool) as compared to historic operation. Strategy 1. Operate dams to provide reservoir operations that are consistent with VARQ and IRC concepts by 2002. Strategy 3. Reduce runoff forecasting error by increasing the number of monitoring sites and improved remote-sensing technology. Strategy 4. Balance the releases of stored water for flow augmentation with reservoir refill. Specifically, calculate tiered flows using a conservative inflow forecast, assuming the lowest 25th percentile precipitation (rather than average). Strategy 5. Assess cost effective means for re-vegetating the reservoir varial zone. Objective 4 Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans. Strategy 1. Maintain and protect habitat of native species from degradation by achieving compliance with existing habitat protection laws, policies, and guidelines. Strategy 2. Maintain minimum flows through the purchasing and leasing of water rights and water conservation agreements. Strategy 3. Protect critical habitats through acquisition or conservation easements. Identify and rank all high priority areas and establish purchase/protection mechanisms. Strategy 4. Reconnect artificially fragmented habitats. Strategy 5. Work with the Focus Watershed Coordination project to identify site specific restoration projects and to coordinate with landowners, agencies, and other funding sources. Strategy 6. Implement wildlife enhancement and protection projects in cooperation with all interested parties in the subbasin as opportunities arise. Regulated Mainstems (includes South Fork, Upper Flathead, Lower Flathead, Jocko River) Objective 1 Move Hungry Horse operations 50 percent closer to normative compared to current operations over the next three years. Strategy 1. Implement seasonal flow windows and flow ramping rates. Objective 2 Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans. Strategy 1. Maintain and protect habitat of native species from degradation by achieving compliance with existing habitat protection laws, policies, and guidelines. Strategy 2. Protect critical wetland, riparian, and associated habitats through acquisition or conservation easements. Identify and rank all high priority areas and establish purchase/protection mechanisms. Strategy 3. Work with the Focus Watershed Coordination project to identify site-specific wetland/riparian restoration projects and to coordinate with landowners, agencies, and other funding sources. Strategy 4. Implement wildlife enhancement and protection projects for wetland and riparian areas in cooperation with all interested parties in the subbasin as opportunities arise. Objective 4 Complete an operational impact assessment and develop plans to mitigate for any impacts that the operations of Hungry Horse Dam may cause to the development and successional trends of riparian wildlife habitats and their associated aquatic components, in cooperation with ongoing fisheries mitigation activities. Objective 5 Deal with ongoing recreation-fisheries-water quality conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce these conflicts. Strategy 1. Develop an education program to make boat owners aware of the damage boats can do to banks because of the artificially high summer lake/river levels, controlled by Hungry Horse and Kerr dams. Unregulated Mainstems (includes North Fork, Middle Fork, and Swan Rivers) Objective 1 Treat all sites that have occurrences of purple loosestrife or Eurasian water milfoil. Objective 2 Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans. Strategy 1. Maintain and protect habitat of native species from degradation by achieving compliance with existing habitat protection laws, policies, and guidelines. Strategy 2. Protect critical wetland and riparian habitats through acquisition or conservation easements. Identify and rank all high priority areas and establish purchase/protection mechanisms. Strategy 3. Work with the Focus Watershed Coordination project to identify site-specific wetland/riparian restoration projects and to coordinate with landowners, agencies, and other funding sources. Strategy 4. Implement wildlife enhancement and protection projects for wetland and riparian areas in cooperation with all interested parties in the subbasin as opportunities arise. Objective 3 Deal with ongoing human/wildlife conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce human/wildlife conflicts. Strategy 1. Decommission unnecessary roads to reduce harassment of wildlife and encourage more uniform use of available wildlife habitat. Strategy 2. Continue to develop and implement strategies to educate private landowners on how to coexist with wildlife and preserve or enhance habitat. Strategy 3. Educate anglers about native fish issues, fishing regulations, and proper identification of native species. Valley Tributaries & Wetlands (includes all valley tributaries and the Whitefish and Stillwater rivers) Objective 1 Eliminate three sources of non-native or hybridized fish populations over the next three years. Strategy 1. Selectively remove populations using effective management tools (i.e. chemical treatment, intensive electrofishing, installation of fish migration barriers etc.). Objective 2 Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans. Strategy 1. Maintain and protect habitat of native species from degradation by achieving compliance with existing habitat protection laws, policies, and guidelines. Strategy 2. Protect critical wetland and riparian habitats through acquisition or conservation easements. Identify and rank all high priority areas and establish purchase/protection mechanisms. Strategy 3. Work with the Focus Watershed Coordination project to identify site-specific wetland/riparian restoration projects and to coordinate with landowners, agencies, and other funding sources. Strategy 4. Implement wildlife enhancement and protection projects for wetland and riparian areas in cooperation with all interested parties in the subbasin as opportunities arise. Objective 3 Significantly reduce the level of sedimentation in five impacted spawning areas over the next three years. Strategy 1. Restore normative surface-water runoff patterns in upland areas using the best management practices and habitat improvement measures (i.e. culvert removal and replacement, sediment source abatement, road obliteration, and re-vegetation). Strategy 2. Restore natural stream channel function and form using soft methods (i.e. bank stabilization, streambank and riparian re-vegetation, riparian fencing, in-stream channel habitat structures). Objective 4 Maintain temperatures within the tolerance range of native fish species. Strategy 1. Deploy continuous recording thermographs in important tributaries to monitor water temperatures in relation to tolerance range of native fish species. Strategy 2. Improve riparian and in-stream habitat using stream channel and riparian habitat restoration methods (Rosgen 1995). Objective 5 Deal with ongoing human/wildlife conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce human/wildlife conflicts. Strategy 1. Decommission unnecessary roads to reduce harassment of wildlife and encourage more uniform use of available wildlife habitat. Strategy 2. Continue to develop and implement strategies to educate private landowners on how to coexist with wildlife and preserve or enhance habitat. Strategy 3. Educate anglers about native fish issues, fishing regulations, and proper identification of native species. Objective 6 Develop a reintroduction plan for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in the Flathead Basin. Strategy 1. Work with private, tribal, state, and federal landowners to identify opportunities to restore Columbian sharp-tailed habitat and populations. Lakes (includes connected and closed-basin lakes) Objective 1 Remove the sources of non-native or hybridized trout from two to three connected lakes each year over the next three years. Strategy 1. Selectively remove non-desirable fish and restock with native desirable fish. Strategy 2. Establish barriers to non-native fish escapement or spawning. Objective 2 Deal with ongoing human/wildlife conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce human/wildlife conflicts. Strategy 1. Decommission unnecessary roads to reduce harassment of wildlife and encourage more uniform use of available wildlife habitat. Strategy 2. Continue to develop and implement strategies to educate private landowners on how to coexist with wildlife and preserve or enhance habitat. Strategy 3. Educate anglers about native fish issues, fishing regulations, and proper identification of native species. Objective 3 Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans. Strategy 1. Maintain and protect habitat of native species from degradation by achieving compliance with existing habitat protection laws, policies, and guidelines. Strategy 2. Protect critical wetland and riparian habitats through acquisition or conservation easements. Identify and rank all high priority areas and establish purchase/protection mechanisms. Strategy 3. Work with the Focus Watershed Coordination project to identify site-specific wetland/riparian restoration projects and to coordinate with landowners, agencies, and other funding sources. Strategy 4. Implement wildlife enhancement and protection projects for wetland and riparian areas in cooperation with all interested parties in the subbasin as opportunities arise. Objective 4 Maintain the trophic status of all classified lakes. Strategy 1. Restore physical integrity of degraded habitat where logistically and technically feasible. Strategy 2. Achieve compliance with water quality standards and develop TMDLs for water quality impaired streams (streams listed on the DEQ 303(d) impaired water bodies list) that are priority native species habitat. Objective 5 Increase the angler opportunities in three closed-basin lakes over the next three years. Strategy 1. Utilize hatchery production to stock offsite, closed-basin lakes. Strategy 2. Where appropriate, rehabilitate three closed-basin lakes per year to provide maximum angler opportunity and system productivity. Strategy 3. Form partnerships with the public through the Focus Watershed Program and other avenues to increase awareness of the role of mitigation in achieving native species and habitat restoration. Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Activities Monitoring and evaluation activities will occur concurrently with on-the-ground BPA-funded projects described in the section titled Existing and Past Effort. Monitoring will include project-specific and watershed-level parameters. Specific monitoring strategies, including pre- and post-treatment sampling, has been designed for each completed and ongoing project (generally the strategies involve site-specific measures, photo points, and migrant trapping). These activities are combined with watershed level, long-term, time-series indices for habitat and fish populations to evaluate direct and indirect effects of projects. This extensive monitoring program is maintained through a cooperative effort with other agencies. Specific ongoing monitoring activities are listed below: Fisheries MDFW&P will conduct the following BPA-funded fisheries monitoring activities: To develop habitat suitability use curves required by the Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) Project (BPA #9502500) on the Flathead River, MDFW&P will collect micro- and macro-habitat parameters (i.e. depth, velocity, substrate, habitat type etc.) for use in developing weighted useable area curves for size-classes of bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. To monitor effects of selective withdrawal at Hungry Horse Dam on the Flathead River ecosystem, MDFW&P will monitor river temperatures at six locations in the Flathead River system; quantify differences in macrozoobenthos diversity and abundance and pre- and post-selective withdrawal; and quantify and compare whitefish growth rates pre and post. To assess abundance, distribution, and food habits of predator fish species (lake trout, northern pike) in the mainstem, North, and Middle forks of the Flathead River, MDFW&P will perform creel surveys throughout the Flathead River system; obtain growth information and analyze stomach contents from harvested northern pike and lake trout; and tag and release fish for abundance and distribution analyses. To assess distribution and movements of juvenile, sub-adult, and adult bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout in the mainstem, North, and Middle forks of the Flathead River, MDFW&P will use radio-telemetry to collect data on bull trout distribution, movement, and habitat use through weekly ground, boat, and aerial surveys. To assess distribution and movements of westslope cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and WCT x RBT hybrids in the mainstem, North, and Middle forks of the Flathead River, MDFW&P will collect data on westslope cutthroat trout distribution, movement, and habitat use through weekly ground, boat, and aerial surveys. To monitor watershed level fish and habitat parameters in cooperation with fish management staff and other BPA projects, MDFW&P will annually: monitor spawning, incubation and habitat quality by McNeil method of streambed coring in 33 tributaries (to assess juvenile bull trout rearing habitat quality) and by substrate scoring in 21 tributaries; conduct annual migratory cutthroat and bull trout redd counts in 45 index tributary reaches to monitor adult runs; conduct annual cutthroat and bull trout juvenile estimates in 31 tributaries to monitor recruitment; conduct river population estimates in mainstem and forks of Flathead River; conduct annual gill net series on Flathead Lake and Hungry Horse Reservoir; and collect disease samples from wild fish populations. MDFW&P will evaluate past mitigation projects on Taylor’s Spring Creek, Hay Creek, Dayton Creek and monitor fish growth, species composition, and angler use at past lake rehabilitations on Lion, Rogers, Bootjack, Murray, and Dollar lakes plus other offsite fish-plant waters. A specific monitoring strategy, including pre- and post-treatment sampling, is designed for each restoration project. These are combined with watershed level spawning substrate and redd counts, electrofishing, and gillnet monitoring series to assess direct and indirect effects of the program. MDFW&P will assess the timing and magnitude of discharge releases (e.g. ramping rates and flow regimes) from Hungry Horse Dam as related to the distribution, habitat use and movements of juvenile and adult bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. MDFW&P will quantify impacts of flow releases from Hungry Horse Dam on the macroinvertebrate community structure and temporal frequency dynamics of trophically important benthic species in the Flathead River downstream of Hungry Horse Dam. MDFW&P will conduct research on an as needed basis as specified in the USFWS Biological Opinion on bull trout in the upper Flathead River system. CSKT will conduct the following BPA-funded fisheries monitoring activities: Native species abundance in Flathead Lake will be monitored using spring gillnetting. The biology of lake trout in Flathead Lake will be monitored using fall gillnetting. The success of offsite fish plants will be monitored through creel surveys and fish sampling. Exploitation rates of sport fish in Flathead Lake will be monitored using a year-long creel survey. The Watershed Focus Coordinator’s effectiveness will be monitored by tracking the number of individuals in the sub-watershed participating in restoration activities. In addition, CSKT Fisheries and Water Management programs will monitor: Native fish populations on a 10-year cycle to evaluate long-term viability based on the BayVam or similar model by measuring abundance, available habitat, and year-class distribution. Substrate condition by McNeil coring or substrate embeddedness in all streams on a 15-year cycle. Channel complexity in all streams on a 15-year cycle. Streams by maintaining and intermittently reporting results for the reservation-wide Stream Assessment and Reference-reach Assessment Monitoring Program. Timber sales, which include (for each sale): sediment source surveys, BMPs implementation and road abandonment, cumulative effects, stream and wetlands inventories, and forest-wide stream-reach assessment surveys for 16 reaches. BPA-funded fisheries research includes the following projects: In 1999, Montana initiated a modified Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) project on the Flathead River to refine the river component of HRMOD. The project has been approved for two years of funding and the final year, FY2000, is pending NWPPC approval. The IFIM research will calibrate simulations of hydraulic conditions (stage/discharge and velocities etc.), and fish habitat from Hungry Horse Dam to Flathead Lake at various discharges from Hungry Horse Dam. An optimization program is scheduled for development to allow managers to assess tradeoffs between the requirements of reservoir and riverine biota, when conflicts occur between reservoir operation and river flow limits as per the MDFW&P. MDFW&P and CSKT monitor the effects of dam operation in Hungry Horse Reservoir and the Flathead River and its tributaries. Factors controlling mysis abundance in Flathead Lake will be researched by CSKT through biweekly mysis sampling with associated limnological parameters. Wildlife BPA-funded wildlife projects have been undertaken by MDFW&P. BPA-funded wildlife project monitoring has provided, and continues to provide, important information to insure that mitigation is being carried out in the most biologically sound and economically efficient way possible. Only limited funding has been available for wildlife projects in the lower portion of the basin. A non-game monitoring program by MDFW&P will evaluate the effects of habitat enhancements at Hungry Horse on breeding-bird communities to determine if enhancement prescriptions for big game species effectively restore habitat for bird species as well. Non-game birds are widely recognized as one of the best indicators of habitat quality. They inhabited all the habitats lost in the project area. In addition, there is growing international concern over the status and trend in many western bird populations and their relationships with habitat management practices. In order to optimize benefits to all wildlife, monitoring needs to determine whether activities done to benefit big game animals also benefit other species groups that depend on those habitats. A final summary report of this eight-year effort will be prepared by June 2001. The results will be used to review and develop new habitat enhancement proposals and methods for measuring wildlife benefits. Big game monitoring will evaluate the effectiveness of big game habitat enhancements along Hungry Horse Reservoir. Vegetation monitoring is conducted at a representative sample of paired treatment and control areas to document changes that result from each of the various treatments. Key vegetation components such as density, species composition, canopy coverage and vigor of forage plants will be measured. The