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
Grande Ronde Model Watershed - Admin/Impl./Research

BPA project number   9202601

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
USFS

Sponsor type   OR-Model Watershed

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NamePatty Perry
 Mailing addressGrande Ronde Model Watershed
10901 Island Avenue
La Grande, OR 97850
 Phone541/962-6590

BPA technical contact   Mark Shaw, EWP 503/230-5239

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   7.7B.1

Short description
Project will continue coordinating, planning, and implementing habitat restoration in T&E chinook and steelhead streams and building community-wide participation in watershed restoration among the diverse interests of the Grande Ronde basin; developing innovative ideas in watershed planning; seminars for stakeholders; facilitate interagency cooperation in habitat restoration.

Project start year   1992    End year   Ongoing

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Planning

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
9402700 Grande Ronde Model Watershed Habitat Projects - represents the project implementation portion of the GRMWP. It covers implementation costs only, and does not include the project development/planning, coordination, technical support, or management, these costs are covered under this project.

9403900 Wallowa Basin Project - provides technical support from the Nez Perce Tribe in subbasin plans, project development, and coordination with tribal priorities for restoration activities.

8402500 Joseph Creek, Grande Ronde River, Oregon (ODFW) - involves partnership efforts with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; ODFW representatives serve on the model watershed technical committee and the Board of Directors, they are an integral part of project planning and development; the GRMWP also utilizes ODFW expertise in the Grande Ronde Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment study. Working together toward restoration efforts has enhanced opportunities for both groups.

9403000 RASP in Grande Ronde basin - Grande Ronde Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment study to provide a science-based planning process that incorporates local values and objectives, utilizes a patient-template with chinook as the diagnostic species to analyze watershed condition, to identify, analyze, and prioritize restoration alternatives, and implement selected actions.

Project history
Beginning the Program:
In April 1992, the Commissions from Union and Wallowa Counties determined that a grass-roots, locally based effort working to coordinate existing local, state and federal programs could effectively maintain, enhance, and restore the watershed. Joining this effort, the Northwest Power Planning Council selected the Grande Ronde basin as a model for the state of Oregon, and the Governor's office through the Strategic Water Management Group certified the program. BPA and others have cost-shared to provide funding. This endeavor covers the Blue Mountain region of northeastern Oregon, 5,265 square miles, 280 streams and rivers containing 2,600 miles of fisheries, with landownership being 65% public and 35% private.

Board, Subbasin Groups, Technical Committee:
The Board of Directors represents a diverse group of interests with the common vision of a healthy watershed. Participants include stock-growers, farmers, Native American tribes, environmental groups, elected officials, and public lands, community, forestry, and fish & wildlife representatives. Initial tasks and accomplishments included creating partnerships and developing missions, goals, and objectives.
Each respective county appointed subbasin groups to coordinate with the GRMWP and focus specifically on issues pertinent to that county. A member of each group serves as ad hoc on the Board of Directors to provide a liaison role and aid in communication, transfer requests for project decision and action, and support activities.

A technical committee was formed consisting of biologists, hydrologists, a soil scientist, and other resource specialists to advise and provide recommendations to the Board on planning direction, technical issues, and to review and evaluate project proposals for technical merit and adequacy. Local agency staffs, the tribes, and private individuals with technical expertise are playing a crucial, key role in the model watershed process in serving on this committee. This committee is an effective means for ensuring cooperation and coordination among agencies and the various projects and activities in the basin.

Scientific Input/Writing a Plan:
Available stream survey data were compiled into a Habitat Assessment to provide a sound "starting-point" to develop a plan and focus restoration activities. The Operations-Action Plan was prepared, serving as a basin-wide framework to identify priority watersheds for detailed planning and restoration projects. It includes restoration criteria to aid in the process of prioritizing project actions. Staff is continuing to develop watershed plans and projects, working with landowner groups and others as appropriate.

The GRMWP initiated the Grande Ronde Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment (GREDT) study. This was undertaken to provide technical information to the Board and technical committee. The study was motivated by a need for a science-based methodology that promotes effectiveness and accountability. The analysis focuses on spring chinook salmon, which serves as a diagnostic species, in the assessment of the condition of the watershed for sustainability of its resources and related societal values.
An effectiveness monitoring strategy has been developed and will be incorporated into watershed action plans. On-going monitoring efforts will be identified and coordinated, and used to establish gaps that need to be addressed. Each project also contains a monitoring component. Several projects include monitoring by local high school students.

