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
Eastern WA Model Watershed Coordinators

BPA project number   9202602

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Washington State Conservation Commission

Sponsor type   WA-Model Watershed

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameBob Bottman
 Mailing addressWashington State Conservation Commission
P.O. Box 47721
Olympia, WA 98504-7721
 Phone360/407-6204

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

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   7.7B.1

Short description
Resource coordinator positions for Asotin Creek, Pataha Creek, and Tucannon River Model Watersheds

Project start year   1992    End year   2005

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1999

Project development phase   Planning and Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Related Recovery Plan Action 1.1.b.3

Project history
Asotin Creek was chosen as Washington State’s Model Watershed candidate in 1992. Angela Fields, local conservation district resource technician, now devotes 80% of her time to the Asotin Creek Model Watershed. Duane Bartels is the coordinator for the Pataha Creek Model Watershed, working for the Pomeroy Conservation District; and Art Sunderland is the coordinator for the Tucannon River Model Watershed, working for the Columbia Conservation District. The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in each of the district offices, as well as in the Spokane state office, is providing leadership and technical support to implement projects in each of the watershed plans. Each model watershed has formed a landowner steering committee which represents the views and needs of the local community. Also, technical advisory committees were developed which included representatives from the affected private, state, and federal agencies and organizations. The technical advisory committees worked closely with the landowners’ committees, taking program direction from them.
With the completion of the Asotin Creek Watershed plan in April 1995, implementation began with approximately 120 trees and shrubs being planted at one upland and one riparian site during the third quarter of FY 1994. As a demonstration of available technology, and with the welcome cooperation of the Department of Ecology, an off-channel, frost-free livestock watering device was installed on private agricultural land. In the Fall of 1995, three other livestock wintering areas were dramatically improved. Specifically, three troughs were installed, 3,000 feet of stream access was fenced off to cattle, and a gutter system was installed on a 150 foot hay shed. The Asotin Creek coordinator continues to publish a quarterly newsletter focused on watershed issues, and distributed it to cooperators within the watershed, the state Legislature, and adjacent communities.
Early implementation in the Pataha Creek watershed included starting two riparian management demonstration sites. Also, in the Pataha Creek watershed, a fish passage structure (located at 20th Street) has been designed and is presently awaiting approval.
In the Tucannon River, early implementation has included streambank stabilization and protection at seven sites owned by private landowners. Streambank protection has also been started on state-owned land.
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In each project area, increased information-education activities played an important part in exposing more people in the local community to the unique problems and issues of their watersheds. These outreach efforts also demonstrate the widely differing viewpoints and needs of the individuals and groups brought together by the CRM process.
Finally, riparian plantings totaling 10 miles have been completed in the three watersheds.

Biological results achieved
Biological results will not be achieved until the water quality and fish habitat measures are installed in the three watersheds.

Annual reports and technical papers
The Asotin Creek Model Watershed plan was completed and published in April 1995. Watershed plans for the Pataha Creek and Tucannon River watersheds have been drafted and are 75% completed, with publication scheduled for the Fall of 1996. Quarterly progress reports will be sent to BPA and the Conservation Commission. GIS databases and accompanying maps for each watershed; technical project designs for each project; biological assessments for each project; and complete resource inventory reports for all three watersheds will be submitted.
Final watershed plan for Asotin Creek.
Resource inventory reports completed for all three watersheds.
GIS data bases and accompanying maps for each watershed.
Technical project designs for each project.
Biological Assessments for each project.

Management implications
During FY 1997, implementation of demonstration projects within the Tucannon River and Pataha Creek watersheds will begin. Also during FY 1997, full-scale implementation of the Asotin Creek plan will start. The use of Coordinated Resource Management Planning (CRMP) principles in establishing and operating the landowner and technical advisory committees has produced plans that are scientifically sound and locally accepted. The decision early on to use conservation district-based watershed coordinators has also proven to be a good one, giving the projects a high degree of credibility and acceptance with local landowners and users. The use of district staff has also given Washington State, through the Conservation Commission grants program, a means of insuring an appropriate degree of uniformity and efficiency in program and budget administration. Model watershed staff continue to use existing district communication channels and meeting schedules (e.g. Washington Association of Conservation Districts [WACD] area and annual meetings) to promote and publicize their work, as well as coordinate with each other. Finally, communication and working relationships among the coordinators, cooperating agencies, and landowners has been excellent. This derives from the conservation districts’ historical role as centers for targeting NRCS technical assistance to locally identified natural resource issues.

Specific measureable objectives
Measurable objectives include a decrease in water temperatures; a reduction in sediment delivery to the waterways; lower fecal coliform levels; and an increase in available spawning area and fish habitat.

Testable hypothesis
The primary goal of the three model watershed projects is to increase fisheries and restore the Snake River spring chinook, Snake River fall chinook, summer steelhead, and bull trout. We have identified many practices, including in-stream, riparian, and upland, which must be installed to meet this goal. Success will be based on the number of practices installed.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Assuming we do not have any catastrophic events, such as floods, major runoff from unusual precipitation, or droughts, we anticipate successful implementation of all projects. We have no control over mother nature, but this would be the only constraint.

