BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal

Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Title of project
Pine Hollow Watershed Enhancement Project

BPA project number   5504800

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Sherman County Soil and Water Conservation District

Sponsor type   OR-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameKrista Coelsch
 Mailing addressP.O. Box 405
Moro, OR 97039-0405
 Phone541/565-3216

BPA technical contact   , EWP

Biological opinion ID   Summer Steelhead

NWPPC Program number   7.7B

Short description
A funding request for riparian and fish habitat inventory, assessment and enhancement planning as part of a multi-year, total watershed restoration project involving a 92,000 acre sub watershed of the John Day River in Wasco and Sherman county, Oregon.

Project start year   1994    End year   2004

Start of operation and/or maintenance   0

Project development phase   Planning

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Buck Hollow Watershed Enhancement Project - - # 93-045
An ongoing implementation project by the same lead agencies (Sherman and Wasco County Soil & Water Conservation districts) which involves an adjacent tributary of the Deschutes River.

Project history
Success of the Buck Hollow Watershed Project prompted many landowners in the Pine Hollow Watershed to approach the lead agencies with the purpose of initiating a similar project in Pine Hollow. After several meetings with other agencies and landowners and some initial uplands assessment, the two boards decided to proceed. At a landowners meeting on February 8, 1996, at Kent, Oregon, local landowners formed a Watershed Council and reiterated the need to proceed with a project in Pine Hollow.

This project will use a top-down approach for treating the entire watershed, beginning in the headlands and working downstream toward the mouth of Pine Hollow at the John Day River. Fencing, water developments, uplands flow water retarding structures, seeding , brush and juniper control, wildlife guzzlers, tree planting and development of conservation plans and grazing management plans with participating landowners will be undertaken to improve the health of the uplands areas and protect the riparian areas below. The measures are expected to improve the hydrologic condition of the watershed by reducing flash flooding and improving base flows. They will further aid in better distributing large herds of big game (elk and antelope) which put tremendous grazing pressure on the riparian areas of the upper watershed. These measures also will contribute directly to the health of the watershed by providing the tools and techniques to enable better grazing management of domestic livestock.

In addition to work in upland areas, stream bank and stream bed stabilization will be done. In-stream work will consist of juniper rip-rap for bank stabilization and armoring of bend cuts to halt stream bed degradation; rock berms and deflectors to create pools, eliminate braided channels and concentrate flows; and installation of fencing to allow control of riparian grazing and facilitate rapid re-establishment of deciduous, woody riparian vegetation. The parallel effort in adjacent uplands will continue as the project progresses downstream, so that when the project is completed the entire watershed will have been treated from the top down. The parallel effort in upland areas will both facilitate riparian restoration and provide a measure of protection to the riparian corridor.

Pacific Gas Transmission installed a 36 inch diameter pipeline in the lower 6.8 miles of Pine Hollow in 1961. The installation process greatly distrubed the riparian corridor and subsequent run-off events have compromised this section of the pipeline requiring the introduction of large equipment into the riparian corridor to protect the pipeline. The installation and upkeep of the pipeline in this section of Pine Hollow has greatly compromised the entire watersheds efficiency.

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications

Specific measureable objectives
The objectives of the riparian portion of this project are to restore approximately 20 miles of severely degraded steelhead and trout habitat, provide protection to both restored areas and the limited, isolated portions of habitat in good condition, and enhance existing habitat.

One of the principal objectives of the watershed project is to moderate the hydrology of the degraded watershed. The watershed currently exhibits high runoffs or flash floods during storm events and low base flows. A Combination of vegetative improvements and structural methods is expected to reduce peak flows while enhancing base flows, moving the watershed toward the ideal capability of being able to capture, store, and safely release water over extended periods of time.

