BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1998 Proposal

Section 1. Summary
Section 2. Goals
Section 3. Background
Section 4. Purpose and methods
Section 5. Planned activities
Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation
Section 7. Relationships
Section 8. Costs and FTE

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Summary

Title of project
Wallowa Basin Project Planning - G. R. Model Watershed

BPA project number   9403900

Short description
Help coordinate efforts in Wallowa County with the County Court, Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program, local landowners, and state and federal agencies. Help to develop action plans or comprehensive resource management plans for watersheds in the County with anadromous fish. Help to develop and implement watershed restoration projects.

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Nez Perce Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameDon Bryson, Habitat Biologist
 Mailing address201 W. North Street, Room 113
Enterprise, OR 97828
 Phone541/426-0119
 Email
   

Sub-contractors
N/A - None expected at this time.

Section 2. Goals

General

Target stockLife stageMgmt code (see below)
Lostine/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, L, W
Wallowa/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, L, W
Hurricane/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, L, W
Bear Creek/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, L, W
Minam/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, L, W
Wenaha/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, L, W
Other Grande Ronde/Wallowa tributaries/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, L, W
Imnaha/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, L, W
Big Sheep/Spring ChinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, L, W
Grande Ronde and Imnaha/fall chinookAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, L, W
Lostine/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, L, W
Wallowa/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageA, N, P, W
Hurricane/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, P, W
Bear Creek/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, P, W
Minam/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, P, W
Wenaha/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, P, W
Other Grande Ronde/Wallowa tributaries/summer steelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, P, W
Imnaha/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, P, W
Big Sheep/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, P, W
Little Sheep/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageS, P, W
Other Imnaha tributaries/Summer SteelheadAdult passage and holding, spawning, rearing, smolt passageN, P, W

 
Affected stockBenefit or detriment
Grande Ronde/Wallowa/Imnaha/ Bull TroutBeneficial
Other native fish speciesBeneficial
Native wildlifeBeneficial
Native plantsBeneficial

Section 3. Background

Stream area affected

Hydro project   N/A - BPA funding, in general, mitigates for the effects of the Federal Hydropower System.
Subbasin   Grande Ronde/Imnaha
Land ownership   Both
Acres affected   2,000,000
Habitat types   Riparian zone, flood plain, ponds, wetlands, uplands

History
This project was initiated in 1994 to implement on-the-ground planning, coordination, and communication in Wallowa County in reference to the Grande Ronde Model Watershed program presently being funded by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and to implement the Wallowa County/Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Recovery Plan. This project is being cost-shared 50:50 by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). The person in this position is involved in all of the following. Since the inception of this project, numerous watershed restoration projects have been implemented under BPA, BOR, and Oregon Watershed Health funding; a small minority have been instream hard structures and most that have been are irrigation diversions with fish bypass capabilities built in (eliminating the annual need for push-up dams.) Watershed Action Plans/Comprehensive Resource Management Plans are being written for salmon streams in the county through a public participation process. To date, these include an Action Plan for the Bear Creek watershed (tributary to the Wallowa River) and Comprehensive Resource Management Plans for Big Sheep Creek (tributary to the Imnaha River) and Little Sheep Creek (tributary to Big Sheep Creek). A habitat assessment for the Lostine River has also been completed. An instream flow study has been initiated on the Lostine River to determine the water volume needs of bull trout and different species of salmon for different life stages. This will facilitate working with irrigators to determine how much additional water is needed in-stream during low flow periods. A low flow channel project has been initiated on Bear Creek in the lower few miles to facilitate passage of adult spring chinook upstream from late July to mid-September. All of the irrigation diversions in Bear Creek, the Lostine River, and the Wallowa River from Cross Country Canal to Dry Creek have been gaged plus gages have also been installed in the mainstems of each stream. Private landowner meetings have been initiated in the Lostine River, Bear Creek, Big Sheep Creek, and Little Sheep Creek watersheds. Coordination meetings between County Court, Nez Perce Tribe, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation Service, Wallowa County Extension Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon Department of Forestry have been initiated to minimize duplication of effort in the various on-going activities. The County has also established a Natural Resource Advisory Committee (NRAC) to advise the County Court on natural resource issues. The NRAC has a technical committee which advises the Planning Department and a Standing Committee. The person funded under this project sits on all three committees. The County is presently pursuing the possibility of being designated a Demonstration County. The designation would cover both private and public lands.

