FY 2007 Solicitation Homepage

Project Proposal Request for FY 2007 - FY 2009 Funding

Proposal 200203400: Wheeler Co Riparian Buffers

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Table of Contents
Part 1. Administration and Budgeting
Section 1: General Administrative
Section 2: Project Location
Section 3: Project Species
Section 4: Past Accomplishments
Section 5: Relationship to Other Projects
Section 6: Biological Objectives
Section 7: Work Elements
Section 8: Budget
Section 9: Project Future
Section 10: Documents
Part 2. Reviews
Part 1 of 2. Administration and Budgeting
Section 1: General Administrative Information
Process Information:
Date Proposal Submitted & Finalized Status Form Generator
January 9, 2006 Finalized Sue Greer

Proposal Type: Ongoing
Proposal Number: 200203400
Proposal Name: Wheeler Co Riparian Buffers
BPA Project Manager: Jamie Swan
Agency, Institution or Organization: Wheeler County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD)
Short Description: This proposal will provide technical support and planning needed to implement riparian buffer contracts (CREP) on streams within Wheeler County. Ripairan buffers address many of the limiting factors identified in the John Day Sub-basin Plan
Information Transfer: This proposal's information will be collected, transferred and available for review on the BPA publication and Pisces Report website.
 
Project Proposal Contacts
Contact Organization Address Phone/Email Roles Notes
Form Submitter
Sue Greer Wheeler Soil & Water Conservation District P.O. Box 431
Fossil, Oregon 97830
Ph: 541-468-2990
Fax: 541-468-2991
Email: suegreer@gmail.com
Form Submitter
All Assigned Contacts
Sue Greer Wheeler Soil & Water Conservation District P.O. Box 431
Fossil, Oregon 97830
Ph: 541-468-2990
Fax: 541-468-2991
Email: suegreer@gmail.com
Form Submitter
Technical Contact
Judy Potter Wheeler SWCD P.O. Box 431
Fossil, Oregon 97830
Ph: 541-468-3265
Fax: 541-468-2108
Email: judypotter@centurytel.net
Administrative Contact
Project Lead

Section 2: Project Location
Sponsor Province: Columbia Plateau ARG Province: No Change
Sponsor Subbasin: John Day ARG Subbasin: No Change
Location(s) at which the action will be implemented
Latitude Longitude Waterbody Location Description County/State Subbasin Primary?
45" 04' 120" 29' Wheeler Soil & Water Conservation District Boundary ~ NW Corner Wheeler, Oregon John Day No
45" 04' 119" 47' Wheeler SWCD boundary ~ NE Corner Wheeler, Oregon John Day No
44" 26' 120" 23' Wheeler SWCD boundary ~ SW Corner Wheeler, Oregon John Day No
44" 18' 119" 39' Wheeler SWCD boundary ~ SE Corner Wheeler, Oregon John Day No

Section 3: Focal Species
Focal Species:
Primary Secondary Additional Species
Steelhead Middle Columbia River ESU
Interior Redband Trout
Pacific Lamprey
American Beaver, Ferruginous Hawk, Sage Sparrow, Columbia Spotted Frog, Great Blue Heron, Yellow Warbler

Section 4: Past Accomplishments
Past Accomplishments for Each Fiscal Year of This Project
Fiscal Year Accomplishments
2005 Implemented 179.9 acres of riparian buffer contracts impacting over 13.44 miles of stream reaches on Butte Crk/Stone Cabin Crk/Mountain Crk/Tributary of Cottonwood Crk; outreach & education: 1 newsletter article/2 displays/3 tours/1 presentation.
2004 Implemented 132 acres of riparian buffer contracts impacting over 13.87 miles of stream reaches on Bear Crk/Mountain Crk/Trib of Kahler Crk/West Branch Bridge Crk/Nelson Crk; outreach & education: 2 newsletter articles/2 displays/2 tours/3 presentations
2003 Implemented 65.1 acres of riparian buffer contracts that impacted over 6.09 miles of stream reaches on Lake Crk/West Fork Butte Crk; outreach & education: 1 article in newsletter/2 displays/1 tour/1 presentation.
2002 Planning and organization of position infrastructure. Hiring to fill staff position. Training of staff. Acquistion of necessary field and office equipment.

