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
Buck Hollow Watershed Enhancement (SWCD)

BPA project number   9303000

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Wasco Co SWCD

Sponsor type   OR-State/Local Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameRon Graves
 Mailing addressWasco County SWCD
2325 River Rd., Suite 3
The Dalles, OR 97058
 Phone541/296-6178

BPA technical contact   Andy Thoms, EWP 503/230-5827

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   3.1D.1, 7.6B.5

Short description
Ongoing fisheries habitat and watershed restoration project to improve riparian and instream habitat.

Project start year   1993    End year   2000

Start of operation and/or maintenance   2000

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
This is a coordinated project between Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), project number 9304500 and Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD). ODFW and SWCD joint participation is key to successful implementation of the Buck Hollow Watershed Enhancement Project.

SWCD develops project plans, seeks project funding, supports development of an interdisciplinary Technical Team to provide internal review and technical recommendations on watershed enhancement and riparian restoration efforts. In addition, SWCD participates on the Technical Team and in all planning activities, shares monitoring data with other participants as requested, meets and coordinates with individual landowners in the project area, schedules technical and coordination meetings as necessary, schedules project areas, and provides overall project leadership and coordination.

ODFW participates on the project Technical team and in all planning activities and provides technical leadership in fish habitat project elements, sharing monitoring data with other participants as requested. ODFW also provides training in relevant areas of expertise and coordinates all project activities with SWCD.

Project history
Note: This project is in the 3rd year of funding with BPA, however, the project history predates BPA funding and is outlined as follows:

When project implementation was begun in 1991, anadromous fish populations had reached an all time low. Annual summer steelhead production was about 100 out of an estimated potential of 1600 per year. The 1985-1992 drought was a direct contributor to the declining trend, but not the root cause. In general, overgrazing by the sheep and cattle industry since the late 1800's had set the watershed up for the severe damage sustained in 1964 and other runoff events. Land management practices had, in general, precluded vegetative recovery following in 1978 flood. Habitat restoration proposals submitted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to the Northwest Power Planning Council and Bonneville Power Administration in the early 1980's highlighted their concern about Buck Hollow and neighboring Bakeover Creeks. Following meetings between ODFW, Sherman, and Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), local farmer and ranchers in the watershed recognized the stream was in trouble. In the mid 1980's they sought assistance from the SWCDs. The passage of the 1985 Farm Bill which implemented the Conservation Reserve Program and mandated specific goals on highly erodible farmland required the full attention of the conservation districts and their principle technical support, the Soil Conservation Service. Buck Hollow was placed on the "back burner." By 1990 the Conservation Reserve Program and other provisions of the Food Security Act were implemented and attention returned to the problems of the Buck Hollow Watershed. The Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Commission approved a planning grant to Sherman SWCD for the Buck Hollow project. Sherman SWCD invited the Wasco County SWCD to participate in a joint Watershed Enhancement Project. The Soil Conservation Service assigned an interdisciplinary planning team to assist with identifying and recommending solutions to problems in Buck Hollow. In 1988 the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) published a stream condition assessment covering problems with streams throughout Oregon. The DEQ report cited problems in Buck Hollow as being severe. Individual meetings with the 52 landowners in the watershed was begun. Landowner inputs on the project were obtained including observed natural resource problems and potential solutions, as well as their objectives for improving their land. The Conservation districts requested Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Bureau of Land Management, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, and Division of State Lands participation in the watershed project. By this time a full state of problems in the watershed had been identified along with potential solutions. In 1991 implementation of Phase One (demonstration phase) of the Buck Hollow Watershed Enhancement project was begun under the auspices of the Sherman and Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation Districts with a grant provided by the Oregon Governor's Watershed Enhancement Board (GWEB).

Subsequently, GWEB grants were approved for phase 2, 3, 4, and 5. In 1991 the SWCDs briefed the Northwest Power Planning Council on Buck Hollow and Bakeoven Watersheds. in 1992 ODFW and SWCDs submitted proposals to Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) for Fish Habitat restoration work on Buck Hollow Creek. BPA approved a combined 3 year effort beginning in 1993. SWCDs received some additional funding for Buck Hollow during 1990-1993 from Northwest Steelheaders, Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, and Pacific Gas Transmission Company. In 1994 the NRCS Small Watershed Program (PL-566) was approved to provide accelerated land treatment assistance. The first contracts under the Small Watershed Program were written in 1995. Significant fish stream improvement implementation began in 1995 with BPA funding.