Biological results achieved
1. None of the above projects have been in place long enough to have measurable biological results.
2. Five irrigation diversions projects have been completed which provide permanent fish passage facilities and eliminate the need for annul gravel push-up dams. One project consolidated several diversions into one diversion, eliminating the need for several in-stream structures.
3. The Bear Creek Low Flow Channel construction will facilitate spring chinook adult passage during the late summer and will provide better overwinter habitat for various species of fish.
4. The expected results from the projects are better instream habitat and water quality and quantity for fish and better riparian and upland habitat for wildlife.

Project reports and papers
1. Quarterly Project Reports
2. Bear Creek Action Plan
3. Lostine River Habitat Assessment
4. Big Sheep Creek Habitat Assessment

Adaptive management implications
The project is designed to provide local landowners with sufficient knowledge to make land use decisions that benefit fish and wildlife while not impairing the landowner's ability to earn a living. This is the basic premise of the Wallowa County/Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Recovery Plan. Landowners are changing some of their land use practices because of this project.

Section 4. Purpose and methods

Specific measureable objectives
1. Completed watershed action plans/CRMPs.
2. Completed watershed restoration projects.
3. Increase the number of new landowners involved.
4. Improve water quality and quantity.
5. Produce measurable improvements in watershed habitat conditions.
6. Development of new grazing and timber management plans.
7. All of these are expected to result in more salmon returning to watersheds.

Critical uncertainties
A lack of success in returning salmon to the watersheds could discourage people from continuing to participate.
Some projects may not perform as expected.
Local residents do not control what happens downstream from Wallowa County. In other words, Wallowa County residents can not save chinook salmon in the Snake River basin nor can they insure that any salmon will survive to return to the county.
Natural events such as floods or fires may damage or destroy habitat restoration projects or overshadow any improvements in habitat conditions resulting from the projects.
Many projects may not show significant changes in habitat conditions for several years which makes mid-course corrections difficult.

Biological need
Quality habitat is essential for continued existence of Snake River Salmon. It is imperative that local landowners be involved in the decision making process so that they will have ownership in the solutions. The Wallowa County/Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Recovery Plan emphasizes the need to work in the entire watershed (ridge top to ridge top), not just stream bottoms and that political boundaries should not dictate what can be accomplished. Habitat condition trends are generally stable but target fish species are declining. It is expected that this project will result in an upward trend in watershed habitat conditions and instream survival for fish.

Hypothesis to be tested
N/A

Alternative approaches
N/A

Justification for planning
This project is split between planning, coordination, habitat assessments, and project implementation. It is unlikely that project implementation will be successful over the long term without good planning, assessment, and coordination. This position coordinates with the Wallowa County Court, Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation District, Wallowa County Extension Service, Wallowa County Natural Resource Advisory Committee, Grande Ronde Model Watershed Program, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, U. S. Forest Service, U. S. Bureau of Land Management, U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, Bonneville Power Administration, and Natural Resource Conservation Service. Only one position is funded under this project number.

Methods
1) brief experimental design including a description of equipment, techniques, and materials; N/A
2) statistical analysis; N/A
3) type and number of fish to be used. N/A

Local residents and state and federal agencies, along with the Nez Perce Tribe (represented by this project) participate in public ad hoc committees at the watershed level, county level and subbasin level. These committees are involved in planning, action plan/CRMP development, assessment development, and project development and implementation.

Section 5. Planned activities

Phase PlanningStart 10/94 End ongoingSubcontractor No
1. Continue involvement in the development of a Lostine River Action Plan or Comprehensive Resource Management Plan. The type of plan will depend on the level of participation desired by local landowners. 2. Continue involvement in the development of either a Joseph Creek Action Plan or Comprehensive Resource Management Plan. The type of plan will depend on the level of participation desired by local landowners. 3. Continue involvement in the development of individual project monitoring plans as well as watershed and subbasin level monitoring plans to determine the effectiveness of watershed restoration projects. 4. Work with local landowners to develop watershed restoration projects. 5. Continue as a board member of the Grande Ronde Model Watershed. 6. Continue involvement with the Wallowa Natural Resource Advisory Committee and Standing Committee.6. Continue coordination meetings in Wallowa County. 7. Continue involvement on the Grande Ronde Model Watershed Technical Committee and the Wallowa County Technical Committee. 8. No significant changes are expected in the format or expectations of this project in 1998 or beyond.
Phase ImplementationStart 10/94 End ongoingSubcontractor Yes #3
Work with local landowners to develop and implement watershed restoration projects. Participate in County coordination efforts. Participate in the Bear Creek Low Flow Channel project. Oversee completion of the Lostine IFIM study. Write Biological Assessments for instream projects proposed by the Nez Perce Tribe and the Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation District.
Project completion date   The need for this type of project never ends.