Working with Landowners/Project Implementation:
The GRMWP serves as an educational forum for landowner groups through coordination with the Soil & Water Conservation Districts and the Oregon Cattlemen's Association. Additionally, the model watershed has established the role as facilitator to improve dialogue among local, state, tribes, and federal natural resource agencies by hosting monthly round table discussion and coordination sessions. This has been especially successful in encouraging coordination on issues beyond normal jurisdictional boundaries, and creating cooperative incentive-based ways to encourage private landowners to take part in restoration efforts.
The model watershed has assisted in development and funding of 111 restoration projects. They are in various stages of implementation, with 49 completed, 45 on-going, and the remainder to be started in the 1996 field season. Cost-share funding for these projects is available through private landowners, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Oregon Watershed Health Program, Bureau of Reclamation, and other local, state, and federal agency programs, as well as private groups and organizations. The scope of these projects address factors such as fish passage structures/irrigation diversion improvements, riparian and rangeland management/off-stream water development, water quality (sediment & erosion reduction), water quantity, and fish habitat.
Multiple agencies share partnerships with the GRMWP, which are critical to its success. Although there is no baseline funding from any source other than BPA, a considerable amount of services, research grants, and project funding is provided to enable the implementation of goals of the Program. The Bureau of Reclamation has contributed $230,000 in staff support, technical assistance, research grants, and consultation since project inception. Oregon Watershed Health Program has provided $35,000 in staff support and $3 million for project implementation. The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has provided technical assistance, and to the extent feasible, aligned their planning operations, water analysis, and watershed restoration efforts with those of the GRMWP. The Natural Resources Conservation Service, Union and Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and state agencies (ODF, ODFW, DEQ), contribute staff planning support and project management. Oregon Water Resources Department and Oregon Department Of Agriculture provided computer systems.

Innovative Directions:
GRMWP is integrating watershed planning into the community and the community into watershed planning. Coordination meetings and discussions are held monthly to coordinate and aid in innovative ways to plan, fund, and implement project actions.

Biological results achieved
·Chinook salmon access to premium spawning grounds in highest productivity stream (Catherine Creek) improved through replacement and reconstruction of three major diversion structures
·Improved water quality (and salmonid habitat, from invertebrate populations to alvein survival rate) in Upper Grande Ronde River through protection of banks and road closures/improvements
·Emplaced woody debris and through educational efforts, insured that other logs and woody debris were not removed from streams, increasing channel complexity
·Chinook spawning ground improvements through livestock management
·Smolt survival & migration improvements through irrigation diversion modifications and improvements
·Increased fry & smolt survival through increased water flows and enhanced temperatures due to irrigation diversion reductions

These results will be quantified as monitoring is implemented and funding is available. Currently, 49 projects have been completed; since these are relatively new actions (1994/1995 field seasons), some results may not yet be measurable.

Annual reports and technical papers
·Quarterly reports to Bonneville Power Administration for entire contract, plus year-end summaries
·Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program Charter
·Habitat Assessment of Stream and Riparian Conditions in the Grande Ronde basin through 1993
·Grande Ronde Operations-Action Plan (basin-wide); Bear Creek Watershed Action Plan; Indian Creek Watershed Action Plan; draft watershed action plans for Lostine River and Big and Little Sheep Creeks
·Grande Ronde Ecosystem Diagnosis and Treatment study

Management implications
The program was developed as a "model" of citizen-based natural resource planning for local government and the Northwest Power Planning Council. Lessons learned in this effort can be applied to other watersheds and include:

·A forum for discussion of divisive watershed issues that allows resolution of problems, a place for various constituencies to listen to and understand each others concerns and viewpoints
·Forum to coordinate state, federal conservation and resource monitoring and management efforts
·Bring citizens and agency representation together on equal footing for planning that applies to public and private lands
·Leadership role in formulating new concepts in basin planning and management (citizen-based)
·Forum to bring together agricultural and small city concerns for resource management/enhancement
·Apply science to watershed management
·Forum to aid community in better understanding its water resources and natural resources

Specific measureable objectives
Administration and development of watershed plans and projects to restore watershed function and improve salmonid production while maintaining a vigorous natural resource based economy.

Testable hypothesis
A diverse citizen-based group can motivate fellow citizens and move forward with watershed restoration programs that measurably improve water quality, fish habitat, and local economy

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
·Board of Directors, representing a diverse group of interests, share a common vision of a healthy watershed and are committed to that vision
·Citizens from diverse groups will build trust over time
·Implementing recommended measures (tree planting along riparian areas) will have promised positive effects upon fish habitat, water quality, and watershed health
·Citizens will seek, find, and try innovate solutions to watershed problems, and some of these will succeed
·Ecosystem/watershed health is linked to the strength of natural resource-based economy
·External factors, from dams or oceanic conditions to national politics, will not adversely effect efforts and progress in the basin.

Methods
By design, the GRMWP is based in local county governments (Union & Wallowa Counties). This allows coordination on issues beyond normal jurisdictional boundaries, and allows us to fulfill the role of facilitator to improve dialogue between local, state, tribes and federal natural resource management agencies. Additionally, through coordination with local landowner groups, cooperative and incentive-based opportunities are made available to private landowners and encourages them to take part in restoration efforts.

