BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal
Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget
see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations
Title of project
Satus Watershed Restoration
BPA project number 9603501
Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Yakama Indian Nation
Sponsor type WA-Tribe
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
|Mailing address||P.O. Box 151
Toppenish, WA 98948
BPA technical contact ,
Biological opinion ID
NWPPC Program number 3.1D.1
Project start year 1997 End year
Start of operation and/or maintenance 1998
Project development phase Implementation
8812009: The proposed project enhances the potential benefits of steelhead supplementation under the Yakima Fisheries Project
Biological results achieved
Annual reports and technical papers
Specific measureable objectives
The Yakama Indian Nation proposes to improve fish habitat in the watershed by ameliorating the major land-use impacts, including livestock grazing and the construction, maintenance and use of roads.
Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
A. Exclude livestock from 24 miles of the Satus Creek corridor. A large portion of this corridor is already fenced off from surrounding open range units. A 12-mile section of the corridor is now leased to the Yakama Nation’s fish and wildlife programs through the year 2004, but some of the corridor’s boundary fences need repair. Other fencing has been replaced as part of a highway construction project (State Route 97 parallels Satus Creek for 20 miles). We plan to repair older fences and extend the corridor nine miles upstream with a combination of new fence and existing right-of-way fence. Water supplies will be provided at intervals along the fences for livestock and wildlife in adjacent range units. Completing this task will result in protection of Satus Creek, its riparian area and floodplain from livestock impacts over half its length, including the most heavily-damaged sections of the stream.
B. Remove livestock from specific range units in the Satus Creek watershed. The 612-square-mile Satus Creek watershed contains 18 fenced range units of varying sizes, and grazing permits are issued annually on most of them. Livestock can be removed from certain units critical to watershed health if allottee/landowners are compensated for lost income. We intend to temporarily prohibit grazing on Range Units 7 (east slopes of Satus Creek canyon), 8A (Satus Creek and adjoining uplands downstream from current fenced corridor), 9 (lower Dry Creek and the plateau between Dry and Logy Creeks and 16 (the other side of Logy Creek from Unit 9, plus the major tributaries of Logy Creek). This will result in protection of most of the Logy Creek watershed, large ephemeral drainages on the east side of Satus Creek, and an additional four-mile section of Satus Creek from overgrazing. Under Tasks A and B we will protect nearly 40% of the Satus Creek watershed.
C. Restore grass and woody vegetation in the Satus Creek corridor. Rest alone will not bring back native vegetation to the Satus Creek corridor. We plan to seed the good floodplain soils with wild rye, and plant local woody vegetation in rocky soils. We also need to control a 400-acre infestation of Scotch thistle. A tribal archaeologist will provide an overview of prehistoric land use, and help plan activities that do not compromise archaeological/historic values. The benefit from this task will be reestablishment of native vegetation in the Satus Creek floodplain where it has been eliminated by cropping, overgrazing and noxious weed invasion. The native vegetation assemblage is best suited to shade and protect Satus Creek, and to provide habitat for steelhead and other salmonid species.
D. Begin a program of constant patrol and maintenance of range fences in the Satus Creek watershed, coupled with trespass penalties. We plan to patrol and maintain fences on all rangelands and stream corridors we manage under this project. We will secure authority from the Agency Superintendent to fine owners of trespass livestock. The result of this task will be secure boundaries for recovering areas, preventing new damage caused by livestock trespass. This task will continue beyond fiscal year 1996.
E. Improve four substandard roads in the Satus Creek watershed to reduce sediment inputs, reduce floodplain constriction and improve fish passage. We have selected four major roads (Lakebeds, Shinando, Wilson Charley and Tomiith), affecting Satus Creek and its tributaries for rehabilitation. Under this task we will surface 14.25 miles with crushed rock, relocate 1.85 miles away from stream courses at five locations, install ditch relief culverts at 25 locations, excavate 15,000 cubic yards of material to stabilize a road cut above Satus Creek, remove 1800 lineal feet of Satus Creek floodplain dikes and abandoned road fills at seven locations, reinforce 700 lineal feet of road embankments near dikes to be removed, and revegetate all construction and excavation areas. This task will eliminate major sediment inputs from roads to sections of Satus Creek and its tributaries where road runoff and floodplain constriction are currently the biggest problems. It will result in better-quality steelhead spawning and rearing habitat.
