Draft Imnaha Subbasin Summary November 30, 2001 Prepared for the Northwest Power Planning Council Subbasin Team Leader


Present Subbasin Management Existing Plans, Policies and Guidelines



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Present Subbasin Management



Existing Plans, Policies and Guidelines

Multiple agencies and entities are involved in management and protection of fish and wildlife populations and their habitats in the Imnaha subbasin. Federal, state, and local regulations, plans, policies, initiatives, and guidelines are followed in this effort. The NPT and ODFW share co-management authority over the fisheries resource. Federal involvement in this arena stems from Endangered Species Act responsibilities. Numerous federal, state, and local land managers are responsible for multipurpose land and water use management, including the protection and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat. Management entities and their associated legal and regulatory underpinnings for resource management and protection and species recovery are outlined below.



Federal Government


As a result of the federal government’s significant role in the Columbia Basin, not only through the development of the federal hydropower system, but as a land manager, and its responsibilities under Section 7(a) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), several important documents have been published in the last year that will guide federal involvement in the Imnaha subbasin and Blue Mountain Province. These documents provide opportunities for states, tribes, local governments, and private parties to strengthen existing projects, pursue new or additional restoration actions, and develop the institutional infrastructure for comprehensive fish and wildlife protection. The key documents include the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) Biological Opinion, the federal All-H paper entitled, Conservation of Columbia Basin Salmon: A Coordinated Federal Strategy for the Recovery of the Columbia-Snake River Basin Salmon, and the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP). All are briefly outlined below.

Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) BiOp (http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/1hydrop/hydroweb/docs/Final/2000Biop.html)

This is a biological opinion written by NMFS and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the operation of the federal hydropower system on the Columbia River, and fulfills consultation requirements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) under Section 7 of the ESA. Significantly for this report, the BiOp concluded that off-site mitigation in tributaries is necessary to continue to operate the hydropower system.

Federal Caucus All-H Paper (http://www.salmonrecovery.gov/)


This document is a framework for basin-wide salmon recovery and identifies strategies for harvest management, hatchery reform, habitat restoration, and hydropower system operations. Significantly for this report, the Imnaha subbasin is identified as a priority subbasin for initial early actions to support and enhance salmon recovery.

ICBEMP (http//:www.icbemp.gov)


This document is a framework for land management for federal lands in the interior Columbia Basin, and was produced by the primary federal land management agencies, including the Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Significantly for this report, this document (if approved) will affect how these federal agencies prioritize actions and undertake and fund restoration activities.
By understanding the priorities outlined in these documents, significant opportunities for federally funded restoration activities can be refined and further identified for the Imnaha subbasin.

Bonneville Power Administration (http://www.bpa.gov/indexmain.shtmlhttp://www.bpa.gov/indexmain.shtml)

The Bonneville Power Administration has mitigation responsibility for fish and wildlife restoration under the Fish and Wildlife Program of the Northwest Power Planning Council as related to hydropower development. It is also accountable and responsible for mitigation related to federal Biological Opinions and Assessments for recovery of threatened, endangered, and sensitive species. The recently released FCRPS Biological Opinion calls for the BPA to expand habitat protection measures on non-federal lands. BPA plans to rely on the Council’s program as its primary implementation tool for the FCRPS BiOp off-site mitigation requirements.



Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority (http://www.cbfwf.org/)


The CBFWA is made up of Columbia basin fish and wildlife agencies (state and federal) and the Columbia basin tribes. CBFWA’s intent is to coordinate management among the various agencies and agree on goals, objectives, and strategies for restoring fish and wildlife in the Columbia basin.

Environmental Protection Agency (http://www.epa.gov/)


The EPA was formed in 1970 and administers the federal Air, Water, and Pesticide Acts. EPA sets national air quality standards that require states to prevent deterioration of air quality in rural areas below the national standards for that particular area (depending on its EPA classification). The EPA also sets national water quality standards (total maximum daily load or TMDL) for waterbodies that the states must enforce. These standards are segregated into “point” and “nonpoint” source water pollution, with point sources requiring permitting. Although controversial, most farming, ranching, and forestry practices are considered nonpoint sources and do not currently require permitting by the EPA, although there has been moves in this direction. The EPA provides funding through Section 319 of the CWA for TMDL implementation projects. Section 319 funds are administered in Oregon by the ODEQ.


Farm Services Agency (http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/)

The FSA was set up when the USDA was reorganized in 1994 to incorporate programs from several agencies. Functions similar to the FSA have been part of USDA programs since the 1930s. Federal farm programs are administered through local FSA offices. Farmers eligible to participate in these programs elect a committee of three to five representatives to review county office operations and make decisions on federal farm program applications. Conservation program payments that FSA administers include Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS provide technical assistance for these programs..