elk monitoring portion of this project was originally designed to determine the magnitude of elk population increases resulting from habitat enhancements. However, given the results of Stansberry (1996) this goal will be re-evaluated. A final summary report of this 13-year effort will be prepared by June 2001. The results will be used to review and develop new habitat enhancement proposals and methods for measuring wildlife benefits. MDFW&P conducts annual population monitoring on big game, furbearer, and non-game populations in the subbasin through a variety of surveys and inventories. MDFW&P conducts annual surveys of elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, mountain goats, and grizzly bears. MDFW&P also conducts breeding bird surveys on each of their wildlife management areas as well as furbearer track surveys during winter. The Montana Bald Eagle Working Group and the Montana Loon Society coordinate annual bald eagle and common loon occupancy and productivity surveys. The National Audubon Society sponsors annual Christmas bird counts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinates annual breeding bird surveys in the Flathead Subbasin as part of the national surveys. There are also MAPS (Monitoring Avian Production and Survivorship) stations conducted each year, an effort coordinated by the Point Reyes Bird Observatory in California. As part of its management program, the CSKT Wildlife Management Program monitors: Wildlife populations on the Flathead Indian Reservation and in adjacent habitats. Big game, waterfowl, upland gamebirds, endangered, threatened and sensitive species, non-game species, furbearers, amphibians, and reptiles are routinely monitored. Recovery of endangered and threatened species by continuing to monitor populations in coordination with other state and federal agencies. The tribes have also taken a lead to reintroduce peregrine falcons and trumpeter swans. Other reintroduction plans involve Columbian sharp-tailed grouse and northern leopard frogs. Activities prescribed to eliminate or mitigate the impacts of proposed human activities, including forest management, range management, construction, and a wide variety of other projects. Research includes the following projects: Long-term black bear research is being conducted to improve harvest criteria used for management by assessing the vital rates (reproduction and mortality) of a typical black bear population in Swan River Valley. The project is also documenting local population size, trend, and sustainable harvest level estimates. Simultaneously, the project will develop estimates of black bear population size in typical hunting areas throughout western and central Montana to estimate current harvest rates. Long-term monitoring and associated research on the Flathead Indian Reservation includes work on bald eagles, small mammal population dynamics and their impacts upon other species, grizzly bears, amphibians, and forest carnivores. Statement of Fish and Wildlife Needs The following near-term priority fish and wildlife needs have been identified for the Flathead River Subbasin: Protect habitat of native fish and wildlife populations. There is an extreme need to use land acquisitions and conservation easements to protect significant intact habitats that support rare, unique, or highly productive populations of fish and wildlife or that are important for sustaining annual public harvests. More active management of existing fish and wildlife management areas is also needed to provide increased benefits. Reduce or eliminate hybridization and competition with non-native species. Hybridized fish populations in headwater lakes and connected streams pose a threat to genetically pure westslope cutthroat populations. Illegal introductions of non-native fish species have likewise impacted progress toward fisheries mitigation and native species recovery. Rehabilitation of selected lakes is needed to create genetic reserves for native fish, prevent genetic introgression, improve fisheries, and eliminate source populations for further illegal introductions. Rehabilitation of selected interconnected streams in the upper Flathead River system is needed to prevent genetic introgression, improve fisheries, and suppress or eradicate hybridized or pure rainbow source populations. Public awareness of damages caused by illegal fish introductions must be a priority. Existing laws regulating the transport of live fish must be enforced. There is a need to reduce or eliminate non-native predator fish species—for example lake trout and northern pike— that pose a threat to the persistence of native fish populations in the river/lake system. Various techniques should be implemented to assess the distribution, abundance, and food habits of these non-native predators in the Flathead system upstream of Kerr Dam. There is a need to reduce or eliminate non-native species—for example, purple loosestrife, Eurasian water milfoil, spotted knapweed, leafy spurge, and bull frogs—that pose a threat to wildlife populations and aquatic organisms. Restore locally extirpated fish and wildlife species to a self-sustaining condition. Self-supporting fish populations need to be reestablished in areas where their habitat can be restored. Natural colonization of restored habitats would be encouraged where possible. Where wild stocks have been extirpated, an appropriate source population could be replicated through imprint planting of genetically compatible eyed eggs or fry. Various techniques for reestablishing wild runs need to be evaluated through rigorous comparisons of effectiveness and risk. Wherever habitat is available or where there is a potential for habitat restoration, there is a need to restore populations (and habitats) of native wildlife species with populations that have been extirpated or drastically reduced (for example trumpeter swans, northern leopard frogs, Columbian sharp-tailed grouse, and burrowing owls). Reconnect fragmented habitats and isolated populations. There is a need to reconnect access to spawning and rearing habitat that has been blocked by human-caused barriers. Improving fish passage into existing habitat is a cost-effective tool to replace habitat lost during the construction and operation of the hydropower system. These efforts will be consistent with the maintenance of genetic integrity in fish species and protection of threatened, endangered, and senstive plant and animal species. For wildlife there is a need to reconnect fragmented habitats and protect existing migration corridors and existing connected habitats from additional fragmentation. This can be accomplished by working with local communities to modify activities such as timber harvesting, housing developments, and road construction and by acquiring key parcels of land and establishing conservation easements with landowners. In addition, the need to acquire and manage key habitat parcels is an extremely high priority, especially on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Restore in-channel habitat structure, function, and complexity. Fish require suitable habitats for natural production and survival through all life stages. Sediment sources need to be reduced or eliminated. Fine sediments accumulating in spawning substrate reduce egg to fry survival such that natural reproduction may be of insufficeint quanity to fully seed available rearing habitat with juevenile fish. Pools and rearing habitat clogged with sediment need to be restored to improve the productive capacity of the stream. Land management needs to be consistent with natural stream function. Possible treatments include stream bank stabilization, livestock fencing, sediment source abatement, riparian re-vegetation, upland road improvement or obliteration, surface water drainage improvements, and agitation of embedded gravels to remove silts and fine sands. In some locations the installation of artificial spawning structures may be beneficial. Stream habitats on channelized or impacted streams need to be restored to natural form and function. This can be accomplished passively or by restoring the stream to a stable channel form. Stream rehabitlitation measures may include placing large rocks, woody debris, and bank stabilization structures in the stream to restore the appropriate channel morphometry. Similarly, lake or reservoir habitat needs be improved by re-vegetating areas subject to water fluctuations or by adding wooden cribs, slash structures, or artifical substrates. Restore riparian and wetland habitats and floodplain function Riparian and wetland areas have the greatest influence over the biological health of the watershed. They provide security cover for fish and terrestrial wildlife, habitat and food for insect production, and woody debris that creates channel diversity and pocket water for spawning gravel deposition. The canopy of the riparian zone helps maintain cool water temperatures and traps sediments produced from adjacent land areas. There is a need to identify and protect the best available remaining riparian and wetland habitats through the use of conservation agreements and land acquisitions and a need to modify the activities that are causing the degradation of impacted areas or that are preventing the ecosystem from recovering. Riparian and wetland vegetation needs to be restored and protected through fencing and re-vegetation projects. Channelization, road fill, bank armoring, and other encroachments along stream segments have narrowed channels and limited meanders inside floodplains, which has created shorter channels, steeper gradients, higher velocities, a loss of storage and recharge capacity, bed armoring, and entrenchment. Restoration of highly altered stream reaches and protection of intact systems is needed to restore and maintain stream diversity. Restore watershed function and condition In terrestrial habitats, fire exclusion, logging practices and agriculture has created many changes since pre-European times. Forests have expanded onto grasslands, overall diversity has declined, and the species composition has shifted. Forest structures have changed, and there have been increases in the density of forest vegetation. Changes in patch size and edge, shifts in the ages and sizes of trees, and increases in road densities have also occurred. All these trends have resulted in less resilient and less diverse habitats for fish and wildlife. There is a need to reverse these trends by changing forest and agricultural practices so vegetation communities become more diverse and sustainable and less vulnerable to catastrophic fires and epidemic insect and disease outbreaks. There is a need to use mechanical treatments focused not on commodity production but on restoration in combination with prescribed fire to restore and maintain forest and grassland communities and to enhance fish and wildlife habitats. There is also a need to identify and protect the best available remaining habitats through the use of conservation agreements and land acquisitions. Reduce point and non-point sources of pollution There is a need to address all significant point and non-point sources of water pollution in the system. Reductions in water quality can lower the overall resilience of aquatic environment and keep fish and wildlife populations from recovering. Standards for total maximum loading of nutrients (TMDL), thermal pollution, and gas saturation need to be enforced. Restore the quantity, seasonal pattern, and stability of streamflows and reservoir conditions. There is a need to operate dams to restore and maintain normative hydrologic conditions (conditions that mimic natural processes and minimize impacts on fish and wildlife). Dams need to be operated to provide reservoir operations consistent with VARQ and IRC concepts. Specifically, there is a need for a gradual ramp-down approach to Flathead River flows after the spring runoff and a need to maintain stable discharges during the biologically productive summer months in order to benefit native species. There is also a need to address downstream operational impacts of Hungry Horse Dam upon riparian habitat on the Flathead River both upstream and downstream of Flathead Lake. Replace lost tribal hunting, fishing, and gathering areas and cultural and spiritual sites. Construction of Hungry Horse Dam inundated 23,750 acres of wildlife habitat in the South Fork of the Flathead River. This habitat was located primarily on federal lands administered by the U. S. Forest Service. As a source of resources for subsistence under the language of the Hellgate Treaty of 1855, these habitats were very important to members of the Salish and Kootenai Tribes. With inundation, all of these lands and the resources that they produced were lost to use forever by the tribes. In 1990, the State of Montana and BPA signed a wildlife settlement agreement to mitigate for inundation losses related to Hungry Horse Dam. The CSKT were not signatory to this agreement and were not included in the negotiations that led to its development. The CSKT have been a participant in the Montana Wildlife Mitigation Advisory Committee, which advises the MDFW&P on proposed mitigation projects. Although some projects have had benefits for wildlife resources that tribal members utilize, most have not served to adequately replace the wildlife and wildlife habitat losses that occurred. As a result, a substantial deficit in mitigation of inundation losses continues. There is a need to acquire off-site habitat similar to that degraded or destroyed by Hungry Horse construction and a need to enhance or restore acquired habitat to maximize wildlife productivity. Specifically, there is a need to: (1) secure important spring and fall grizzly bear habitats along the Mission Front and Rattlesnake Mountains from further habitat fragmentation and high disturbance levels; (2) secure and enhance big game winter ranges at key areas on the reservation; (3) mitigate for ongoing impacts of Hungry Horse Dam on the habitat quality and quantity of the lower Flathead River; (4) preserve, protect, and restore remaining acres of unprotected wetland habitat and associated grasslands in the Ninepipe-Kicking Horse area; and (5) restore native grassland and woody draw habitats that have been heavily impacted by livestock use and that no longer support the wildlife species that they did historically. Reduce human/wildlife conflicts. There is a need for increased public outreach and education and law enforcement to reduce human/wildlife conflicts resulting from high rates of rural residential growth. Effective educational strategies must be developed to educate homeowners about how to coexist with wildlife. The need for continued law enforcement is integral to fish and wildlife species and habitat protection in the subbasin, as are forest road closures, obliteration, and other road treatments in order to minimize poaching and harassment and to reclaim habitat. There is a need to limit new development of forest habitats to avoid further losses and intensified human/wildlife conflicts. There is also a need to improve winter and year-round fish and wildlife habitat on county, private, and federal forest lands. References Fish, Wildlife & Parks. 1994. Management of Black Bears in Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Helena. 184 pp. Fish, Wildlife & Parks. 1996. Management of mountain lions in Montana. 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The Relationship Between Land Management Activities and Habitat Requirements of Bull Trout. The Montana Bull Trout Restoration Team, Helena, Montana. 78 pp. Mace, R.D. and J.S. Waller. 1998. Demography and population trend of grizzly bears in the Swan Mountains, Montana. Conservation Biology 12:1005-1016. McNeil, W. J. and W. H. Ahnell. 1964. Success of pink salmon spawning relative to size of spawning bed materials. U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Special Scientific Report 169. Washington, DC Montana Fish and Game Commission. 1963. Cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, Flathead National Forest, MT MDFW&P. 1994. Black Bears in Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell, MT. MDFW&P. 1996. Management of Mountain Lions in Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell, MT. MDFW&P and CSKT. 1991. Fisheries mitigation plan for losses attributable to the construction and operation of Hungry Horse Dam. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell, MT and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Pablo, MT. 71 pp. MDFW&P and CSKT. 1993. Hungry Horse Dam fisheries mitigation implementation plan. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Kalispell and Pablo, MT. 43pp. Montana Power Company (MPC). 1990. Use of hydrologic modeling and cumulative impact analysis to integrate resource management options in the Flathead River-Lake System, Montana. A Kerr Dam Management Plan. Revised Draft Report. Montana Power Company, Environmental Department, Butte, Montana. 117 pp. Morton, W.M. 1955. Report on field trip, June 13 to 17, 1955 to study culverts blocking spawning cutthroat trout at Hungry Horse Reservoir, Montana. MDFW&P file report. 18 pp. Muhlfeld, C.C., S. Glutting, R. Hunt, and B. Marotz. 2000. Seasonal distribution and movements of native and non-native fishes in the upper Flathead River drainage, Montana. Summary Report 1997-1999 to Bonneville Power Administration by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell, MT. Northwest Power Planning Council. 1987. Columbia River Basin fish and wildlife program. Northwest Power Planning Council, Portland, OR. 246pp. Northwest Power Planning Council. 1994. Columbia River Basin fish and wildlife program. NWPPC 94-95. Northwest Power Planning Council, Portland, Oregon. Price, Mary. 2000a. Wetland Conservation Plan for the Flathead Indian Reservation, Montana. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Pablo, MT. Ratti, J. 1990. Mammals and birds of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Prepared for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. 115 pp. Read, D., B.B. Shepard, and P.J. Graham. 1982. Fish and habitat inventory of streams in the North Fork Drainage of the Flathead River. Flathead River Basin Environmental Impact Study. MDFW&P, Kalispell, Montana, for EPA. 181 pp. Shepard, B. , S. A. Leathe, T. M. Weaver, and M. D. Enk. 1984. Monitoring levels of fine sediment within tributaries to Flathead Lake, and impacts of fine sediment on bull trout recruitment. Unpublished paper presented at the Wild Trout III Symposium. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. On file at: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell, Montana. Spencer, C. N. , B. R. McClelland and J. A. Stanford. 1991. Shrimp stocking, salmon collapse, and eagle displacement: cascading interactions in the food web of a large aquatic ecosystem. Bioscience 41:14-21. Stanford, J. 1999. 1999 State of the Lake. Flathead Lake Biological Station. Yellow Bay, MT. Stansberry, Bret. 1996. Evaluation of bighorn sheep and mule deer habitat enhancements along Koocanusa Reservoir. FWP Final Report. 76pp. Stanford, J. 1999. 