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
Vegetation Planting Feasibility Study - Lake Roosevelt

BPA project number   5513400

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
WDFW

Sponsor type   WA-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameDoug Fletcher
 Mailing addressWashington Dept of Fish & Wildlife
600 Capitol Way N.
Olympia, WA 98501-1091
 Phone360/902-2328

BPA technical contact   ,

Biological opinion ID   NA

NWPPC Program number   10.7A.1

Short description
Assess the feasibility of establishing vegetative plantings at key locations within the drawdown zone of Lake Roosevelt to enhance the production and survival of several resident game fish species.

Project start year   1997    End year   1999

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1999

Project development phase   Planning

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
This project would be one component of a more comprehensive effort to evaluate the effects of restoring shoreline vegetation in major Columbia Basin reservoirs as a means to enhance conditions for fish, wildlife and other uses. Related studies have already been initiated in other Columbia Basin reservoirs, and several other projects have been proposed for funding at other locations within the basin. The Lake Roosevelt project is the only one of this type proposed for the upper Columbia River Basin.

Project history
A measure to provide and evaluate the use of shoreline vegetation to improve conditions for fish and wildlife was adopted into the FWP several years ago. The Lake Roosevelt study was submitted as a specific project to address this earlier measure in 1995. WDFW proposes a two year feasibility study in FY97 and FY98, with the possibility of major demonstration projects to follow pending the outcome of this study.

Biological results achieved
The restoration of shoreline vegetation in areas where it has been precluded by water level fluctuation has yielded mixed results in terms of providing fish and wildlife benefits in areas where it has been tried. In cases where vegetation has been successfully established, significant measurable fishery benefits have been achieved. In other cases, vegetation has not been successfully established and no benefits to fish and wildlife were achieved.

Where the establishment of vegetation has been successful, the following benefits to fish and wildlife have been noted: Increased production of some species of fish resulting from the trapping of water and nutrients and increasing temperatures in near-shore juvenile production areas, decreased shoreline erosion and sedimentation, increased plankton production, increased escape cover for juvenile fishes, and increased production of fur-bearers and waterfowl.

Annual reports and technical papers
The proposed feasibility study will include a detailed literature review prior to test plantings.
Information used to generate this project description came from the general collective knowledge of WDFW Fish Management and Wildlife Management staff.

Management implications
This project, taken together with the results of similar work in other areas of the Columbia Basin, will test the feasibility of various planting methods, plant species and habitat conditions. The results of this study will be used to identify the best and most effective methods and materials to achieve specific fishery benefits in a variety of micro-habitats in Lake Roosevelt.

Specific measureable objectives
The specific measurable objects of this project are to; 1) determine the feasibility of using vegetative plantings to improve the survival and productivity of various resident fish stocks utilizing the drawdown zone of Lake Roosevelt; and 2) determine the most effective methods and materials for establishing beneficial vegetation in selected reservoir habitats.

Testable hypothesis
The hypothesis tested is that the lack of aquatic and terrestrial vegetation in the drawdown zone of large, fluctuating Columbia Basin reservoirs limits the production of several important species of resident game fish. If it is feasible to establish or reestablish vegetation in selected near-shore habitats it will increase the survival and productivity of these fish species, and result in increased angler usage, improved catch rates, and healthier fish populations.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The underlying assumption with this project is that there is a correlation between the amount and type of near-shore and shoreline vegetation and fish production in these large Mainstem Columbia River reservoirs.

The most critical constraint to the project is the feasibility of establishing vegetation in these harsh environments.

Methods
The first phase of this two year feasibility study is to conduct a detailed review of the literature. The study will rely heavily on information from other vegetative studies. This information will then be used, along with site specific information collected from Lake Roosevelt, to assess the potential for the successful application of vegetative planting in Lake Roosevelt. The relationship between indicator fish populations and existing vegetation in Lake Roosevelt will also be monitored as part of the feasibility study.

The second phase of the project would involve small scale demonstration projects at selected sites in Lake Roosevelt, where vegetation methods and materials would be evaluated under different drawdown conditions.

Depending on the results of this feasibility study, WDFW may apply for additional funding at the end of the two year feasibility study to attempt larger scale shoreline vegetation planting.

Brief schedule of activities
In FY97 three primary activities will occur; 1) literature and project review; 2) habitat and fish survey of existing areas of vegetation, and 3) demonstration project site selection and permitting.

In FY98 and FY99 several small scale demonstration areas will be planted and evaluated and report prepared. If additional work appears warranted at this time an expanded project proposal will be submitted to the Council along with a request for additional BPA funding.

Biological need
Resident fish populations in Lake Roosevelt are currently limited by low basic productivity, severe water level fluctuation, lack of protective cover during critical juvenile rearing periods and rapid water exchange rates. All of these factors relate to the operation of Lake Roosevelt for power production. The establishment of near-shore vegetation is one habitat manipulation which offers potential to alter critical micro-habitats to benefit resident game fish species. The presence of vegetation in these areas can result in higher water retention time in these critical micro-habitats, which in turn can increase food production, water temperature and escape cover for juvenile fish.

Critical uncertainties
This project has a high degree of uncertainty. The most critical of these is weather or not it is possible to successfully establish and maintain significant vegetated areas in Lake Roosevelt in the face of severe water level fluctuations.

Summary of expected outcome
We hope it proves to be feasible to establish enough vegetation in Lake Roosevelt that measurable benefits can be achieved for resident game fish populations. However, the feasibility is very much in question.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
This feasibility study will rely on the cooperation and assistance of resource managers from the Spokane, Colville and Kalispel tribes, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service, and various state agencies with expertise and/or permitting authority. The project will also depend on the cooperation of lake shore property owners and other lake users.

Risks
There are few, if any, biological risks associated with this feasibility study. There is some risk that the establishment of vegetation proves not to be feasible, in which case no benefit would accrue to resident fish.

Monitoring activity
Demonstration areas will be monitored throughout the study period. Fish populations associated with these areas will also be monitored continuously through the study. Long term monitoring will depend on the success of demonstration projects.

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: 95,600
1998: 85,000
1999: 85,000

* 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   Resident Fish

Recommendation    Tier 2 - fund when funds available

Recommended funding level   $95,600