Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group (LCFWG) staff held a final stakeholder meeting for all major Thompson River Watershed stakeholders on November 28, 2017 to discuss and rank projects to be included in the Final Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan (WRP). Stakeholders from Eastern Sanders County Conservation District, LCFWG Board and Staff, Lolo National Forest, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana, Trout Unlimited, and Weyerhaeuser Timber Company were in attendance. The following were the major decisions made and points discussed during this meeting.
- Confirm project ranking process: prior to the final stakeholder meeting in November, LCFWG staff developed a draft ranking criteria to be used by stakeholders during the meeting to rank potential projects. However, before stakeholders could actually start ranking projects, the group discussed the proposed criteria and generally confirmed that it would be a good tool that they would like to use, only making a couple of adjustments to the criteria and the ranking scale. The final ranking criteria can be viewed here.
- Review all projects identified to-date: all projects were described to the group, often by the person who proposed the project. By clarifying the goal and intent of the proposed project, the group could reach consensus on project rankings.
- Complete project ranking using confirmed prioritization process: project ranking was completed drainage by drainage, with the group reaching consensus on the point values from the ranking scale to assign each project.
- Complete implementation schedule based off of prioritization rankings for final WRP draft: LCFWG staff used the project rankings developed at the stakeholder meeting to populate two schedules to help guide work in the Thompson River watershed. Stakeholders at the meeting decided that two schedules would be useful in order to rank on-the-ground implementation projects and proposed investigations/assessment projects separately. These are included in the draft Thompson River WRP.
After the completion of this meeting, LCFWG staff were able to finalize a full draft Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan. LCFWG staff will be taking comments and edits on this final draft until January 15, 2018, in order to be able incorporate all final edits to the draft and send the final document to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for approval by January 31, 2018.
If you are interested in reviewing the current draft WRP and providing input, please contact Sarah Bowman at email@example.com.