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
Methow Valley Irrigation District Conversion

BPA project number   9603401

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Yakama Indian Nation

Sponsor type   WA-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameLynn Hatcher
 Mailing addressP.O. Box 151
Toppenish, WA 98948
 Phone509/865-6262

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   3.1D.1

Short description
Convert the Methow Valley Irrigation from an inefficient open canal system to a pressurized, efficient system. Ninety percent of the water saved will be dedicated, senior priority date intact, to instream flows in the Methow and Twisp Rivers.

Project start year   1996    End year   1997

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1996

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications

Specific measureable objectives
The project objective is to improve instream flows in the Methow and Twisp Rivers. The Methow Valley Irrigation District presently diverts approximately seventy cubic feet per second from the Methow and Twisp Rivers. After the project is implemented, they will divert approximately twelve cubic feet per second. The change in diversion will be easily measured in both stream channels.

Testable hypothesis
Our hypothesis is that instream flow improvements associated with this project will dramatically improve habitat quality and quantity for rearing spring chinook salmon and steelhead. A recently completed IFIM study revealed that the subject flow improvements will increase spring chinook fall rearing habitat by approximately 250 % on the Twisp River and 50% on the Methow River. The project would result in similar benefits for steelhead.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
The extent to which the project will benefit steelhead and spring chinook depends on the validity of the assumption that late summer and fall flow problems limit smolt production in the Methow Basin.

Methods
The on-going hatchery evaluation program will be used to determine changes in smolt production rates for natural spawners. That program includes an extensive smolt trapping and snorkeling effort.

Brief schedule of activities
The work is expected to take three or four months to complete. The irrigation district has already approved the plan and is ready to hire a contractor as soon as funds are available.

Biological need
Methow Basin spring chinook and steelhead populations are severely depressed. Steelhead have been petitioned for listing under the ESA. 1995 spring chinook returns will the lowest ever recorded (<75 fish). Instream flows are extremely low in the late summer and fall of most years and are believed to be the major in-basin factor limiting anadromous fish production.

Critical uncertainties
The assumption that low instream flows are limiting anadromous fish production in the Methow has not been validated.

Summary of expected outcome
The project will more than double late summer and fall flows in the Twisp River. Existing flows in the Twisp River approach zero in dry years. It will further improve flows in the Methow River by approximately thirty-five cubic feet per second, and increase of approximately fifteen percent to fall flows.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
The project presents an enormous opportunity for cooperative project implementation. The total estimated project cost is $ 3.7 million, of which the Washington Department of Ecology has committed $ 1.5 million, the Department of Fish and Wildlife has committed $ 0.27 million, and the local RC and D has applied for several private foundation grants. In addition to financial participation, the project is enthusiastically supported by the local water planning group, all of the state agencies, and, obviously, the Yakama Indian Nation. The project will also free up the small amount of water (approximately 1 cubic foot per second) needed by the Town of Twisp to bring additional light industry into this economically depressed area. Currently, the Town is operating at the limits of its water rights and cannot expand further.

Risks

Monitoring activity
As previously mentioned, the projectís efficacy will be evaluated through the existing and on-going hatchery evaluation program.

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: 861,000

* 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   Priest Rapids Dam - Chief Joseph Dam

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $861,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $2,161,000