1. Reduce peak flows during storm events. In its current degraded condition, high peak flows in Pine Hollow Creek cause stream bank erosion, siltation of pools, scouring and widening of streambeds. Additionally, runoff water, which would otherwise be temporarily stored in the soils and riparian areas of the watershed passes through and is lost to the watershed in a matter of hours instead of weeks and months in a properly functioning system. Reducing peak flows will enable healing of the riparian zone, reduce stream bank erosion and scouring, reduce sediment transport loads and turbidity, and reduce siltation of pools. Reducing peak flows is expected to reduce stream bank erosion and the limiting factor of sedimentation.

2. Increase base flows. Low stream flows frequently isolate the few existing pools and result in barriers to movement of adult fish as well as smolt. Low flows contribute to higher summer water temperatures, higher nutrient concentrations, and reduced levels of dissolved oxygen.

3. Reduce high summer water temperatures. Low stream flows, lack of cover and shade in the riparian zone, and degraded stream channels all contribute to high summer water temperatures.

4. Eliminate barriers to fish passage. Degraded channels, wide and shallow, and braided channels prevent passage of adults higher into the system, as well as limiting the reach from which smolts can begin their out migration.

5. Increase the amount of rearing and holding habitat available. The small number of pools and their isolation within the system severely limits the amount of holding and rearing habitat available within the watershed.

6. Reduce sedimentation. Although a gravel rich system, high levels of sediment are transported due to erosion from upland areas, as well as stream banks. Sedimentation adversely impact pools by reducing their volume, and spawning beds by reducing water flow through the spawning gravel.

7. Restore and enhance riparian vegetation. Lack of adequate riparian vegetation contributes to stream bank erosion, channel degradation, and high water temperatures.

8. Reduce stream bank erosion. Stream bank erosion contributes excessive levels of silt into the stream system and can exacerbate channel degradation.

9. Improve upland habitat and control riparian grazing. Degraded upland areas and lack of water sources in uplands contribute to continued degradation of the riparian zone from grazing pressure, as well as the need for water. Elk and domestic livestock are the principal animals requiring control, although deer and antelope populations do have an impact.

10. Restore stream structure. Severe runoff events in 1964, 1966, and 1978 scoured the riparian zone and left extensive sections of broad rubble strewn streambed, devoid of any clear channel and totally lacking in pools.

11. Improve land management and resource stewardship. 100 years of intensive grazing by the sheep and cattle industry set the watershed up for the devastating runoff events of 1964, 1966 and 1978. While use of the land and its resources will continue, the farmers and ranchers in the watershed have recognized the need for change and, in fact, were the motivating force which led to the formulation and implementation of the Pine Hollow Watershed Enhancement Project.

12. A good cost/benefit ratio of the total project requires greater than 50% landowner participation. Action: Use of economic incentives through cost sharing of expenses plus making landowners a critical factor in the planning phases. Design both upland and riparian demonstration phases as an at tractor of landowner participation.

13. Limited dollars and technical manpower requires an efficiently run project. Pursue new levels of interagency cooperation (sharing of technical resources) and derive proposed solutions which include a cost/benefit input, and are generated from consensus planning.

NOTE: These funds requested from BPA will only be used for riparian inventory, assessment and enhancement planning in the project.

A riparian implementation funding request to be based on findings funded by this request will be submitted in 1997.

Testable hypothesis
The only way to improve the total watershed system in the Northwest is by enhancing one sub-basin at a time. The big dollar quick fix solutions will yield questionable results and possibly lead to expensive socio-economic problems.

The only way to improve a sub-basin is to inventory, plan, and treat it as a total system. Many riparian corridor focused treatments in the past have become expensive deep sea habitat.

The best implementation model for a total sub-basin enhancement project is the top down approach. Upland improvements both facilitate and protect riparian improvements.

The best guarantee of participation in a sub-basin enhancement project on private land is by getting the landowners directly involved. The best way to sell a sub-basin enhancement project on private land is by showing that it has both long term economic and ecological benefits.

