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
Indian Creek Monitoring Project

BPA project number   5513700

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Northwest Service Academy/AmeriCorps

Sponsor type   WA-Consultant

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameSara Wittenberg
 Mailing address2455 Highway 141
Trout Lake, WA 98650

BPA technical contact   ,

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   

Short description
The Indian Creek Restoration Project is the first piece of a 5-year initiative. In this first funding year, one Northwest Service Academy (NWSA) team, under the supervision of a Resource Specialist, and in collaboration with the Next Door, Inc.(an alternative education school for delinquent teenagers), will conduct the first of a five year biological and chemical testing program that will profile the current water quality of Indian Creek, a tributary of the Hood River.

Project start year   1996    End year   2001

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1998

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications

Specific measureable objectives
The project is designed to gather baseline data to describe what the current biological and environmental status is for Indian Creek. Based on the resulting data gathered twice-monthly below 12 critical points of influence for 12 months, it will then be possible to describe specific numeric biological and environmental targets necessary to achieve a healthy, functioning ecological state which will support historical numbers of fish populations. The four years succeeding this initial project year will be spent continuing the monitoring process, and designing and implementing projects aimed at achieving those targets.

Increasing the awareness and involvement of landowners and users of the Indian Creek watershed is also a primary objective of this project.

Testable hypothesis
Water quality is one of the primary limiting factors resulting in the lack of fish populations in Indian Creek. By conducting a vigorous biological and chemical water quality testing program on Indian Creek combined with measurements of stream geomorphology, the sources of poor water quality can be detected and ultimately, mitigated.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
It is assumed that there is some quality about the water in Indian Creek that we can detect and measure that will contribute toward determining what caused the decline in fish populations. It is also assumed that by integrating resulting data with observations and discussions with land owners that the sources of the problems can be determined and addressed. It is assumed that twice-monthly water quality testing and quarterly flow transects are adequate intervals for describing the nature of the water quality and for indicating the possible reasons for that nature.

Experimental Design: Water quality monitoring sites will be chosen below 12 critical points of influence over the 9 mile length of Indian Creek. The critical points of influence would be chosen at suspected or possible points of influence or at sites downstream of probable areas of non-point pollution. Twice monthly testing will include monitoring of basic factors such as dissolved oxygen, nitrates, phosphates, pH, carbon dioxide, chlorides, ammonia, sulfide, silica, hardness and alkalinity. Testing for specific compounds commonly used in agriculture would be done at appropriate intervals after application or when substantial changes in the basic factors indicate the presence of additional compounds. Quarterly flow transects measuring velocity, water surface height,bankfull width and depth, floodplain area width and substrate will also be recorded.

If available, continuous monitor devices would be used at each site. Otherwise, water pollution detection kits will be used. Water samples will be taken and sent to Oregon State University for testing of specific chemical compounds. Observations of weather, site changes, water and air temperature, precipication events and other notable influences will be noted in the final data.

Urban, residential, agricultural and commercial uses impact many of Hood River's urban streams, and thus the mainstem of the Hood River, as these urban stream tributaries flow into the Hood River. However, there is no current program to determine exactly how and what these impacts are. Therefore, this project on Indian Creek is proposed as a model monitoring program that can be applied to other study areas. The educational factor that is involved in this project should not be overlooked. By obtaining local landowner permission for access to the stream, and by involving students in the monitoring process,an important factor of awareness is added to the experimental design. As people begin to understand what the human impact is on these urban streams, changes may be made to those practices that affect water quality. As these changes occur, data results will change also.

Statistical Analysis: The first year of data will be used primarily as baseline data. As monitoring continues over the five year period, patterns and normal ranges will be established, thus deviations will be more distinctly determined. However, it is within the project hypothesis that the current state of water quality or some event which takes place during the year altering water quality is contributing to the limiting factor resulting in the lack of fish populations. Because there is no existing baseline data describing the water quality during the time of historical fish populations, the data gathered during this project will be compared against standard water quality requirements as determined by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Water Quality. Substantial or sustained deviations outside the range of normal fluctuations as described by ODF&W and DEQ standards will be examined. Stream geomorpholgy measurements and records of events such as precipitation, irrigation diversion, and agricultural or commercial spray application of chemical compounds will be gathered as supplemental information to the determination of the causes of water quality changes. For example, during the winter season it is expected that organic and chemical compound concentrations might be higher but would appear more diluted due to heavy precipitation. Likewise, summer compound concentrations might appear higher due to lower precipitation and higher evaporation factors. It then remains to be determined how those adjusted compound concentrations compare to water quality standards.

