In response to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s June 16, 2014 request, the ISRP reviewed the report titled Okanogan Streamflow: ISRP Update, Opportunities for Instream Flow Restoration from the Colville Confederated Tribes for Project #2007-224-00, Okanogan Subbasin Habitat Implementation Program (OSHIP). The report is intended to address the Council’s recommendation associated with this project as part of the Geographic Review of November 2013: “Implement with condition through FY 2018: Sponsor to submit report regarding flows (ISRP qualification), by June 1, 2014 for ISRP review.”
OSHIP’s streamflow report summarizes the flow restoration potential of water rights in Antoine, Bonaparte, Johnson, Loup Loup, Ninemile, Salmon and Tunk Creeks. It is also intended to include “strategies for reaching flow restoration goals through voluntary, market-based programs with willing water rights owners.”
The ISRP finds that OSHIP’s streamflow report addressed many of the ISRP’s questions identified in the qualification statement from the Geographic Review. The sponsors have made progress in researching the overall availability of water in each tributary and in summarizing existing water rights. They have also prioritized some sensible and expedient options for reallocating water to salmonids.
Although the report implies that the program has developed goals for water flow in the streams (see report purpose above), it did not describe or discuss these goals, including the extent to which the goals would help meet Endangered Species Act (ESA) and restoration objectives for salmonids. The project would be improved by developing specific targets for flow volume and timing in each tributary and by pragmatically assessing the feasibility of obtaining the desired amounts of water.
The ISRP recommends Meets Scientific Review Criteria (Qualified) with the qualification that the ISRP expects that OSHIP will address the issues identified in the ISRP review when conducting its field efforts and when preparing annual reports for BPA.
Additional comments to improve the project are described in the ISRP’s full memo.