1999 State of the Lake. Flathead Lake Biological Station. Yellow Bay, MT. Stanford, J. A., B. K. Ellis, J. A. Craft and G. C. Poole. 1997. Water quality data and analyses to aid in the development of revised water quality targets for Flathead Lake, Montana. Report prepared for the Flathead Basin Commission, Kalispell, Montana. USFWS, 1998. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; 90 day finding and commencement of status review for a petition to list the westslope cutthroat trout as endangered. 50 CFR part 17. Federal register, vol. 63, no. 111, Wednesday June 10, 1998. Vashro, J., G. Thomas, S. Rumsey, S. McMullin, D. Hanzel, J. Fraley and J. DosSantos. 1989. Upper Flathead System Fisheries Management Plan, 1989-1994. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Pablo, Montana. 47 pp. Vore and Schmidt 1997. Hungry Horse Elk Monitoring Project. Pp. 20-24, in: Montana Wildlife Mitigation Program, Annual Report. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell. Weaver, T.M. and J.J. Fraley. 1991. Fisheries habitat and fish populations. Flathead Basin Forest Practices Water Quality and Fisheries Cooperative Program, Flathead Basin Commission, Kalispell, Montana. 47 pp. Weaver, T. M. and J. J. Fraley. 1993. A method to measure emergence success of westslope cutthroat trout fry from varying substrate compositions in a natural stream channel. North American Journal Fisheries Management 13:817-822. Weaver, T. M., J. J. Fraley, and P. J. Graham. 1983. Fish and habitat inventory of streams in the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. Flathead River Basin Environmental Impact Study. Prepared for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell… Werner, J.K., T. Plummer, and J. Weaselhead. 1995. Amphibians and reptiles of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Pablo, MT. Werner, J.K., T. Plummer, and J. Weaselhead. 1998. Amphibians and reptiles of the Flathead Indian Reservation. Intermountain Journal of Science: 4:33-49. Wood, M. A. 1991. Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse Mitigation Implementation Plan for Western Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. 24pp. Youmans. 1992. Montana Elk Management Plan Management, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell, MT Zackheim, H. 1983. Final report of the steering committee for the Flathead River Basin Environmental Impact Study. Funded by EPA under grant number R00822201, Kalispell, Montana, USA. Zollweg, E. C. 1998. Piscine predation on bull trout in the Flathead River, Montana. Master’s Thesis, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. 97 pp. Zubik, R. J. and J. J. Fraley. 1987. Determination of fishery losses in the Flathead system resulting from the construction of Hungry Horse Dam. Prepared for Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Kalispell, Montana. Subbasin Recommendations FY 2001 Projects Proposals Review The following subbasin proposals were reviewed by the Subbasin Team and the Province Budget Work Group and are recommended for Bonneville Power Administration project funding for the next three years. Please note that the fish habitat and focus watershed components of project number 24018 are parts of ongoing BPA-funded projects (9101901: Hungry Horse Fisheries Mitigation – Flathead Lake and 199608701: Focus Watershed Coordination-Flathead River Watershed, respectively). Similarly, the fisheries component of project 24019 continues the parts of project 9101901 that are not included in 24018. Table 1 provides a summary of how each project relates to resource needs, management goals, objectives and strategies, and other activities in the subbasin. Projects and Budgets Continuation of Ongoing Projects Project: 199101903 – Hungry Horse Mitigation Sponsor: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP)Short Description: Mitigation for the construction and operation of Hungry Horse Dam (HHD). Implements habitat restoration, improves fish passage, protects and recovers native fish populations, and reestablishes fish harvest opportunities. Abbreviated Abstract Hungry Horse Dam, completed in 1952, impounded the South Fork of the Flathead River creating the 30-mile Hungry Horse Reservoir. Research to quantify the biological impacts caused by dam construction and operation began during the late1970s. In 1993, the Northwest Power Planning Council adopted the Hungry Horse Dam Fisheries Mitigation Implementation Plan. This plan contains an approved loss statement quantifying fish and habitat that was impacted by the construction and operation of Hungry Horse Dam and describes specific measures to protect and enhance resident fish and aquatic habitat. Installation of a selective withdrawal device at Hungry Horse Dam successfully restored normative temperatures to the Flathead River in 1996. Empirically calibrated computer models were developed to establish dam operations to benefit biological productivity in the reservoir and river system. Reservoir operating requirements were published in 1996 and updated in 1999. Research on the Flathead River is quantifying the influence of regulated flow and temperature on native fish with special emphasis on risks posed by non-native fish species. Basin-wide genetic surveys, migrant trapping, and radio-telemetry studies have identified streams where hybridization is occurring between native westslope cutthroat trout and non-native rainbow trout; results are being used to protect native stocks. A Flathead Basin habitat and fish passage plan was updated in 1997 that guides our watershed restoration efforts. Fish passage projects reconnect access to blocked spawning and rearing habitat. Habitat projects in stream, lake, and reservoir environments emphasize passive restoration with conventional, biotechnical, and experimental approaches. Offsite projects, particularly lake rehabilitations, have been successful in creating genetic reserves for native fish, drastically improving fisheries, and/or eliminating source populations for further illegal fish introductions. A specific monitoring strategy, including pre- and post-treatment sampling, is designed for each restoration action to improve cost effectiveness. Relationship to Other Projects Results of many of our efforts are applicable to other programs in the Columbia River basin. Biotechnical approaches to stream habitat and riparian restoration have contributed knowledge of vegetative bank-stabilization techniques. Projects also include novel or experimental approaches with wide applicability. Examples include a step-pool fish ladder completed with low-cost, natural materials and development of the Integrated Rule Curves (IRCs) for dam operation to enhance fish and wildlife mitigation. IRCs are being developed for other storage projects in the Columbia Basin. The ISG and ISAB stated that the IRCs are consistent with the normative river concept and provide a tool for assessing tradeoffs between reservoir and river requirements. They recommended that IRCs be applied to other Columbia River sub-basins. Tools for decision making are especially important now that many Columbia Basin fish species have been listed or proposed for listing under ESA. Changes in dam operation for recovery of lower Columbia River fish stocks have been shown to impact resident fish in the headwaters (ISAB 1997) and must be balanced to benefit all native species. Recent changes to dam operation called for in the 2000 Biological Opinion on bull trout and listed anadromous species provide a better balance. Project IDTitleNature of Relationship199502510Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) study on the Flathead RiverPhysical and hydraulic component of the IFIM model19101901Hungry Horse Mitigation – Flathead Lake and Habitat Enhancement (CSKT)Partner with CSKT in mitigation for Hungry Horse199608701Focus Watershed Coordination – Flathead Basin (CSKT)Cooperator in Dayton Creek restoration3874700Streamnet Geographic Information Services unitProvide GIS and GPS support. Design and archive watershed maps Relationship to Existing Goals, Objectives and Strategies Section 10.3A of the FWP details Hungry Horse resident fish mitigation. Measures 10.3A.11 & 10.3A.12 direct MFWP to implement habitat enhancement projects described in the Mitigation and Implementation Plans. The approved Implementation Plan, which includes fish and habitat loss statements, decision trees, and project prioritization criteria and rationale is a guiding framework for this program. In approving this plan, the NPPC and Independent Scientific Group encouraged “implementation of habitat improvement projects as a high priority.” Montana’s Fisheries Mitigation Guidelines also stress “natural fish reproduction and habitat whenever possible.” Our goal is to mitigate documented losses of native fish through habitat enhancement, fish passage improvements, and improved dam operation. The Flathead Subbasin contains some of the last and best remaining strongholds for bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Measures 903(a) and (b) of the 1987 FWP placed the 85-foot drawdown limit at HHD for power purposes and directed BPA to fund restoration of fish losses when the drawdown limit is exceeded. These limits remain in effect until the IRCs are implemented (measure 10.3A.3, 10.3A.7 and 10.3A.8, NPPC 1995). Measure 10.3A.4 directs MFWP to continue to refine the IRCs. The IFIM project (directed by 10.3A.18) will help refine the riverine aspects of the IRCs and provide information for consultations between MFWP, CSKT and ACOE (10.3A.9) for decision making when a conflict occurs between maintaining minimum flows (10.3A.1) and maintaining reservoir levels (10.3A.3). Measures 10.3A.6-8 direct BPA and ACOE to fund studies to evaluate HHD operations on fish and repair of fish losses when the IRCs are violated for power or flood control. The project supports Flathead Subbasin Summary objectives to improve fish passage, restore habitats in stream, lake, and reservoir environments, create genetic reserves for native fish, and eliminate source populations for further illegal fish introductions. Review Comments No provincial review comments. Budget FY02FY03FY04$982,850 Category: High Priority$990,000 Category: High Priority$1,065,000 Category: High Priority Project: 199101904 – Stocking of offsite waters for Hungry Horse Mitigation – Creston National Fish Hatchery Sponsor: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)Short Description: Produce hatchery fish for offsite stocking to mitigate losses to Flathead Lake caused by construction and operation of Hungry Horse Dam. Abbreviated Abstract We employ hatchery fish production of up to 100,000 westslope cutthroat trout and 100,000 rainbow trout to mitigate for Hungry Horse Dam hydro-related losses of 415,000 salmonids annually from Flathead Lake. In order to partially offset lost angler opportunity, this project creates new recreational fishing opportunities, reduces pressure on native stocks. Hatchery fish are stocked annually into small offsite closed-basin lakes within the Flathead Basin. Relationship to Other Projects Project IDTitleNature of Relationship199101901Flathead Lake Monitoring and Habitat EnhancementAll projects are under Hungry Horse Fisheries Mitigation umbrella, the goal of which is to restore and protect the abundance, productivity, and diversity of biological communities and habitats in the Flathead River Subbasin. This project aims to provide angler opportunities in smaller, reclaimed, closed-basin lakes, and reduce pressure on mainstem waters while habitat enhancements and population studies are conducted through the related projects.199101903Hungry Horse Mitigation-Watershed Restoration and Monitoring199101002Flathead River Native Species Project199502500Flathead River Instream Flow Project199608701Focus Watershed Coordination-Flathead River Watershed Relationship to Existing Goals, Objectives and Strategies This proposal represents a continuing effort to satisfy a portion of the Hungry Horse Dam loss statement approved by the NWPPC in 1991under amendment 903(h). It also follows directives of the 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program, which call for initiating the actions set forth in the Hungry Horse Implementation Plan. The Plan’s guidelines allowed managers to proceed with native species restoration and enhancement (hatchery stocking) of offsite fisheries in the Flathead Subbasin after Flathead Lake kokanee reintroductions were unsuccessful. This proposal also partially satisfies a Flathead Subbasin management objective to utilize hatchery production to stock offsite, closed-basin lakes in order to increase angler opportunity and divert fishing pressure away from weak but recoverable wild native populations already under limited or no-harvest fishing regulations. Review Comments Monitoring for this project is preformed under Project Number 24019. Budget FY02FY03FY04$106,672 Category: High Priority$109,872 Category: High Priority$113,168 Category: High Priority New Projects Project: 24012 – Riparian Habitat Preservation – Weaver Slough and McWinegar Slough Sponsor: Flathead Land Trust (FLT)Short Description: Protect a range of natural resources compromised by rapid subdivision and development in the Flathead River Subbasin. Acquisition of purchased easements on five properties will extend private conservation of the Flathead River riparian corridor, permanently protecting lowland/wetland habitats in two significant sloughs. Protecting these sloughs is a high priority because of their value as resting and feeding sites for migratory waterfowl. A third site, which would also be protected as a result of this project, has a large remnant black cottonwood forest. It lies on a bend of the Flathead River that ongoing MFWP fisheries studies show is a highly significant overwintering site for bull trout and westslope cutthroat. Abbreviated Abstract Acquire purchased easements from five landowners on tracts crucial to protecting the mainstem Flathead River corridor. The sites will supplement other protected lands and protect from subdivision a major portion of the remaining riparian habitat in the mainstem Flathead River north of Flathead Lake. The tracts provide vital habitat for migratory waterfowl, are part of the Pacific Flyway, and support a variety of bird, mammal, and amphibian species that require riparian habitats. The project areas include two major sloughs — Weaver Slough and McWinegar Slough — and a third tract on the Flathead River called Foy�s Bend. Foy�s Bend includes substantial wetland and river frontage that serves as overwintering habitat for native salmonids. The project preserves habitat types that are otherwise decreasing in the Flathead Subbasin as a result of operations of Hungry Horse Dam. Private land conservation is absolutely necessary to supplement public lands in this ecosystem scenario because of the political liability of public land ownership in this subbasin where the majority of land (more than 70 percent) is already in state and federal ownership. Riparian lands have a disproportionately low representation in public holdings, so preservation of private lands becomes essential to preserving the overall health of the ecosystem. Projects demonstrate the strength of a partnership of farmland and habitat protection to achieve multiple-benefit, landscape-scale preservation goals. Relationship to Other Projects Project IDTitleNature of Relationship24018Secure and Restore Critical Fish and Wildlife HabitatsProject #24018 focuses on securing habitats through land acquisition and conservation easements in the southern part of the subbasin, while this project addresses habitats in the upper basin.20028 Purchased Conservation Easement from Plum Creek Timber Company (PCT) along Fisher River by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MT FWP)Comparable effort in our region to protect habitat on private lands in the Kootenai BasinMontana Ag Heritage Program and NRCS Farmland Protection ProgramSources of matching funds to complete the project Flathead Lakers Critical Lands WorkshopIdentifies area north of Flathead Lake as critical to lake protection Research project in Upper Flathead system to track migratory patterns of native salmonids – MT FWP Indicates importance of Foy�s Bend site198905200Montana Wildlife TrustWildlife mitigation trust fundMFWP Research project (1987) – Effects of Water Levels on Productivity of Canada Geese in the Northern Flathead ValleyIndicates importance of Weaver and McWinegar Sloughs Relationship to existing goals, objectives and strategies This project addresses the Flathead Subbasin management objective of protecting critical wetland and riparian habitats through acquisition or conservation easements. Project areas are high priority areas (Source: MFWP, Flathead Lakers, Flathead Land Trust, American Bird Conservancy) for establishment of purchase/protection mechanisms. The project also complements ongoing public and private conservation efforts to protect as much as possible of the mainstem Flathead River riparian lands from subdivision and development. Review Comments There appears to be an inconsistency in the ISRP’s requests for M&E among project sponsors. Standards do not appear to be the same from one project to the next. A Monitoring and Evaluation plan was not requested by the ISRP for this project whereas other similar projects were required to provide such information. This project presents a unique situation where BPA dollars are being requested to maintain land for agricultural use. According to language in the Farm Land Protection Program (USDA-NRCS), which will be used for cost share to fund part of this project, participating landowners must choose to keep their land in agriculture. BPA may not be the appropriate match source under this language. If the BPA dollars were tied strictly to the riparian wetland portion of this project, the funding category would have been identified as High Priority. If BPA dollars were tied strictly to riparian/wetland portions, it would have ranked high priority. Budget FY02FY03FY04$1,080,000 Category: Recommended Action Notes: If BPA dollars are tied strictly to the riparian wetland portion of this project; the funding category would be High Priority. Project: 24013 – Assessment of Operational Impacts of Hungry Horse Dam on Riparian Wildlife habitats and their associated aquatic components Sponsor: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (MFWP)Short Description: Enhance and protect native wildlife communities in the Flathead Subbasin through multi-species assessments, design of habitat improvements, develop approaches to habitat protection, mitigate variable river flows, and identify off-site mitigation potential. Abbreviated Abstract Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is proposing a study to assess the operational impacts of Hungry Horse Dam on riparian wildlife habitats and their associated aquatic components. The results of this study would then be used to develop plans to mitigate wildlife habitat impacts associated with power production. This study would build on efforts of the Hungry Horse Fisheries Mitigation project (199101903) by extending these aquatic evaluations to include operational impacts on