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
Sandy River Subbasin BPA Powerline Right of Way Rehabilitation

BPA project number   9303100

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
USFS-Mt. Hood

Sponsor type   OR-Federal Agency

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameJeff Uebel
 Mailing addressMt. Hood National Forest
2955 NW Division St
Gresham, OR 97030
 Phone503/622-3191

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

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   

Short description
This proposal is the implementation phase for a rehabilitation plan developed under BPA contract #93-31. The four year project will complete and monitor several watershed restoration projects. Projects focus on improvement of anadromous fish habitat through riparian and upland vegetation management, erosion control and road obliteration/improvements within a BPA powerline right of way.

Project start year   1997    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1999

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Sandy River Watershed and Fish Restoration. A new proposal which contains complementary watershed and fish habitat improvement projects withn the upper Sandy River subbasin on Mt. Hood National Forest.

Project history
1986 - 1992: Clear Fork fish habitat improvement project. Forest Service - $60,000
1986 - present: Annual Forest Service Monitoring. Forest Service - $ 3,000/year
1994-96: Initiate BPA project (Contract #93-31) FS/BPA - $38,999
1995: Completion of draft Integrated Resource Assessment
1996: Completion of NEPA/detailed planning,
shooting pit relocation/rehabilitation.
1995: BPA powerline revegetation project. Chevy/GEO - $15,000
Americorps- $45,000
Forest Service- $ 4,000

Biological results achieved
A. 45 instream structures placed in Clear Fork of the Sandy River (approx. 10% increase in pools/large organic debris).

B. 54 acres tree-planting/revegetation under the powerline (approximately 20 acres of riparian area).

C. 2 years of spawning surveys and aquatic invertebrate sampling.

D. Approximately 10 years water temperature monitoring (baseline); 2 years channel cross-section and detailed habitat monitoring in habitat improvement sites (downstream of the right of way.)

E. Complete riparian/fish habitat survey of all fish bearing streams in the drainage.

Annual reports and technical papers
A. BPA Powerline Right Of Way Integrated Resource Analysis
Zigzag Ranger District, Mt. Hood National Forest (Draft)

B. Mt. Hood National Forest Annual Monitoring Report

Management implications
To date, this continuing project has produced an Integrated Resource Analysis (IRA) strategic planning document which identifies site specific existing and desired future conditions for riparian and upland areas within the BPA powerline right of way, and the management options needed to bring about the desired future conditions within the corridor. The document lists actions that can be implemented by both BPA and the Forest Service. NEPA and detailed planning is currently being completed for the highest priority project in the planning area: closure, rehabilitation and relocation of a shooting pit that is degrading water quality within the drainage. The proposed project would implement this and other recommended actions in the IRA document, including erosion control, road improvement/obliteration and riparian revegatetion/restoration.

Monitoring has documented water temperatures in excess of state standards, and fine sediment levels appear relatively high. Historic timber harvest, combined with vegetation management under the power lines, has reduced stream shading along and increased sediment delivery to tributaries of the Clear Fork. Riparian vegetation has been reestablished and erosion controlled in the areas where timber harvest has occurred. The primary opportunity for improvement of riparian conditions (and stream shading) is within the power line right of way.

Specific measureable objectives
The goal for anadromous fish habitat management in the drainage is to restore and maintain habitat conditions for natural production of coho and spring chinook salmon, winter steelhead and cutthroat trout within the natural range of variability identified by watershed analysis. Implementing the projects outlined in the IRA planning document would assist in meeting this goal. Additionally, the following objectives would be met:

1. Stream temperatures will meet state water quality quidelines.
2. Powerline and road maintenance costs to BPA will decrease.
3. Storm water runoff, erosion, and resultant sedimentation impacting downstream anadromous fish habitat will be reduced (by removing and/or improving road surfaces along the right of way.)
4. Aquatic habitat complexity (number of large pools and amount of large organic debris) will be restored to historic levels.

Testable hypothesis
a. Effective vegetative management and riparian rehabilitation will reduce stream temperatures and increase habitat complexity (numbers of large pools and large woody debris).

b. Removing or improving up to 50% of the road surfaces within the project boundary will produce measurable reductions in fine sediment inputs to streams, and will reduce BPA maintenance costs.

c. Closing, rehabilitating and moving an existing shooting area will reduce BPA powerline maintenance costs.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints

Methods
Location - Mt. Hood National Forest, Clackamas County, Clear Fork of the Sandy River drainage (T2S, R8E, Secs 19, 18, 17, 8, 9, 4, 3). The BPA corridor is 5.3 miles in length and approximately 450 acres. The entire length of the Clear Fork and numerous tributaries are contained within this analysis area.