The best way to stretch available dollars, technical resources, and manpower is to promote new ways of doing business. Perceived adversaries from the past must become today’s cooperators.

Simply, if we do the above, the fish will return and we can stay.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
1. 50% of landowner participation in the project will be a critical threshold. Above this value, watershed enhancement activities become cost effective when total system improvement is compared to financial and human resources invested in the project. Initial landowner meetings indicate well above 50% participation.

2. Other than modified interagency working agreements which are a result of a new mix of participants and lessons gained from previous projects, this proposed project is using the adjacent, ongoing Buck Hollow project as a model. We have a proven track record and are cost effective.

Methods
The included action items are a selection of possible procedures to enhance the riparian corridor. We view these procedures as an action/implementation took kit available to us. The riparian inventory and assessment stage will identify problem areas and the consensus planing phase will determine which of these actions will be used to address specific problems.

The following actions are proposed to meet objectives listed:
(Note: Items marked ** are planned for use of other, non BPA funding.)

A. Proposed Actions:
Objective 1. Reduce peak flows during storm events. **
Action a. Encourage grass stand improvement on rangeland, by development and implementation of sound grazing management plans with cooperating landowners.
Action b. Assist cooperating landowners with implementation of best management practices on range and cropland designed to control erosion, reduce runoff, and aid water infiltration.
Action c. Plan, design, and build floodwater retarding structures in selected upland draws to reduce peak runoffs.
Action d. Encourage farmers to keep a substantial portion of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in grass when their contracts expire.
Objective 2. Increase base flows.
Action a. Implement systematic juniper control.
Action b. Build floodwater retarding structures in upland areas for peak runoff reduction, enabling temporarily stored water to recharge ground water and improve spring flows. **
Action c. Improve vegetative condition in upland areas to aid in water infiltration and ground water recharge. **
Action d. Improve vegetation in riparian zone to aid in channel narrowing and raising of water table.
Objective 3. Reduce high summer water temperatures.
Action a. Facilitate re-establishment of woody vegetation in riparian zone to provide cover and shade.
Action b. Concentrate flows to single channel where braided channels are present by use of berms, jetties or other means.
Action c. Increase base flows.
Objective 4. Eliminate barriers to fish passage.
Action a. Install berms to narrow and deepen channel and concentrate flows.
Objective 5. Increase amount of rearing/holding habitat available.
Action a. Install deflectors to direct flow against basalt outcrops where appropriate to enable stream flow to scour out pools.
Action b. Install log or rock weirs to focus flow to enable the scouring our of pools. Upstream “V” weirs have been shown to be successful for this purpose.
Action c. Narrow and deepen channel between pools.
Objective 6. Reduce sedimentation.
Action a. Assist cooperating landowners with development and implementation of conservation plans for crop and rangeland to reduce soil erosion from areas draining into Pine Hollow Creek and its tributaries. **
Action b. Assist cooperating landowners implement best management practices to control soil erosion from crop and rangeland. **
Action c. Stabilize actively eroding stream banks with juniper or rock rip-rap where appropriate, by bank shaping and seeding where possible, or by use of deflectors where other means are unlikely to succeed.
Objective 7. Restore and enhance riparian vegetation.
Action a. Limit riparian grazing to dormant season for deciduous vegetation where a grazing plan has been developed and is expected to be followed.
Action b. Develop riparian exclosure fences in areas where vegetation is lacking and grazing is unlikely to be closely controlled.
Action c. Utilize volunteer groups to plant appropriate trees and shrubs, or cuttings along protected riparian corridors.
Objective 8. Reduce stream bank erosion.
Action a. In areas where wildlife (deer, elk and antelope) or domestic livestock are breaking down stream banks and which are unprotected by riparian exclosures, install drift fences to eliminate their access to the stream bank.
Action b. Treat eroding stream bank as appropriate.
Objective 9. Improve upland habitat and control riparian grazing.
Action a. Develop water sources, guzzlers, springs, stock ponds, in the upland areas to reduce riparian grazing pressure by elk, deer, antelope and domestic livestock. **
Action b. Encourage landowners to utilize seed mixtures for rangeland which would benefit game animals and upland birds, as well as domestic livestock and make the uplands more attractive for grazing than riparian areas and aid in obtaining better distribution of wildlife.
Action c. Install fencing as appropriate to create small riparian pastures, riparian exclosures, to protect stream banks.
Action d. Develop and implement grazing plans with cooperating landowners. **
Objective 10. Restore stream structure.
Action a. In scoured areas devoid of adequate structure, install berms, jetties, weirs, and/or boulders to replace structure lost in the major runoff events of 1964, 1966 and 1978.
Objective 11. Improve land management and resource stewardship.
Action a. Develop conservation plans to include, where appropriate, grazing plans with cooperating landowners in the watershed. **
Action b. Establish a regular forum for cooperating landowners to exchange information and obtain updated on the project.
B. Statistical analysis.
Action a. Our proposed project will entail using an in progress enhancement project as a working model. The ongoing project in Buck Hollow is achieving excellent results. Scarcity of funding dictates that we pursue implementation activities which are ecologically beneficial and financially efficient. Cost/benefit analysis of implementation activities will be the rule. The only anticipated deviation from this policy is the lower 6.8 miles of riparian corridor affected by the PGT pipeline.
C. Fish.
Pine Hollow (RM 0.0 to RM 14.25)
John Day River to Big Pine Hollow/Little Pine Hollow confluence.
Summer steelhead (juvenile) and redband trout present.
Long Hollow: (@ RM 8.25 on Pine Hollow)
RM 0.0 to RM 2.25: summer steelhead (juvenile)
RM 0.0 to RM 6.75: redband trout
Dove Hollow: (@ RM 0.25 Long Hollow) (BLM, November, 1993)
RM 0.0 to RM 0.75: summer steelhead (juvenile)
RM 0.0 to RM 1.25: redband trout
Little Pine Hollow: (series of falls 10' to 20')
No salmonids observed.
Big Pine Hollow:
RM 0.0 to RM 3.75: summer steelhead (juvenile)
RM 0.0 to RM 7.75: redband trout
General information:
Species present: Dace, bridgelip sucker, redside shiner, Northern squaw fish, redband trout, summer steelhead (juvenile)
Pine Hollow RM 0.0 to RM 6.5 is generally dry channel with few isolated pools in summer/fall. These pools often contain juvenile summer steelhead/redband trout.