Constraints or factors that may cause schedule or budget changes
1. NEPA is required on federally funded projects.
2. NMFS/USF&W consultation may be needed along with Biological Assessments.
3. Fill and Removal Permits may be needed.
4. Project opportunities may occur which were not anticipated.

Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation

SUMMARY OF EXPECTED OUTCOMES

Expected performance of target population or quality change in land area affected
1. Instream habitat and water quality and quantity will be improved in Wallowa County within ten years.
2. Riparian habitat and upland habitat will be improved within ten years.
3. The landowner meetings will result in increased awareness of the needs of fish and wildlife as well as providing the landowners with some ownership in the solutions. This will be immediate as landowners become involved.
4. Local landowners will have a stake in restoration activities. This be immediate.
5. Local education projects will teach new ways of coexisting with natural systems while continuing to earn a decent living. This will occur within ten years.

Present utilization and convservation potential of target population or area
Spring/Fall Chinook populations are seriously depressed. No sport harvest has occurred in the Grande Ronde Subbasin since 1974 and in the Imnaha Subbasin since 1976. The Nez Perce Tribe has closed the County's streams to Tribal harvest.
Summer steelhead harvest has been hatchery only in both the Grande Ronde and Imnaha subbasins since the mid-1980s.
Oregon Department Of Fish and Wildlife estimated that there has been a 20% reduction in spring chinook habitat in the Lostine River and Bear Creek and a 70% loss in the Wallowa River and Hurricane Creek. The Imnaha Subbasin was thought to be relatively unchanged since the 1950's. In spite of this, Wallowa County falls within the high to moderate range for Composite Ecological Integrity Ratings according to the "Status of the Interior Columbia Basin, Summary of Scientific Findings" which implies that habitat "fixes" will be less expensive now then later if habitat conditions are allowed to deteriorate.

Assumed historic status of utilization and conservation potential
The Nez Perce Tribe subsisted for thousands of years on the salmon they harvested in the Grande Ronde and Imnaha subbasins.
The estimated spring chinook escapement in 1957, developed for the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan, was 12,200 to the Grande Ronde Subbasin and 6,700 to the Imnaha Subbasin. For the same program, summer steelhead populations were estimated to be 15,900 in the Grande Ronde Subbasin and 4,000 in the Imnaha Subbasin.
The largest recorded spring chinook sport harvests were 1,184 in 1966 in the Grande Ronde Subbasin and 387 in 1960 in the Imnaha Subbasin.
The summer steelhead average sport harvests were 3,789 during the 1960s in the Grande Ronde Subbasin and the highest recorded harvest in the Imnaha Subbasin was 1,334 in the 1960’s.

Long term expected utilization and conservation potential for target population or habitat
Members of the Nez Perce Tribe and sport fishermen would like to see chinook populations recovered to harvestable numbers. The Nez Perce Tribe and County residents would like to see all streams that historically produced salmon to once again have sustainable populations.

Contribution toward long-term goal
As has been stated previously, Wallowa County residents can not save the salmon in the Snake River Basin nor assure that any will survive to return to the Grande Ronde and Imnaha subbasins. This project will result in better understanding by local residents about the importance of good habitat conditions for various fish and wildlife species and how the local residents can also benefit from these conditions. This knowledge, along with technical, help will result in better habitat conditions for salmon that return to the subbasins as well as for bull trout and other resident fish and wildlife species. These improvements in habitat conditions will increase egg-to-smolt survival for chinook and steelhead as well as survival for other native fish and wildlife species.

Indirect biological or environmental changes
N/A

Physical products
Thirty-four miles of exclosure fence have been constructed.
Sixty-six miles of riparian pasture and cross fences have been constructed.
Eighty livestock water developments have been completed to help remove and keep cattle out of the riparian zones.
Five irrigation diversion projects have been completed which have reduced the need for pushup dams in the Lostine and Wallowa rivers and reduced the total number of structures in the Wallowa River.
Fifty-six miles of road have been obliterated, closed, or improved.

Environmental attributes affected by the project
1) water temperatures
2) riparian condition
3) flow
4) water quality
5) channel stability
6) woody debris recruitment
7) range/uplands condition

Changes assumed or expected for affected environmental attributes
Habitat projects will provide:
1) Improved riparian conditions which will help to maintain cooler water temperatures, improve woody debris recruitment, stabilize stream channels, and provide increased food inputs from increased insect drop.
2) Improved flow conditions through better water management.
3) Improved water quality resulting from improved land management practices.
4) Improved passage through irrigation dams and low flow reaches of streams.
5) Improved upland conditions which will reduce mass wasting events.
6) Improved management of livestock through fencing projects and off stream water developments.

