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
Hood River Bull Trout Restoration

BPA project number   5520300

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
USFS

Sponsor type   OR-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameJoseph K. Moreau
 Mailing address2955 NW Division Street
Gresham, OR 97030
 Phone503/666-0605

BPA technical contact   ,

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   

Short description
Two projects are proposed to assist in restoring the lone remaining bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) population in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Bull trout currently have a status as “warranted but precluded from listing (under the Endangered Species Act).” Project 1 would access 1 mile of habitat by replacing a culvert with a bridge. Project 2 would improve 1.8 miles of spawning and rearing habitat with large wood debris.

Project start year   1997    End year   1999

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1998

Project development phase   Planning/Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Many other projects have been done or are in planning that have/will benefit this population. All have been funded by the Forest Service, Governor’s Watershed Enhancement Board, or Middle Fork Irrigation District.

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications

Specific measureable objectives
For the fish passage project to access one mile of spawning and rearing habitat in Pinnacle Creek, it would be: Are bull trout utilizing the upper reaches of Pinnacle Creek? For the LWD project in 1.8 miles of Clear Branch Creek it would be: Increase in habitat complexity measured by habitat surveys, and increased bull trout densities.

These projects are located on Clear Branch Creek and it’s tributary, Pinnacle Creek, within the Middle Fork Hood River system in northern Oregon. Both are in Hood River County, in T.1S., R.9E., Sections 27-29 at Longitude 121 40 00 and Latitude 45 27 30, approximately. These projects are being done for conservation of a bull trout population at risk of extinction. The Middle Fork Hood River system is the only remaining watershed within the Mt. Hood National Forest with bull trout. They are thought to have become extinct in the Clackamas River in the early 1970s. Extensive surveys have been done in the Sandy, Hood River, and Clackamas drainages and have not found additional populations other than in Middle Fork Hood River.

Testable hypothesis
Project 1: Is fish passage improved by replacing a culvert with a bridge on Pinnacle Creek? Project 2: Is habitat quality improved by LWD placement and will the bull trout population increase as a result?

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Project 1: The culverts under the road are currently barriers at critical flows. A bridge would ensure complete fish passage at all flows. Project 2: Habitat complexity in the 1.8 mile reach of Clear Branch Creek above the reservoir was reduced when the stream was logged off 20 years ago. Historic 1940s era photos before the dam went in show complex, multi-channel habitat within a broad flood plain, with old growth. Instream LWD projects have taken place but habitat is still relatively simple. Additional LWD would create complex habitats that bull trout prefer. Current water temperatures are in the range of bull trout preference (cold). Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and Forest Service biologists estimate that the bull trout population above Clear Branch dam is fewer than 200 individuals (includes juveniles). Current science regarding population genetics suggests that salmonid populations with 50 or fewer reproductively mature adults are at a high risk of extinction (Rieman 1993). This population is suspected to be near that level..

Methods
Project 1: Use standard engineering techniques and design to replace a culvert with a bridge. Monitor the stream upstream from the site by night snorkeling to determine bull trout use after the bridge is built. Project 2: Draw plan maps, use photo points, do habitat-typing (Hankin-Reeves method), and attempt to estimate bull trout densities by snorkel counts (at night) prior to and after implementing the LWD project. Design the LWD project and implement it based upon an understanding of fluvial geomorphology. Compare maps, photos, habitat-typing results and bull trout densities to pre-project information.

Brief schedule of activities
1997- Project 1. Develop contract package, advertise and award contract, implement contract. Surveying was already completed in FY95. This would involve removing the culvert and associated fill, relocating the road for about 1,000 ft, placing a 50 ft bridge, and shaping and dressing road slopes, bridge approach, streambanks, and old road alignment. Monitor in Fall of 1997 to determine bull trout use upstream from the site in Pinnacle Creek. Project 2: Map, habitat-type, create photo-points, snorkel to determine fish densities, and design the LWD project. Identify LWD source, award contract to transport LWD to the site. Award contract for Spyder backhoe to place LWD in the stream. 1998- Project 1. Continue snorkel monitoring to determine bull trout use in the 1 mile made accessible in Pinnacle Creek. Project 2- Continue monitoring items. 1999 - Project 1 and Project 2: Continue monitoring items as for 1998. Prepare final report for both projects. For all years, prepare annual reports.

Note that continued monitoring and maintenance beyond 1999 will be done with USFS or other funding.

Biological need
Bull trout in Clear Branch Creek above Clear Branch dam are limited to habitat in the reservoir, about two miles of Clear Branch Creek upstream from the reservoir, and have limited access to 1 mile of habitat in Pinnacle Creek, a tributary to Clear Branch Creek which joins it just upstream from the reservoir. The access to Pinnacle Creek is limited by a culvert that is a barrier at some flow levels and reservoir levels. This is critical at low reservoir levels which coincides with the spawning migration period (summer and fall) for bull trout. ODFW and USFS biologists estimate the population of bull trout above the dam to be less than 200 total individuals, which places this population at high risk of extinction, to both genetic inbreeding and stochastic events. The dam was not designed for upstream fish passage. This is being addressed by a fish trap which is to be constructed at the base of the dam in 1997 with USFS and Irrigation District funds. Trapped fish would be hauled over the dam. A few adult bull trout are known to be in Clear Branch Creek and Middle Fork Hood River below the dam, but numbers are very low and they may be migratory (some pass at the Powerdale dam near the town of Hood River each year). Note that the Irrigation District , Forest Service, and ODFW have and are continuing to implement projects to benefit bull trout in these locations. This has included road obliteration/closures, angling regulation changes, erosion control, 1997 planned construction of the trap and haul facility, intake screening, past LWD placements, angler education signing and brochures, etc.

Critical uncertainties
I’m not certain what is meant here. Assumptions for success of the projects are identified earlier in this form.

Summary of expected outcome
We anticipate that there will be full utilization of 1 mile of habitat in Pinnacle Creek, which was previously blocked from fish passage at critical flows during the spawning season. The sexually mature bull trout are typically found in the reservoir and are often blocked from passing through the culvert by low reservoir levels. We also anticipate increased productivity from improved habitat conditions in Clear Branch Creek from placement of LWD. Both projects are anticipated to increase the bull trout population in Clear Branch Creek and Pinnacle Creek above the dam. Signing will be designed and placed to inform and educate the public about the projects. We anticipate that there will be benefits to amphibians, resident rainbow trout, and wildlife which prey on fish and amphibians.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Each of the two projects will require NEPA analysis, which would be completed well before project implementation in 1997. The Mt. Hood National Forest is within the range of the spotted owl and consequently is managed by the Northwest Forest Plan (which amended the existing Land and Resource Management Plan). The NWFP requires watershed analysis prior to project implementation, and also defines a watershed restoration program. The Middle Fork Hood River watershed analysis is scheduled to be completed in FY96. Watershed restoration funding may partially match BPA funding, and there are also partnership opportunities with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Middle Fork Irrigation District. Warm Springs tribal conservationist John Kelley has also expressed concern and interest regarding conservation of bull trout on the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Risks
It is unlikely that there would be any weather-related damage to bull trout habitat during implementation of the project. However, the possibility exists for erosion of newly disturbed soil during the culvert replacement/bridge construction project. Conservative erosion control measures for construction would be implemented.

Monitoring activity
They are described above in other sections. Again, night snorkel counts to determine bull trout use and anticipated increases in population density, photo-points, habitat-typing, and plan maps.

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: 7,648
1998: 10,000

* 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   $7,648