Short reaches of flowing water and isolated pools occur upstream of RM 6.5.

The majority of spawning and rearing habitat appears to be in Big Pine Hollow. The notes indicate a general lack of spawning gravel and pool habitat/cover for rearing.

Identification of areas for restoration efforts to increase steelhead distribution and improve spawning/rearing habitat will require a more thorough investigation.

Brief schedule of activities
1/94 - 12/95 ODA grant funds initial uplands assessment. Contact and meetings between SWCD’s, NRCS, BLM and ODFW.

1/96 - 12/97 ODA grant funds detailed upland planning. Start of grazing management planning. Meeting with individual landowners.

2/96 Landowners meeting; formation of watershed council.

3/96 - 9/96 Follow-up meetings between SWCD’s, BLM, NRCS, ODFW and Confederated Tribes of Warmsprings to develop working relationships and areas of responsibility.

6/96 - 6/97 ODA and GWEB grants fund demonstration phase of upland implementation.

6/97 - 6/04 ODA and GWEB grants fund phased upland implementation.

10/96 - 9/97 BPA funds riparian inventory and assessment.

10/97 - 12/98 BPA funds riparian enhancement planning - individual meetings with landowners.

6/98 - 6/99 BPA funds riparian enhancement implementation demonstration phase.

6/99 - 2004 BPA, ODFW, BLM, and PGT fund phased riparian enhancement implementation.