Measure of attribute changes
N/A Very few projects will individually have significant effects on these habitat attributes. That is why the watershed level and subbasin level monitoring program is being developed.

Assessment of effects on project outcomes of critical uncertainty
Redd count data will document the yearly return of chinook and steelhead to Wallowa County streams. This will not, however, address the critical uncertainty listed above that Wallowa County residents can not control what happens to anadromous fish once they leave the county.Periodic habitat surveys conducted by the USFS and ODFW will provide trend data for habitat attributes and may be able to distinguish between cumulative project benefits and large scale events.

Information products
All projects implemented will have a monitoring component and yearly reports.
Watershed action plans/Comprehensive Resource Management Plans. These plans will provide local management goals and methods and timelines for reaching those goals.
Habitat Assessments by watershed which are included in the Action Plans/CRMPs. The assessments review what is known about the watersheds in terms of habitat conditions and species present, describe critical data gaps, and provide a “road map” to gain answers to the critical data gaps.
Lostine Instream Flow Incremental Methodology study. This study will determine the amount of water needed during various life stages for salmon (chinook and coho), steelhead and bull trout. This information will be used to work with irrigators to help provide sufficient flows during the normal low flow period during the summer.
The Grande Ronde Model Watershed Technical Committee reviewed the watersheds in the Grande Ronde and Imnaha subbasins and developed a priority list for future action plan development and project development and implementation.

Coordination outcomes
Local landowner meetings are being held for the Bear Creek, Lostine River, Big Sheep Creek, and Little Sheep Creek watersheds. These meetings have resulted in an Action Plan for Bear Creek, a CRMP for Big Sheep Creek and a CRMP being developed for Little Sheep Creek.
Monthly coordination meetings between the County Court, Nez Perce Tribe, Wallowa SWCD, NRCS, ODFW, USFS, ODF. These coordination meetings are held to keep the various agencies and entities informed of activities occurring in the County and to eliminate the overlap of activities where desirable. This helps to utilize scarce resources in the most economical fashion.
There is close coordination with the County Court and Planning Department through participation on the County Natural Resource Advisory Committee and its associated Standing Committee and Technical Committee.

MONITORING APPROACH
A) brief experimental design including a description of equipment, techniques, and materials;
Instream survival of chinook and steelhead should be measured and trends established. This will require accurate redd counts, spawners per redd, fecundities by age, and the spawner age structure. Accurate egg-to-emergence survival data will be needed which will involve capping redds. Accurate emergence-to -emigration (juvenile or smolt stage) will be needed. This will involve juvenile and smolt traps running year round and snorkeling surveys.
Habitat attributes will need to be measured and trends monitored. The primary attributes will be: 1) temperature (thermograph), 2) sediment movement (Isco or turbidity meter), 3) sediment deposition (pebble counts or freeze coring (will also provide information on fines at depth)), 4) E. coli (appropriate sampling gear), 5) water quantity (permanent gage sites or regular onsite visits with a flow meter (permanent transects should be established)), 6) other water quality parameters such as phosphates, nitrates, and heavy metals (appropriate sampling gear), visual observations or radio tracking to determine if passage projects or functioning as expected.
The COTR would be expected to review project documents for technical merit and usefulness.

B) statistical analysis
A simple Students T Test or Chi Square would be sufficient to determine the significance of population and habitat trends. Relating these trends back to specific habitat projects would be more problematical.

C) type and number of fish to be used.
No fish would need to be used unless marking or radio tracking is employed, at which time numbers would be determined. Marking would be performed on juveniles or smolts and radio tracking would utilize adults.

Provisions to monitor population status or habitat quality
Annual spawning ground surveys are conducted for spring chinook and summer steelhead.
The USFS and ODFW conduct periodic habitat surveys using Hankin and Reeves protocols on public and private property.
A monitoring plan is presently being developed to look at changes at the watershed level and relate these changes to the composite of projects implemented in the watershed. Many projects individually do not produce measurable changes in parameters such as temperature or sediment. BPA monitoring protocols will be included to help standardize techniques used by the various agencies.
Most projects implemented in the county have photo points as a component of the project monitoring.

Data analysis and evaluation
The watershed level monitoring plans being developed will include evaluation criteria and protocols. Statistical significance measures will be included in the protocols. Project monitoring will be evaluated on an annual basis for accuracy and usefulness. The Wallowa County and the Grande Ronde Model Watershed Technical Teams will be employed to analyze data and make recommendations for project changes or future projects.