Biological results achieved
The Buck Hollow project is a relatively new habitat restoration project. Implementation on fish habitat restoration began last summer on upper Buck Hollow Creek, between Kelsey Springs and Macken Canyon. While it is yet too early to quantitatively measure any biological results, the dramatic increase in redd counts in 1995 is encouraging. Monitoring activities have also started, but again, it is too early for any biological results to be quantitatively measured.

Annual reports and technical papers
Progress reports and billings due quarterly and monthly respectively. Technical paper presented at International Symposium in Seattle in September 1995.

Management implications
In 1991 a quantitative Stream/Aquatic Habitat Survey for the entire length of Buck Hollow Creek was done by ODFW. The data collected provided baseline information for the habitat conditions currently found in Buck Hollow Creek. In addition, the survey allowed project cooperators (participating government agencies and public organizations) to review current habitat conditions and establish a defined set of habitat conditions needed to improve salmonid populations in the Buck Hollow Watershed. Based on the habitat conditions collected in Buck Hollow Creek the cooperators focused on management techniques that would have the greatest success for improving salmonid populations in Buck Hollow.

The management implications of this particular project are great. Buck Hollow Creek is located primarily on private property. It is also important to note the fact that the project was initiated by the local communities surrounding the watershed. Restoration efforts are therefore tied directly to the support of these local communities. In addition, restoration efforts revolve around the cooperation of a myriad of government agencies. Each government agency is responsible for their particular area of expertise. However each agency must cooperate not only with the individuals within the communities, but also with the objectives and overall missions of the participating agencies. This cooperative effort can be used as an example for future salmonid habitat restoration projects and in fact has been used widely as a good example of a practical, cooperative project. The Buck Hollow project is a prime example of local communities and various agencies cooperating and working together to restore a watershed using a top down approach for the long term improvement of both its uplands and riparian areas and salmonid populations.

Another implication is that the management treatments will begin at the head of Buck Hollow and proceed to the confluence of the Deschutes River. All treatments will be monitored and any problems encountered will be documented and corrected in future treatments. In addition, any problems that may be encountered with logistics before or during the implementation of treatments will be modified and corrected for treatments downstream. This will ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness in use of the available resources for implementation as work progresses downstream.

Specific measureable objectives
Based on available riparian habitat restoration/watershed research, and past/present riparian habitat projects, the Buck Hollow cooperators established nine project goals. It was determined that the first eight goals listed below would lead to the success of the ninth goal; increasing Buck Hollow's annual steelhead return to 1,000 adult fish. Baseline data for the below mentioned physical habitat characteristics has been collected. In addition, the data has been summarized according to landowners on or adjacent to Buck Hollow Creek. Each riparian landowner has been assigned a reach number corresponding to the entry and exit of Buck Hollow Creek from their property. The collection of baseline data, creation of reaches, and summarization of data according to reach number will allow the objectives to be measured effectively and efficiently as well as maintain public involvement in the project.

1) Shade: The goal is to establish 80% shading of the watercourse. Baseline shading is currently 35%.
2) Water Temperature: The goal is to limit the maximum water temperatures to 58F. State water quality standard is 68F. Currently water temperatures reach as high as 80F. some reaches during summer months.
3) Flow: The goal is to increase low flows to a minimum of 5 CFS at the mouth of Buck Hollow. Low flow conditions now average 1 CFS.
4) Pool/Riffle Ratio: The goal is to achieve a pool/riffle ratio of 40/60. The existing pool/riffle ratio is 10/90.
5) Channel Width/Depth Ratio: The goal is to achieve a channel width/depth ratio of less than ten. The existing width/depth is a ratio of 30.
6) Stream bank Stability: The goal is to have 80% of the stream banks stable. The existing stream bank condition is measured at 25% stability.
7) Woody debris: The goal is to have 20 units per 100 meters of stream corridor. The existing woody debris condition is less than 5 units per 100 meters.
8) Substrate: The goal is to limit the percentage of fines in the channel substrate to less than 12 percent. The existing substrate condition is 20% fines in the channel substrate.
9) Steelhead: The goal is to increase annual returning steelhead to 1,000 adult fish. The existing annual return of steelhead adults averages 200.

