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
Meadow Creek Restoration

BPA project number   9607700

Short description
This is a restoration project encompassing a watershed of 9,770 hectares (24, 115 acre), Emphasis will be placed on restoring the 294 hectare (725 acre) McComas Meadow. Land management including mining, cattle grazing, road construction, timber harvest, and irrigation have impacted stream channel stability and fish habitat. This project will help increase egg to fry survival of Snake River fall Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Improved habitat in Meadow Creek will help increase natural production of Snake River spring/summer chinook salmon, steelhead and resident trout. The watershed is currently under U.S. Forest Service management. Meadow Creek (17060305-07) enters the South Fork Clearwater River (17060305) at river kilometer 52.3. The stream is approximately 30 miles east of Grangeville, Idaho.

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
USDA Forest Service, Clearwater Ranger District, Nez Perce National Forest

Proposal contact person or principal investigator
 NameWayne J. Paradis, Fisheries Biologist
 Mailing addressRoute 2, Box 475
Grangeville, ID 83530
 Phone208/983-1963
 Email
   

Sub-contractors
Nez Perce Tribe, Salmon Corps

Section 2. Goals

General
Supports a healthy Columbia basin; maintains biological diversity; increases run sizes or populations; provides needed habitat protection

Target stockLife stageMgmt code (see below)
Snake River Fall ChinookJuvenile(L), S, W, d
Snake River SteelheadAdult, juvenile(P), S
Snake River Spring/Summer ChinookAdult, juvenileS, W
Westslope cuthroatAdult, juvenileW, N
Bull troutAdult, juvenileW, N

 
Affected stockBenefit or detriment
Bald EagleBeneficial

Section 3. Background

Stream area affected

Stream name   Meadow Creek
Stream miles affected   15
Hydro project   Harpster Dam
Subbasin   South Fork Clearwater River
Land ownership   public
Acres affected   24,000
Habitat types   pool, riffle, run

Section 4. Purpose and methods

Specific measureable objectives
To reduce stream temperatures and improve fish habitat in Meadow Creek. To improve watershed conditions in the South Fork Clearwater River and aid in the recovery of Snake River spring/summer, and fall chinook salmon.

Biological need
The Biological Assessment for the South Fork Clearwater River (March 1995) has determined that land management activities in the basin have the potential to impact critical habitat for listed Snake River fall chinook salmon. The South Fork Clearwater River is a degraded system with the potential to assist in the recovery of listed and non-listed anadromous and resident fish including spring summer chinook, steelhead, westslope cutthroat, and bull trout. The Nez Perce Forest is currently developing a watershed restoration plan for the South Fork Basin. The Meadow Creek Project will serve as a corner stone for this recovery effort. Improved stream temperatures and reduced sediment will benefit all life stages of resident and anadromous fish.

Hypothesis to be tested
We have limited funding, and we want the largest benefit for the least investment. 1. We can reduce overall stream temperatures by planting along the stream corridor. 2. We can increase bank stability with riparian planting.

Alternative approaches
Instream structures were discussed and quickly dismissed in this meadow reach. Large scale channel alterations were also dismissed.