adjacent riparian habitats and the terrestrial wildlife species they support. By building on the fisheries work, we can develop an integrated model that provides for the needs of power production and flood control, as well as fish and wildlife populations and the successional processes that provide current and future habitat needs. This is consistent with the Council’s revised approach of treating a given habitat as an ecosystem that includes both fish and wildlife. Fish and aquatic invertebrate populations are an integral part of the food chain supporting terrestrial wildlife populations. A plan to sustain river processes that perpetuate seral plant communities that eventually develop into mature riparian forests, will meet the overall vision of the Fish and Wildlife Program to protect and restore the natural ecological functions, habitats, and biological diversity of the Columbia River Basin. Relationship to Other Projects Project IDTitleNature of Relationship199101903Hungry Horse Fisheries Mitigation umbrellaThe project will continue the landscape and systems approach developed for the Fisheries Program by monitoring and assessing impacts on avian, reptilian and amphibian species associated with the riverine habitats affected by dam operations.198905200Montana Wildlife TrustWildlife mitigation trust fund1999RP11917The Flathead River Instream Flow InvestigationThis project will provide the physical framework for assessing changes in riverine habitat as a function of dam operations Relationship to Existing Goals, Objectives and Strategies Construction and inundation losses were documented for Hungry Horse Dam in 1984 (Casey et al. 1984). A wildlife mitigation plan was completed in 1985 (Bissell and Yde 1985) and was approved in the Council’s 1987 Fish and Wildlife Program. The 1988 Settlement Agreement between Bonneville Power Administration and the State of Montana subsequently established the loss assessments for Libby and Hungry Horse (Casey et al. 1984, Yde and Olsen 1984) as the basis of the Montana Wildlife Mitigation Program. That agreement further specified that the program should be consistent with the Council’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, and that those measures in the Council’s program are given priority consideration. Casey and Wood (1986) evaluated operational impacts of Hungry Horse and Kerr Dams on Canada geese in the Flathead River from Hungry Horse Dam to Flathead Lake. Their study determined that Hungry Horse Dam had little effect on Canada geese. Bissell and Bown (1987) did a parallel study of muskrat, beaver, otter, and mink on the section of river influenced by Kerr Dam. They concluded that Kerr Dam effects dominate impacts to these four species. However, neither study adequately addresses the question of ecosystem function and fish or wildlife community issues that are a priority in the current Council Program. Wildlife mitigation projects in the Flathead Basin of Montana have resulted in over 12,000 acres of wildlife habitat that have been enhanced or conserved since 1970. This work has resulted in over 4,500 acres of mitigation credit for wildlife habitat losses associated with Libby and Hungry Horse Dams (Wood 2000). We recently completed an agreement with Plum Creek Timber Company to purchase a conservation easement on 140,250 acres of their land along the Thompson and Fisher Rivers. This project will easily complete forest mitigation and most remaining riparian mitigation obligations. With completion of most mitigation associated with construction of Hungry Horse Dam, it is an opportune time to focus our attention on an operational impact assessment and mitigation plan. In addition, it is important to work with the ongoing operational impact studies for fisheries in the Flathead River to integrate with those efforts. Council’s current Fish and Wildlife Program stated that operational and secondary losses have not been estimated or addressed for terrestrial wildlife. However, the program includes a commitment to mitigate for these losses. This project proposal is designed to address the following objective: complete an operational impact assessment and develop plans to mitigate for any impacts that the operations of Hungry Horse Dam may cause to the development and successional trends of riparian wildlife habitats and their associated aquatic components, in cooperation with on-going fisheries mitigation activities. With completion of most mitigation associated with construction of Hungry Horse Dam, it is an opportune time to focus our attention on an operational impact assessment and mitigation plan. In addition, it is important to work with the ongoing operational impact studies for fisheries in the Flathead River to integrate with those efforts. Council’s current Fish and Wildlife Program stated that operational and secondary losses have not been estimated or addressed for terrestrial wildlife. However, the program includes a commitment to mitigate for these losses. Review Comments Operational loss assessments are emphasized as a priority in the subbasin summary. A more detailed description of proposed activities is needed to rank this project in a higher category. From the proposal, this project is for assessment and monitoring to develop the methods to mitigate. This makes it difficult to apply these criteria to the project. Budget FY02FY03FY04$188,949 Category: Recommended Action $191,249 Category: Recommended Action$118,641 Category: Recommended Action Project: 24018 – Secure and Restore Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitats Sponsor: Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT)Short Description: Utilize land acquisition and habitat restoration to protect and enhance habitats critical to fish and wildlife. Reduce human-wildlife conflicts on acquired and restored lands to increase their value for wildlife. Abbreviated Abstract When Hungry Horse Reservoir filled, 23,750 acres of low elevation forest, wetland, and riparian habitats were inundated, including seasonal habitat for a wide variety of avifauna, spring and fall grizzly bear habitat, and important big game range and calving areas. Similarly, the construction and operation of Libby Dam resulted in the direct loss of 28,850 acres of wildlife habitat. To replace these lost fishing and hunting resources and plant harvesting and spiritual sites, the Salish and Kootenai Tribes have been forced to rely more heavily on Reservation lands, which in turn have been degraded from over one-hundred years of private and federal land management and development activities. Rapid residential and commercial growth now threatens the best remaining habitats. Low elevation spring and fall grizzly bear habitat on the Reservation is decreasing, while the level of disturbance and the number of conflicts with private landowners are increasing. Similarly, because of the limited amount of winter range and chronic conflicts with surrounding ranchers, Tribal biologists now manage elk within the Ferry Basin Elk Conservation Area well below what the summer range could support. Rapid growth and development near or adjacent to lakes and streams has resulted in the loss or degradation of significant riparian and wetland habitats, which in turn has resulted in much lower fish and wildlife numbers than could otherwise be achieved. This project proposal will address these problems by 1) securing habitats through land acquisition and conservation easements; (2) enhancing existing and newly acquired habitats to maximize their value to fish and wildlife; (3) creating a wildlife-conflicts specialist position to resolve wildlife conflicts with surrounding landowners and implement proactive projects to resolve conflicts; and (4) utilizing a balanced system-wide, watershed approach to reverse the downward trends in native species and protect healthy populations. Target species include grizzly bear, elk, all native riparian species, cutthroat trout and bull trout. Relationship to Other Projects Project IDTitleNature of Relationship9101903Flathead Watershed Restoration and MonitoringImplements mitigation plan9101901Flathead Lake Monitoring and Habitat EnhancementFormerly a stand-alone project, now part of this project. Purpose is habitat restoration and monitoring.9608701Focus Watershed Coordination – Flathead River WatershedFormerly a stand-alone project, now part of this project. Directly assists the accomplishment of project objectives by coordinating with agencies and landowners to implement mitigation measures.9520500Flathead River Instream Flow ProjectInstream habitat restoration0Hungry Horse Dam Wildlife MitigationCo-sponsor of Dayton Creek restoration project and other possible conservation easements (Montana Wildlife Trust Fund).0Kerr Project Habitat Restoration and AcquisitionPotential for partnering/cost share on projects and complementary projects0Jocko River Wetland/Riparian Habitat and Bull Trout Restoration Plan ImplementationPotential for partnering/cost share on projects and complementary projects0CSKT land acquisitionsComplements restoration efforts0Misc. CSKT Habitat Improvement and Restoration ProjectsPotential for partnering/cost share on projects and complementary projects0Kicking Horse Habitat Restoration ProjectRestore low elevation riparian and wetland habitats used by grizzlies on a prior Tribal Range Unit.0Poison-oak Riparian Restoration ProjectRestore low-elevation riparian and aspen seep habitat in area used extensively by grizzly bears. Relationship to Existing Goals, Objectives and Strategies This project address the following goal of the 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program (FWP): the rebuilding to sustainable levels of weak, but recoverable, native populations injured by the hydropower system. Specific objectives in the FWP addressed by this project include: 7.7A, 7.7|B, 10.2A.2, 10.2B, 10.2B.1, 10.2C.4, 10.3A.2, 10.3A.4, 10.3A.10, 10.3A.11, 10.3A.13. The 1993 USFWS Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan specifically identifies the importance of maintaining grizzly bears in the Mission Mountains. In outlining criteria for recovery of grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, the plan states: “Furthermore, recovery cannot be achieved without occupancy in the Mission Mountains portion of this ecosystem.” Paramount to maintaining occupancy of grizzly bears is the protection and enhancement of remaining low elevation habitat. In a letter dated May 29, 1998 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grizzly Bear Recovery Coordinator stated, “I believe that without the maintenance of large blocks of undeveloped land along the west slope of the Missions, the probability of maintaining a grizzly bear population in the Mission Mountains is very low.” Maintaining grizzly bear populations on the Flathead Indian Reservation is a major goal of the CSKT as well. The CSKT developed a Grizzly Bear Management Plan in 1981. That plan outlines management direction and priorities to maintain grizzly bear populations, and acquisition and conservation easements were identified as a priority. The plan also acknowledges resolving human/bear conflicts as an important part of protecting grizzly bear populations. For fish habitat, this project works to achieve the goals and objectives of the FWP by implementing measures that mitigate the loss of fish habitat resulting from construction of Hungry Horse Dam. These measures have included direct supplementation and habitat restoration. Implementation of the project will be conducted in close cooperation with Project No. 9101903, which represents a necessary collaborative effort between the State and the Tribes, who share jurisdiction and management in the basin. The Focus Watershed component of this project complements other projects such as the Excessive Drawdown Mitigation Program (project 940100), Hungry Horse Mitigation/Habitat Improvements (9101903), Hungry Horse Fisheries Mitigation (9101901), Hungry Horse Mitigation (9101904) and its sister project in the Kootenai River system (9608702). It is supported by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks; the Flathead Basin Commission; Lake, Lincoln, Sanders, and Flathead County Conservation Districts; the Natural Resource Conservation Service; Citizens for a Scenic Lake County; and Flathead Lake Biological Station. Activities are being coordinated with these agencies and groups to implement plans and projects in the future. All of these activities further the Tribal and State goals of habitat restoration being conducted from a coordinated, watershed perspective. This project also directly address the following objectives of subbasin management agencies: (1) Acquire and/or protect key habitat parcels (endangered, threatened, and sensitive species habitats) through purchase, conservation easements, or conservation agreements to assist in maintenance of viable populations. (2) Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitats. Protect critical areas through acquisition or conservation easements. Work through the Focus Watershed Coordination project to identify site-specific wetland/riparian restoration projects and to coordinate with landowners, agencies, and other funding sources. (3) Deal with ongoing recreation-fisheries-water quality conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce these conflicts. (4) Significantly reduce the level of sedimentation in impacted spawning areas by restoring normative surface-water runoff patterns in upland areas using best management practices and habitat improvement measures and by restoring natural stream channel function and form using soft methods. (5) Maintain temperatures within the tolerance range of native fish species by improving riparian and in-stream habitat using stream channel and riparian habitat restoration methods as described by Rosgen 1995. (6) Deal with ongoing human-wildlife conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. Review Comments There is an agreement between BPA and MFWP regarding wildlife credits for the state of Montana. The CSKT is not a signatory to that agreement and believe that most of the credits to date have occurred in areas that are not accessible to tribal members. An adequate M&E plan is presented in the proposal, but a direct link to objectives is not clear. Budget FY02FY03FY04$4,918,444 Category: High Priority$4,538,826 Category: High Priority$4,538,826 Category: High Priority Project: 24019 – Research, Monitor, and Restore Native Species Sponsor: Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT)Short Description: Implement and monitor fisheries improvement activities for native species and conduct a feasibility study on the reintroduction of sharp-tailed grouse. Research factors limiting the successful application of mitigation and restoration measures. Abbreviated Abstract This project seeks to determine how habitat changes, species shifts, and the consequent dominance of new species—factors that have the potential to limit the success of mitigation measures—have affected native species. It also seeks to determine status of a locally extirpated species—sharp-tailed grouse— and whether reintroduction is feasible. The project has two main components. The fisheries component is a continuation of portions of BPA project number 9101901. That project, initiated in 1992, has been documenting trends in westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout populations and changes in the populations of several other major species through standardized gillnetting surveys; conducting creel surveys that have defined the baseline condition of the Flathead Lake fishery in 1992-1993 and 1998-99; examining the competitive interactions with lake trout and Mysis relicta, and the possible absence of such species as white sturgeon; and conducting basic research into food web interactions and factors controlling lake trout abundance (the predatory influence of lake trout on native species is high). This work includes cooperation with state management agencies and two universities. We have learned that this basic research is necessary to successfully mitigate losses of adfluvial trout in Flathead Lake. The wildlife component is a three-year feasibility study to determine the status of existing habitat for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in northwestern Montana and the potential for population augmentation and/or reintroduction in the most favorable areas. The suitability of habitat will be evaluated by a landscape-level evaluation of available potential habitat using Geographical Information System (GIS) analysis. This methodology will provide a foundation for a more detailed analysis of features important to nesting and over-wintering sharp-tailed grouse. The detailed analysis will entail ground-truthing of potential habitat areas to determine sites that actually contain suitable habitat for nesting and over-wintering grouse and identify the sites that might be able to support populations of grouse. The project will also examine the potential for population augmentation or reintroduction at high priority sites. An additional objective of this component will be to determine the methods necessary to achieve the long-term goal of restoration of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse as a viable population in northwestern Montana. Relationship to Other Projects Project IDTitleNature of Relationship9101903Flathead Watershed Restoration and MonitoringImplements mitigation plan9502500 Flathead River Instream Flow ProjectInstream habitat restoration 9608701Focus Watershed Coordination – Flathead River WatershedDirectly assists the accomplishment of project objectives by coordinating with agencies and landowners to implement mitigation measures.Hungry Horse Dam Wildlife MitigationCo-sponsor of Dayton Creek restoration project and other possible conservation easements with Montana Wildlife Trust Fund9101904Non-native fish removal/hatchery productionNative/non-native species interaction research; offsite mitigation for Flathead Lake. Relationship to Existing Goals, Objectives and Strategies The goal of the 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program addressed by this project is the rebuilding to sustainable levels of weak, but recoverable, native populations injured by the hydropower system. Specific objectives in the FWP include: 7.7A, 7.7|B, 10.2A.2, 10.2B, 10.2B.1, 10.2C.4, 10.3A.2, 10.3A.4, 10.3A.10, 10.3A.11, 10.3A.13. The fisheries component of this project works to achieve the goals and objectives of the FWP by monitoring measures that mitigate the loss of habitat resulting from construction of Hungry Horse Dam. Mitigation measures being monitored have included direct supplementation and habitat restoration. Additionally, this project monitors tributary restoration projects directly and on a larger scale in Flathead Lake, so that the feedback loop remains intact. Monitoring is conducted in close cooperation with Project No. 9101903, which represents a necessary collaborative effort between the State and the Tribes, who share jurisdiction and management in the basin. The fisheries component directly addresses the high-priority Flathead Subbasin Summary objective to