Information feed back to management decisions
Annual reports are part of the reporting specified in each project. These reports will include results from the monitoring. The monitoring results will then be used to analyze the effectiveness of the project and to determine if changes are needed to meet project goals. Mid-year changes are also possible if the project is obviously not achieving project goals. Local landowner meetings will also be used to determine the perceived effectiveness of the projects by local people and it is also a forum where questions can be answered.

Critical uncertainties affecting project's outcomes
Since this is a "pie-in-the-sky" question, accurate information on presence/absence, population size, and population trends for all fish, mammals, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants is needed to document effectiveness of habitat restoration on a watershed level. Presently, very little is known about the status of populations for most of the above list.

Evaluation
1) Completed watershed action plans/CRMPs.
2) Completed watershed restoration projects.
3) Number of new landowners involved.
4) Completed grazing and timber management plans.
5) Improvements in water quality and quantity.
6) Improvements in watershed habitat conditions.

Incorporating new information regarding uncertainties
Monthly conference calls or meetings with the funding agencies are used to communicate problems that might have arisen or projects not anticipated during the development of this project that might answer new uncertainties.

Increasing public awareness of F&W activities
A major component of this project is local interaction, coordination, and education. This is through local landowner meetings, county coordination meetings, and the development and showing of an interactive computer graphics program that documents the development and implementation of the County/Tribe Plan, and open Model Watershed meetings. This Plan has been presented in Washington D. C. and in various locations in Oregon and Washington.

Section 7. Relationships

Related BPA projectRelationship
9202601 Grande Ronde Model Watershed - Administration/Implementation/Research Implements the Model Watershed program in Wallowa County.
9402700 Grande Ronde Model Watershed Habitat Projects Works with appropriate agencies and individuals in Wallowa County to implement Model Watershed projects.
5520900 Wallowa County/Nez Perce Tribe Salmon Habitat Recovery Plan Implementation This position is responsible for the distribution of the funds.
9403000 Grande Ronde/Imnaha subbasin RASP analysis Provides technical input into the analysis and will help to implement the results as part of the watershed analyses and project development.
8805301 North East Oregon Hatchery (NEOH) Fish need good habitat. NEOH will cover Wallowa County.
5518900 Captive Brood Will utilize habitat in the Lostine River.
Related non-BPA projectRelationship
Wallowa Valley stream gaging/BORProvided input for gage locations and expected outcomes from modeling effort. Will include the results in the watershed analyses.
Bear Creek low flow channel/BOR,OWHP, NPTRecommended the project, reviewed the project design, and will help to monitor the results.
Lostine IFIM study/BORRecommended the study, will review the draft report, and will incorporate the results into the Lostine Habitat Analysis and recommend flow projects with local irrigators.
LSRCP/USF&WSUtilizes habitat in Wallowa County.

Opportunities for cooperation
1) Equipment purchased under Projects #552900 and #9403900 will be shared with the Wallowa SWCD, the Wallowa Extension Office, ODFW, and the USFS.
2) Equipment purchased for the Bear Creek Low Flow Channel project will be used wherever needed.
3) There is close cooperation between this project and the Grande Ronde Model Watershed project.
4) Habitat projects can be coordinated with the NEOH program.

Section 8. Costs and FTE

1997 Planned  $50,500

Future funding needs   Past obligations (incl. 1997 if done)
FY$ Need% Plan % Implement% O and M
199853,152 65%35% 0%
199955,950 65%35% 0%
200058,894 65%35% 0%
200161,994 65%35% 0%
200265,257 65%35% 0%
 
FYObligated
199464,000
199548,282
199648,165
Total160,447
FYOther funding sourceAmountIn-kind value
1998BOR $53,152N/A
1999BOR $55,950N/A
2000BOR $58,894N/A
2001BOR $61,994N/A
2002BOR $65,257N/A

Other non-financial supporters
Wallowa County Court, Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation District, NRCS, Wallowa Extension Service, RY Timber, local U. S .Forest Service districts, Bureau of Land Management (Baker City), Wallowa County Natural Resource Advisory Committee, ODFW

Longer term costs   If the project continues past 2002, a 5% inflation factor would be used to calculate the cost for each year unless an unexpected expense is anticipated.


This money would be used in the same manner as described in the present Statement of Work.

FY97 overhead percent   29.5%

How does percentage apply to direct costs
Total direct costs.

Contractor FTE   1
Subcontractor FTE   4 - Until the completion of the IFIM study on the Lostine River. The IFIM study is being completed with FY96 money.