In the District there are 427 animal feeding operations (AFO) where water quality problems may exist. The most common BMPs associated with feedlot operations are control of animal access to surface water, control of wastewater runoff, and the land application of animal waste1.
The District completed a feedlot inventory, observations include:
- The major livestock species are cattle and horses (98%).
- Horses account for the majority of animal units in two of the three highest ranked watersheds (Lindsay Creek and Middle Potlatch).
- The majority of livestock operations (62%) have less than 10 animals.
- The majority of feeding operations (41%) have direct access to streams.
- High leaching soils are a potential problem for 13% of the feeding areas.
- The majority of operations (46%) do not adequately contain feedlot runoff to prevent stream contamination.
The inventory ranked watersheds as a high, medium, or low potential for negatively impacting water quality due to livestock feeding operation activities. High-risk watersheds are generally those with high numbers of livestock, have direct access to streams, and waste management systems are not utilized. Medium risk watersheds generally contain a high percentage of cropland and moderate numbers of livestock. Low risk watersheds contain low livestock numbers and are likely to contain a large acreage of timber or summer range. Table 1 lists the risk rankings for each watershed inventoried.
1Idaho Waste Management Guidelines for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, IDHW/DEQ, Boise, Idaho 1987
Table 1. Water Quality Risk Ranking by Watershed
| Very high
Pine Creek (Clearwater River Basin)
Lower Clearwater River
Main Stem Lapwai Creek
|Pine Creek (Potlatch River Basin)
Little Bear Creek
Big Canyon Creek
Big Bear Creek
Main Stem Potlatch
Little Potlatch Creek
Upper Potlatch River
Lower Snake River
Historically, many of the tributaries of the lower Clearwater, Snake, and Salmon Rivers supported substantial populations of anadromous salmonids, primarily steelhead trout. These tributaries are also migratory and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, bull trout, and sockeye salmon. All of which are listed as threatened and endangered species. (Table 15) Habitat limitations may be contributing to declining populations. High stream temperatures, sediment deposition, low summer flows, and lack of instream cover are the major habitat concerns. The District is collecting stream temperature data and completing riparian assessments in order to assess the resource status and determine goals.
Table 2. Fish species listed as threatened or endangered or species of concern in the District.
| Steelhead Trout
| Chinook Salmon
| Sockeye Salmon
| Bull Trout
Figure CH. Critical Chinook Habitat in the Clearwater River Basin
Source: Clearwater Subbasin Summary
Figure BT. Bull Trout Key Watersheds in the Clearwater River Basin.
The District has a wide variety of big game, small game, and non-game wildlife. In addition to the acres identified as wildlife acres in this plan, most of the other land uses support excellent habitat benefiting wildlife.
Mule deer are found at lower elevations and occupy range and cropland sites associated with the major canyons. Their population is declining and currently at low numbers. White-tailed deer are found in areas associated with brushy draws and timbered areas that are interspersed with cropland. Their populations are stable and increasing at this time. Elk tend to inhabit higher elevations and require larger areas of security like forestland. Wintering populations of elk are sometimes larger than summering populations as these animals migrate to lower elevations. Also, increasing elk populations in surrounding counties tend to have a “domino” effect on populations locally. Crop damage, especially by elk, is a continuing concern for agricultural producers.
Upland game bird species include pheasants, grouse, valley quail and chukar partridge. These species populations are stable and increasing. Mild winters, and increases in dense nesting cover are possible reasons for this increase. The adoption of food plots, mainly under the direction of the IDFG has also helped increase over winter survival.
Wild turkeys were introduced into the area and have been very successful as indicated by increased population and hunting opportunities.
Conservation needs concerning the wildlife resources center around maintaining and improving existing habitat as well as creating additional wildlife habitat.
Available nesting cover limits upland game bird populations. BMPs which increase available undisturbed herbaceous cover would enhance upland bird populations. Forest grouse, turkey, and non-game birds would benefit from improved riparian management. BMPs including grazing management, channel vegetation, and fencing would have the greatest impacts on improving these bird species and their habitat.
The District includes 21 species of animals listed as threatened, endangered or species of special concern. Conservation planning activities will incorporate special habitat considerations.
Table 3. Animals listed as threatened, endangered or species of concern in the District2.
| Bald Eagle
| Columbia Pebble Snake
| Flammulated Owl
| Fringed Myotis
| Great Gray Owl
| Long-eared Myotis
| Mission Creek Oregonian
| Mountain Quail
| Northern Pygmy Owl
| Pallid Bat
| Pygmy Nuthatch
| Ring-Neck Snake
| Shortface Lanx
| Townsend’s’ Big-eared Bat
| Western Pipistrelle
| White Headed Woodpecker
| Yuma Myotis Myotis
| Steelhead Trout
| Chinook Salmon
| Sockeye Salmon
2USDA-NRCS Threatened and Endangered Species Database.1999.