Justification for planning
N/A

Methods
This project will involve four emphasis areas: (1) Fencing of the riparian corridor and revegetation. (2) Wetland creation and stream channel modifications. (3) Road Rehabilitation and sediment mitigation. (4) Information and Education. The projects have been developed to illustrate an ecosystem approach to restoring listed Snake River salmon and resident fish by improving overall watershed conditions. Funding may be allocated for any or all phases of the project.
Riparian Improvements.
Riparian management is a key element in the recovery of the Meadow Creek stream system, Several positive actions have taken place within this area to improve the degraded riparian conditions. These activities include riparian planting, exclusion of livestock grazing, and numerous road stabilization projects. However, despite these actions, many more riparian enhancing activities are necessary to accelerate the recovery of this area.
When the Forest Service acquired McComas Meadows through a land exchange they incurred the conditions of the existing deteriorated fence. Because McComas Meadows has been the operating hub of four livestock grazing permits it is paramount to upgrade the existing fence to exclude livestock, Approximately 4 miles of perimeter fence is needed to replace the existing deteriorated fence.
Planting native hardwoods and grasses.
As a result of overgrazing in the once privately owned McComas Meadows, riparian vegetation conditions have been reduced from a diverse vegetation community having an overstory shrub layer, to a mostly herbaceous vegetation community that lacks an essential mid and overstory shrub component. Riparian planting would gradually build the structural diversity of the riparian area, provide tooting strength to unstable stream banks, and provide shade along the stream margins resulting in a reduction in stream water temperatures. Meadow Greek flows through the meadow for 2.2 miles.
To ensure the successful riparian plant restoration of the meadow. the FS contracted with Botanical Enterprises to develop management recommendations for McComas Meadows. The riparian planting proposal below represents recommendations from that report (Bursick 1995). This project will plant alder, willow, red osier dogwood and various other species native to the riparian habitat. Baseline information has documented channel profiles and vegetation communities. Fixed stations are in place to record the changes.
Creating and Re-Creating Wetlands, and Channel Modifications
Lentic wetlands are rare throughout the Nez Perce Forest. One such wetland exists in McComas Meadow (McComas Meadows Vegetation and Floristic surveys and Management Recommendations, R. Bursik, 1995). This wetland supports a small disjunct population of Buxbaum's sedge a rare plant in Idaho. The wetland has been ditched and itís ability to filter out sediment has been reduced. Drainage ditches will be removed and wetland sites will be increased on the meadow. A gravity-flow irrigation ditch rings McComas Meadow on either side of Meadow Creek. By use of intra-ditch check dams, these ditches can be made to hold water later into the year, providing both sediment settling ponds and habitat for breading amphibians. The stream channel will require some modification on meander bends to allow for channel stabilization and revegetation. Cost for this project is estimated to be $30,000.00.
Road Rehabilitation
Road Stabilization projects to reduce non-point sediment sources have been identified in the watershed (K. Newgard 1995). The current road density is 3 miles/square mile. Site plans call for increased drainage, road obliteration, and revegetation using native species. Cost for this project is estimated to be $50,000.00.
Upland Vegetation Management
Historically, the Meadow Creek watershed contained extensive stands of fire-climax ponderosa pine. These stands were maintained in an open, park-like structure by repeated underburns. Due to fire exclusion and timber harvest, the fire-climax forest has been replaced by a dense, mixed conifer forest. This now forest structure is highly susceptible to root rot disease and subsequent stand-replacing burns. When the stand-replacing fires occur, the impact to the surrounding watershed is far greater than that which occurred historically. In order to restore the stability of these upland plant communities, decrease the list of stand replacing fire (and subsequent watershed deterioration), and improve wildlife habitat, restoration of the natural fire regime is required. It is estimated that 1, 000 acres of former fire-climax ponderosa pine habitat is present in the watershed. Reintroducing the natural fire regime would require underburning 250 acres each year over a four year period. Total project cost = $30,000.
Information and Education
Meadow Creek is listed in the Idaho Wildlife Viewing Guide. There is an existing display at the mouth of the stream detailing the BPA funded work on the migration barrier. The McComas Meadow site lends itself to interpretive signing as well as to educational demonstrations. Cost for this portion of the project is estimated to be $10,000.00.

