On September 28th, 2017, staff members of the Lower Clark Fork Watershed Group met with stakeholders of the Thompson River watershed. The goal of this meeting was to update the stakeholders on progress on the Watershed Restoration Plan and to discuss current stream conditions and prioritize potential projects identified by the stakeholders over the summer.
After updating stakeholders on the current status of the draft Watershed Restoration Plan, the majority of the meeting was spent discussing project prioritization and the best process in which to create a meaningful, useful guiding document to be used over the next 10 years. There were a few key decisions made during this meeting to this effect:
- Stakeholders requested more time to work on identifying projects for each drainage, due to a very busy field season (fire and otherwise) stakeholders currently do not feel satisfied with the amount of input they have been able to contribute. We will be working with stakeholders over the next couple months to further identify potential restoration projects within stream drainages.
- We will be researching different prioritization strategies over the next couple months to figure out the best way to prioritize projects. One suggestion at the meeting included using a matrix of cost-benefit analysis that pairs cost or likelihood of successful implementation with restoration benefits. This strategy would lead stakeholders to prioritize the low-cost/high-benefit projects and move on from there.
- Project prioritization will be completed within each drainage instead of prioritizing drainages against each other.
Due to the desires of the stakeholders to spend more time identifying projects within each drainage, a second Project Prioritization Meeting was scheduled for November 28. This meeting will bring these stakeholders back together with a more complete list of stream restoration projects that will foster a more complete prioritization process for the plan.
Schedule for Completion
In order to accommodate extended stakeholder input contributions, our schedule for completion has been altered slightly:
October and November: Continue to support stakeholders in identifying projects for their delegated streams.
Late November: Project Prioritization Meeting
November 30: *Fully* drafted document sent to Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana (SWCDM) for review. *This draft may not include all updates from the November 28 meeting, but gaps will be identified in the document.*
Early December: Send draft document with updates from November 28 Project Prioritization Meeting to stakeholders for review.
December: Receive input from both stakeholders and SWCDM and incorporate into document.
December 31: FINAL DEADLINE FOR STAKEHOLDER AND ONLINE SURVEY INPUT
January: Finalize Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan.
January 31: Submit final Thompson River Watershed Restoration Plan to Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for review.