1/94 - 12/96 Establish data baselines

1/97 ƒ Monitoring by NRCS, BLM, ODFW and area schools.
See attached time line.

Biological need
In the past, Pine Hollow was noted for its excellent fishery with runs of summer steelhead and an extensive population of redband trout. Heavy grazing by the sheep industry in the late 1800's followed by extensive cropping and continuous cattle grazing led to the gradual deterioration of the watershed, worsened by intermittent drought. In recent years (1964, 1966, 1968) intense runoff events have scoured out the stream courses, causing massive erosion and siltation of pools.

Water quality and quantity problems exist. In its deteriorated condition, the watershed exhibits very high peak flows and low summer base flows. Fish habitat is severely limited by the lack of late season water in the upper reaches. High peak flows continue to degrade the riparian zone and result in significant water quality problems.

High summer water temperatures from low flows and lack of shade reduces the watershed’s biotic value. Quite simply, this fishery is but a small fraction of its condition just 60 years ago. Our proposed project will restore desirable watershed features to Pine Hollow by enhancing the watershed’s ability to capture, store and safely release water over the entire year. The project will flatten the hydrologic curve by slowing and controlling runoff from the uplands through the use of terraces, water and sediment control basins, and improvement in vegetative cover. Given that land use patterns are unlikely to change, these methods are expected to enable the watershed to more closely emulate the hydrology of a completely natural system.

Critical uncertainties
Much of the existing data on Pine Hollow is old and sporadic. The only total g ap in data is a lack of aquatic insect population analysis. Upon implementation, the data collection stations would be designated and samples taken for analysis. The critical point is to establish a baseline for observation of trends.

Summary of expected outcome
The BPA funded riparian inventory, assessment and planing phase will generate an understanding of the riparian corridor’s present condition, a listing of problems and their potential solutions, and a planning document detailing accepted solutions with firm cost estimates for the implementation phase.

The total watershed enhancement project will require agency and landowner interaction and cooperation, and promote a working relationship between entities which have often been confrontational in the past. Even at a landowner level of participation as low as 50%, watershed health and fish numbers will increase. Many of these landowners realize that they can participate now on a cooperative level or be subject to forced “participation” in the future as federal and state laws change. Due to this and the high level of both long term ecological and economic benefits gained, we anticipate a high level of owner participation.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
LEAD AGENCY:

Sherman County Soil and Water Conservation District, Moro, in association with Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Dalles.

The primary team consists of:
USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service
Moro, The Dalles, Bend, Portland
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau of Land Management
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
Pacific Gas and Transmission Company
20 private landowners residing in the project.

OTHER COOPERATORS:
OSU Extension, Moro, The Dalles
USDA - Consolidated Farm Services, Moro, The Dalles
Water Resources Department - Dam Safety Engineers
Local water master
Sherman High School, South Sherman Elementary School
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Oregon Governor’s Watershed Enhancement Board
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Environmental Protection Agency

Land ownership:

Private 79,468 acres 86.5% (20 entities including PGT)
BLM 11,920 acres 13%
State 480 acres
91,868 acres

Land use:

Range 72,700 acres 90%
Cropland 1,900 acres 2%
CRP 6,300 acres 8%
Roads/urban 240 acres

PARTICIPANTS ROLE
Sherman and Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation Districts Administrative assistance, watershed planning, field trips, securing outside funding, facilitator between landowners and governmental agencies, overall project coordinator, fiscal agent
Natural Resources Conservation Service Provide range evaluation, mapping and planning, technical assistance for structures, engineering, hydrological analysis, overall watershed and cost benefit analysis, grazing management plans
Bureau of Land Management Provide surveys, allotment evaluations and mapping, range evaluation and planning, riparian evaluation and planning, hydrological analysis and related technical services, riparian services
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Provide riparian evaluation and planning, related technical services, riparian enhancement input
Pacific Gas and Transmission Company Provide evaluation and planning and possibly “in kind” through use of equipment and operators
Oregon Division of Lands Provide evaluation and planning
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Provide input on possible archeological sites and input on the overall enhancement project

