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
Riparian and Fish Habitat Analysis, Protection and Enhancement to Increase Natural Production of Steelhead and Spring Chinook in the Walla Walla River Basin

BPA project number   9604600

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
CTUIR

Sponsor type   OR-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameGary James
 Mailing addressCTUIR
Department of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 638
Pendleton, OR 97801
 Phone541/276-4109

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   3.1D.1, 7.6C.5, 7.7

Short description
The goal of this project is to enhance natural production of existing summer steelhead and re-introduced spring chinook salmon in the Walla Walla River Basin. Land use practices in the water shed and existing fish and riparian habitat will be analyzed to identify and address the watershed-wide causative factors to reduced fish production capability. Remedial measures will be implemented to reduce or eliminate the detrimental land management activity where possible. Physical factors which limit production capability will be addressed through enhancement of instream and riparian habitats.

Project start year   1997    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1998

Project development phase   Planning, Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
9990071 - Adult Fish Passage Improvement in Walla Walla Basin
9990069 - Juvenile Screens and Smolt Traps in Walla Walla Basin
8805302 - Northeast Oregon Hatchery - Walla Walla Component

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications

Specific measureable objectives
This project is expected to increase the natural productivity of summer steelhead and eventually spring chinook in the Walla Walla basin by improving spawning, incubation, and juvenile rearing habitat. Specific measurable project objectives may include miles of riparian fence constructed or miles of riparian planting or seeding. Specific measurable project results would include increased shading and bank stability and decreased water temperature and streambank erosion.

Testable hypothesis

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints

Methods
The goal of this project is to enhance natural production of existing summer steelhead and re-introduced spring chinook salmon in the Walla Walla River Basin. Land use practices in the watershed and existing fish and riparian habitat will be analyzed to identify and address the watershed-wide causative factors to reduced fish production capability. Remedial measures will be implemented to reduce or eliminate the detrimental land management activity where possible. Physical factors which limit production capability will be addressed through enhancement of instream and riparian habitats.

Brief schedule of activities
Objectives:
1) Inventory existing instream and riparian habitats.
2) Identify existing land use practices impacting habitat capability (mostly completed by the plan "Guidelines for Watershed Restoration in the Walla Walla River Basin", 1996).
3) Develop adhoc scoping group made up of local land owners, sportsman clubs and resource agencies to develop creative solutions to the land use problems in the Walla Walla watershed.
4) Implement protective measures including, but not limited to, fencing of critical areas, long term leases, acquisition of water rights, acquisition of timber rights, land swaps, changes in management strategies or methods, and purchase of lands for fisheries and wildlife benefits.
5) Implement enhancements to protected areas including but not limited to, instream fish habitat structures and riparian plantings.

Biological need
The native summer steelhead run in the Walla Walla River is currently in a severely depressed state due in part to degraded habitat conditions resulting from past and present land use activities throughout the watershed. The Northeast Oregon Hatchery (NEOH) project developed hatchery facility plans for enhancement of summer steelhead and reestablishment of spring chinook in the upper Walla Walla and Touchet Rivers. Delay of this project may result in further decline of the wild summer steelhead population and limit the effectiveness of the ongoing spring chinook restoration efforts.

Critical uncertainties
A critically impacted life history stage currently affecting the natural productivity of summer steelhead (and potentially spring chinook) is juvenile rearing (egg deposition to smolting). This and other projects (listed above) addressing additional life history stages will be necessary to implement a comprehensive Walla Walla Basin fish restoration program.

Summary of expected outcome
Current natural production of summer steelhead from the Walla Walla River Basin is estimated at 100,000 smolt annually. Subbasin Plan goals are to double this number through a combination of passage improvements and habitat enhancements. Spring chinook are planned for reintroduction with a natural production goal (Subbasin Plan, 1990) of 400,000. Meeting these goals and supporting the additional hatchery released fish will depend in part on the enhancement and protection of habitat in the basin.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
Considerable multi-entity coordination is already ongoing in the Walla Walla Basin. A plan, "Guidelines for Watershed Restoration in the Walla Walla River Basin" is cooperatively being developed by the Umatilla Tribe and the three soil and water conservation districts in the Walla Walla Basin is expected to be finalized in 1996. The draft plan has already been coordinated with the Walla Walla Watershed Council. At this time, project cooperators/landowners and funding are needed to implement necessary projects. This project is dependent upon the other fish restoration efforts listed above in order to create a comprehensive Walla Walla Basin fisheries restoration program. Adult and juvenile fish passage enhancement projects are already ongoing. This project ranked 5th out of approximately 300 projects in the CBFWA FY 95 ranking process but nothing has been funded because it was a "new" project.

Risks

Monitoring activity
Poor riparian and instream habitat conditions in some segments of the Walla Walla River and tributaries have resulted in elevated water temperatures, increased streambank erosion, reduced riparian vegetation, and low instream pool habitat. These physical stream habitat parameters will be measured pre and post projects to monitor and document stream recovery. Biological surveys will also be conducted to monitor changing fish utilization patterns under improving habitat conditions.

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: 200,000
1998: 215,000
1999: 230,000
2000: 245,000
2001: 260,000

* 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   $200,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $200,000