National Marine Fisheries Service (http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/)

The National Marine Fisheries Service administers the ESA as it pertains to anadromous fish only. NMFS has jurisdiction over actions pertaining to Snake River summer steelhead and spring chinook, which are widespread in the subbasin. Under the ESA’s 4(d) rule, “take” of listed species is prohibited and permits are required for handling. Tribal harvest is covered under the 4-d rule. Special permit applications have been pursued for research and management activities in the Imnaha subbasin. Harvest management plans for Snake River summer steelhead fisheries in the Snake River basin also require a Fisheries Management and Evaluation Plan. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have completed two: “Summer Steelhead and Trout Sport Fisheries in Grande Ronde Basin, Imnaha Basin and Snake River” (March 2001), and “Snake, Grande Ronde and Imnaha Rivers Warmwater and Sturgeon Recreational Fisheries” (March 2001). Biological Opinions, recovery plans, and habitat conservation plans for federally listed fish and aquatic species help target and identify appropriate watershed protection and restoration measures. Included is the Imnaha Hatchery Genetics Management Plan, which is attached as Appendix I in this document.


The recent Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) Biological Opinion and the Basinwide Salmon Recovery Strategy (All-H Paper) contain actions and strategies specific to the Imnaha subbasin for habitat restoration and protection targeted the Imnaha subbasin as a priority subbasin. Other aspects of hatchery and harvest apply as well. Action Agencies (USBR, USACE, BPA) are identified to potentially lead fast-start efforts in specific aspects of restoration on non-federal lands. Federal land management will be implemented by current programs that protect important aquatic habitats (PACFISH, ICBEMP). Actions within the FCRPS BiOp are intended to be consistent with or complement the NWPPC’s amended Fish and Wildlife Program, the Clean Water Action Plan, the Unified Federal Policy for a Watershed Approach to Federal Land and Resource Management, the Inter-Governmental Task Force for Monitoring Principles (Oregon Plan), and state and local watershed planning efforts.



Natural Resource Conservation Service (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/)


Within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) oversees the implementation of conservation programs to help solve natural resource concerns. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), established in the 1996 Farm Bill, provides a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers who face serious threats to soil, water, and related natural resources. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) puts sensitive croplands under permanent vegetative cover. The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) helps to establish forested riparian buffers. The NRCS assists landowners to develop farm conservation plans and provides engineering and other support for habitat protection and restoration (PL 566). The Farm Services Administration provides funds.

US Army Corps of Engineers (https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/)


The USACE has responsibility for river and harbor development. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 gave the USACE authority to enforce section 404 of the Act dealing with discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U. S., including wetlands. Amendments to the Act in 1977 exempted most farming, ranching, and forestry activities from 404 permit requirements. The USACE is also responsible for flood protection under the Federal Emergency Management Authority, by such means as building and maintaining levies, channelization of streams and rivers (also for navigation), and regulating flows and reservoir levels.

US Bureau of Reclamation (http://www.usbr.gov/main/)

As a water management agency, the Bureau of Reclamation has responsibility for certain hydropower and irrigation projects in the Columbia River basin. Though none of these projects occur in the Imnaha subbasin, Reclamation has used its technical assistance programs for work in the Imnaha basin addressing water conservation, fish passage, and water quality issues.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (http://www.fws.gov/r1srbo/)


The USFWS administers the ESA for resident fish, wildlife, and plant species. The USFWS is also responsible for enforcing the North American Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1913) and the Lacey Act (1900) to prevent interstate commerce in wildlife taken illegally. The USFWS distributes monies to state fish and wildlife departments raised through federal taxes on the sale of hunting and fishing equipment under the authority of the Pitman-Robertson Federal Aid in Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act (1937) and the Dingle-Johnson Act. The USFWS also manages a national system of wildlife refuges and provides funding that emphasizes restoration of riparian areas, wetlands, and native plant communities through the Partners in Wildlife Program. The research functions of the USFWS were transferred to the USGS in 1993.

The USFWS administers the Lower Snake River Fish and Wildlife Compensation Plan (LSRCP) authorized by the Water Resources Development Act of 1976, Public Law (P.L.) 94-587, to mitigate and compensate for fish and wildlife resource losses caused by the construction and operation of the four lower Snake River dams and navigation lock projects. The fishery resource compensation plan identified the need to replace adult salmon and steelhead and resident trout fishing opportunities, and the size of the anadromous program was based on estimates of salmon and steelhead adult returns to the Snake River basin prior to the construction of the four lower Snake River dams.