reduce negative nonnative species interactions in Flathead Lake. The wildlife component is consistent with the Northwest Power Planning Council’s 1994 Fish and Wildlife Plan system-wide goal of a healthy Columbia River Basin. It is appropriate under language in Section 11, complies with Section 11.2D, and is consistent with Section 11.2E. The Columbian sharp-tailed grouse is listed as a target species of high priority in the Upper Columbia Sub basin in Section 11.2E. The project directly addresses the subbasin summary management objective to develop a reintroduction plan for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in the Flathead Basin by working with private, Tribal, State, and federal landowners to identify opportunities to restore habitat and populations. The well-being and continued existence of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse and its habitat has been the focus of efforts by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for the past fifteen years, with population augmentation efforts initiated in Lincoln County. The species has also been the subject of surveys conducted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The Tribes cultural resource staff also strongly support reintroduction. The National Bison Range has expressed a strong interest in the re-establishment of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse on its lands as has the U. S. Forest Service. Review Comments Since the fisheries objectives are unclear it is difficult to determine if the monitoring proposed here is addressing those objectives. Budget FY02FY03FY04$131,400 Category: High Priority$144,500 Category: High Priority$139,500 Category: High Priority Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Activities Existing monitoring and evaluation activities for fish include collecting micro- and macro-habitat parameters (i.e. depth, velocity, substrate, habitat type etc.) for use in developing weighted useable area curves for size-classes of bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. This information will be used to develop habitat suitability use curves required by the Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) Project (BPA #9502500) on the Flathead River. MFWP will monitor river temperatures at six locations in the Flathead River system; quantify differences in macrozoobenthos diversity and abundance and pre- and post-selective withdrawal; and quantify and compare whitefish growth rates pre and post. This information will serve to monitor the effects of selective withdrawal at Hungry Horse Dam on Flathead River ecosystem. To assess abundance, distribution, and food habits of predator fish species (lake trout, northern pike) in the mainstem, north, and middle forks of the Flathead River, MFWP will perform creel surveys throughout the Flathead River system; obtain growth information and analyze stomach contents from harvested northern pike and lake trout; and tag and release fish for abundance and distribution analyses. To assess distribution and movements of juvenile, sub-adult, and adult bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout in the mainstem, north, and middle forks of the Flathead River, MFWP will use radio-telemetry to collect data on bull trout distribution, movement, and habitat use through weekly ground, boat, and aerial surveys. To assess distribution and movements of westslope cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, and WCT x RBT hybrids in the mainstem, North, and Middle forks of the Flathead River, MFWP will collect data on westslope cutthroat trout distribution, movement, and habitat use through weekly ground, boat, and aerial surveys. To monitor watershed-level fish and habitat parameters MFWP will annually monitor spawning (incubation and habitat quality by McNeil method of streambed coring in 33 tributaries to assess juvenile bull trout rearing habitat quality and by substrate scoring in 21 tributaries); conduct annual migratory cutthroat and bull trout redd counts in 45 index tributary reaches to monitor adult runs; conduct annual cutthroat and bull trout juvenile estimates in 31 tributaries to monitor recruitment; conduct river population estimates in mainstem and the three forks of Flathead River; conduct annual gill net series on Flathead Lake and Hungry Horse Reservoir; and collect disease samples from wild fish populations. MFWP will evaluate past mitigation projects on Taylor’s Spring Creek, Hay Creek, Dayton Creek and monitor fish growth, species composition, and angler use at past lake rehabilitations on Lion, Rogers, Bootjack, Murray, and Dollar lakes plus other offsite fish-plant waters. A specific monitoring strategy, including pre- and post-treatment sampling, is designed for each restoration project. These are combined with watershed-level spawning substrate and redd counts, electrofishing, and gillnet monitoring series to assess direct and indirect effects of the program. MFWP will assess the timing and magnitude of discharge releases (e.g. ramping rates and flow regimes) from Hungry Horse Dam as related to the distribution, habitat use, and movements of juvenile and adult bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. MFWP will quantify impacts of flow releases from Hungry Horse Dam on the macroinvertebrate community structure and temporal frequency dynamics of trophically important benthic species in the Flathead River downstream of Hungry Horse Dam. MFWP will also conduct research on an as-needed basis as specified in the USFWS Biological Opinion on bull trout in the upper Flathead River system. CSKT will monitor: native species abundance in Flathead Lake using spring gillnetting, the biology of lake trout in Flathead Lake using fall gillnetting, the success of offsite fish plants through creel surveys and fish sampling, and exploitation rates of sport fish in Flathead Lake using a year-long creel survey. The Watershed Focus Coordinator’s effectiveness will be monitored by tracking the number of individuals in the subwatershed participating in restoration activities. In addition, CSKT Fisheries and Water Management programs will monitor: native fish populations on a 10-year cycle to evaluate long-term viability based on the BayVam or similar model by measuring abundance, available habitat, and year-class distribution; substrate condition by McNeil coring or substrate embeddedness in all streams on a 15-year cycle; channel complexity in all streams on a 15-year cycle; and streams by maintaining and intermittently reporting results for the Reservation-wide Stream Assessment and Reference-reach Assessment Monitoring Program. For timber sales, the Tribes will monitor BMP implementation and road abandonment and cumulative effects. They will also conduct sediment source surveys, stream and wetlands inventories, and forest-wide stream-reach assessment surveys for 16 reaches. In 1999, Montana initiated a modified Instream Flow Incremental Methodology (IFIM) project on the Flathead River to refine the river component of HRMOD. The project has been approved for two years of funding and the final year, FY2000, is pending NWPPC approval. The IFIM research will calibrate simulations of hydraulic conditions (stage/discharge and velocities etc.) and fish habitat from Hungry Horse Dam to Flathead Lake at various discharges from Hungry Horse Dam. An optimization program is scheduled for development to allow managers to assess tradeoffs between the requirements of reservoir and riverine biota, when conflicts occur between reservoir operation and river flow limits as per the MFWP. MFWP and CSKT monitor the effects of dam operation in Hungry Horse Reservoir and the Flathead River and its tributaries. Factors controlling Mysis abundance in Flathead Lake will be researched by CSKT through biweekly Mysis sampling with associated limnological parameters. The U.S. Forest Service conducts periodic physical and biological stream surveys and wildlife inventories on subbasin federal lands. Water quality monitoring is ongoing by a number of agencies. With respect to wildlife, a nongame monitoring program by MFWP will evaluate the effects of habitat enhancements at Hungry Horse on breeding-bird communities to determine if enhancement prescriptions for big game species effectively restore habitat for bird species as well. A final summary report of this eight-year effort will be prepared by June 2001. The results will be used to review and develop new habitat enhancement proposals and methods for measuring wildlife benefits. Big game monitoring will evaluate the effectiveness of big game habitat enhancements along Hungry Horse Reservoir. A final summary report of this 13-year effort will be prepared by June 2001. The results will be used to review and develop new habitat enhancement proposals and methods for measuring wildlife benefits. MFWP conducts population monitoring on big game, furbearer, and nongame populations in the subbasin annually through a variety of surveys and inventories. It conducts annual surveys of elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, mountain goats, and grizzly bears. The agency also conducts breeding bird surveys on each of their wildlife management areas as well as furbearer track surveys during winter. The Montana Bald Eagle Working Group and the Montana Loon Society coordinate annual bald eagle and common loon occupancy and productivity surveys. The National Audubon Society sponsors annual Christmas bird counts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinates annual breeding bird surveys in the Flathead Subbasin as part of the national surveys. There are also MAPS (Monitoring Avian Production and Survivorship) stations conducted each year, an effort coordinated by the Point Reyes Bird Observatory in California. As part of its management program, the CSKT Wildlife Management Program monitors wildlife populations on the Flathead Indian Reservation and in adjacent habitats. Big game, waterfowl, upland gamebirds, endangered, threatened and sensitive species, nongame species, furbearers, amphibians, and reptiles are routinely monitored. The Tribes track the recovery of endangered and threatened species by continuing to monitor populations in coordination with other State and federal agencies. They also monitor activities designed to eliminate or mitigate the impacts of activities such as forest management, range management, construction, and a variety of other developments. Wildlife research includes a long-term black bear study designed to improve harvest criteria used for management by assessing the vital rates (reproduction and mortality) of a typical black bear population in Swan River Valley. The project is also documenting local population size, trend, and sustainable harvest level estimates. Simultaneously, the project will develop estimates of black bear population size in typical hunting areas throughout western and central Montana to estimate current harvest rates. Long-term monitoring and associated research on the Flathead Indian Reservation includes work on bald eagles, small mammal population dynamics and their impacts upon other species, grizzly bears, amphibians, and forest carnivores. New proposals include the following research, monitoring and evaluation activities: Project 24012 will conduct at least annual monitoring of the project site (visits to five landowners) to assure adherence to easement terms. Project 24013 will monitor and assess populations of birds and herpitiles associated with riparian habitats by conducting amphibian and reptile surveys, establishing avian point count locations, conducting avian point counts Project 24018 will: Monitor the terms of acquired conservation easements. A schedule and system will be established to monitor the conditions of conservation easements. Land technicians will work with landowners to assure compliance. Monitor the implementation and success of management plans and restoration efforts. Periodic measures will be obtained at five-to-ten-year intervals to compare with baseline information as described in Task a. Aerial photographs will be obtained to monitor major shifts in plant communities. The coverage of noxious weeds will be estimated and monitored on all properties. Within grasslands the species composition of the plant community, a measure of winter range productivity, and a measure of nesting cover using Visual Obscurity Readings (Martin et al. 1997) will be monitored. For riparian and wetland habitats, health assessments (RWRP 2000) will be conducted for a baseline to be compared with future assessments collected on a five-to-ten-year interval. Monitor the success of conflict projects. The conflict specialist will work with cooperating residents, landowners and businesses to monitor the success of conflict projects. Success will be measured by elimination of, or significant reductions in, human-wildlife conflicts at the site. Monitor the physical and biological responses to implemented restoration measures. Develop a predictive model of shoreline erosion potential in Flathead Lake. Project: 24019 will: Monitor native species abundance through a trend analysis , conduct an annual creel survey, monitor lake trout biology through a trend analysis, and monitor off-site stocking through returns and survival analysis Research Mysis dynamics and interactions Project 199101903 will: Collect micro and macro habitat parameters (i.e. depth, velocity, substrate, habitat type etc.) for use in developing weighted useable area curves for size-classes of bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Monitor river temperatures at 6 locations in Flathead River system Quantify differences in macrozoobenthos diversity and abundance pre- and post-selective withdrawal. � Quantify and compare whitefish and trout growth rates pre- and post. � � Periodically perform seasonal creel surveys throughout the Flathead River and upper Flathead Lake. Obtain growth information and analyze stomach contents from harvested northern pike and lake trout. � � � Tag and release fish for abundance and distribution analyses. � � � Estimate catch rates of bull trout in the Flathead River and upper Flathead Lake. Collect data on bull trout distribution, movement and habitat use through weekly ground, boat and aerial surveys. Collect data on distribution, movement and habitat use by the study fish through weekly ground, boat and aerial surveys. Identify and prioritize source hybridization streams. � � � Annually monitor spawning, incubation and habitat quality by McNeil method of streambed coring in 33 tributaries to assess juvenile bull trout rearing habitat quality, and by substrate scoring in 21 tributaries. � Conduct annual migratory cutthroat and bull trout redd counts in 45 index tributary reaches to monitor adult runs. Conduct annual cutthroat and bull trout juvenile estimates in 31 tributaries to monitor recruitment. Conduct river population estimates in main stem and forks of Flathead River. Conduct annual gill net series on Flathead Lake and Hungry Horse Reservoir. Collect disease samples from wild fish populations. Assess changes in fish behavior and habitat use under various ramping rates using radio-telemetry. Quantify differences in macrozoobenthos diversity and abundance under various operating strategies. Monitor habitat conditions and fish populations at individual mitigation sites including Emery Creek, Taylor Spring, and Hay, Robertson, Griffin and Dayton Creeks. Monitor fish growth, species composition, and angler use at past lake rehabilitations on Whale, Tom Tom, Lion, Rogers, Bootjack, Murray, & Dollar lakes. Initiate a basin-wide water chemistry analysis of the South Fork Flathead River to assess the feasibility of using radio-isotope markers and nuclear DNA techniques to identify bull trout and cutthroat trout natal streams. Needed Future Actions For species adversely affected by hydropower operations, there is a need to conclusively document population trends for target and high priority species along with any other species that show declining populations and take actions for species recovery. There is a need to fund a future effort in the subbasin to prioritize potential easements based on wildlife values so we can systematically save the best remaining lands. There is a need to have ongoing funding for conservation easements as a way of making conservation dollars go farther than through acquisition and to keep land in private ownership, which is extremely important in the context of the local political environment. Funding needs to be increased for laboratory research on better ichthyotoxins designed to remove exotic aquatic species, especially in running-water environments. Toxins need to be undetectable by target organisms so those organisms cannot avoid them. The toxins should also be irreversible so that the organisms cannot recover by entering a spring source or turbulent, oxygenated waters. Finally, the toxin should be easily detoxified or have a short period of toxicity before breaking down into an inert state. In Flathead Lake, there is a need to fund research into the development of a species-specific toxin for mysis. System hydrology models need to be expanded to allow weekly time-step simulation of water routing within and between federal dam projects (ACOE, BPA and BoR). Monthly models need to be refined to achieve weekly time resolution, to incorporate estimates of unregulated local inflows, and to allow user control of inflow data from unregulated sources so that historic flow records or calculated inflow files can be input to model simulations. There is a need to establish a stepwise approach for monitoring BPA mitigation projects: first monitoring site-specific results at individual mitigation projects, then periodically measuring whole system responses. There is a need to schedule short-term and long-term monitoring of individual mitigation projects. There is a need to increase patrols by enforcement officials to protect bull trout during their spawning migration. Bull trout are vulnerable to illegal harvest while they are in headwater tributaries. Enforcement patrols need to be increased in known spawning habitats. Actions by Others Agencies need to conclusively document population trends and develop coordinated recovery plans for high-priority management species and other species that show declining populations. County commissions and tribal governments should work together to insure that comprehensive land use planning occurs in the subbasin to prevent development in floodplains, wildlife habitats, wetlands, riparian areas, and hazard areas. Zoning regulations that disallow any new development in floodplains need to be implemented. There is also a need to enact and enforce regulations that deny new permits for septic systems and wells within the 100-year floodplain boundary. Governmental jurisdictions should also develop and enforce local regulations designed to minimize potentials for future wildlife-human conflicts. Local, state, and federal governments and non-governmental institutions and corporations need to create incentives to move existing human developments out of floodplains. For example, the state and federal government could provide funds for the relocation of homes and outbuildings currently located within the floodplain through programs like “Project Impact”, a federal disaster prevention initiative. After providing assistance to relocate, state and federal disaster relief should be terminated for those who choose to live in the floodplain. Insurance companies should deny flood insurance for homes and outbuildings located in the floodplain. Agencies should purchase lands or obtain management rights for floodplain areas protected by dykes or levees and reconnect those areas to the floodplain (cooperative cost-shares with ACOE, irrigation districts, USFWS recovery funding for ESA-listed species and potential BPA cost-shares). Agricultural uses of floodplains could continue where agriculture does not impact wetlands or riparian buffer areas. The federal government could regulate agricultural revenues to offset “bust” years when crops are lost due to flood. There is a need to develop international, interstate, and interagency cooperative initiatives to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic nuisance species. Public outreach and education should occur through schools, lake-homeowner associations, sporting groups, and agencies. These activities could be sponsored through irrigation districts, state and provincial departments of natural resources and conservation, fish and wildlife, environmental quality, transportation, and agriculture, the U. S. Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. There is a need to foster greater grassroots support to implement conservation measures on private lands. Agencies could help private groups acquire grants and assist with project design and implementation and facilitate cost-share arrangements. Strategies need to be developed to educate private landowners on how to coexist with wildlife and preserve or enhance habitat. Agencies need to develop and/or implement other land and resource-management plans that include the use of conservation easements or land acquisition that will result in improved water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Training for farmers and ranchers that teaches ecologically compatible agricultural practices could be provided. Workshops could demonstrate methods of water conservation and rest/rotation grazing adjacent to streams and wetlands to eliminate or reduce livestock damages. They could show agricultural producers how to establish natural fence rows and teach techniques for protecting and restoring riparian areas and wetlands. There is a need to develop a basin-wide plan and regulations for off-stream water development. Water diversions could be replaced with solar powered wells on higher elevation water sources. Water conservation at irrigation projects could be improved through moisture sampling in fields. Remote sensing could be used to assure fields are not over watered. There is a need to develop cost-share to chemically rehabilitate Lake Mary Ronan to remove illegally introduced yellow perch and reestablish a popular salmonid fishery. A late-fall treatment, just before ice formation, would provide the greatest potential for a complete kill. The Montana Department of Transportation and county road programs should seek alternative alignments and other long-term roadway solutions to address channel confinement. The state should identify and mitigate cumulative impacts associated with new highway construction, improvement, or expansion projects. BPA-funded actions need to be more closely coordinated with the actions of other agencies and organizations that are directed at benefiting fish and wildlife and their habitats. There are, for example, an array of on-going conservation activities occurring in the basin by agencies and groups like the conservation districts, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Flathead Basin Commission, and Flathead Lakers. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have two major wetland and riparian acquisition/restoration initiatives underway that are funded by Kerr Mitigation and ARCO settlement dollars. Whenever it is appropriate, coordination and cooperation between the various groups and jurisdictions involved in conservation could enhance projects and help conservation dollars stretch farther. Table 1. Flathead River Subbasin Summary FY 2002 – 2004 BPA Funding Proposal Matrix Project Proposal ID19910190319910190452401224013240142401824019 Provincial Team Funding RecommendationUrgent/High PriorityUrgent/High PriorityUrgent/High PriorityUrgent/High PriorityUrgent/High PriorityUrgent/High PriorityUrgent/High PriorityThese project titles are referenced by ID above: 199101901- Hungry Horse Mitigation – MFWP 199101904- Stocking of Offsite Waters for Hungry Horse Mitigation – Creston National Fish Hatchery – USFWS 24012 – Riparian Habitat Preservation – Weaver Slough & McWinegar Slough – FLT 24013 – Assessment of Operational Impacts of Hungry Horse Dam on Riparian Wildlife Habitats and Their Associated Aquatic Components – MFWP 24014 – Assessment of Operational Impacts of Libby Dam on Riparian Wildlife Habitats and Their Associated Aquatic Components – MFWP 24018 – Secure and Restore Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat – CSKT 24019 – Research, Monitor and Restore Native Species – CSKT Note: + = potential or anticipated effect on subbasin objectives and strategies. Appendix A HATCHERY AND GENETIC MANAGEMENT PLANCreston National Fish Hatchery HATCHERY AND GENETIC MANAGEMENT PLAN RESIDENT FISH VERSION (HGMP-RF) Hatchery Program: Species or Hatchery Stock: Agency/Operator: Watershed and Region: Date Submitted: Date Last Updated: SECTION 1. GENERAL PROGRAM DESCRIPTION Name of hatchery or program. Stocking of offsite waters for Hungry Horse fisheries mitigation – Creston National Fish Hatchery 1.2) Species and population (or strain) under propagation, ESA/population status. Westslope cutthroat trout, Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi Rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss Bull trout, Salvelinus confluentus – threatened species 1.3) Responsible organization and individuals Name (and title): Donald A. Edsall, Hatchery Manager Agency or Tribe: US Fish and Wildlife Service Address: 780 Creston Hatchery Road, Kalispell, MT 59901 Telephone: (406)-758-6870 Fax: (406)-758-6877 Email: donald_edsall@fws.gov Other agencies, Tribes, co-operators, or organizations involved, including contractors, and extent of involvement in the program: Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MDFWP) and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) manage the waters stocked under this program. 1.4) Funding source, staffing level, and annual hatchery program operational costs. This program funded by Bonneville Power Administration. The annual budget for 2001 is $173,292, and includes 1.95 FTE’s 1.5) Location(s) of hatchery and associated facilities. The Creston NFH is located on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Flathead River located several miles above Flathead Lake in northwest Montana. Latitude 48d-12min-30sec North, Longitude 114d.-7min-30sec West 1.6) Type of program(s). Stocking portion of program is isolated harvest of Westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout from waters lacking natural reproduction or connection to natural populations. Culture of bull trout is for development of rearing techniques and provision of eggs for research purposes. 1.7) Purpose (Goal) of program(s). The goal of this program is to mitigate for Hungry Horse Dam hydro-related losses of 415,000 salmonids annually from Flathead Lake by partially offsetting lost angler opportunity and reducing pressure on native stocks. 1.8) Justification for the program. Stocking of small lakes and reservoirs isolated within the interconnected waters of the Flathead subbasin with 3-4” hatchery produced fish will, after one to two years growth, provide recreational angling opportunities for catchable sized trout and partially offset the affects of fishing closures and reduced limits on weak but recoverable native populations of Westslope cutthroat and bull trout remaining in the Flathead Lake and River system. Research into culture and biology of hatchery-reared bull trout benefits the listed populations through increased knowledge that may be useful in future restoration activities, and by reducing the need to take individuals from wild stocks. 1.9) List of program “Performance Standards.” 1. Provide predictable, stable and increased recreational harvest opportunity for westslope cutthroat trout and rainbow trout to help mitigate for native fisheries lost due to construction and operation of Hungry Horse Dam 2. Enhance tribal, local, and state economies. 3. Conduct within hatchery research and provide eggs to researchers to increase our knowledge of listed bull trout culture and biology. 1.10) List of program “Performance Indicators,” designated by “benefits” and “risks.” 1.10.1) “Performance Indicators” addressing benefits. The offsite lakes program is monitored through periodic gill net surveys, angler interviews and the annual statewide angler creel census. Stocking rates are established to a large degree by trial and error. Gill netting provides data on species relative abundance, growth rates and fish condition factor. Angler surveys are qualitative indicators of catch rates, angler satisfaction and rough estimates of harvest. Although rigorous quantitative analyses of CPUE, survival and total harvest are possible, the number of lakes involved makes this level of monitoring economically impractical. Rigorous sampling is reserved for aspects of the Hungry Horse mitigation program directed toward native species restoration. Listed bull trout are not present in any of the small, closed-basin waters stocked under this program, but are benefited through shifting of angler harvest away from natural but weak bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout populations. Evaluate performance of listed bull trout in artificial production; feed requirements, growth rates, age at maturity, fecundity, effective lifespan of broodfish. Provide supply of good quality eyed eggs to partners researching biology of bull trout and collect information on results of this outside research. 1.10.2) “Performance Indicators” addressing risks. No identified risks to native or listed species. 1.11) Expected size of program. Produce up to 100,000 – 3” hatchery cutthroat trout and up to 100,000 – 3” rainbow trout and stock fish to offsite mitigation waters as requested by management agencies. Provide up to 200,000 bull trout eggs for other research programs 1.11.1) Proposed annual broodstock need (maximum number of fish). This program employs fish and eggs obtained from captive hatchery broodstocks only. Proposed annual fish release levels (maximum number) by life stage and location. Anticipated schedule for 2001, subject to change. Life StageRelease LocationAnnual Release LevelEyed EggsUnfed FryFryFingerlingRogers Lake (CTT) Lion Lake “ Bailey Lake “ McWhorter’s Pond “ Bootjack Lake “ Myron Lake “ Hidden Lakes “ McDonald Lake “ St. Mary’s Lake “ Mission Lake “ Turtle Lake “ Upper Jocko Res. “ Lower Jocko Res “ Upper Twin Lake “ Lower Twin Lake “ Swartz Lake “ Pablo Res. RBT McDonald Ponds “ Rainbow-Dog Lake “15,000 6,000 4,000 2,400 1,000 1,500 2,500 10,000 20,000 10,000 2,000 3,000 7,000 2,000 2,000 5,000 20,000 5,000 10,000Yearling 1.12) Current program performance, including estimated survival rates, adult production levels, and escapement levels. Indicate the source of these data. Qualitative assessments have shown that small, closed basin lakes yield an efficient hatchery plant to angler creel ratio. Project lakes are put, grow and take fisheries, entirely dependent on artificial production to support the fishery. Many have been chemically rehabilitated to remove illegally introduced species (e.g. yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, northern pike etc.). Gill netting, site visits to interview anglers and an annual statewide angler creel census provide managers with qualitative information on species composition, growth, condition factor and angling success. The number of lakes involved precludes detailed assessments of survival rates, total harvest or reliable estimates of CPUE. Periodic spot checks at individual lakes have revealed great success. For instance, angler pressure on Lion Lake grew to the highest of any small lake in northwest Montana. Rogers Lake now supports a genetic reserve for Red Rocks Lake fluvial grayling and a major fishery for westslope cutthroat trout (Knotek et al. 1997). 1.13) Date program started (years in operation), or is expected to start. Stocking of offsite waters under this program began in 1998. 1.14) Expected duration of program. Duration is permanent for foreseeable future. 1.15) Watersheds targeted by program. Offsite fish stocking to the Flathead sub-basin. Findings of bull trout research are applicable over fishes’ entire range. 1.16) Indicate alternative actions considered for attaining program goals, and reasons why those actions are not being proposed. Mitigation stocking of Westslope cutthroat trout directly into Flathead Lake was deemed not feasible due to probable heavy predation by non-native lake trout. This is based on the results of the attempted kokanee salmon reintroductions of 1992-1997. SECTION 2. RELATIONSHIP OF PROGRAM TO OTHER MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES 2.1) Describe alignment of the hatchery program with other hatchery plans and policies (e.g., the NPPC Annual Production Review Report and Recommendations – NPPC document 99-15). Explain any proposed deviations from the plan or policies. All hatchery fish rearing and stocking and bull trout egg production is consistent with the NPPC Artificial Production Review document 99-15, and with USFWS fish health, genetics, and distribution plans and policies. The program will align with the Flathead sub-basin summary. 2.2) List all existing cooperative agreements, memoranda of understanding, memoranda of agreement, or other management plans or court orders under which the program operates. This program is a part of, and consistent with the Hungry Horse Dam Fisheries Mitigation Plan, an agreement between the Service, the Montana FWP, and the CSKT which was implemented in 1992. 2.3) Relationship to harvest objectives. Hatchery produced fish are stocked in closed basin lakes with no reproduction potential to provide harvest and recreational opportunities for anglers, and reduce fishing pressure on natural populations. There are no risks to natural populations. Describe fisheries benefiting from the program, and indicate harvest levels and rates for program-origin fish for the last 12 years (1988-99), if available. The offsite lakes program balances public desire for harvestable fisheries for rainbow and westslope cutthroat trout. The number of lakes involved precludes detailed assessments of harvest levels and rates. Angler preference and pressure can be assessed through the annual statewide creel census. 2.4) Relationship to habitat protection and purposes of artificial production. Nearly all of the offsite lakes planted under this program do not support natural reproduction. Where natural reproduction is possible, the primary objective is to create genetic reserves for isolated populations of native stocks. In these cases, habitat restoration is performed to enhance fish passage and natural reproduction in the closed system, and hatchery produced fish are not utilized. Hatchery production placed in lakes lacking reproductive habitat helps to mitigate for good habitat permanently blocked by Hungry Horse Dam. 2.5) Ecological interactions. This program does not supply fish to waters scheduled for native species restoration. The closed basin lakes that are stocked through this program provide alternative fisheries to meet public demands for harvest and partially offset fishing bans or reduced limits enacted for native species recovery. This program may indirectly benefit native species recovery by redirecting harvest away from sensitive recovery areas in the contiguous Flathead watershed. Rehabilitated lakes remove undesirable species that are a source for additional illegal introductions (e.g. illegally introduced yellow perch, northern pike, sunfish, fathead minnow and in one case, grass carp). Occasionally, illegal introductions occur after lakes have been reclaimed and fisheries established. This negatively impacts the program. An additional chemical treatment may be required within approximately ten years. During the interim, fisheries established by this program remain viable until the undesirable introduced fish become reestablished. SECTION 3. WATER SOURCE 3.1) Provide a quantitative and narrative description of the water source (spring, well, surface), water quality profile, and natural limitations to production attributable to the water source. The Creston NFH has non-consumptive water rights on natural springs with flows ranging from 12,000 to 18,000 gpm, depending on the season and rainfall totals. The springs are a constant 47 F, but the water is warmed or cooled (depending on season) by a 24-acre man-made impoundment (Jessup Mill Pond) before entering the hatchery. Annual range is 39F to 52F. The water is well oxygenated (10ppm) and slightly basic (pH-7.6). The water does become nitrogen gas supersaturated (as high as 130%) during periods when the water temperature is above 45F (March through October). This causes a chronic stress to all fish species reared, but cutthroat trout are more susceptible than others. Bacterial infections causing various diseases and some loss of fish can occur. The hatchery is equipped with aeration columns to degas water supplying a quarter of the rearing space, and cutthroat and bull trout are held in these areas. The hatchery building, where egg incubation, hatching, and early rearing takes place, makes use of a 260’ deep- 14” diameter well that has an artesian flow of 190 gpm, and sustained pumping flow of 600 gpm. Water is aerated to 10 ppm oxygen, and nitrogen gas is not a problem. Temperature is a constant 47F. The spring source water described in the previous paragraph is not assured to be disease free, and since 1995 has not been used in the hatchery. The isolation room, located on one end of the feed storage building, is supplied by a 200’ deep – 6” diameter well with useable 10 gpm artesian flow and 100 gpm pumped flow. A chiller unit cools the 47F water to levels suitable for incubating bull trout eggs (39-42F). Indicate any appropriate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for the take of listed species as a result of hatchery water withdrawal, screening, or effluent discharge. Listed fish such as bull trout are not present in Jessup Mill Pond nor are they found in Mill Creek on or below the hatchery. Bull trout occasionally enter Mill Creek from the Flathead River (6 miles downstream) it is not, and historically was not, bull trout spawning habitat. SECTION 4. FACILITIES 4.1) Broodstock collection, holding, and spawning facilities . The bull trout captive broodstock are held in two 8’x 80’ x 2.5’ concrete raceways receiving 325 gpm each of Jessup Mill Pond water. The raceways are completely covered with a vinyl shelter tent. The fish are manually spawned in the raceways. 