SOURCES OF FUNDING:

Oregon Department of Agriculture *secured ** done ** Initial uplands assessment and inventory* Continuing uplands assessment, planning and implementation (Demonstration phase)
Bonneville Power Administration Riparian and fish habitat inventory, assessment and enhancement planningRiparian enhancement implementation
Governor’s Watershed Enhancement Board Uplands enhancement implementation
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Riparian enhancement implementation
Pacific Gas and Transmission Company Riparian enhancement planning and implementation
Landowners Cash and/or “in kind work” to satisfy remainder of uplands implementation costs

Due to a larger percentage of BLM land in Pine Hollow, Sherman and Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation Districts will pursue a higher level of cooperation with BLM than in previous projects. BLM will have technicians in the watershed for both upland and riparian assessment and planning of federal land. Increased interagency cooperation and use of these technicians on private land provides a new way of doing business and a chance to significantly reduce some project costs.

PERMITS:

Permits for implementation activities will be necessary. We anticipate needing permits for spring developments, off channel watering of livestock, certain types of in-channel work, restoration work and possibly for upland structures.

Risks
1. Increased activity in the area might disturb possible Native American artifacts or sites.
Action: Bring the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs into the project as a contributor and use their resources.

2. Some people might object to providing cost sharing to private landowners as a means of promoting involvement in a large watershed enhancement project.
Action: Market and publicize the project through use of tours and print articles and radio and television.

3. A consensus planning approach between state and federal agencies and the private landowner could result in treatment scenario’s that would neither be viewed as ideal nor a “best management practice” by some of the parties involved. Success in this type of project dictates that all involved parties must occasionally adjust for the purpose of achieving a common goal.
Action: Bring all players together early and facilitate discussion.

4. Pacific Gas Transmission (PGT) installed a 36 inch diameter gas transmission pipeline in the lower 6.8 miles of Pine Hollow in 1961. Continued flooding in this area along with the pipeline’s installation has seriously degraded this lower riparian corridor. Riparian implementation in this lower corridor could require new and untried techniques since we are dealing with a long term, man made structure.
Action: Get PGT on board early as a major cooperator.

5. In-house BLM protocol could cause delays in implementation (NEPA, cultural sites). Their property is at the mouth of the project, so implementation there will be later in the project.
Action: Get BLM started early to allow for time delays. Use Confederated Tribes as a resource.

Monitoring activity
Pre-project data is generally available in limited amounts and is somewhat sporadic.

DATA TYPE PROPOSED COLLECTION INTERVAL EXISTING DATA
Water quality Semi-annually Very Little
Water temperature Continual near mouth Some data
Flow Continual near mouth Very little
Aquatic insects Four times per year None
Adult spawning counts Annually Some - BLM
Fish population and range Annually Some - BLM
Transects/photoprintsaerial photographs, near i.r./color Annually Aerial photos
BLM is presently monitoring water temperature at several sites. Water quality and flow measurements will start in the spring of 1996. The monitoring activities not already started will commence in the spring of 1996 for baseline establishment and trend observation and analysis.

Section 3. Budget

Data shown are the total of expense and capital obligations by fiscal year. Obligations for any given year may not equal actual expenditures or accruals within the year, due to carryover, pre-funding, capitalization and difference between operating year and BPA fiscal year.

Historic costsFY 1996 budget data*Current and future funding needs
(none) New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 70,758
1998: 50,958

* For most projects, Authorized is the amount recommended by CBFWA and the Council. Planned is amount currently allocated. Contracted is the amount obligated to date of printout.

Funding recommendations

CBFWA funding review group   Bonneville Dam - Priest Rapids Dam

Recommendation    Tier 2 - fund when funds available

Recommended funding level   $70,758