Testable hypothesis
Null Hypothesis: By developing grazing systems to both the uplands and riparian zones, installing fish habitat improvements, applying cropland conservation systems in the uplands, and implementing upland range conservation practices the projected annual return of steelhead to Buck Hollow Creek will not be effected.

Alternative Hypothesis: By developing grazing systems to both the uplands and riparian zones, installing fish habitat improvements, applying cropland conservation systems in the uplands, and implementing upland range conservation practices, the projected annual return of steelhead to Buck Hollow Creek will increase from approximately from 200 to 1,000.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The underlying assumptions in this project are that by implementing voluntary grazing management plans with cooperating landowners to manage grazing in the uplands and riparian areas, placing fish habitat improvements where appropriate, developing cropland conservation systems, and applying upland range conservation practices, the established project goals will be attained.

Critical constraints:

Landowner cooperation is of critical importance in this project since approximately 95% of the watershed is privately owned. Access to upland and riparian areas is privately controlled. Landowner acceptance and cooperation are necessary on private lands to allow for implementation of all management improvements.

Fill and Removal Permits from the Oregon Division of State Lands must be obtained before any instream habitat work is performed.

Implementation of project work is highly dependent on receiving funding in a timely manner.

Methods
The goal of the Buck Hollow Watershed Enhancement Project is to increase production of summer steelhead within the Buck Hollow Creek Basin by restoring spawning and rearing habitat. To accomplish this goal, work will progress in the following three overlapping stages.

1. Project planning and coordination. 2. Implementation. 3 . Project monitoring.

Proiect planning and coordination

SWCD will continue to work with cooperating agencies, project sponsors, and landowners providing coordination and leadership for the Buck Hollow watershed project pursuant to a memorandum of understanding developed during the planning stage.

Implementation

SWCDs and ODFW will work together to ensure that implementation of habitat protection and enhancement measures will be consistent with the site specific plans that were developed during the planning and coordination activities.

Where possible, naturally occuring rehabilitation of the riparian and instream fish habitat will be encouraged. Where use of natural processes does not appear to be feasible, construction of instream fish habitat structures, bank stability improvements, riparian fencing, and bio-engineering projects will be done as needed. ODFW and SWCDs will conduct the work, or supervise/inspect contractor work as required.

Monitoring

Monitoring activities will begin when construction of in stream fish habitat improvements, bank stabilization improvements and fence work has been completed and will continue until the end of the project. This will be done to ensure continued functioning of all habitat improvement projects, thereby ensuring success of the entire habitat project. All fish habitat improvements will be inspected following spring high flows. Performance of fish habitat or bank stabilization work will be documented. Site specific monitoring activities including the establishment of on-going photo sites and cross section measurements. Monitoring sites will be established in each separate management unit (individual reach) following the completion of project work in that reach to ensure efforts are accomplishing the desired effect.

Monitoring sites have been established from Kelsey Springs to the mouth of Buck Hollow Creek to compliment monitoring sites established by BLM. These monitoring sites will record stream flow, channel cross sections, water temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen. A time series analysis will be done to determine seasonal and yearly variations in selected water quality parameters and improvements over time. SWCDs will assist ODFW as necessary for surveying and evaluating data collected during redd count and spawning ground surveys

Brief schedule of activities
1997:

Instream habitat improvement structures, bank stabilization work and riparian fencing will be done in reaches where landowner agreement has been obtained. Detailed site checks will be made to determine if planned work requires modification due to high spring flows. If modification is necessary both aerial photos and project map will be updated and cooperators informed. All completed work will also be identified on aerial photos and project work map. Construction of instream fish habitat structures, bank stability improvements, riparian fencing, and bio-engineering projects are the main effort for the near term, along with collection and evaluation of data collected at established monitoring sites. During spring, redd count and spawning ground surveys will be conducted.

Biological need
Buck Hollow Creek is only marginally functioning as a watershed. In the past Buck Hollow was recognized for its excellent fishery with runs of summer steelhead throughout the 28 miles of main stem. Heavy grazing by the sheep industry in the late 1800's followed by continuous cattle grazing led to the gradual deterioration of the watershed. In recent years (1964 &1978) intense runoff events have scoured out the stream courses, causing extensive damage to Chinook and steelhead habitat. The annual return of steelhead to Buck Hollow is estimated to be approximately 200.