US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/) (http://www.or.blm.gov/)

The current national forest system began with the Forest Reserve Act of 1891. The Organic Act of 1897 established the statutory authority of today’s U.S. Forest Service to manage the National Forests. Today, the U.S. Forest Service is required to manage habitat to maintain viable populations of anadromous fish and other native and desirable non-native vertebrate species. A Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) was developed for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (USDA 1990). This plan guides all natural resource management activities, establishes forest-wide multiple-use goals and objectives, and establishes management standards and guidelines for the National Forest.

The Bureau of Land Management, Vale District, in accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, is required to manage public lands to protect the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resource, and archeological values. Both the USFS and BLM are required by the Clean Water Act to ensure that activities on administered lands comply with requirements concerning the discharge or run-off of pollutants.

In the Columbia River Basin, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management manage salmonid habitat under the direction of PACFISH (USDA and USDI 1994) and INFISH (Inland Native Fish Strategy USDA 1995). These interim management strategies aim to protect areas that contribute to salmonid recovery and improve riparian habitat and water quality throughout the Basin, including the Imnaha subbasin. These strategies have also facilitated the ability of the federal land managers to meet requirements of the ESA and avoid jeopardy. PACFISH guidelines are used in areas east of the Cascade Crest for anadromous fish. INFISH is for the protection of habitat and populations of resident fishes outside anadromous fish habitat. To meet recovery objectives, these strategies:

Establish watershed and riparian goals to maintain or restore all fish habitat.

Establish aquatic and riparian habitat management objectives.

Delineate riparian management areas.

Provide specific standards and guidelines for timber harvest, grazing, fire suppression and mining in riparian areas.

Provide a mechanism to delineate a system of key watersheds to protect and restore important fish habitats.

Use watershed analyses and subbasin reviews to set priorities and provide guidance on priorities for watershed restoration.

Provide general guidance on implementation and effectiveness monitoring.

Emphasize habitat restoration through such activities as closing and rehabilitating roads, replacing culverts, changing grazing and logging practices, and replanting native vegetation along streams and rivers.

The Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP) is a regional-scale land-use plan that covers 63 million acres of federal lands in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana (www.icbemp.gov). The BLM and USFS released a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the ICBEMP Project in March 2000. The EIS focuses on the critical broad scale issues related to landscape health; aquatic and terrestrial habitats; human needs; and products and services. If approved, ICBEMP will replace the interim management strategies, providing for longer-term management of lands east of the Cascades. As ICBEMP is implemented, subbasin and watershed assessments and plans will target further habitat work (NMFS 2000).

Both the USFS and BLM are developing Biological Assessments for Snake River bull trout, steelhead proposed critical habitat, and Snake River chinook salmon proposed critical habitat.


United States Geological Survey (http://www.usgs.gov/)


The USGS monitors hydrology and maps soil, geological, and geomorphologic features. In the Imnaha, the geological survey currently maintains and collects data recorded from a gaging station located near the town of Imnaha (gage #13292000). The USGS also conducts fish and wildlife research formerly done by the USFWS. This gage is funded equally by USGS, NPT, and OWRD.


United States v. Oregon

The November 9, 1987 Columbia River Fish Management Plan was an agreement entered into by the parties pursuant to the September 1, 1983 Order of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon (Court) in the case of United States et al. v, Oregon, Washington et al., (Case No. 68-513). The purpose of the management plan was to provide a framework within which the parties could exercise their sovereign powers in a coordinated and systematic manner in order to protect, rebuild, and enhance upper Columbia River fish runs while providing harvests for both treaty Indian and non-Indian fisheries. The agreement established goals (rebuild weak runs and fairly share harvest), means (habitat protection, enhancement, artificial production and harvest management), and procedures (facilitate communication and resolve disputes) to implement the plan.

The 1987 agreement was in effect until December 31, 1998, when it expired. The parties have agreed to continue meeting to address harvest and production issues until a new process has been developed for negotiating a long-term agreement.


Tribal Government


By treaty with the United States in 1855, the Nez Perce Tribe reserved certain rights within the Imnaha subbasin in compensation for ceding lands to the federal government. These reserved rights provide part of the basis for a wide range of rights and interests for the protection, enhancement, management, and harvest of anadromous fish, wildlife and plants in the subbasin.

Nez Perce Tribe (http://www.nezperce.org/)


Since time immemorial, the Nez Perce Tribe has used and occupied much of northeastern Oregon and a portion of southeastern Washington. Archaeological sites and artifacts spanning thousands of years have been documented throughout the area. Major highways now follow the ancient routes. Trails into the high mountains and deep canyons follow prehistoric pathways. The towns of Joseph, Enterprise, Lostine, Wallowa, and Imnaha are located near significant Indian camps. County maps are filled with names such as Chesnimnus, Minam, Powwatka, and Imnaha – words of Nez Perce origin.