Section 5. Planned activities

Phase PlanningStart 3/97 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Planting - Cultural clearance, ordering materials, hiring crew, collection of seed
Phase PlanningStart 4/97 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Burning - burn plan
Phase PlanningStart 5/97 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Wetland Creation and Channel Alterations - Design contract, cultural clearance, NEPA, Biological Assessment, field inventories, 404 Permit
Phase PlanningStart 6/97 End 6/99Subcontractor No
Road and Watershed Rehabilitation - Work will require NEPA, cultural clearance field inventories, project design, and Biological Assessment (BE/BA).
Phase PlanningStart 6/97 End 6/99Subcontractor No
Information and Education - Scoping, working with project partners, design.
Phase PlanningStart 6/97 End 10/97Subcontractor No
Monitoring - Develop monitoring plan. Purchase needed equipment.
Phase PlanningStart 3/97 End 7/97Subcontractor No
Fencing - Access coordination, purchasing, cultural clearance
Phase ImplementationStart 6/98 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Wetland Creation and Channel Alterations - Drainage ditches will be dammed to raise the water table. Selected meander bends will be modified and stabilized.
Phase ImplementationStart 5/97 End 10/98Subcontractor Yes
Fencing - Locate fence line, build fence
Phase ImplementationStart 5/97 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Burning - set water lines, ignition
Phase ImplementationStart 7/97 End 11/99Subcontractor No
Road and Watershed Rehabilitation - Sediment sources associated with roads, drainage ditches, and naturally unstable sites will be stabilized.
Phase ImplementationStart 6/98 End 12/98Subcontractor No
Information and Education - Project area will be signed
Phase ImplementationStart 5/97 End 10/10Subcontractor No
Monitoring - Air and water temperature will be monitored. Aerial photos and channel profiles will record width:depth ratio, and vegetation recovery. Redd surveys will be conducted.
Phase ImplementationStart 5/97 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Planting - planting riparian hardwoods, spring and fall planting
Phase O&MStart 11/98 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Information and Education -taking down and storing signs
Phase O&MStart 5/98 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Fencing Maintenance
Phase O&MStart 9/97 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Planting - vexar may be needed to protect the plants from wildlife
Phase O&MStart 5/99 End 10/00Subcontractor No
Burning Wetland Creation and Channel Alterations - design modifications
Phase O&MStart 6/98 End 11/00Subcontractor No
Road and Watershed Rehab - follow up mitigation
Project completion date   2000

Constraints or factors that may cause schedule or budget changes
Introducing fire to the forested ecosystem has risks. The Forest has experience with this practice and records show no adverse impact to the aquatic environment.

Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation

SUMMARY OF EXPECTED OUTCOMES

Expected performance of target population or quality change in land area affected
Water temperatures have been documented (Nez Perce Trial Fisheries unpublished) as increasing 10 degrees C from the top of the McComas Meadow to the bottom (2.2 mi.). This project will decrease water temperatures in Meadow Creek. Suspended sediment from the South Fork Clearwater River has the potential to impact critical habitat for listed Snake River fall chinook salmon. This project will help stabilize Meadow Creek and decrease suspended sediment in the basin. Meadow Creek currently supports a small run of steelhead trout. Historic surveys document the presence of bull trout, westslope cutthroat, and chinook salmon. The Nez Perce Forest is committed to recovery of these species and overall ecosystem restoration and protection. The project will benefit from a holistic approach to species recovery and watershed restoration.

Present utilization and convservation potential of target population or area
Juvenile spring/summer Snake River chinook (80,000) were out planted in Meadow Creek in 1988. We observed nine adult salmon returning following this release. No chinook have been observed since 1993. Redd surveys in 1992 counted 1 salmon redd and 4 steelhead redds. Redd surveys in 1993 counted 8 salmon redds and 2 steelhead redds. The potential escapement for Meadow Creek is 150 spring chinook and 150 summer steelhead based on 15 miles of habitat and 10 adults per mile.

Assumed historic status of utilization and conservation potential
It can be assumed that Meadow Creek produced to its potential. Artifacts found in the area indicate use by early man, and Nez Perce history tells of fishing salmon in the meadow.

Long term expected utilization and conservation potential for target population or habitat
The long term goal will be to produce a harvestable population of salmon and steelhead.

Indirect biological or environmental changes
Increased anadromous fish populations will benefit bull trout in the South Fork Clearwater River. Amphibian habitat will be expanded and improved. Improved riparian vegetation will support numerous bird and small mammal populations.

Physical products
Four miles of perimeter fence, 50-100 acres of sediment mitigation, 5-10 acres of wetland creation.

