The desired outcome of the Selway – Middle Fork project is a documented shift toward terrestrial and aquatic restoration that achieves desired future conditions on a landscape scale while generating products to benefit local economies. Another goal is a positive shift in stakeholder perceptions of public land management within the Clearwater Basin. Since 2012, the MAC has completed the following project reports.
Third party monitoring is a joint effort between the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, the Clearwater Basin Collaborative (CBC), and the Monitoring Advisory Group (MAC). In 2012, a CFLRP Coordinator was hired to oversee the monitoring component of the project. Together, these entities evaluate current monitoring activities on the Forests, assist with field trips and public outreach, and develop project and landscape-scale monitoring tasks that measure the effectiveness of CFLRP treatments. The MAC currently consists of nearly 60 representatives from the local communities, contractors, the University of Idaho, interest groups, Idaho Fish and Game, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, and the Region 1 USFS office.
The foundation and framework for a sound effectiveness monitoring program has been established and is continuing to mature as more information becomes available and additional partners are leveraged. In addition to the baseline ecological and socio-economic assessments completed in 2013, the MAC had previously monumented permanent photo plots in several pre-treatment vegetation management units within the CFLRP. These efforts combined with the effectiveness monitoring projects currently underway will set the stage for evaluating positive and negative ecological, social, and economic shifts as CFLRP treatments are implemented.
Additive Benefits to Forest Service
The term “additive” has been often used by some CBC members as a measure of success for our Selway-Middle Fork project citing that more dollars should equate to more work. However, the relative degree of “additive” is difficult to measure particularly against declining budgets.
In our case, we offered that additive would be more in the form of “growth around the edges” than a strict 1:1 relationship of dollars in vs. CFLR work accomplished. That is, our project continues to be the foundation from which relationships have grown between the CBC and the Forests as well as the lessons we have learned together are truly the additive measures of having this project. Because of this new working relationship, some other efforts have grown from around the edge or as an offshoot of the CFLR program.
- Wildlife Habitat Restoration Initiative
- Forest Plan Revision/CFLR SIMPPLLE modeling
Other landscape scale projects being developed across the Forests (outside the CFLR area) are using the same methodology as our CFLR projects.
Partnerships continue to increase our capacity to accomplish work on the Forests and within the Clearwater Basin. We are partnering with nearly 20 organizations, Universities and individuals to accomplish restoration work within the CFLR area.
An example of how the partners are contributing towards accomplishments:
- Our longstanding partnerships with the Nez Perce Tribe have played a crucial role in our increased capacity. The Tribe contributes a considerable amount of technical expertise in watershed restoration and weed management as well as considerable financial resources.
- Three partners, The Montana Conservation Corps, Selway Bitterroot Foundation and the Back Country Horsemen contributed nearly 10,000 hours of in-kind and volunteer work on a number of projects in and adjacent to the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness. Work in the Wilderness is logistically challenging and these partners have the knowledge, equipment and training to safely accomplish important projects.
- Partnerships with the Idaho Fish and Game and several Universities are contributing towards important wildlife monitoring. Wildlife and wildlife habitat is perhaps the number one concern brought up in project litigation in Region One. Furthering our knowledge through these monitoring efforts will pay dividends as we progress across our landscape with future management projects.
Forest Service and National Indicators