By virtue of the Treaty of 1855, the Nez Perce Tribe reserved as a homeland vast areas of northeast Oregon, southeast Washington, and central Idaho. In this treaty, the Tribe reserved the rights to fish, hunt, and gather roots and berries and to graze domestic livestock. The subsequent Treaty of 1863 removed the areas in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington from the Nez Perce Reservation but did not diminish any of these reserved rights.


The Nez Perce Tribe is responsible for managing, protecting, and enhancing treaty fish and wildlife resources and habitats for present and future generations in the Imnaha River subbasin. Tribal government headquarters are located in Lapwai, Idaho with regional offices in Kamiah, Orofino, and McCall, Idaho and Enterprise, Oregon. The Nez Perce Tribe co-manages fish and wildlife resources with state fish and wildlife managers and individually or jointly implements restoration and mitigation activities through out their areas of interest and influence. These lands include but are not limited to the Imnaha River subbasin. General policies and plans applicable to subbasin management include Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee resolutions, the Nez Perce Fish and Wildlife Code, the Wallowa County/Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Habitat Recovery Plan with Multi-Species Strategy (Wallowa County and Nez Perce Tribe, 1993) and Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit: Spirit of the Salmon (Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission 1996a, 1996b). The trust responsibility of the federal government to the Tribe makes the federal government and its agencies (e.g. USFS, BLM) ultimately responsible for protection of the Tribe’s fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.


Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission (http://www.critfc.org/)


The tribal Columbia River Anadromous Fish Restoration Plan, or Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit (CRITFC 1995) was developed by the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs and Yakama tribes. Recommendations set forth in this plan for salmon recovery address three types of actions: institutional, technical, and watershed, with the over-riding goal of simply putting fish back in the river (gravel to gravel management).

Oregon State Government

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (http://www.deq.state.or.us/)


The ODEQ is responsible for implementing the CWA and enforcing state water quality standards to protect aquatic life and other beneficial uses. The mission of the ODEQ is to lead in the restoration and maintenance of Oregon’s quality of air, water and other environmental media. With regard to watershed restoration, the Department is guided by Section 303(d) of the CWA and Oregon statute to establish TMDLs of pollutants and implement water quality standards as outlined in Oregon Administrative Rules 340-041. The ODEQ focuses on stream conditions and inputs and advocates for other measures in support of fish populations (Don Butcher, ODEQ, personal communication February 2, 2001).

Oregon Department of Agriculture (http://www.oda.state.or.us/default.lasso)

The Department of Agriculture oversees several programs in the Natural Resource Division that address soil, water, and plant conservation in the Imnaha Subbasin. Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Watershed Councils, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), and Coordinated Resource Management Planning (CRMP) are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture. The Coordinated Resource Management Planning (CRMP) group addresses watershed management issues within specific subbasins and develops stream restoration goals and objectives.


Oregon Senate Bill 1010


Under this plan, which was developed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the public ad-hoc committee, county-specific agricultural water quality issues are identified and addressed through a committee process. Landowners are encouraged to develop a farm plan to meet the intent of the strategy. Efforts will reduce water pollution from agricultural sources and protect beneficial uses of watersheds. These plans are then incorporated in the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) as a section of the Water Quality Management Plan (WQMP).

Oregon Department of Forestry (http://www.odf.state.or.us/default.htm)


The Oregon Department of Forestry enforces the Oregon Forest Practices Act (OAR 629-Division 600 to 680 and ORS 527) regulating commercial timber production and harvest on state and private lands. The OFPA contains guidelines to protect fish bearing streams during logging and other forest management activities, which address stream buffers, riparian management, and road maintenance. The ODF is a partner in the Oregon Plan and uses its guidelines for watershed work and assessments in the Imnaha Subbasin. The Department is responsible under the State Forestry Act for the forestry portion of the WQMP in the TMDL assessment. Oregon Department of Forestry also provides input to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (http://chinook.dfw.state.or.us/index.html)