The Program is staffed by an Executive Director, Planner, and clerical support. The Board of Directors and Technical Committee, and subbasin groups meet monthly; working sub-committees meet more frequently.

Brief schedule of activities
Activity 1: To maintain ongoing program administration and service to Board of Directors.
·Schedule, conduct, and report on Board meetings; address Board member requests and concerns; supervise program administration and correspondence
·Schedule, conduct, and report on Technical Committee meetings and operations; link technical committee activities and recommendations to Board activities
·Coordinate program activities with other natural resource management agencies concerned with the Grande Ronde basin (i.e., facilitate monthly round-table planning discussions)

Activity 2: Conduct assessments and develop watershed action plans in critical salmonid watersheds, identify gaps in information, develop plans to address the gaps in information, and work with landowners to restore habitat areas within the basin. Develop projects for implementation.

· Work with technical committee to identify and prioritize watersheds in the Grande Ronde basin; conduct assessments concurrently; coordinate with other entities in the basin to achieve joint planning activities; develop monitoring plans for watersheds; and arrange for future evaluation of projects
· Progress toward completion of watershed action plans for four watersheds within the Grande Ronde basin
· Coordinate planning with other natural resource agencies
· Preparation of project proposals for funding
· Implement monitoring strategy through partnerships with Union & Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Note - Implementation of restoration activities is covered under project # 9402700

Activity 3: To provide and maintain ongoing public information/involvement activities in support of the GRMWP, and support educational activities to enhance watershed restoration actions within the basin.
· Conduct periodic public information meetings and tours on program planning/project activities and Board actions as appropriate; address the concerns indicated by stakeholders and the larger public; and provide informational materials as appropriate and needed; represent the GRMWP and its activities at public events
· Organize and coordinate educational seminars and activities for stakeholders, including technical information on watershed restoration and management actions, forage and livestock management seminars, water and riparian management activities, and monitoring and evaluation actions
· Coordinate with Soil and Water Conservation Districts to facilitate a citizen-based monitoring workshop
· Provide logistics for Grande Ronde Ecosystem Diagnosis & Treatment study group to complete study in Wallowa subbasin
· Publish program newsletters

Activity 4: To aid coordination and facilitate interagency cooperation in habitat restoration actions on public and private lands in the Grande Ronde basin, serving as a clearing house for information dissemination about restoration/research actions being conducted by agencies within the basin.

· Establish and maintain regular contact with natural resource agencies concerned with the basin, exchange information, coordinate planning and project actions, foster cooperative agreements for project planning and restoration actions and funding. Coordination will be conducted on the local, regional, state, and federal levels
· Accumulate and maintain data base inventory of past, current, and proposed habitat restoration actions in the basin across natural resource management agencies, disseminate base information in inventory and newsletter form on a quarterly basis
· GIS mapping of project information and utilization in watershed planning

Tasks should not change significantly in future years.

Biological need
Unless this project succeeds, chinook salmon could likely become extinct in this watershed. There is a critical biological need, in fact a necessity for this project. Grande Ronde wild spring chinook salmon are a unique gene pool. These fish must be saved to protect those genetics.

Improve basin water resources by improving the basin watersheds.

Critical uncertainties
Funding to maintain program staffing and allow planning and coordination efforts to continue. Without local involvement, support, and cooperation, there may be no fish runs to discuss.

Summary of expected outcome
Successful coordination of habitat restoration efforts in the Grande Ronde basin; strong local support of restoration projects; citizens working together; working subbasin groups supported by the community and landowners; watershed action plans developed for every critical (focus) watershed; in the long-term, activities sustained by local community.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Wallowa and Union Counties are partners with the Northwest Power Planning Council in developing a "model" for watershed restoration at the grass-roots/local level. County governments, Board members, and technical resource specialists have contributed countless hours to this effort; the Bureau of Reclamation, Oregon Watershed Health Program, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nez Perce Tribe, and others have cost-shared with support, the underlying factor remains in BPA providing funding to continue program efforts.

Risks
The risk is in not implementing the Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program as a project.

Monitoring activity
The Board of Directors annually evaluate program progress in attaining the goals and direction set for the prior year and determine work priorities for the coming year. This allows the opportunity to adapt to local needs, concerns, and achievements.

Monitoring for improvements to water quality, riparian vegetation, and other watershed parameters are on-going with each project. An effectiveness monitoring strategy has been developed for watershed action plans to determine cumulative project effects. This is to be implemented in partnership with the Union and Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

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
1992: 31,222
1993: 155,309
1994: 223,492
1995: 192,855
1996: 280,000
Obligation: 280,000
Authorized: 280,000
Planned: 312,226
1997: 305,000
1998: 295,000
1999: 295,000
2000: 295,000
2001: 295,000

* 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   $305,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $305,000