Methods
The three model watersheds will experiment with many different types of biological engineering designs. These include: root wads, large woody debris placement, point barbs, off-site stock watering devices, planting trees for bank stabilization, and off-channel rearing ponds. Monitoring and evaluation will produce data which will be compared to data collected in recent surveys. Presently, reintroduction of fish into streams in any of these watersheds is prohibited by law.

Brief schedule of activities
In the Asotin Creek watershed, the following limiting factors, and solutions to address them, include: 1) Lack of quality resting and rearing pools -- 158 in-stream structures; 2) High water temperatures -- ˝ mile meander reconstruction, 36,000 feet of vegetative plantings, and 23,760 feet of riparian fencing; 3) Excessive sediment -- 26,400 feet of fencing, 4 wells, 26,400 feet of trails, 16,000 acres of weed control, 6 spring developments, 6 ponds, 150,000 feet of terrace, 50 sediment basins, 5 acres of filter strips, 5 acres of grassed waterway, and 5 acres of forestland plantings; and 4) Elevated fecal coliform levels -- 21,000 feet of fencing, 5 acres of filter strips, 4 spring developments, and 2 wells.
In the Pataha Creek watershed, projects will be put in place for fish passage, equipment creek crossings, streambank stabilization, channel restructuring, riparian management, sediment basins, and off-channel stock watering devices.
In the Tucannon River watershed, practices will be put in place to reduce sedimentation, increase resting and rearing pools, decrease stream temperature, improve fish habitat, and decrease coliform levels.
As watershed plans for the Pataha Creek and Tucannon River watersheds are put in final draft form, the locations and numbers of the practices outlined above will be finalized.

Biological need
These three watersheds have been significantly and adversely impacted by human activities and catastrophic natural events, such as floods and droughts. Only remnant salmon and trout populations use
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these waters, and are much smaller than earlier years. Increasing salmonid productivity will require protection and restoration of fish habitat and the adjacent riparian corridor. The barriers include high stream temperatures, lack of quality resting and rearing pools, excessive sediment deposition in spawning gravels, and high fecal coliform levels. To most effectively restore fish habitat, the projects addressing these barriers must be coordinated.
The responsibility of the model watershed coordinators is to see to it that the proper permits are obtained; construction designs are completed on time and meet established specifications; the public is informed and educated about the importance and health of their watersheds; and that relationships among landowners, agencies, and conservation district personnel remain in positive working order.

Critical uncertainties
Sources of funding are uncertain at this time. If project implementation is started and then funding stops, there will be problems.
Obtaining permits in a timely fashion is also a concern. Improvements should be made in the permitting process to ensure that projects are designed to specification, implemented according to design, and completed within the established timeframe.
Landowner buy-in is also critical to the success of these projects. Landowners must be willing to cooperate and agree to the maintenance standards while still feeling that there is a benefit from the proposed practice.
These are the critical factors that will take continued determination and commitment in order to work through. How well we do this will determine the success of the model watersheds in Washington State.

Summary of expected outcome
In each of the model watersheds, the expected outcome is an integrated plan which will meet landowner objectives and agency acceptance, and which will enhance and protect the natural resource base with concern for long-term sustainability through coordinated resource planning.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Each conservation district began their planning by involving the community. They each formed a landowner-based committee, known as the Landowner Steering Committee, to represent the views and needs of the community. Each district also established a Technical Advisory Committee to assist the landowners’ committee in meeting their goals. The Technical Advisory Committees consist of representatives from the following agencies: USDA NRCS; USFS; WDFW; WDOE; WDNR; WSU-CES; BPA; and the Clearwater Power Company.
The Commission took advantage of an opportunity for cooperation by earmarking $550,000 of state grant funds for implementing needed in-stream, riparian, and upland practices within the model watersheds. These funds are committed to cost-sharing on both private and state-owned land during FY 1996-97.

Risks
Lack of funding is the only known risk at this time. There may be risks if project implementation is begun and then funding ceases in the middle of construction.

Monitoring activity
Final plans for the Tucannon River and Pataha Creek watersheds will be completed during FY 1997, giving all three model watersheds an established set of benchmarks against which to measure success. The watershed coordinators will carry out field reviews of plan implementation, working with landowners, state and federal agencies, and contractors.
Also during FY 1997, periodic water quality sampling will be conducted in each of the model watersheds for stream temperature (monitored by Hobo meters), fecal coliform, and sediment. Fisheries habitat will be monitored by evaluating the number, depth, location of pools or structures installed. The results of monitoring will be evaluated and reported quarterly. Success of the projects will be based on increased availability of fisheries habitat and improved water quality.

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: 100,165
1993: 38,216
1994: 19,860
1995: 122,839
1996: 113,992
Obligation: 113,992
Authorized: 114,854
Planned: 114,854
1997: 162,000
1998: 168,000
1999: 173,000
2000: 179,000
2001: 186,000

* 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   $162,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $153,000