F. Surface other, scattered road crossings in the Satus Creek watershed with gravel. The only economical way to "spot-rock" short sections of road is to have a stockpile set aside for the purpose. We plan to crush an additional 20,000 cubic yards of rock and use it to surface stream crossings and short problem sections scattered throughout the Satus Creek watershed, including the lowermost crossing of Logy Creek, the Dry Creek "elbow" crossing, the Lizzy Canyon Road near Satus Creek, and roads crossing Kusshi and Yatama Creeks. With this stockpile we will have a source of rock to surface short sections of other roads which now deliver sediment to Satus Creek and its tributaries, and which cannot be economically repaired without a stockpile.
G. Characterize and quantify erosion processes. Through the use of aerial photo interpretation with ground-truthing, soil typing, and other techniques we will characterize soil movement through and out of the watershed. GIS will be used to model potential surface erosion based on landscape characteristics and field measurements.
H. Characterize and quantify streamflow. We will establish permanent stream gaging stations and reestablish discontinued gaging stations to continuously measure stream discharge for Satus Creek and its two largest tributaries, Dry and Logy creeks. This information will be compared to historical records to assess changes in the timing and quantity of flows, and to conduct flood frequency analysis. We will use a set of staff gages, crest gages, and discharge measurements to characterize the flow regimes of intermittent and ephemeral streams.
I. Characterize and quantify suspended sediment transport. We will equip permanent stream gaging stations with continuous turbidity sampling capability. Ongoing suspended sediment concentration measurements will be used to develop turbidity/suspended sediment concentration relationships for each sampling station. We will also measure turbidity and suspended sediment at other locations throughout the stream system. Suspended sediment transport will be quantified by the product of suspended sediment concentrations and the associated discharge measurements.
Brief schedule of activities
PLEASE SEE “METHODS” RESPONSE ABOVE FOR DETAILS ON 1997 ACTIVITIES.
All activities commence October 1, 1997 or as soon thereafter as field conditions permit. The completion date for each task is shown below:
Task A: September 30, 1997
Task B: April 30, 1997
Task C: September 30, 1997, but depends on weather and market conditions for supplies
Task D: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Task E: September 30, 1997
Task F: September 30, 1997
Task G: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Task H: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Task I: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Task J: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Task K: September 30, 1997
Task L: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Task M: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Task N: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Task O: Ongoing past September 30, 1997, with required funding
Project Tasks, Fiscal Year 1998 and Beyond
Rationale. Maintenance and monitoring tasks must continue beyond fiscal year 1997 for the overall project to be a long-term success. Monitoring must account for temporal climatic variation in order to adequately represent watershed conditions. Furthermore, it is important to monitor the effects of restoration measures to determine whether funds were well-spent and similar techniques should be applied elsewhere.
D. Continue patrol and maintenance of range fences in the Satus Creek watershed, coupled with trespass penalties. We plan to continue patrolling and maintaining fences on all rangelands and stream corridors we manage under this project.
G. Characterize and quantify erosion processes. We will refine our characterization of soil movement through and out of the watershed. GIS will be used to model potential surface erosion based on landscape characteristics and field measurements.
H. Characterize and quantify streamflow. We will maintain a high-quality data flow from the gage network established in fiscal year 1997. Discharge information will be compared to historical records to better assess changes in the timing and quantity of flows, and to refine flood frequency analysis.
I. Characterize and quantify suspended sediment transport. We will use ongoing suspended sediment concentration measurements to refine turbidity/suspended sediment concentration relationships for each sampling station. Turbidity and suspended sediment will be measured at other locations throughout the stream system. Suspended sediment transport will be quantified by the product of suspended sediment concentrations and the associated discharge measurements.
J. Climatological monitoring. The network of precipitation and temperature monitoring stations will be maintained. These stations will facilitate a more complete understanding of the landscape response to climatic inputs and how these responses influence fish habitat.
L. Assess functioning condition of uplands and riparian areas. We will continue qualitative assessment of the functional status of riparian areas and uplands, using the Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) assessment technique. Information gathered will be combined to measure success of restoration efforts and to determine need and suitability for more intensive instream rehabilitation (i.e., degraded/stable, actively degrading/unstable, early degradation/ initiation of instability, good condition/stable).
M. Channel survey. We will continue surveying channel cross-sections and profiles on major perennial streams in the Satus Creek watershed to determine success of instream restoration efforts.
N. Fisheries surveys. We will continue steelhead spawner surveys. In addition, continuing habitat and juvenile population surveys beyond 1996 will help uncover trends in fish abundance, habitat utilization and survival rates during the restoration process.
O. Experimental watershed project. We will maintain a monitoring instrumentation network, continue measuring channel, substrate and floodplain characteristics, and monitor survival and growth of juvenile steelhead in Kusshi Creek. We will begin implementing restoration activities, using monitoring data to evaluate progress toward desired conditions.