1: Lack of shade: Shading is extremely important in maintaining viable stream temperatures for salmonids. Shade (vegetation) also is important in providing bank and instream stability, stream complexity, water storage, and resistance to erosion. The existing shade condition is currently 35%, much lower than that required by viable salmonid populations. The lack of shade/vegetation is the primary contributor to the poor quality of the watershed as well as the poor productivity of salmonid populations in Buck Hollow. In addition, lack of cover/shelter promotes steelhead vulnerability to predation.

2: Lethal summer water temperature: High summer temperatures have greatly reduced rearing habitat capability. The lack of riparian vegetation and low summer flows result in water temperatures up to 80 degrees F. or greater. Rearing and holding sites have become scarce and isolated island refuges.

3: Low summer flows: Summer flows in Buck Hollow are below the rearing and holding requirements for salmonids. Typical summer low flows do not exceed 1 CFS. Due to low flows the rearing and holding capacity of Buck Hollow has decreased dramatically. Reduction of riparian habitat has decreased the moisture holding capacity of stream adjacent soils and has diminished summer flows. Buck Hollow's summer flows in many segments has become intermittent.

4: Lack of habitat diversity: Buck Hollow is currently riffle dominated. The existing pool/riffle ratio 10/90 is much lower than the optimum ratio 40/60. The poor pool/riffle ration is largely due to channelization and the lack of large woody debris input from the riparian area. The lack of pools and cover reduce the rearing habitat for steelhead, particularly yearling and older fish.

5: Lack of channel stability: The lack of channel stability has increased sediment loading and channel width while decreasing effective cover and the quantity of pool habitat. Lack of channel stability in Buck Hollow due to overgrazing and high flows has reduced or eliminated the natural flood plains and channel sinuosity resulting in higher stream velocities which accelerate bank erosion and down cutting. The existing width/depth is a ratio of 30. The optimum channel depth/width ratio is less than ten. The poor width /depth ratio found in Buck Hollow decreases fish passage, shading/vegetation, and negatively affects the ability of sediment and bedload to pass through the system.

6: Sediment loading: Land use within the watershed has increased sediment deposition to the stream channel. This increased sediment loading degrades spawning and rearing habitat. The existing substrate condition is 20% fines in the channel substrate. The percentage of fines in the channel substrate should be less than 12%.

Critical uncertainties
One critical uncertainty with this type of project is the fact that it relies heavily on the voluntary cooperation of the private landowners in the Buck Hollow watershed. If an individual landowner chooses not to cooperate in the project then there could be gap in the riparian habitat restoration. If several large adjacent landowners along the stream choose not to cooperate, then the success of the project downstream of those landowners would be difficult. This has not been a problem to date.

Summary of expected outcome
Increase production of annual returning adult steelhead from 200 to 1,000. In addition, the management techniques will restore Buck Hollow Creek to a biologically and hydrologically functioning watershed.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Buck Hollow Creek is located primarily on private property. It is also important to note the fact that the project was initiated by the local communities surrounding the watershed. Restoration efforts are therefore tied directly to the support of these local communities. In addition, restoration efforts revolve around the cooperation of a myriad of government agencies. Each government agency is responsible for their particular area of expertise. However each agency must cooperate not only with the individuals within the communities, but also with the other participating agencies. This cooperative effort can be used as an example for future salmonid habitat restoration projects. The Buck Hollow watershed project is a prime example of local communities and various agencies cooperating and working together to restore a watershed from a top down approach for the long term improvement of its riparian area and salmonid populations.

Risks
The most significant events that could possibly affect the projects timing are weather related. Buck Hollow Creek has experienced two major flood events in the recent past. The first occurring in 1964, the other a localized flashflood event that occurred in July 1978. The most recent flood event to occur in the region was in Feb. 1996. Preliminary assessments showed that upland conservation practices, streambank juniper riprap, and bioengineering instream work completed in 1995 held up well and functioned as designed.

Monitoring activity
Three types of monitoring will be used in the Buck Hollow Watershed Enhancement Project. They include implementation, effectiveness, and baseline monitoring. Implementation monitoring will document proper installation of practices and record reasons for any design variation. Effectiveness monitoring will document how well the practices met the intended objectives. Baseline monitoring is conducted and provides benchmarks for comparison purposes and effectiveness monitoring and to determine long term trends.

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
1993: 63,225
1994: 125,464
1995: 78,781
New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 110,000
1998: 110,000
1999: 110,000
2000: 110,000
2001: 55,000

* 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 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $110,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $105,477