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
Monitoring Fine Sediment Levels in Substrate and Overwinter Sedimentation in Cleaned Gravels in Portions of the Grande Ronde and John Day Rivers

BPA project number   5506000

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

Sponsor type   CRITFC

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameJonathan Rhodes
 Mailing address729 NE Oregon, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97232
 Phone503/731-1307

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   7.6C, 7.6C.2, 7.6D

Short description
Measure fine sediment in substrate and overwinter sedimentation, establish baseline habitat conditions, evaluate trends in sedimentation and salmon survival, and assess effectiveness of land management in improving salmon survival from egg to smolt.

Project start year   1997    End year   2001

Start of operation and/or maintenance   0

Project development phase   Planning, Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers
Although this is a new proposal for funding, the results of previous, unfunded monitoring efforts have been accepted for presentation at Land Management Practices Affecting Aquatic Ecosystems that will be held in Calgary Alberta in May 1996 and will be published has part of the proceedings of the conference. The citation for the paper is: Purser, M. D., and Rhodes, J.J., in process. Overwinter sedimentation of clean gravels in simulated redds in the Grande Ronde River, Oregon, USA: Implications for the survival of endangered spring chinook salmon. Proceedings: Land Management Practices Affecting Aquatic Ecosystems.

Management implications
Although this is a new proposal, its results have important implications for efforts to restore watersheds and habitat and improve egg-to-smolt survival. The primary goal is to establish permanent monitoring sites for tracking trends in fine sediment conditions in streams with differing types and levels of land use in portions of two key rivers: The Grande Ronde and the John Day. These rivers are proposed for investigation because they are important for salmon, they have some sediment problems and also have differing levels of land use. Monitoring at these sites will provide important information on the effectiveness of watershed-level efforts to protect and restore salmon habitat. The data will also be used to determine if the monitored areas meet the NMFS and NPPC objectives for fine sediment (<20%). Additionally, the data will be used to evaluate the effect of fine sediment levels on sedimentation in redds during the incubation period. Because surface fine sediment and overwinter sedimentation data have already been collected in spawning habitat in the Grande Ronde River, the data are also provide some indication of trends in fine sediment and overwinter sedimentation. Analysis of these trends can be used to test the assumption by NMFS and the USFS that minor improvement in land management practices will result in habitat improvement and increased salmon survival.

The results will also provide an updated assessment of the current condition of a key aspect of salmon habitat in the John Day and Grande Ronde rivers. The study should supply information to: check the veracity of current assumptions regarding watershed and habitat management, determine the need for additional watershed restoration, estimate trends in salmon survival from egg to fry.

Specific measureable objectives
1. Establish sites in spawning habitat in selected reaches of the Grande Ronde and John Day rivers to monitor levels of surface fine sediment at the onset and end of the incubation period.

2. Measure and fine sediment accumulation in cleaned gravels in artificially-constructed mock salmon redds at the monitoring sites at the onset, middle and end of the incubation period in 1997 through 2001.

4. Determine trends in fine sediment levels and overwinter sedimentation.

5. Relate overwinter sedimentation levels to surface fine sediment levels.

6. Estimate egg-to-fry survival based on fine sediment levels and overwinter sedimentation.

7. Determine if the NMFS and NPPC goal of <20% surface fine sediment is met in the Grande Ronde and John Day rivers.

8. Analyze and report results.

Testable hypothesis
1) Overwinter sedimentation in cleaned gravels in mock redds consistently occurs in streams with high levels of surface fine sediment, in magnitudes that reduce salmon survival from egg to emergence.

2) Fine sediment levels are decreasing over time, contributing to increased salmon

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints

Methods
Study reaches will be established within spawning habitat in sections of the John Day and Grande Ronde rivers. These reaches will include sites within relatively unimpacted sections of the John Day River and heavily impacted sections of the Grand Ronde and John Day rivers on USFS land.