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for protecting and enhancing Oregon fish and wildlife and their habitats for present and future generations. ODFW co-manages fishery resources with the NPT. Management of the fish and wildlife and their habitats in and along the Imnaha Subbasin is guided by ODFW policies, collaborative efforts with affected tribes, and federal and state legislation. Direction for ODFW fish and wildlife management and habitat protection is based on the amendments and statutes passed by the Oregon Legislature through the 2001 session. For example, Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 635 Division 07 – Fish Management and Hatchery Operation sets forth policies on general fish management goals, the Natural Production Policy, the Wild Fish Management Policy, and other fish management policies. OAR 635 Division 008 – Department of Wildlife Lands sets forth management goals for each State Wildlife Area, OAR Divisions 068-071 set deer and elk seasons, and OAR Division 100 – Wildlife Diversity Plan sets outlines wildlife diversity program goals and objectives, identifies species listings, establishes survival guidelines, and creates other wildlife diversity policy. OAR Division 400Instream Water Rights Rules provides guidelines for inflow measurement methodologies, establishes processes for applying for instream water rights, and sets forth other instream water rights policies. OAR Division 415 - Fish and Wildlife Habitat Mitigation Policy establishes mitigation requirements and recommendations, outlines mitigation goals and standards, and provides other mitigation guidelines. Another pertinent ODFW policy is the Oregon Guidelines for Timing of In-Water Work to Protect Fish and Wildlife Resources (ODFW 1997b). Vision 2006 is a six-year strategic operational plan providing guidance for the Department in the next six years. In addition to these OAR’s, ODFW has a variety of species-specific plans (discussed below).

Oregon Trout Plan

The trout plan (“Oregon’s Trout Plan”) describes a series of management alternatives that provide guidelines and criteria for protecting wild fish and providing angling in a variety of circumstances. In basin plans, these alternatives provide a context for specific angling regulations. Management objectives are focused on the protection of wild fish and their habitats, providing diverse angling opportunities, making hatchery programs effective and diminishing dependence on hatchery releases, and making the public more aware of trout resources and management issues.

Oregon Steelhead Plan

The steelhead plan (“Comprehensive Plan for Production and Management of Oregon’s Anadromous Salmon and Trout, Part III: Steelhead Plan”) is focused on conservation of wild steelhead; providing public benefits that include angling, tribal uses, and others; and engaging the public, tribes, and agencies in management processes. The conservation approach describes habitat, harvest, and hatchery fish considerations intended to maintain healthy and abundant wild populations.

Oregon Warmwater Plan

The warmwater plan (“Warmwater Fish Plan”) categorizes management into alternatives that frame regulations. Because warmwater fishes are non-native, the focus is not on species conservation but on providing diverse angling opportunities reflecting the wide distribution of the many species that are classified as “warmwater”. Where biological and physical conditions are suitable, the plan directs management to increase the quality of angling. Management of these species is constrained by conservation needs of native fishes.

These species plans, along with basin plans, are a primary means of implementing ODFW fish management policies. They provide a general framework for basin planning and subsequent management of individual populations by management approaches and defining allowable activities. The planning process allows the public and other agencies to participate in developing ODFW management programs.

Mule Deer Management Plan

The goal of ODFW’s Mule Deer Management Plan (ODFW 1990) is to manage mule deer population to provide optimum recreational benefits to the public, and to be compatible with habitat capability and primary land uses. The plan summarizes the life history of mule deer and their management in Oregon, lists concerns and the strategies to be used in addressing identified problems, and provides management direction to inform the interested public of how mule deer will be managed.

Elk Management Plan

The goal of ODFW’s Elk Management Plan (ODFW 1992b) is to protect and enhance elk populations in Oregon to provide optimum recreational benefits to the public and to be compatible with habitat capability and primary land uses. The plan summarizes the life history of elk and their management in Oregon. The plan also lists concerns and the strategies to be used in addressing identified problems and provide management direction to inform the interested public of how elk will be managed.

Bighorn Sheep Management Plan

ODFW’s Bighorn Sheep Management Plan (ODFW 1992c) summarizes the history and status of Oregon’s bighorn sheep and presents a means by which they will be restored to remaining suitable habitat. The plan serves as a guide for transplanting efforts, assists concerned resource management agencies with wildlife planning efforts, and provides management direction for Oregon’s bighorn sheep program. The plan describes 16 bighorn sheep management concerns and recommends strategies to address these concerns.

Cougar Management Plan

The three goals of ODFW’s Cougar Management Plan (ODFW 1993b) are 1) recognize the cougar as an important part of Oregon’s wildlife fauna, valued by many Oregonians, 2) maintain healthy cougar populations within the state and into the future, and 3) conduct a management program that maintains healthy populations of cougar and recognizes the desires of the public and the statutory obligations of the Department. The plan summarizes the life history of cougar and their management in Oregon. The plan also lists concerns and the strategies to be used in addressing identified problems. Management direction is provided to inform the interested public of how cougar will be managed.


