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A Comparison and Evaluation of Existing Land Management Plans Affecting Spawning and Rearing Habitat of Snake River Basin Salmon Species Listed Under the Endangered Species Act

Sep 1, 1995


This report summarizes and evaluates the major provisions of seven land management approaches for their likely effectiveness in protecting and restoring vital attributes of habitat for Snake River Basin salmon species listed as ‘endangered’ under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The following plans were selected for comparison and evaluation: a) the South Fork Salmon River ‘STEP’ Plan (Payette National Forest, 1988); the Boise National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan (Boise National Forest, 1990); the Upper Grande Ronde River Anadromous Fish Habitat Protection, Restoration and Monitoring Plan (Anderson et al., 1992; 1993); Amendments to Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Planning Documents Within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl (USFS and USBLM, 1994); the Interim Protection for Late-Successional Forests, Fisheries, and Watersheds in National Forests East of the Cascade Crest, Oregon and Washington (Henjum et al., 1994); A Coarse Screening Process for Evaluation of the Effect of Management Activities on Salmon Rearing and Spawning Habitat in ESA Consultations (Rhodes et al., 1994); and ‘PACFISH’-Interim Strategies for Managing Anadromous Fish-producing Watersheds in Eastern Oregon and Washington, Idaho, and Portions of California (USFS and USBLM, 1995). These plans were selected for evaluation because they: a) are detailed enough to evaluate; b) have been adopted or proffered for implementation; c) are based on comprehensive assessments; and, d) in aggregate, represent a spectrum of approaches to land management and habitat protection.

The plan provisions summarized and evaluated include: riparian protection measures; the use of standards for habitat attributes in adaptive land management; constraints on logging, grazing, mining, roads, and water withdrawal; cumulative effects strategies; management direction for watersheds where aquatic resources are emphasized; roadless area management; monitoring requirements; and restoration direction. Accountability associated with each plan provision was factored into evaluations of long term effectiveness in protecting and restoring channel morphology, substrate, cover, water quantity, and water temperature and the ecological processes and elements that shape these core attributes of salmon habitat.

The major plan provisions were rated individually and these ratings were summed for each plan to provide an overall index of the likely effectiveness of each plan in protecting and restoring habitat in the Snake River Basin. Based on this overall index, the plans are listed as follows in order of rated overall effectiveness: Rhodes et al. (1994); Anderson et al. (1992; 1993); Henjum et al. (1994); USFS and USBLM (1994); Payette National Forest (1988); USFS and USBLM (1995); and Boise National Forest (1990). However, if all watersheds with critical habitat in the Snake River Basin are afforded the protection measures for ‘Aquatic Diversity Areas’ under Henjum et al. (1994), then Henjum et al. (1994) is rated as having the greatest promise of protecting and restoring critical habitat for salmon species listed under the ESA. The four plans given the lowest overall ratings are unlikely to be adequate to result in widespread habitat improvement needed to contribute to stabilizing listed salmon runs in the Snake River Basin; the approach of the Boise National Forest (1990) allows considerable degradation of vital habitat attributes by most activities and is likely to contribute to the species extirpation via habitat degradation.



Rhodes. J.J. 1995. A Comparison and Evaluation of Existing Land Management Plans Affecting Spawning and Rearing Habitat of Snake River Basin Salmon Species Listed Under the Endangered Species Act. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Report reference #95-04, Portland, Oregon.



Report No.


Media Type

CRITFC Technical Report