Type and number of fish: Not applicable to the project description.

Brief schedule of activities
October 1996 - Select and set up water quality and flow transect monitoring site; identify landowners and develop landuse/lifestyle questionaire; plan and conduct quarterly meetings of the Indian Creek Watershed Landowners Group
October 1996 through September 1997 - Water quality monitoring and quarterly flow transect measurements
April 1997 - Compile six-month analysis/review of data gathered and methodology used, submit to technical water quality advisors
March 1997/May 1997/September 1997 - Plan and conduct Indian Creek "Clean up days" and "Open House Tours"
October 1997 - Compile first year data analysis report on Indian Creek water quality monitoring efforts; present to ICWLG and Hood River Basin Watershed Group.

Monitoring will continue through the five year period. Additional project activities through the years 1998-2001 will be largely dependent on the results of data gathered in the first year, as described in the questions above. It is expected that some of the activities of the subsequent years will include restoration of riparian areas, protection and construction of wetland areas, removal of fish passage barriers, and continued education.

Biological need
Indian Creek is a nine mile stream which winds through agricultural, industrial, commercial, residential and urban environs before emptying into the Hood river less than two miles above its confluence with the Columbia river. Crossed by several major roadways, Indian Creek begins in fruit orchards, loops around a golf course and enters the Hood River city limits less than two miles above its confluence with the Columbia River.

Less than thirty years ago, Indian Creek supported a residential population of trout so large that the daily catch limit was twenty fish per person. According to the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, Indian Creek historically supported an abundant population of the eel (Pacific lamprey). Today, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has termed the creek "a biological desert." Currently, there is no data indicating the reasons for this decline. Furthermore, it is imperative that the study of limiting factors to the production of anadromous fish in the Hood River include consideration of the health of the tributary waters that flow into and become the Hood River. Much of the human impact is made within urban boundaries; consequently, this is where changes in land use, business and farming practices will make the most difference.

Critical uncertainties
The project attempts to address an uncertainty of what the limiting factor is. If the results of the first year of data indicate a state of water quality that should have no difficulty in supporting healthy fish populations, then the physical characteristics of the creek including the volume of stream flow will be examined.

Summary of expected outcome
It is expected that the data will indicate areas of point or non-point pollution. In this case, steps can then be taken to mitigate or eliminate the problems. Some of the possible difficulties may be locating the source of the problem, and proving that the suspected cause has effects on the water quality of the stream, especially in the cases on non-point pollution. Additional monitoring sites closer to the suspected area of concern could be set up in order to more accurately prove the theory of the cause of the problem. However, due to the wide range of possibilities that these specific difficulties could represent, the alternate strategies that can be taken to alleviate these difficulties will have to be carefully determined on a case-by case basis.

It is also expected during the first year of the project that community feedback and restoration activities will provide the means to begin discussions with landowners regarding current irrigation and spraying practices, homeowner garden irrigation and fertilization practices, conservation practices, hazardous waste removal, garbage dumping and development planning. The project will provide information needed to develop and implement a recovery program for the equatic wildlife that Indian Creek should be able to support. Finally, the project will provide a model for research and restoration that needs to be applied to other damaged creeks and streams in the Hood River Basin.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
The Indian Creek Restoration Project coordinates conservation efforts from the following organizations: Hood river Soil and Water Conservation District, Hood River Watershed Group, Columbia River United, Hood River Valley High School, OSU Extension Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, United States Department of Environmental Quality, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, the Next Door, Incorporated and the Northwest Service Academy.

At this time there are no known dependencies which would delay or prohibit the timing or completion of the project.

At this time there are no know risks associated with the implementation of the project. The only risk to the completion of the project in accordance with the objectives lies in the ability to obtain the data that has caused the decline in fish populations. However, as stated earlier, if the data gathered indicates water quality is not the lmiting factor, that eliminates one possibility. The variables then change, and the search for the true cause goes on.

Monitoring activity
The twice-monthly water quality testing methodology and results will be monitored by OSU Extension Service, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The completion of the six-month and year end water quality data report is to be submitted to these same agencies for review. In this way, statistical errors and analytical inadequacies may be eliminated early on in the process.

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: 63,000
1998: 50,000
1999: 50,000
2000: 50,000
2001: 50,000

* 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   Bonneville Dam - Priest Rapids Dam

Recommendation    Tier 2 - fund when funds available

Recommended funding level   $63,000