P. Headwater Meadow Rehabilitation. We will evaluate the previous year’s restoration activities and continue the program in other headwater meadows. A tribal archaeologist will provide an overview of prehistoric land use, and help plan activities that do not compromise archaeological/historic values. As before, our activities will focus on stabilizing headcuts, slowing overland flow and promoting infiltration.
Satus Creek and its major tributaries produce nearly half the Yakima basin's wild summer steelhead, but this population has suffered an alarming decline in numbers since reservation population monitoring began in 1988. This trend is unlikely to reverse itself soon, judging by the low outmigrations of summer steelhead smolts at the Yakima River trap downstream from Satus Creek. Poor smolt production also indicates that spawning and rearing conditions are limiting steelhead populations. Management of this watershed therefore has profound implications for the Satus Creek steelhead run and, in turn, for the entire Yakima basin run.
An Endangered Species Act petition for Yakima basin steelhead and the recently enacted Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (PL 103-434) are drawing unprecedented public attention to how the Yakama Nation manages its watersheds, increasing the incentive to evaluate watershed function and the effects of land uses.
While many factors outside the Satus Creek watershed may have contributed to the decline in anadromous fish runs, the watershed has serious problems of its own from a fisheries perspective. There are no active irrigation diversions in the Satus Creek watershed; habitat for juvenile steelhead is nevertheless limited by low summer flow in Satus Creek and most of its tributaries, and by high summer water temperature in most stream reaches below 2,000 feet elevation.
The Yakama Nation has found excessive levels of fine sediment in steelhead spawning areas. Five of the eight spawning riffles in Satus Creek analyzed in 1993 contained more than 17% fine particles, considered "poor" according to Washington watershed analysis criteria. Six tributary riffles were analyzed, and all were in the "poor" category.
Livestock grazing is an important cause of damage to Satus Creek and its tributaries. Overgrazing of vegetation and trampling of stream banks has tended to create wide, shallow, warm and sediment-laden streams.
Range conditions on adjoining uplands also affect Satus Creek and its tributaries. Overgrazing has destabilized the rangeland portion of the watershed, so that rainstorms and snowmelt rapidly erode the topsoil and carry it into creeks.
In upstream reaches least affected by overgrazing, low streamflow and high water temperature, logging roads discharge large quantities of sediment. Poor location, lack of surfacing and inadequate drainage all contribute to this problem. Bank armor placed to protect a road has straightened and confined an upper reach of Satus Creek, diminishing its value as fish habitat.
Local problems mirror the coast-wide decline in steelhead populations which has occurred in recent years. This event has prompted a petition by the Oregon Natural Resources Council for the National Marine Fisheries Service to list 111 steelhead stocks, including Yakima River summer steelhead, as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The critical uncertainty lies in the assumption that improving spawning and rearing conditions will increase steelhead numbers in the Toppenish Creek basin. This uncertainty boils down to the fact that no single project can encompass the entire steelhead life cycle. However, mainstem river and ocean conditions are being addressed by other projects, while this project deals with providing a larger supply of outmigrants to benefit from downstream improvements and accelerate the stock recovery process.
Summary of expected outcome
This proposal was developed to fit an adaptive management framework. We will take action immediately to begin rectifying the major known causes of steelhead habitat degradation in the Satus Creek watershed. At the same time we will begin a monitoring program to assess the consequences of our actions in terms of watershed processes and the productivity of the watershed’s steelhead population. We will use what we learn from monitoring to modify our actions or take additional actions.
Restoration The Yakama Nation intends to increase the productivity of the Satus Creek summer steelhead population by restoring the ecological function of the Satus Creek watershed. Coordinated projects will address stream channel stability, riparian zone structure, diversity and productivity, and the health of upland range areas. Efforts to improve summer steelhead productivity are expected to favor the reestablishment of coho and spring chinook as well.
To be successful, this effort must treat the watershed as a whole; accordingly, this proposal includes aquatic, riparian, and upland components. Uplands are significant because most of the watershed’s precipitation falls on uplands, and maintaining base streamflows that support fish depends on detention and percolation of rainfall and snowmelt on uplands. The proposal outlines specific short-term projects which will effect immediate improvements in ecological function and demonstrate the value of coordinated actions in the restoration of degraded watersheds.
