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
Meadow Creek Instream Structure and Riparian Evaluation

BPA project number   5519100

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
USFS

Sponsor type   OR-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NamePaul L. Boehne
 Mailing addressWallowa-Whitman National Forest
3502 HWY 30
La Grande, OR 97850
 Phone541/962-8521

BPA technical contact   ,

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   3.1D.1

Short description
This project proposes to continue the long term assessment of restoration work in Meadow Creek, Grande Ronde River Basin, Oregon. This project was started in 1987 through the PNW Research Station collecting fish population and habitat data on Meadow Creek. The purpose is to assess instream structures and riparian vegetation response to enclosures in improving steelhead-smolt production. BPA funded the project implementation in 1990. BPA also funded two years of monitoring for th6.riparian recovery work in 1992. The project has continued with posttreatment data collection on smolt outmigration, summer rearing capability and habitat utilization, and riparian recovery rates. This proposal submits the life history work including spring smolt outmigrant trapping, summer juvenile rearing and habitat capability, assessment of instream structures, summer weir trapping for movement analysis, and fall trapping for determination of winter habitat capability. Riparian vegetation recovery study will include continued assessment of cattle and big game recovery of species, biomass and rates of recovery, and recolonization of species. This project will be conducted primarily by Dr. James Sedell, PNW Research Station, and Dr. J. Boone Kauffman, Oregon State University.

Project start year   1997    End year   2005

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1997

Project development phase   Planning/Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Meadow Creek Project (84-9) under BPA closed contract No.
DE-AI79-84BP17578, Grande Ronde River Habitat Enhancement. This project funded the implementation of the instream work and riparian fencing and the reseach for the first two years of the riparain recovery work.

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications

Specific measureable objectives
1) Identify factors limiting the production of anadromous salmonids in Meadow Creek;
2) Based on limiting factor analysis, identify instream and riparian area restoration techniques that will increase production of anadromous salmonids in Meadow Creek;
3) Collect and analyze data on habitat characteristics, fish populations and assemblages, and salmonid smolt production to evaluate the effects of restoration techniques in Meadow Creek;
4) Evaluate the long-term physical, biological and economic effectiveness
of habitat restoration in Meadow Creek;
5) Evaluate other similar instream and riparian restoration projects in the
Grande Ronde River basin for effectiveness using this project's results.
6) Quantify the rates of shrub regrowth over time.
7) Quantify the rates of establishment and densities of all woody species
growing on gravel bars;
(8) Quantify the influence of native ungulates on shrub recovery.

Testable hypothesis
Instream habitat restoration in an intermountain stream system will produce an increase in salmonid smolt production over time.

Riparian area restoration in an intermountain stream system will improve water quality and channel morphology over time, thereby leading to an increase in the system to produce salmonid smolts.

The removal of livestock grazing from Meadow Creek will initiate the recovery of woody riparian species.

Will ungulate herbivory is an important factor influencing early recovery rates of riparian shrub communities.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The main assumption is that smolt production can be measured accurately with smolt traps. The estimation techniques used are limited by the sample sizes. Meadow Creek is underseeded but the estimation of all life history stages and the linkage with habitat variables should allow for determination of habitat utilization.

Methods
Smolt production will be assessed utilizing 4 rotary smolt traps, operated from iceout to ice up. Smolt and presmolts will be estimated by a mark recapture techniques and estimates made using a efficiency coefficient for each trap. Summer carrying capacity will be assessed by use of the Hankin and Reeves basinwide habitat inventory and subsampling habitat units for fish population and assemblages with an electrofishing unit. Population estimates will be made useing a two pass removel estimation technique. Adult escapement will be determined by redd counts in the spring throught out the Meadow Creek System. Habitat is mapped and will be remapped in the two mile restoration reach after each major (10 @yr) event or major ice event.

Hardwood species have been marked permanently and measured annually to quantify parameters of growth; height, crown area, mainstem diameter, number of stems and biomass. Permanent belt transacts on gravel bars have been placed to quantify rates of shrub establishment.

Brief schedule of activities
Activity Start Finish
Spring Smolt Trapping 3/97 6/97
Summer/Fall Trapping 6/97 10/97
Summer Habitat/Fish Sampling 6/97 6/97
Riparian Vegetation Recovery 6/97 9/97
Redd Surveys 5/97 5/97
Habitat Mapping 8/97 8/97
Stream Flow/Gauging Stations (2) 10/96 9/97
Stream Temperature Monitoring 10/96 9/97
Fence Maintanence 5/97 6/97
Report Preparation 6/97 12/97

All activities will be repeated each year for at least an additional five (5) years.

Biological need
Instream and riparian habitat improvement projects have been funded in the Columbia River Basin to the amazing amount of over $100 million. Although this represents a large number of improvement efforts, the associated number of evaluations of this work has been suprisingly low. Continued funding of improvement projects without knowledge of the benefits to salmonid production raises the question of the past 20 years - "Are we producing Paper Fish?"

To maximize the effectiveness of a habitat program a coordinated approach is necessary where adequate funds are available for program and project planning, implemenation, and long-term evaluation of results. This long-term evaluation of both the physical and biological effectiveness of habitat improvement on Meadow Creek will display the changes in salmonid smolt production that can be realized from similar improvement projects. This is currently one of the only long-term projects of its kind in the interior Columbia River Basin.

Critical uncertainties

Summary of expected outcome
This project will produce data that will show both instream and riparian habitat changes and the associated changes in stream morphology and water quality parameters over time. These changes will be associated with changes in fish population and assemblages and s@olt production over time. These changes in habitat and corresponding fish production can then be used to assess the effectiveness of similar project 'and eventually used to determine if projects should be funded in the future.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
This project is a cooperative effort between the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, USDA Forest Service PNW Research Station, Oregon State University. Past cooperators included Bonneville Power Administation and Humboldt State University, USDA Forest Service PNW Regional Office, and Washington State University.

This project proposal provides the opportunity for Bonneville Power

Administration to work cooperatively with other federal agencies in restoring salmonid runs in the Columbia River Basin and to deteremine effective and cost efficient ways to meet the utilization goals in tributary ecosystems.

Risks
The only potential risk of this project is the handling of salmonids during sampling. Tremendous care is taken in using smapling procedures that reduce stress on the sampled fish from using MS-222 as the anesthetic to sampling during early morning hours in the summer when water temperatures are low to avoid additional stress.

Monitoring activity
This is a monitoring project. Refer to other elements of this proposal for further clarification.

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: 60,000
1998: 60,000
1999: 65,000
2000: 65,000
2001: 65,000

* 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   $60,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $54,000