4.2) Fish transportation equipment (description of pen, tank truck, or container used). Rainbow and cutthroat trout stocked under this program are transported in either a 1991 Ford F-800 diesel truck with three –500 gallon fiberglass tanks mounted to the frame, or in a two-compartment 400 gallon fiberglass tank carried in box of a 1994 Chevy � ton pickup. All tanks are supplied with ceramic air stones for oxygen, and aerators for water circulation. 43) Incubation facilities. Bull trout eggs are incubated in Heath-Tray type incubators located in the isolation room mentioned in 3.1 above. After reaching the eyed stage, eggs are shipped via Fed Ex to various researchers. Eyed cutthroat and rainbow trout eggs received from other facilities are placed in 8” dia. x 22” high custom-made PVC egg jars located in early rearing tanks in main hatchery building. After hatching, the sac-fry may hold within the jars or volitionally flow from the jars directly into the rearing tanks 4.4) Rearing facilities. Early rearing occurs in twenty-three 12’x3’x2’ tanks (capacity approx. 72 cubic feet) located in hatchery tank room. Sixteen of the tanks are concrete and seven are fiberglass and were installed in 1992. Fish are reared in these units until at least 2” in length. Fish over 2” long are placed in outdoor concrete raceways measuring 8’ x 80’ x 2.5’. Spring water for twelve of the raceways is gravity fed through 6’ degassing columns to remove supersaturated nitrogen gases. Eight of these 12 are covered with vinyl tent enclosures. Another 24 raceways are not covered and do not have nitrogen degassing capability, but are covered with netting to keep predatory birds out. An additional 12 raceways are currently not useable. Water flow rates are usually set at 300-350 gpm per raceway, single pass only. 4.5) Acclimation/release facilities. None 4.6) Describe operational difficulties or disasters that led to significant fish mortality. None 4.6.1) Indicate available back-up systems, and risk aversion measures that minimize the likelihood for the take of listed species that may result from equipment failure, water loss, flooding, disease transmission, or other events that could lead to injury or mortality. Water flow to bull trout broodfish is all gravity flow. Water supply to incubating bull trout eggs is via artesian well. Loss of flow is not possible except in event of major natural disaster. To help prevent spread of fish pathogens, raceway cleaning brushes used for bull trout brood (and all fish on hatchery) are not used interchangeably with other units, and are disinfected after each use. Incubating bull trout eggs are housed in isolation unit to minimize contact with fish pathogens that may be present in other areas of hatchery. Hatchery is staffed 7 days a week. Indicate needed back-up systems and risk aversion measures that minimize the likelihood for the take of listed species that may result from equipment failure, water loss, flooding, disease transmission, or other events that could lead to injury or mortality. A high fence would need to be placed around raceways housing bull trout broodfish to absolutely ensure their safety from vandals and illegal fishermen during hours of darkness. SECTION 5. BROODSTOCK ORIGIN AND IDENTITY 5.1) Source. Bull trout broodstock are progeny of wild fish captured, artificially spawned, and released in Holland Creek, a tributary of the Swan River, a major drainage of the Flathead basin. Westslope cutthroat trout eggs are supplied from broodstocks held at the Washoe Park State Fish Hatchery, in Anaconda, MT. Original source of this broodstock was genetically pure wild fish found in tributaries of the South Fork of the Flathead River (Hungry Horse Reservoir). Arlee strain rainbow trout eggs are supplied from broodfish held at the Ennis National Fish Hatchery, Ennis, MT. 5.2) Supporting information. 5.2.1) History. The existing hatchery bull trout broodstock were originally collected as eggs from 7 wild females (mated one on one) in the Swan River drainage of NW Montana in September 1993. About 21,000 eggs were collected. In 1996, we randomly selected 400 of these bull trout to keep for captive broodstock investigations, while all remaining surplus fish were stocked into Duck Lake on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. Due to the small number of founding parents, no attempt has been made to perpetuate this broodstock. It will eventually die out. 5.2.2) Annual size. N.A. 5.2.3) Past and proposed level of natural fish in broodstock. None 5.2.4) Genetic or ecological differences. None known Reasons for choosing Broodstock traits N.A. 5.2.6) ESA-Listing status Bull trout are listed as a threatened species. Westslope cutthroat trout were petitioned for listing, but listing was deemed not warranted by the USFWS. 5.3) Indicate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for adverse genetic or ecological effects that may occur as a result of using the broodstock source. N.A. SECTION 6. BROODSTOCK COLLECTION 6.1) Life-history stage to be collected ( eggs, juveniles, adults). N.A. 6.2) Collection or sampling design. Adult bull trout were captured with dip nets during their spawning run up Holland Creek, a small stream inlet to Holland Lake located in the Swan River drainage of the Flathead basin. Seven females were captured in 1993, and 3 females in 1994. Fish were anesthetized before egg collection began. The fish were only partially spawned and returned to the stream unharmed. Eggs were fertilized 1:1 with males captured at the same time. 6.3) Identity. All bull trout spawned during the 1993 & 1994 egg takes were from a natural population. No hatchery origin fish were or are now present in the population. 6.4) Proposed number to be collected: None 6.4.1) Program goal (assuming 1:1 sex ratio for adults): N.A. 6.4.2) Broodstock collection levels for the last 12 years (e.g., 1988-99), or for most recent years available: YearAdults Females Males Jacks Eggs Juveniles19881989199019911992199320,800199412,00019951996199719981999Data source: (Link to appended Excel spreadsheet using this structure. Include hyperlink to main database) 6.5) Disposition of hatchery-origin fish collected in surplus of broodstock needs. N.A. 6.6) Fish transportation and holding methods. N.A. 6.7) Describe fish health maintenance and sanitation procedures applied. Bull trout brood fish are treated for occasional bacterial infections when they occur; usually during periods of higher stress such as after spawning season, or in early spring when water temperature begins to rise. Fish are treated with oxytetracycline at 1.44% of diet for 10 days, or Romet-30 at 2% of diet for 10 days to clear up infection. Cleanliness is maintained by daily sweeping of raceway floors with nylon/steel bristled brushes to remove waste products and excess feed. 6.8) Disposition of carcasses. N.A. 6.9) Indicate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for adverse genetic or ecological effects to listed species resulting from the broodstock collection program. N.A. SECTION 7. MATING Describe fish mating procedures that will be used, including those applied to meet performance indicators identified previously. 7.1) Selection method. All egg-producing bull trout females from the hatchery broodstock are spawned when ripe. 7.2) Fertilization. Ripe eggs are stripped from anesthetized (MS-222) female bull trout using air spawning technique (2 psi oxygen introduced into body cavity via needle to force egg expulsion). Eggs from 5 females are pooled in pan containing 1.5% saline solution and are fertilized with pooled milt pre-collected from 5 males. To remove any external pathogens, newly fertilized eggs are water hardened in 0.75% iodine solution for 60 minutes prior to placement in incubation trays. 7.3) Cryopreserved gametes. N.A. 7.4) Indicate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for adverse genetic or ecological effects to listed natural fish resulting from the mating scheme. N.A. SECTION 8. INCUBATION AND REARING 8.1) Incubation: 8.1.1) Number of eggs taken/received and survival rate at stages of egg development Bull trout eggs taken by USFWS personnel. Year # of eggs % to eyeup % to hatch Wild Captive 1993 20,800 97.4 97.1 1994 12,000 ? ? 1997 71,641 70.5 55.4 1998 201,183 76.0 shipped 1999 155,474 67.4 shipped 2000 136,037 ? shipped Westslope cutthroat trout eyed eggs received from Washoe Park State Fish Hatchery, Anaconda, Montana. (captive broodstock) Year # eyed eggs received % to hatch 1997 366,472 81.8 1998 212,517 68.2 1999 339,254 84.9 2000 300,734 84.8 Arlee strain rainbow trout eggs received from Ennis National Fish Hatchery, Ennis, Montana. Year # eyed eggs received % to hatch 1997 118,030 84.7 1998 119,180 75.5 1999 111,354 93.4 8.1.2) Loading densities applied during incubation. Bull trout eggs incubated in Heath trays Year Egg Size (#/oz) Flow Rate (gpm) # Eggs/Tray 1997 360 3.3 11,940 1998 337 5.0 28,740 1999 287 4.5 25,912 2000 263 3.8 17,005 Westslope cutthroat trout eyed eggs incubated in hatching jars (Vol.=1000 cubic inches). Year Egg Size (#/0z) Flow Rate (gpm) # Eggs/Jar Per Jar 1997 372 5.0 52,285 1998 381 5.0 42,503 1999 340 5.0 48,464 2000 417 5.0 35,385 Arlee rainbow trout eyed eggs incubated in hatching jars (Vol=1000 cubic inches). Year Egg Size (#/oz) Flow Rate # Eggs/Jar Per Jar (gpm) 1997 290 5.0 39,343 1998 296 5.0 39,726 1999 277 5.0 37,118 8.1.3) Incubation conditions. For bull trout: Chilled incubation water averages 5.8C , fluctuating less than +/- 1C as chiller cycles on and off. Water is pumped from well and dropped through aeration/degassing column before entering chiller. Oxygen monitoring is not necessary, concentration is 9.5 to 10.2 ppm. Eggs incubated in 8-tray Heath stack. For rainbow and cutthroat: Artesian flow well water averaging 47F, falls through aeration column and enters hatchery. Oxygen concentration is 10.0 to 10.5 ppm. Eyed eggs incubated and hatched in 8” dia x 20” long PVC jars with upwelling flow. 8.1.4) Ponding. Bull trout fry from the 1993 and 1994 wild spawn takes were removed from incubator trays and placed in rearing troughs at time of yolk-sac absorption. This occurred in early March, approx. 6 months after spawning. Westslope cutthroat fry volitionally leave hatching jars and directly enter 72 cubic foot concrete hatchery rearing tanks (in late July). Depending on hatchery space, the fish may be moved to outdoor raceways in January (when 2” in length), or remain in hatchery tanks until stocked in May or June. Rainbow fry also volitionally leave hatching jars and enter rearing tanks (in late January), and are moved to outdoor raceways in May after they attain 2” length. 8.1.5) Fish health maintenance and monitoring. Incubating bull trout eggs are treated with a 1:600 formaldehyde solution for 15 minutes every other day for control of Saprolegnia spp. After eye-up, eggs are lightly shocked, and dead eggs are hand picked with a suction bulb every other day. Eyed eggs of rainbow and cutthroat trout do not require chemical treatments in the later stages of incubation in hatching jars. Dead eggs or fry are removed daily with hand pickers before, during, and after hatching takes place. 8.1.6) Indicate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for adverse genetic and ecological effects to fish during incubation. There would be no adverse genetic or ecological effects to environment caused by loss of incubating eggs from any of these three species. Escape of bull trout eggs or fry from isolation room to environment is not possible due to fish containment system in place. 8.2) Rearing: 8.2.1) Provide survival rate data (average program performance) by hatchery life stage (fry to fingerling; fingerling to release) for the most recent twelve years (1988-99), or for years dependable data are available.. Bull Trout survival Year % fry to fingerling % fingerling to release 1994 95.2 66.5 1995 no data Westslope cutthroat trout survival Year % fry to fingerling % fingerling to release 1998 60.7 80.9 1999 74.1 68.6 2000 67.7 74.6 Arlee rainbow trout survival Year % fry to fingerling % fingerling to release 1998 88.2 67.9 1999 91.1 62.1 2000 93.4 98.0 8.2.2) Density and loading criteria (goals and actual levels). The maximum desirable Flow Index for Creston NFH is 1.56; where permissible weight of fish=1.56 X fish length (inches) X inflow (gpm). The maximum Flow Index attained with Westslope cutthroat trout was 1.0 in June, 2000. The maximum attained with Arlee rainbow trout was 1.29 in June 2000. The maximum Density Index desirable at Creston is 0.5; where permissible weight of fish=0.5 X Volume of tank (cubic feet) X fish length (inches). The maximum density index attained with Westslope cutthroat trout was 0.14 in June, 2000. The maximum attained with Arlee rainbow trout was 0.29 in June, 2000. 8.2.3) Fish rearing conditions Constant water temperature recordings at Creston NFH indicate an annual temperature range from 39F to 52F, with an average temperature of 47F. Minimum dissolved oxygen readings at tailscreens range from 8 to 9 ppm, and are measured only occasionally. Total gas pressure (TGP) is below saturation during colder months, (November to March) but becomes supersaturated during times of warmer temperatures. A high of 108% to 112% is attained in late spring, causing some chronic stress and low mortality to fish exposed to such. Degassing columns were installed in 1992 to treat water supplying lower 12 raceways. TGP will run <103% with columns operated in open mode, and below 100% in closed mode with oxygen injection. Koch ring media in columns are replaced once a year. Westslope cutthroat trout are very susceptible to higher gas pressures and are either reared inside the hatchery building, where TGP remains <101%, or in the raceways receiving treated water. Rainbow trout are lightly affected by the high TGP. To help prevent disease, all empty raceways are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized with a high-pressure washer before restocking with fish. The upper 24 raceways are covered with bird netting, which helps prevent stress and losses to herons, ducks, and osprey. Eight of the lower raceways have shelter covers which provides shade and helps to keep birds out. However, mink and kingfishers do account for some predation. 8.2.4) Indicate biweekly or monthly fish growth information (average program performance), including length, weight, and condition factor data collected during rearing, if available. Sample counts (#/lb.) are made when fish are moved to other rearing units, or hauled off the hatchery for stocking. Condition factors are not measured directly in most cases. Lengths are estimated from standard species condition factor charts. Monthly temperature units (T.U.) growth data from 3 year classes of Westslope cutthroat trout indicates an average of 67 T.U.’s per inch growth. (1 T.U. = 1 degree above freezing for 30 days) For Arlee rainbow trout, the 3 year average was 29 T.U.’s per inch growth. The average number of T.U.’s available annually at Creston NFH is 169. 8.2.5) Indicate food type used, daily application schedule, feeding rate range (e.g. % B.W./day and lbs/gpm inflow), and estimates of total food conversion efficiency during rearing (average program performance). Cutthroat trout are started on Biodiet starter #1 and #2 and then are fed the USFWS specification trout diet (dry feed), milled by either Silver Cup or Rangens. Rainbow trout are fed the dry Service diet only. Bull trout broodstock are fed the dry Service brood diet. About 1/3 to � of daily feed is applied through 12-hour belt feeders, (Two per raceway, one per hatchery tank) with the rest hand broadcast 3 times a day. Fish are fed to about 95% of satiation. The 3-year average feed conversion (food fed/weight gain) for Westslope cutthroat trout is 1.53, for Arlee rainbow trout it is 0.98. 8.2.6) Fish health monitoring, disease treatment, and sanitation procedures. Fish are sampled annually for disease pathogens by the USFWS Bozeman Fish Health Lab. Sixty fish are sacrificed from each lot located on the station and tissues are tested for whirling disease, bacterial and viral infections. Moribund fish may be sent to the lab anytime for inspection if an epizootic is in progress. Westslope cutthroat trout must be treated for bacterial “coldwater disease” (Flexibactor spp) soon after swimup, and as outbreaks occur later. They are treated with 4% oxytetracycline in the diet for 10 days to control the disease. Other species reared at Creston are not affected. Outbreaks of bacterial gill disease (Aeromonas or Psuedomonas spp) , caused by overfeeding or overcrowding, are rare, but are controlled by adding 12ppm chloramine-t to the water for one hour, every other day for 3 days. To maintain good sanitation, hatchery tanks are cleaned with brushes twice a day and outdoor raceways once a day, to remove uneaten feed and fecal matter. Each hatchery tank has its own cleaning brush, which is not used interchangeably with other tanks. Outdoor raceway brushes are placed in nearby tubs containing a sterilizing solution after each use. Pathogen-free well water only is used in the hatchery building. Footbaths and handwashing are required before entering the tank room. And, as stated before, empty raceways are cleaned with a high pressure sprayer (4000 psi) before the next use. 8.2.7) Indicate the use of “natural” rearing methods as applied in the program. All rearing units at the Creston NFH are made of concrete or fiberglass. 8.2.8) Indicate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for adverse genetic and ecological effects to fish under propagation. None employed. SECTION 9. RELEASE Describe fish release levels, and release practices applied through the hatchery program. 9.1) Proposed fish release levels. (Use standardized life stage definitions by species presented in Attachment 2. “Location” is watershed planted (e.g., “Elwha River”). Age ClassMaximum NumberSize (fpp)Release DateLocationEggsUnfed FryFryFingerling100,000 wes. CTT 100,000 RBT 115/lb 50/lbMay-June June-JulyFlathead River Flathead River Yearling 9.2) Specific location(s) of proposed release(s). Stream, river, or watercourse: All waters listed in Sec. 1.11.2 Release point: Major watershed: Flathead River Basin or Region: Columbia River Basin/Mountain Columbia Province 9.3) Actual numbers and sizes of fish released by age class through the program. Source: Creston National Fish Hatchery, fish distribution records. Release yearEggs/ Unfed FryAvg sizeFryAvg sizeFingerlingAvg sizeYearlingAvg sizeArleeRBT1998 34,96416.331999 50,93819.082000 38,976 8.10WestslopeCTT1998 101,1756.401999 63,6537.44 2,83434.92000 Average 94,8383.939.4) Actual dates of release and description of release protocols. Fingerling fish are stocked when receiving waters have reached a suitable temperature, (50-55F) generally mid-May to mid-June. Fish are transported to the lakes via tank truck. 