Surface fine sediment will be measured at the onset of the spawning period using the grid method (Bauer and Burton, 1993). Concurrently, cobble embeddedness and discharge will be visually estimated. Stream width, stream gradient and depth will be measured using standard methods.

To investigate the effects of fine sediment on redds during the incubation period, rigid-walled plastic canisters filled with cleaned gravels will be emplaced in artificially-constructed, mock salmon redds at the onset of the salmon incubation period. This method has been used successfully to monitor fine sediment accumulation in channel substrate in northern California (Lisle, 1989). The mock salmon redds will be constructed in pool tail-outs within salmon spawning habitat. Two plastic canisters will be placed within each constructed redd; at least five mock redds will be constructed within each transect. At least 4 transects will be established within four study reaches in each river. At least one sample will be collected within each transect in the middle of the incubation period to provide some estimate of the rate of in-filling in cleaned gravels; the remainder will be collected at the end of the incubation period. Sediment accumulations within the canisters will be determined using standard soil texture methods.

Salmon survival from egg to fry will be estimated from the fine sediment and overwinter sedimentation data via the methods of Stowell et al. (1983) and the data of Scully and Petrosky (1991).

The relationship between surface fine sediment and overwinter sedimentation will be analyzed. Variability within and among sample sites will also be analyzed using standard statistical methods. Initial estimates of variability will be used to estimate the number of samples needed in future investigations needed to generate a given level of statistical significance at given probabilities of "type I and II" errors using standard statistical methods (Benjamin and Cornell, 1970). Trend analysis will be analyzed via standard regression methods.

Brief schedule of activities
All dates for completion of activity.

Substrate measurement and emplacement of cleaned gravels in mock redds, onset of incubation period--August 1997

Field sampling, middle of incubation period--December 1997

Collection of samples, end of incubation period--April 1998

Sample and data analysis--May 1998

Annual report--July 1998

Substrate measurement and emplacement of cleaned gravels in mock redds, onset of incubation period--August 1998

Field sampling, middle of incubation period--December 1998

Collection of samples, end of incubation period--April 1999

Sample and data analysis--May 1999

Annual report--July 1999

Substrate measurement and emplacement of cleaned gravels in mock redds, onset of incubation period--August 1999

Field sampling, middle of incubation period--December 1999

Collection of samples, end of incubation period--April 2000

Sample and data analysis--May 2000

Annual report--July 2000

Substrate measurement and emplacement of cleaned gravels in mock redds, onset of incubation period--August 2000

Field sampling, middle of incubation period--December 2000

Collection of samples, end of incubation period--April 2001

Sample and data analysis--May 2001

Final Completion report--July 2001

Biological need
It is clear fine sediment levels in substrate have a major effect on salmon survival from egg to smolt. Previous assessments have consistently noted that fine sediment is a major problem for salmon in the Grande Ronde River and to a lesser extent in the John Day rivers. Fine sediment levels must be reduced if salmon survival is to be increased. However, despite documented sediment-related problems, monitoring of baseline and trends in fine sediment are not being monitored in these rivers. This monitoring will track trends in fine sediment to determine the effectiveness of aggregate management on federal lands in the John Day and Grande Ronde watersheds. It will also relate surface fine levels to overwinter sedimentation in cleaned gravels, thus providing an estimate of the effect of fine sediment levels on incubating eggs in redds.

Critical uncertainties

Summary of expected outcome
Determination of trends in fine sediment levels, overwinter sedimentation, and estimated egg-to-fry salmon survival in the portions of the Grande Ronde River from 1992 to 2001 and John Day River from 1998 to 2001. Determination of the relationship between fine sediment levels and overwinter sedimentation.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program; USFS PNW Research Station monitoring of water temperatures and adult salmon habitat usage in the Middle Fork and North Fork John Day River. The information should also be useful to all entities attempting to increase salmon survival in natal habitat, including the NMFS.

Risks
None

Monitoring activity
The entire project is involves monitoring.

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: 30,000
1998: 30,000
1999: 30,000
2000: 30,000
2001: 30,000

* 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   Snake River

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $30,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $30,000