The concept of adaptive management implies experimentation with restoration and management techniques. Experimentation coupled with intensive monitoring may not be cost-effective on as large a scale as the entire Satus Creek watershed, however. The Yakama Nation proposes to experiment with restoration techniques in the 25-square-mile Kusshi Creek subwatershed, which comprises 4 percent of the Satus Creek watershed.
Steelhead spawn in Kusshi Creek when spring runoff is average or greater than average, but extremely low summer flow, combined with damage to the channel and riparian zone, seriously impairs the creek’s smolt production potential. The creek is representative of many small base-flow-dependent streams in the rangelands of the interior Columbia Basin which attract steelhead spawners but rapidly become hazardous to their progeny.
The long-term survival of steelhead populations in this region may hinge on improving the productivity of watersheds which have low economic value yet play a significant ecological role. There is a need for developing techniques which can accelerate the restoration process, yet show higher benefit/cost ratios than intensive channel rehabilitation. The ultimate objective for Kusshi Creek is to improve incubation and rearing conditions for juvenile steelhead by controlling sediment yield, increasing base flow, restoring natural channel and floodplain morphology, and moderating summer and winter extremes of water temperature.
This project focuses on the root causes of watershed damage. The visible results of this project will be a stimulus to broaden the Nation's watershed protection efforts. New water quality regulations and an improved hydraulics code, both in the works, will strengthen these efforts. An Endangered Species Act petition for Yakima Basin steelhead and new Yakima Basin water enhancement legislation are drawing unprecedented public attention to how the Yakama Nation manages its watersheds, increasing the incentive to make this project a long-term success.
Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
The Bonneville Power Administration is funding the Yakima Fisheries Project to begin constructing facilities in 1996 for supplementing spring chinook populations in the Yakima Basin. Planning is underway for supplementing summer steelhead in the Satus Creek watershed and elsewhere in the Yakima Basin. The project’s ultimate goal is to increase natural production of salmon and steelhead. Habitat improvements in the Satus Creek watershed will help assure that this goal will be met.
Funding to lease a 12-mile corridor of riparian lands along Satus Creek for 10 years to enhance fish and wildlife was provided by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1995. Livestock exclusion fences have also been constructed along parts of Logy and Mule Dry Creeks in the Satus Creek watershed.
The Yakama Nation’s Lower Yakima Valley Wetlands and Riparian Area Restoration Project is receiving $4.9 million from the Bonneville Power Administration to purchase, restore and manage riparian lands along the Yakima River, lower Toppenish Creek, and in lower Satus Creek.
Several fire rehabilitation projects are underway in the Satus Creek watershed. Rehabilitation efforts are generally focused on revegetation and stabilization of severely burned riparian areas. Bank stabilization work along Satus Creek has been funded by the Washington Department of Transportation; the work is being planned and executed by tribal staff. The Yakima Salmon Corps has performed several revegetation projects in the Satus Creek watershed in 1995; more revegetation work is being planned for the upcoming season.
Within the forested portion of the Satus Creek watershed (25% of the total area), The 1993-2002 Yakama Nation Forest Management Plan provides for greater riparian protection and higher forest road construction standards in current and future timber harvest units. Under this plan, 57% of the forested portion is subject to timber harvest limitation to maintain winter wildlife habitat, and another 17% is designated as watershed or subalpine area with no scheduled harvest. The Yakama Nation currently spends about $200,000 per year on road rehabilitation in the Satus Creek drainage under its timber sale program.
The proposed project will be conducted on tribal lands. Federally-funded actions on tribal lands are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This type of action suggests a programmatic environmental assessment. The Yakama Reservation Interdisciplinary Team reviews environmental assessments for proposed projects, recommends project changes and mitigation, and ultimately recommends for or against a Finding of No Significant Impact. This process seldom delays carefully-planned projects.
Monitoring, like restoration efforts, should address the watershed as a whole, including aquatic, riparian, and upland components. The intent of this monitoring plan is: 1) to evaluate trends in functionality of the major ecosystem components - soil, water and vegetation, and 2) determine relationships between land use practices and ecosystem functioning, with emphasis on the effects on the fisheries resource.
The information will be used to evaluate management, mitigation and restoration strategies for the fisheries resources within the Satus Creek watershed. Monitoring and analysis will continue beyond FY 1996.
Task G through Task P deal with monitoring, and are described in detail in the “METHODS” and “SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES” sections above.
|Historic costs||FY 1996 budget data*||Current and future funding needs|
|(none)||New project - no FY96 data available||1997: 200,000|
* 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.
CBFWA funding review group Bonneville Dam - Priest Rapids Dam
Recommendation Tier 1 - fund
Recommended funding level $200,000
BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget) $200,000