Black Bear Management Plan

The three goals of ODFW’s Black Bear Management Plan (ODFW 1993a) are 1) recognize the black bear as an important part of Oregon’s wildlife fauna, valued by many Oregonians, 2) maintain healthy black bear populations within the state and into the future, and 3) conduct a management program that maintains healthy populations of black bear and recognizes the desires of the public and the statutory obligations of ODFW. The plan summarizes the life history of black bear and their management in Oregon. The plan lists concerns and the strategies to be used in addressing identified problems and provides management direction to inform the interested public of how black bear will be managed.

Migratory Game Bird Program Strategic Management Plan

The mission of ODFW’s Migratory Game Bird Program Strategic Management Plan (ODFW 1993) is to protect and enhance populations and habitats of native migratory game birds and associated species at prescribed levels as determined by national, state, and flyway plans) throughout natural geographic ranges in Oregon and the Pacific Flyway to contribute to Oregon’s wildlife diversity and the uses of those resources. Strategies are described that assist in the development of specific operational plans to achieve the program mission and integrate with other state and federal agencies and private organizations. The plan mandates the formation and implementation of more specific operational plans, especially in regard to habitat programs and biological surveys.

Oregon Wildlife Diversity Plan

ODFW’s Oregon Wildlife Diversity Plan (ODFW 1993) provides policy direction for the maintenance and enhancement of the vertebrate wildlife resources in Oregon. The plan identifies goals and objectives for maintaining a diversity of non-game wildlife species in Oregon, and provides for coordination of game and non-game activities for the benefit of all species.


  • Streamflow Restoration Prioritization

ODFW has established the priorities for streamflow restoration needs in the Imnaha Basin (refer to Figure 8), as well as all other basins in the state. Priorities are based on individual rankings of several biological and physical factors, water use patterns and restoration optimism. Biological and physical factors included the number of native anadromous species, presence of a designated “Core Area”, fish related ecological benefits, other types of ecological benefits, physical habitat condition, the extent of human influence, water quality, current status or proposed as sensitive, threatened, or endangered, presence of instream flow protection (Instream Water Rights), and natural low flow problems. Water use pattern factors included the estimated amount of consumptive use and the frequency that an existing Instream Water Right is not satisfied. The final factor in the ranking of restoration need was an optimism factor of how well the fish resources would respond if flow were restored. Many of these factors were derived from existing data sources while others were ranked by ODFW’s District Fish Biologists, based on local knowledge and professional judgment. Extensive use was made of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and relational database analytical methods. Flow restoration priorities project was funded by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, through a grant to the Oregon Water Resources Department.

Oregon Department of Transportation (http://www.odot.state.or.us/)


The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODT) maintains highways that cross streams in the subbasin. Under the initiative of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, efforts to improve protection and remediation of fish habitat impacted by state highways are ongoing.

Oregon Division of State Lands (http://statelands.dsl.state.or.us/)

The Oregon Division of State Lands (ODSL) regulates fill and/or removal of material from the bed or banks of streams (ORS 196.800 – 196.990) through the issuance of permits. Permit applications are reviewed by ODFW, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DEQ, the counties, and adjoining landowners, and may be modified or denied based on project impacts to fish populations or significant comments received during the review process.

Oregon House Bill 3609


This legislation directs the development of plans for sustainable production of natural anadromous fish runs in Oregon river subbasins above Bonneville Dam, including the Imnaha subbasin, through consultation among state and tribal entities. Adopted plans will be based on sound science and adaptive management, incorporate M&E and objectives and outcomes benefiting fish and wildlife, be consistent with State of Oregon efforts to recover salmonid populations under the federal ESA and include a risk/benefit analysis to wild fish..

Oregon Plan (http//:www.oregon-plan.org)

Passed into law in 1997 by Executive Order, the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds and the Steelhead Supplement to the Oregon Plan outlines a statewide approach to ESA concerns based on watershed restoration and ecosystem management to protect and improve salmon and steelhead habitat in Oregon. The Oregon Plan Monitoring Program, successfully implemented in coastal watersheds, provides the necessary approach for rigorous sampling design to answer key monitoring questions, which will be applied to the Imnaha Subbasin. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) facilitates and promotes coordination among state agencies, administers a grant program, and provides technical assistance to local Watershed Councils and others to implement the Oregon Plan through watershed assessments and restoration action plans. OWEB funded ODFW and WRD, through a grant to OWRD, to determine streamflow restoration priorities in Columbia River basin tributaries.


Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (http://www.lcd.state.or.us/)


The Land Conservation and Development Commission in Oregon regulate land use on a statewide level. County land use plans must comply with statewide land use goals, but enforcement against negligent counties appears minimal. Effective land use plans and policies are essential tools to protect against permanent fish and wildlife habitat losses and degradation, particularly excessive development along streams, wetlands, floodplains, and sensitive wildlife areas.