Brief description of recommended project methods:
*Close and obliterate all unnecessary roads. Remove roads from wetland sites.
*Stabilize or revegetate eroding cut banks and fill slopes
*Install sediment traps in ditchlines.
*Stabilize and revegetate existing parking areas and shooting sites.
*Relocate roads and/or stabilize soils at tower access roads.
*Provide fish passage at culvert passage blockages.
*Regenerate all riparian areas lacking stream shading. Provide 100% stream coverage with both short and long term shading components.
*Plant noble fir, lodgepole pine, western white pine, western red cedar, red alder and mountain hemlock to restore stand diversity in riparian areas and provide future organic input to streams.
*Remove trees that pose a hazard to the powerline.
*Place in-stream structures to improve fish habitat and channel stability in the Clear Fork mainstem, Gowan Creek and other tributaries within the managed right of way.
*Develop and/ or maintain the minimum tower access road systems that will facilitate
vegetation management through special product management.
*Prescribe pre-commercial and commercial thinning to improve stand conditions and meet powerline safety needs.
*Rehabilitate form and function of the powerline clearing by introducing a natural appearing edge (form) in conjunction with hazard tree removal.
*Eliminate noxious weeds and plant a variety of forage producing shrubs and grasses. Import downed logs into sites with low potential for firewood theft. Create standing snags in riparian corridors and in forested stands along the right of way perimeter .
*Identify and map all wetlands and streams.
*Enhance riparian area to provide structural diversity and migration corridors.
*Conduct heritage resource surveys for all ground disturbing activities.
*Protect all known locations of Heritage Resources.

Brief schedule of activities
1997 - Complete detailed design plans, NEPA analysis, and Heritage Resource surveys. Close rehabilitate and relocate the shooting pit. Initiate pre- project monitoring.
1998 - Implement the balance of projects listed above. Continue monitoring.
1999 to 2000 - Complete monitoring and final report.

Biological need
A portion of the Big Eddy/Troutdale transmission line corridor traverses along the entire length of the Clear Fork of the Sandy drainage and crosses numerous tributaries. The Clear Fork supports anadromous and resident salmonids (spring chinook, winter steelhead, cutthroat trout, and Lower Columbia River coho salmon (currently under review by NMFS for listing as threatened or endangered) ). A key reach of habitat for these species is located near the mouth of Clear Fork; it is one of the most important spawning and rearing areas for anadromous fish in the upper Sandy River drainage (designated as a Key Site Riparian area in the Forest Plan). The one mile area has exceptional quantity and quality of spawning gravels, and an unusual density of side channel and alcove habitats.

Monitoring in this area (including spawning surveys, aquatic invertebrate analysis, and habitat inventories) has indicated that fine sediment levels are comparitively high, and appear to be affecting both spawning gravel quality and pool habitat volume. Water temperaures in this area are at the upper threshhold for these species as well, at or exceeding 60 degrees F in most recent years. Input of large organic debris has also declined in portions of tributary and headwater reaches, where powerline installation and maintenance has controlled vegetation.

Safety concerns have prompted regular vegetative control by BPA in the past to maintain a minimum clearance of 20 - 25 feet between vegetation and the transmission lines. This originally involved herbicide applications, and more recently mechanical removal. These activities have resulted in the periodic loss of all streamside vegetation within the right of way. This vegetation provides critical shade and debris input to the numerous tributaries located on the north side of the Clear Fork drainage.

Furthermore, an extensive system of low maintenance roads (approximately 7 miles) is present within the right of way corridor. These roads provide multiple access routes to tower sites for maintenance. They were originally designed to allow easy access for herbicide application. Road location and design are poor: grades are steep (up to 30%), poorly surfaced, with inadequate or poorly maintained drainage structures, and many of the stream crossings are eroding fords. The roads are heavily utilized by the public with off road vehicles. This use contributes to the erosion of much of this road system.

Critical uncertainties
The productive key site riparian area at the mouth of Clear Fork provides critical habitat for adult spawning lower Columbia River coho, winter steelhead, and cutthroat trout. The area provides juvenile rearing habitat for the aforementioned species as well.

Adult spring chinook salmon utilize spawning habitat within the first 3/4 mile of the Clear Fork drainage. Spring chinook juvenile rearing is believed to occur downstream in the mainstem Sandy River.

Summary of expected outcome
Adult and juvenile salmon and trout abundance will increase in response to improved habitat conditions. Generally, these habitat conditions include decreases in stream temperature (due to increased stream shading) and reduced levels of sediment in spawning gravels and rearing pools in approximately five miles of habitat, including the mile of key site riparian area at the mouth of Clear Fork. Additionally, quantities of large woody debris, vegetative structure and plant species diversity in riparian areas will be improved in approximately two miles of headwater and tributary reaches within the power line right of ways.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Project proposal incorporates detailed planning and NEPA analysis for most of the improvement measures in year one of implementation.

Risks

Monitoring activity
Pre and post treatment monitoring:

* Stream temperatures will be taken before and after vegetative management and riparian rehabilitation activities using continuous recording thermographs above and below treatment sites.
* Sediment levels will be quantified using both macroinvertebrate community analysis and sediment collection containers downstream of treatment sites, pre and post treatment.
* Baseline photo-point stations will be established to assess riparian condition and fish habitat conditions.
* Road and powerline maintenance costs will be compared pre and post treatment.
* Large woody debris and large pool surveys will be assessed pre and post, and compared to historic range of natural variability established through watershed analysis..

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: 38,999
1995: 0
New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 60,000
1998: 60,000
1999: 10,000
2000: 5,000
2001: 3,000

* 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   Below Bonneville Dam

Recommendation    Tier 2 - fund when funds available

Recommended funding level   $60,000