9.5) Fish transportation procedures, if applicable. A fish pump is used to lift fish into a dewatering box, from which they enter the distribution truck tanks via a chute. Fish are enumerated by water displacement in the tanks. Oxygen is metered from a liquid O2 tank at the rate of 1 lpm per 100 lb of fish, through ceramic stones into tanks. Each tank has 3 aerator pumps for water circulation and CO2 dispersal. Temperature increase is minimal in the insulated fiberglass tanks. Cutthroat densities are kept below � lb/gal, and rainbow densities are no more than 1.5 lb/gal. Fish may remain in transit for 1 to 6 hours, depending upon destination and number of lakes stocked. 9.6) Acclimation procedures Acclimation procedures are not necessary. 9.7) Marks applied, and proportions of the total hatchery population marked, to identify hatchery component. None 9.8) Disposition plans for fish identified at the time of release as surplus to programmed or approved levels. There have been no excess cutthroat so far, and none are expected. In 2000, excess rainbows were provided to state managed recreational waters within the Flathead subbasin. 9.9) Fish health certification procedures applied pre-release. Each lot of fish reared at the Creston NFH is sampled annually for disease status by personnel of the USFWS Bozeman Fish Health Center. 9.10) Emergency release procedures in response to flooding or water system failure. Creston has a gravity flow water supply. Spring flow is dependable year-round between 12,000-18,000 gpm. The watershed is too small to experience a flood event. However, the dam holding back Jessup mill pond is unstable and could fail during a large earthquake. A design is now being formed to either repair the dam, or drain the pond and enclose the hatchery supply springs in pipeline. Service funds have been appropriated, and construction will take place in 2002. 9.11) Indicate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for adverse genetic and ecological effects to listed species resulting from fish releases. Fish stocked under this program are no threat to listed species (bull trout). SECTION 10. PROGRAM EFFECTS ON ALL ESA-LISTED, PROPOSED, AND CANDIDATE SPECIES (FISH AND WILDLIFE) 10.1) List all ESA permits or authorizations in hand for the hatchery program. DOI-USFWS Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit PRT-704930, subpermit sp98-37.00 Allows all hatchery activities associated with bull trout described in this plan 10.2) Provide descriptions, status, and projected take actions and levels for ESA-listed natural populations in the target area. None under this program. 10.2.1) Description of ESA-listed, proposed, and candidate species affected by the program. None Identify the ESA-listed population(s) that will be directly affected by the program. One time affect on bull trout in several years pre-listing (1993&1994) through take of approximately 33,000 eggs from natural Swan drainage bull trout population. – Identify the ESA-listed population(s) that may be incidentally affected by the program. None 10.2.2) Status of ESA-listed species affected by the program. – Describe the status of the listed natural population(s) relative to “critical” and “viable” population thresholds (see definitions in “Attachment 1″). NA – Provide the most recent 12 year (e.g. 1988 – present) progeny-to-parent ratios, survival data by life-stage, or other measures of productivity for the listed population. Indicate the source of these data. NA – Provide the most recent 12 year (e.g. 1988 – 1999) annual spawning abundance estimates, or any other abundance information. Indicate the source of these data. NA – Provide the most recent 12 year (e.g. 1988 – 1999) estimates of annual proportions of direct hatchery-origin and listed natural-origin fish on natural spawning grounds, if known. NA 10.2.3) Describe hatchery activities, including associated monitoring and evaluation and research programs, that may lead to the take of listed species in the target area, and provide estimated annual levels of take (see “Attachment 1″ for definition of “take”). Provide the rationale for deriving the estimate. None – Describe hatchery activities that may lead to the take of listed species in the target area, including how, where, and when the takes may occur, the risk potential for their occurrence, and the likely effects of the take. None -Provide information regarding past takes associated with the hatchery program, (if known) including numbers taken, and observed injury or mortality levels for listed fish. Take of 20,000 fertilized eggs in 1993 and 12,800 fertilized eggs in 1994 from total of 10 wild female bull trout in the Swan River drainage. No observed injury or mortality to adults resulted from spawn take operation. – Provide projected annual take levels for listed species by life stage (juvenile and adult) quantified (to the extent feasible) by the type of take resulting from the hatchery program (e.g. capture, handling, tagging, injury, or lethal take). None Indicate contingency plans for addressing situations where take levels within a given year have exceeded, or are projected to exceed, take levels described in this plan for the program. NA SECTION 11. MONITORING AND EVALUATION OF PERFORMANCE INDICATORS 11.1) Monitoring and evaluation of “Performance Indicators” presented in Section 1.10. 11.1.1) Describe the proposed plans and methods necessary to respond to the appropriate “Performance Indicators” that have been identified for the program. The offsite lakes program is monitored by the responsible management agencies (MDFWP and CSKT) through periodic gill net surveys, angler interviews and the annual statewide angler creel census. Stocking rates are established to a large degree by trial and error. Gill netting provides data on species relative abundance, growth rates and fish condition factor. Angler surveys are qualitative indicators of catch rates, angler satisfaction and rough estimates of harvest. 11.1.2) Indicate whether funding, staffing, and other support logistics are available or committed to allow implementation of the monitoring and evaluation program. The USFWS is not directly involved in monitoring the offsite lakes stocking program. Monitoring is performed by the agencies responsible for management of the waters. They are Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Dept. for state waters in the portion of the Flathead drainage above Flathead Lake; and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for waters within the Flathead Indian Reservation (below Flathead Lake). These agencies receive sufficient funding through this process to implement monitoring programs on these stocked waters. 11.2) Indicate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for adverse genetic and ecological effects to listed species resulting from monitoring and evaluation activities. None of the waters stocked under this mitigation program contain self-sustaining natural populations of listed and/or native fishes. Therefore, monitoring activities conducted on these waters do not genetically or ecologically impact those species. SECTION 12. RESEARCH Provide the following information for any research programs conducted in direct association with the hatchery program described in this HGMP. Provide sufficient detail to allow for the independent assessment of the effects of the research program on listed fish. Attach a copy of any formal research proposal addressing activities covered in this section. Include estimated take levels for the research program with take levels provided for the associated hatchery program in Table 1. 12.1) Objective or purpose. Purpose was to develop fish culture techniques for bull trout, (feeding methods, diets, cover requirements, etc.) in the event it becomes desirable or necessary in the future to artificially rear bull trout for restoration or refugia purposes. Currently, eggs produced from the broodstock established from the 1993 wild egg take have been used in a variety of research endeavors, such as; a 3 yr. blood hormone bioassay; hybridization experiments with dolly varden; susceptibility to whirling disease; sensitivity to heavy metals, dioxins, and PCB; screening criteria for bull trout; and optimal and lethal thermal criteria for growth and survival; and preserved reference sets of early life stages for field identification use. This information will greatly aid in the recovery efforts of this listed species. 12.2) Cooperating and funding agencies. Funding for this project provided by the BPA through the Hungry Horse Fisheries Mitigation Plan. Agencies utilizing our bull trout in their research has included the Oregon DFW; Univ. of B.C.; Univ. of Wyo.; Montana DFWP; USEPA-Duluth; and the USFWS’s Bozeman and Abernathy Fish Tech Centers. 12.3) Principle investigator or project supervisor and staff. Wade Fredenburg and Don Edsall of the USFWS Creston Fish & Wildlife Center oversee fish cultural observations at the Creston Hatchery. 12.4) Status of population, particularly the group affected by project, if different than the population(s) described in Section 2. NA 12.5) Techniques: include capture methods, drugs, samples collected, tags applied. NA 12.6) Dates or time period in which research activity occurs. Yearlong with hatchery produced fish. 12.7) Care and maintenance of live fish or eggs, holding duration, transport methods. NA 12.8) Expected type and effects of take and potential for injury or mortality. NA 12.9) Level of take of listed species: number or range of individuals handled, injured, or killed by sex, age, or size, if not already indicated in Section 2 and the attached “take table” (Table 1). None under current program. 12.10) Alternative methods to achieve project objectives. NA 12.11) List species similar or related to the threatened species; provide number and causes of mortality related to this research project. None 12.12) Indicate risk aversion measures that will be applied to minimize the likelihood for adverse ecological effects, injury, or mortality to listed species as a result of the proposed research activities. NA SECTION 13. ATTACHMENTS AND CITATIONS Include all references cited in the HGMP. In particular, indicate hatchery databases used to provide data for each section. Include electronic links to the hatchery databases used (if feasible), or to the staff person responsible for maintaining the hatchery database referenced (indicate email address). Attach or cite (where commonly available) relevant reports that describe the hatchery operation and impacts on the listed species or its critical habitat. Include any EISs, EAs, Biological Assessments, benefit/risk assessments, or other analysis or plans that provide pertinent background information to facilitate evaluation of the HGMP. SECTION 14. CERTIFICATION LANGUAGE AND SIGNATURE OF RESPONSIBLE PARTY “I hereby certify that the foregoing information is complete, true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. I understand that the information provided in this HGMP is submitted for the purpose of receiving limits from take prohibitions specified under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C.1531-1543) and regulations promulgated thereafter for the proposed hatchery program, and that any false statement may subject me to the criminal penalties of 18 U.S.C. 1001, or penalties provided under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.” Name, Title, and Signature of Applicant: Certified by_____________________________ Date:_____________ Table 1. Estimated listed species take levels by hatchery activity. Listed species affected: __________________________ ESU/Population:_________________________________ Activity:____________________Location of hatchery activity:______________________ Dates of activity:____________________ Hatchery program operator:_________________ Type of TakeAnnual Take of Listed Fish By Life Stage (Number of Fish)Egg/FryJuvenile/ SmoltAdultCarcassObserve or harass a)Collect for transport b)Capture, handle, and release c)Capture, handle, tag/mark/tissue sample, and release d)Removal (e.g. broodstock) e)Intentional lethal take f) Unintentional lethal take g)Other Take (specify) h) a. Contact with listed fish through stream surveys, carcass and mark recovery projects, or migrational delay at weirs. b. Take associated with weir or trapping operations where listed fish are captured and transported for release. c. Take associated with weir or trapping operations where listed fish are captured, handled and released upstream or downstream. d. Take occurring due to tagging and/or bio-sampling of fish collected through trapping operations prior to upstream or downstream release, or through carcass recovery programs. e. Listed fish removed from the wild and collected for use as broodstock. f. Intentional mortality of listed fish, usually as a result of spawning as broodstock. g. Unintentional mortality of listed fish, including loss of fish during transport or holding prior to spawning or prior to release into the wild, or, for integrated programs, mortalities during incubation and rearing. h. Other takes not identified above as a category. Instructions: 1. An entry for a fish to be taken should be in the take category that describes the greatest impact. 2. Each take to be entered in the table should be in one take category only (there should not be more than one entry for the same sampling event). If an individual fish is to be taken more than once on separate occasions, each take must be entered in the take table Table SEQ Table \* ARABIC 20. Flathead River Subbasin Summary FY 2002 – 2004 BPA Funding Proposal Matrix Project Proposal ID19910190319910190452401224013240142401824019 Provincial Team Funding RecommendationHigh PriorityHigh PriorityRecom. Action Recom. Action PriorityHigh PriorityHigh PriorityHigh PriorityHeadwaters and Associated Uplands (includes all mountain tributaries)Objective 1: Reconnect five blocked tributaries over the next three years.+Objective 2: Reduce fine sediments in critical spawning areas in five indexed streams over the next three years.+Objective 3: Restore natural pool frequency to that of undisturbed referenced reaches in five streams over the next three years.+ Objective 4: Eradicate or suppress non-native or hybridized populations from five streams over the next three years.+Objective 5: Alter 2,008 acres of forest structure and composition in the South Fork of the Flathead over the next three years, consistent with management and mitigation plans.+Objective 6: Acquire and/or protect key habitat parcels (endangered, threatened, and sensitive species habitats) through purchase, conservation easements, or conservation agreements to assist in maintenance of viable populations.+Impoundments (includes Hungry Horse Reservoir, Flathead Lake, Swan Lake, and irrigation impoundments)Objective 1: Reduce negative non-native species interactions in Flathead Lake and three irrigation impoundments over the next three years.++Objective 2: Meet the TMDL goal for reduction in phosphorus.Objective 3: Reduce the frequency of Hungry Horse refill failure (to within five feet of full pool) as compared to historic operation.+Objective 4: Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans.+ Regulated Mainstems (includes South Fork, Upper Flathead, Lower Flathead, Jocko River)Objective 1: Move Hungry Horse operations 50 percent closer to normative compared to current operations over the next three years.+Objective 2: Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans.+ +Objective 4: Complete an operational impact assessment and develop plans to mitigate for any impacts that the operations of Hungry Horse Dam may cause to the development and successional trends of riparian wildlife habitats and their associated aquatic components, in cooperation with ongoing fisheries mitigation activities.+Objective 5: Deal with ongoing recreation-fisheries-water quality conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce these conflicts.++Unregulated Mainstems (includes North Fork, Middle Fork, and Swan Rivers)Objective 1: Treat all sites that have occurrences of purple loosestrife or Eurasian water milfoil.Objective 2: Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans.++Objective 3: Deal with ongoing human/wildlife conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce human/wildlife conflicts.+Valley Tributaries & Wetlands (includes all valley tributaries and the Whitefish and Stillwater rivers)Objective 1: Eliminate three sources of non-native or hybridized fish populations over the next three years.+Objective 2: Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans.+Objective 3: Significantly reduce the level of sedimentation in five impacted spawning areas over the next three years.++Objective 4: Maintain temperatures within the tolerance range of native fish species.++Objective 5: Deal with ongoing human/wildlife conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce human/wildlife conflicts.+Objective 6: Develop a reintroduction plan for Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in the Flathead Basin.+Lakes (includes connected and closed-basin lakes)Objective 1: Remove the sources of non-native or hybridized trout from two to three connected lakes each year over the next three years.+Objective 2: Deal with ongoing human/wildlife conflicts on a daily basis, and educate the public to reduce human/wildlife conflicts.++Objective 3: Protect, restore, and enhance riparian/wetland habitat in the upper and lower Flathead valleys over the next three years, meeting the annual goals set forth in management and mitigation plans.+Objective 4: Maintain the trophic status of all classified lakes.++Objective 5: Increase the angler opportunities in three closed-basin lakes over the next three years.++These project titles are referenced by ID above: 199101901- Hungry Horse Mitigation – MFWP 199101904- Stocking of Offsite Waters for Hungry Horse Mitigation – Creston National Fish Hatchery – USFWS 24012 – Riparian Habitat Preservation – Weaver Slough & McWinegar Slough – FLT 24013 – Assessment of Operational Impacts of Hungry Horse Dam on Riparian Wildlife Habitats and Their Associated Aquatic Components – MFWP 24014 – Assessment of Operational Impacts of Libby Dam on Riparian Wildlife Habitats and Their Associated Aquatic Components – MFWP 24018 – Secure and Restore Critical Fish and Wildlife Habitat – CSKT 24019 – Research, Monitor and Restore Native Species – CSKT Note: + = potential or anticipated effect on subbasin objectives and strategies. h\w\province\mtncol\SubSum031601\Flathead.doc PAGE PAGE i PAGE iii Flathead Subbasin Summary 3/6/01 PAGE 126 Flathead Subbasin Summary 3/6/01 Date Last Updated: Date Submitted: 9/29/00 Watershed and Region: Flathead Subbasin, Mountain-Columbia Province Agency/Operator: USFWS-Creston National Fish Hatchery Species or Hatchery Population/Strain:bull trout, Westslope cutthroat trout, rainbow trout Hatchery Program: Stocking of Offsite Waters for Hungry Horse Mitigation-Creston NFH q†�6š������'(BCDEFGYZtuvwx‡ˆ������������������� ! , – G �����������������������������ߺ�����߰�����ߦ�������j�UmH�jqUmH�j�UmH�jwUmH�j�UmH jUmHmH�j}U�jU jUCJ hnH 5�?'()89:;Lmnopq†”��;r��OŠ������������������������������„�'()89:;Lmnopq†”��;r��OŠ��56š����Gy���” L r œ � M † � � 6`–� =v��”

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