Oregon State Police (http://www.osp.state.or.us/)


The Fish and Wildlife Division of the Oregon State Police (OSP) is responsible for enforcement of fish and wildlife regulations in the State of Oregon. The Coordinated Enforcement Program (CEP) ensures effective enforcement by coordinating enforcement priorities and plans by and between OSP officers and ODFW biologists. OSP develops yearly Actions Plans to guide protection efforts for critical species and their habitats. Action Plans are implemented through enforcement patrols, public education, and agency coordination. Voluntary and informed compliance is cornerstone with the Oregon Plan concept. The need for continued fish protection is a priority in accordance with Governors Executive Order 99-01.

Oregon Water Resource Department (http://www.wrd.state.or.us/)

The Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) regulates water use in the subbasin in accordance with Oregon Water Law. Statutes for water appropriation (ORS 537) govern the use of public waters; Water Right Certificates appurtenant to the different lands within the subbasin specify the maximum rate and/or volume of water that can be legally diverted. Oregon water law is based on the prior appropriation doctrine, which results in water being distributed to senior water right holders over junior water right holders during times of deficiency. The law also requires the diverted water be put to beneficial use without waste. WRD acts as trustee for in-stream water rights issued by the state of Oregon and held in trust for the people of the state. The Water Allocation Policy (1992) tailors future appropriations to the capacity of the resource, and considers water to be “over-appropriated” if there is not enough water to meet all demands at least 80% of the time (80% exceedence). The OWRD is a partner in the Oregon Plan and has developed streamflow restoration priorities for fish.

In conjunction with ODFW, WRD established priorities for streamflow restoration in the Imnaha subbasin. WRD ranked the opportunities and optimism for achieving meaningful streamflow restoration in each subbasin, based on the availability and perceived effectiveness of several flow restoration measures. These included transfers and leases to instream uses, cancelled water rights, enforcement and monitoring, improved diversion methods, stream inventories, conservation planning, improved efficiencies, and measurement and reporting of use. By overlaying the identified need and opportunities for restoration, the State of Oregon has identified the sub watersheds where it will apply its resources toward achieving streamflow restoration.


County and Local Government

Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program


The Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program (GRMWP) is a public citizens’ advisory group, designated by the Northwest Power Planning council, the Governor’s Strategic Water Management Group and the Union and Wallowa County governments to be the central entity for resource coordination, planning and management in the Grande Ronde and Imnaha subbasins. The GRMWP represents the interests of the basin’s residents to local, state and federal agencies and other public and private interests. The Model Watershed mission statement is:
To develop and oversee the implementation, maintenance, and monitoring of coordinated resource management that will enhance the natural resources of the Grande Ronde River Basin.”

Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation Districts (http://www.swcs.org/)


The purpose of the Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation District is to maintain or enhance natural resources within Wallowa County for the benefit of the flora and fauna that depends on healthy ecosystems and for the economic and environmental benefits of the people as authorized by the Oregon State Legislative Assembly in ORS 568.225.

Wallowa County (http://www.co.wallowa.or.us/)

Wallowa County is located in the extreme northeast corner of Oregon State and was established February 11, 1887. The County’s population is slightly over 7,000. Elevations range from 975 feet at the mouth of the Imnaha River to 10,000 feet in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The county’s river valleys, deeply incised canyons, prairies, high plateaus, and Wallowa Lake plus numerous high mountain lakes provide a large variety of habitats for fish and wildlife. The economy is based primarily on farming, ranching and timber harvest and milling. Government employment, tourism, services, and bronze foundries and other arts make up the balance of the employment. Sixty-five percent of the county is in public ownership (USFS, BLM, state).

In 1993 Wallowa County, the Nez Perce Tribe, and a public ad hoc committee completed the Wallowa County/Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Habitat Recovery Plan (Plan) as a response to the listing of Snake River spring and summer chinook by the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Endangered Species Act in 1992. All streams in Wallowa County with known chinook populations were analyzed for a variety of habitat conditions relating to salmon survival. A section of the Plan contained a list of solutions relating to specific identified problems as an aid to landowners. The 16-person public ad hoc committee included members from Federal and State agencies, private landowners, timber, ranching, and business interests, the environmental community, and the County and Tribe. The Plan was appended to the County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan making it State law in Wallowa County. The mission statement for the Plan is:

To develop a management plan and a multi-species strategy to assure that watershed conditions in Wallowa County provide habitat necessary for salmonids and other vertebrate species occurring in Wallowa County by protecting and enhancing conditions as needed. The plan will provide the best watershed conditions available consistent with the needs of the people of Wallowa County, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the rest of the United States and is made an integral part of the Wallowa County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.”
It was understood at the beginning of the Plan development that Wallowa County could not save the salmon in the Snake River. Most of the major problems, such as mainstem dams, fishing, and estuary and ocean conditions, were outside of the County’s purview. The best Wallowa County could do was to provide quality habitat within the county.

