Potlatch River Watershed Restoration Potential and Project Prioritization

Salmonid Restoration Planning and Assessments

Salmonid Habitat Assessment / Inventory
Project ID006 19 CW
Recovery DomainsInterior Columbia
Start Date11/22/2019
End Date06/30/2022
Last Edited04/20/2022
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This PCSRF proposal requests funds to gather information for the Big Bear Creek tributary within the Big Bear Creek subwatershed to complement IOSC’s upcoming Geomorphic Analysis/Assessment. These planning efforts will propel the next phase of steelhead habitat projects following the Big Bear Falls passage enhancement project that is scheduled for implementation in 2020. When combined with IOSC’s Geomorphic Analysis/Assessment, the efforts outlined in this proposal will allow Latah SWCD and agency partners to determine habitat restoration potential, identify and prioritize near and long-term project concepts, and develop near-term restoration proposals.

Adult steelhead passage is limited above Big Bear Falls, which limits the amount of habitat available for steelhead spawning and rearing in Big Bear Creek tributary. This passage barrier is currently being addressed by IDFG with passage enhancement implementation scheduled for 2020. In order to best prepare for increased steelhead passage above the falls, a strategic habitat restoration plan for Big Bear Creek tributary should be in place. In coordination with the Potlatch Implementation Group (PIG), this project will build on/complement the upcoming Geomorphic Analysis/Assessment by adding informational layers, which will help to determine habitat restoration potential in this area.

The Geomorphic Analysis/Assessment will produce a series of maps that will illustrate identified reach types, the current condition of these, and their relative potential for response to restoration action. The Latah SWCD’s planning proposal will augment these with different tools. Products from both will be used by the PIG to identify and prioritize project concepts to develop a second 5-year implementation plan (2023-2027) for the Potlatch River Watershed Management Plan 2019 Amendment (2019 Amendment). There may be other project concepts identified in this process presenting strategic opportunities that can be implemented in the near term.

Proposal actions will include the following:
• Participate in the PIG interactions with Geomorphic project consultants and coordinate planning and assessment activities
• Survey road culverts to identify additional fish passage barriers above Big Bear Falls as needed
• Identify and coordinate with potential project landowners/land managers to measure interest and support for future project implementation amng: Private, County (North Latah County Highway District), State (Idaho Department of Lands), Federal (U.S. Forest Service)
• Inventory past inter-agency habitat restoration projects throughout the watershed and represent these spatially
• Conduct stream surveys to complement Geomorphic Analysis/Assessment
• Identify projects that are possible to implement in the near term 2021 – 2022
• Identify projects to implement in the long-term 2023 – 2027
• Update the 2019 Amendment with new potential near-term projects
• Update the 2019 Amendment with the second 5-year implementation plan
• Develop near-term habitat restoration proposals for design, engineering, and implementation by Latah SWCD to multiple funding agencies
• Identify potential long-term habitat restoration projects, project leads, and initial restoration concepts

**In November 2022, this project completed a change in scope amendment to expand the geographical range and do a name change from Big Bear Watershed Restoration Potential and Project Prioritization to Potlatch River Watershed Restoration Potential and Project Prioritization. This project was originally proposed on the premise that the Big Bear Falls passage enhancement project would be implemented in 2020. Due to Section 106 concerns, the passage enhancement project (006 18 CW) was cancelled in October 2021.

Project Benefit    

This PCSRF proposal will be complementary to IOSC’s Geomorphic Analysis/Assessment, and identification and prioritization of potential short and long-term projects will be achieved through the collaborative process outlined in the 2019 Amendment and the PIG. The Potlatch River Watershed Management Plan – Amendment 2019 identified a project implementation schedule through 2022. The Amendment is scheduled for formal adoption by the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District.

Results from this proposal’s project assessment would allow for additions to the 2019 Amendment’s near-term project schedule and will facilitate the identification of potential long-term projects (2023-2027). Known limiting factors in the Big Bear Creek subwatershed are passage barriers and low summer baseflow. Enhancement of adult steelhead passage above Big Bear Falls could open 20 km of potential steelhead habitat in Big Bear Creek (Bowersox et al. 2012). “However, without continued habitat restoration efforts that address additional limiting factors (e.g. reduced late-summer streamflow), the full potential of steelhead production in the Big Bear Creek drainage may not be realized” (Bowersox et al. 2016). Therefore, the strategic planning effort proposed via this PCSRF Round 22 application is needed in Big Bear Creek to maximize restoration impacts on steelhead production.


Metric Completed Originally
Planning and Assessment
  Stream Miles Assessed 92.00

Funding Details

Report Total:$117,370

Project Map



  • Worksite Identifier: WS-1
  • Start Date: 01/01/2020
  • End Date: 06/20/2022
Area Description

No Area Description data was found for this worksite.

Location Information

  • Basin: Clearwater
  • Subbasin:
  • Watershed:
  • Subwatershed:
  • State: Idaho
  • Recovery Domain: Interior Columbia
  • Latitude: 46.78403
  • Longitude: -116.6028


  • Snake River Basin Steelhead DPS




  • B.0 Salmonid Restoration Planning and AssessmentsY (Y/N)
    •      . . B.0.a Planning And Assessment Funding .00
    •      . . B.0.b.1 Area Encompassed
    •      . . B.0.b.2 Stream Miles Affected
    •      . . B.2 Salmonid Habitat Assessment / InventoryY (Y/N)
      •      . . . . B.2.a Habitat Assessment Funding
      •      . . . . B.2.c Instream SurveyY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . B.2.c.1 Type of instream survey (LOV)
        •      . . . . . . B.2.c.2 Stream miles assessed
      •      . . . . B.2.d Habitat surveysY (Y/N)
        •      . . . . . . B.2.d.1 Type of habitat survey/assessment (LOV)
        •      . . . . . . B.2.d.2 Amount of habitat assessed