Environmental attributes affected by the project
Summer water temperatures are high(>20 degrees Centigrade). The width: depth ratio for Meadow Creek is high. Suspended and bedload sediment is above natural levels.

Changes assumed or expected for affected environmental attributes
Summer water temperatures will be lowered to meet State water quality standards. The width: depth ratio will be lowered. The suspended and bedload sediment will be reduced.

Measure of attribute changes
The pool:riffle ratio in McComas Meadow will be 60:40, and pool quality will increase.

Assessment of effects on project outcomes of critical uncertainty
The uncertainties associated with salmon and steelhead in the Snake River are extreme. The focus of this project will be on measurable physical parameters which will increase smolt production assuming the runs continue.

Information products
Improved water temperatures compared to past measurements. A decreased width: depth ratio linked to improved land management. Sediment mitigation examples. A high profile cooperative watershed restoration effort involving State, Federal Tribal, BPA and private entities.

Provisions to monitor population status or habitat quality
Base line date includes water temperature monitoring above and below the meadow, aerial photos, and channel transects (surveyed). Woody stem revegetation surveys have been established. Redd surveys have been conducted as well as stream surveys.

Data analysis and evaluation
Water temperature and width: depth ration will be compared to undisturbed channels in a similar setting. Aerial photos will be compared to baseline photos to measure changes.

Information feed back to management decisions
Constant review and evaluation will take place. New information will be shared with all parties and adjustment to planned actions will be taken incorporating new information.

Critical uncertainties affecting project's outcomes
N/A

Evaluation
The partners working on this project will provide for a wide audience. The site is highly visible, and easily accessed. Increased salmon and steelhead spawning in McComas Meadow will be a good measure of success.

Incorporating new information regarding uncertainties
Changes will be made to incorporate new information.

Increasing public awareness of F&W activities
This effort will be tied in to the Clearwater Basin Advisory Group established by the State of Idaho to implement the Federal Clean Water Act.

Section 7. Relationships

Related BPA projectRelationship
8400500 The USFS/BPA Project 84.5 agreement was amended in May, 1985 to include modification of a partial migration barrier in Meadow Crook (South Fork Clearwater River Habitat Enhancement, April 1992, Activities under this proposal will build on actions completed under the previous contract. This project improved fish passage into Meadow Creek.
Related non-BPA projectRelationship
McComas Meadows/Idaho Soil Conservation Commission, Bring Back the Natives, Idaho Chapter American Fisheries Society, Nez Perce Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management, Nez Perce Tribe, USFS, Idaho Department of Fish and GameActivities under this proposal will build on work completed by the Bring Back the Natives project.

Opportunities for cooperation
The current proposal is supported by BPA funding to the Nez Perce Tribe in addition to the funding requested under this proposal. The cooperation will continue between the Clearwater Ranger District and the Nez Perce Tribe. The Idaho Chapter of the American Fisheries Society has adopted the McComas Meadow restoration project as a demonstration site with the promise of continued scientific and financial support. The remaining partners involved in the BBN project mentioned above, are showing continued support.

Section 8. Costs and FTE

1997 Planned  $55,000

Future funding needs   Past obligations (incl. 1997 if done)
FY$ Need% Plan % Implement% O and M
199850,000 10%80% 10%
199937,000 10%80% 10%
200014,500 10%80% 10%
20012,000 5%90% 5%
 
FYObligated
1996737,600
Total737,600
FYOther funding sourceAmountIn-kind value
1998IAFS, USFS, Nez Perce Tribe $500 $5,000$5,000
1999USFS, Nez Perce Tribe, IAFS $5,000$5,000 $500
2000USFS, Nez Perce Tribe $5,000$2,000
2001USFS, IAFS $1,000$500

Other non-financial supporters
Trout Unlimited, ASCS, Idaho Soil Conservation Commission

Longer term costs   N/A
FY97 overhead percent   16%

How does percentage apply to direct costs
[Overhead % not provided so BPA appended older data.]