A grant from the Regional Strategies Economic Development Department of the State of Oregon in 1998 provided funds to expand the Plan into a multi-species plan. All terrestrial vertebrate species known or thought to exist in Wallowa County were identified from the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP) species lists. A matrix was constructed that listed the vertebrate species with their associated cover types and habitat types (which were also taken from ICBEMP). The expanded Plan was completed in 1999 and is now called The Wallowa County/Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Habitat Recovery Plan and Multi-Species Strategy (Wallowa County and Nez Perce Tribe 1999). The matrix will be expanded in the next phase to include time and type of use and a similar matrix will be developed for all fish species.



As part of the implementation of the Plan, Wallowa County established a Natural Resource Advisory Committee (NRAC) in 1996. The mission of the NRAC is

To review implementation of agricultural, forest, and natural resource provisions of Wallowa County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan.”

The NRAC meets quarterly and its twenty members represent the same constituencies as in the original ad hoc committee. NRAC Standing and Technical Committees were also established which meet monthly. The Standing Committee advises the County Commissioners on natural resource issues. The Technical Committee reviews all on-the-ground projects from the County Planning Department and all project proposals from Wallowa County being presented to the Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program (GRMWP) or the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) for funding. The Technical Committee does not determine if a project should or shouldn’t be funded but instead makes recommendations on how to improve projects, either in location or technique. These recommendations are passed back to the individual that proposed the project and to the County Planning Department or the GRMWP or OWEB.

Wallowa County Road Department


The Wallowa County Road Department maintains all non-Forest Service roads in the Imnaha subbasin.

Wallowa County Weed Control District

The mission of the Wallowa County Weed Control District is to “Work cooperatively to promote and implement noxious weed control in Wallowa County; to contain existing weed populations and eradicate new invaders; to raise the value of the land economically and biologically; to improve the health of the community, promote stewardship, preserve natural resources, and provide examples and leadership for other counties in effective vegetation management.” The District is supervised by the Wallowa County Weed Board whose purpose is “to act as the advisory board to the Wallowa County Court on issues and decisions regarding the control of noxious weeds.” Some of the actions conducted by the District include county weed inventory, reviewing yearly herbicide application records, prioritize weed control efforts, coordinating control efforts, seek funding for weed control efforts, road shoulder weed control, weed control education, and conduct an annual weed tour (Wallowa County Weed Control District Strategic Plan 1999).


Watershed Councils


Watershed Councils are used as a vehicle for implementing the Oregon Plan. They conduct watershed assessments, monitoring, and determine actions necessary to meet state water quality standards. The Grande Ronde Model Watershed serves the Imnaha subbasin.

Other Entities and Organizations

Oregon Water Trust (http://www.owt.org/)


Oregon Water Trust (OWT), a private, non-profit group, negotiates voluntary donations, leases or permanent purchases of out-of-stream water rights to convert to instream water rights in those streams where acquisition will provide the greatest potential benefits for fish and water quality. Added responsibility for water brokerage contracts to restore instream flow is implied in the FRCPS BiOp.

The Nature Conservancy (http://nature.org/)


The Nature Conservancy protects the lands and waters, which plant and animals species need to survive. The conservancy is instrumental in purchasing lands for habitat protection, working with agencies with similar objectives, and has been involved in the Imnaha subbasin. Areas currently managed by the Conservancy include the Zumwalt and Clear Lake Ridge wildlife preserves.

Northwest Power Planning Council – NWPPC (http://www.nwcouncil.org/)


Formed under the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980, the NWPPC is directed to develop a program to “protect, mitigate, and enhance fish and wildlife, included related spawning grounds and habitat, in the Columbia River and its tributaries… affected by the development, operation, and management of [hydroelectric project]…” The BPA funds the Council’s program.

Columbia River Basin Forum (http://www.crbforum.org/crbforum/start.htm)

Formerly called The Three Sovereigns, the Columbia River Basin Forum is designed to improve management of fish and wildlife resources in the Columbia River Basin. The process is an effort to create a new forum where the federal government, Northwest states and tribes could better discuss, coordinate, and resolve basinwide fish and wildlife issues under the authority of existing laws. The Forum is included as a vehicle for implementation of the Basinwide Salmon Recovery Strategy.



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