Section 5: Relationships to Other Projects
Other Current Projects Related to this Project (any funding source)
Funding Source Related ID Related Project Title Relationship
Other: NOAA/American Rivers #146 City of Fossil Culvert Replacement This project will also improve passage for all life stages of steelhead spawning and rearing on Butte Creek. Another project resulting from the WSWCD prioritization process.
Other: BLM [no entry] Bridge Creek Russian Olive Abatement Working to improve riparian habitat, the Bridge Creek Watershed Council partnered with the Wheeler SWCD, the Wheeler County Weed Department and the BLM to remove six miles of invasive Russian olive trees and saplings on Bridge Creek.
Other: USFWS 1448-13420-02-J Pine Creek Culvert Removal Removed fish passage barrier culvert, decommissioned road, installed juniper root wads and built step pools to facilitate fish passage. CREP was later implemented along this stretch of habitat.
BPA 199802200 Pine Creek/Wagner Management CREP buffers were installed along 5 miles of Pine Creek (see OWEB grant #204-431)
Other: OWEB 201-540 Mountain Creek Riparian Planting Utilized FFA class to learn and plant riparian vegetation along 1/2 mile stretch of Mountain Creek. This same stretch later was enrolled into CREP.
Other: OWEB 201-541 Gable Creek Ranch Irrigation Efficiency This project consolidate diversion points, remove one diversion, replace another, installed fish screen and converted open irrigation ditch to pipe. Part of the original proposal was to include CREP. Landowner changed mind but may consider it in the future.
Other: OWEB 201-684 Brooks/Hovet Bridge Creek Water Quality Improvement Moved point of diversion, removed failing diversion, installed new diversion, installed pump fish screen, converted over 10,000 feet of open ditch to pipe. Part of original proposal was to include CREP, landowner changed mind but may consider it in the future.
Other: OWEB 203-206 Clarno Road Culvert replacement Replaced fish passage barrier near the mouth of Pine Creek. The first of three important fish passage fixes on this important spawning and rearing tributary. The manager of Pine Creek Conservation Area later installed five miles of CREP near this location.
OWEB - State 204-055 Wheeler SWCD Support Outreach & education relating to the CREP buffer program occurs with each landowner contact made by the Watershed Coordinator.
PCSRF - OWEB 204-055A Wheeler SWCD Support Outreach & education relating to CREP buffer program occurs with each landowner contact; information and contacts are made at each watershed council meeting (Mid-John Day WSC & Bridge Creek WSC)
OWEB - State 204-259 Lillicrop Upland Stockwater This project provided a solar pump and holding tank to facilitate upland water developments bordering one mile of their CREP project. The watering sites were outside the cooridor normally picked up by CREP cost share.
PCSRF - OWEB 204-308 Butte Cr Watershed Assessment Once assessment is completed (June 2006) it will help further guide the prioritization of Butte Creek stream reaches for restoration. It is also a valuable tool for education and outreach.
OWEB - State 204-431 Robinson Canyon Culvert Replacement One culvert was replaced on Pine Creek and two culverts were replaced on a tributary to Pine Creek, reducing the amount of sediment entering the stream system. This location was upstream of the five miles of CREP installed on Pine Creek.
OWEB - State 205-088 Butte Cr Riparian Restoration This project relocated point of diversion closer to place of use; installed new fish-friendly diversion, converted 2,600 feet of open ditch to pipe, incorporated exclusion fencing along creek, developed four off-channel water troughs for livestock. CREP was part of original proposal, landowner and FSA had some differences, landowner changed his mind. May consider it in the future.
OWEB - State 205-089 Pine Cr Prescription Fire For This 5,800 acre prescribed burn is located on the adjacent uplands to the five mile section of Pine Creek that was contracted into the CREP program.
OWEB - State 205-091 Nelson Cr Diversion Replacemen Landowner put one mile of CREP buffer on the section of creek where this diversion project was installed.
OWEB - State 205-205 Sweet Diversion Replacement Improved fish passage and channel structure. Potential for CREP program.
OWEB - State 205-206 Hashknife Bridge Replaced a failing culvert that also was a fish passage barrier with a steel bridge. Because of success of this project, CREP is being considered near this location.
OWEB - State 206-144 City of Fossil Culvert Replace This project will improve passage for all life stages of steelhead on Butte Creek. There is already one CREP contract on Butte Creek and several other landowners have expressed an interest in CREP.
OWEB - State 206-145 Alder Cr Culvert Replacement By replacing this failing culvert with a bottomless arch culvert, all life stages of steelhead and resident redband trout will be able to use Alder Creek for spawning and rearing. Potential for future CREP contracts feasible on this creek.
OWEB - State 206-146 Lower Twickenham Irrigation Pr Landowner is interested in contracting a riparian buffer on the section of land that borders this irrigation efficiency project.
OWEB - State 206-151 Butte Cr WS Juniper Abatement Upland removal and reseeding on Butte Creek drainage. Goal to improve hydrology on Butte Creek and important tributaries. Improved hydrology faciliates better flows and fish passage; hence aiding in riparian restoration on this JDSP priority stream.
OWEB - State 25-04-007 Cottonwood Cr Spring Developme Improving riparian habitat by luring livestock off of Cottonwood Creek to upland water developments. Also will assist in grazing management plan.
OWEB - State 25-04-020 Lost Valley Channel Stabilizat Stabilized 150' of creek channel; planted riparian vegetation. Landowner considered CREP but later changed his mind. May look into it for the future.
OWEB - State 25-04-024 Circle Bar Spring Development Upland water developments on West Branch Bridge Creek. Landowner has expressed interest in CREP.
Other: OWEB 99-606 Mountain Creek Riparian Planting ph1 This project planted riparian vegetation along Mountain Creek. Project success prompted second phase (grant #201-540) and CREP contract.

Section 6: Biological Objectives
Biological Objectives of this Proposed Project
Biological Objective Full Description Associated Subbasin Plan Strategy Page Nos
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems Implement 25 CREP contracts to increase diversity and density of riparian vegetation along Wheeler County streams John Day Riparian Habitat Improvements Protecting Existing High Quality Habitat Areas Education & Outreach 263, 270, 278
Quantitative performance for Redband trout Within 25 years: Achieve stable population sizes in all populations and increase trends in half of the present populations. Within 50 years: All populations should show increasing trends in abundance or be at the capacity of the restored habitat. Re-establish connected environments between existing populations to allow metapopulation interactions. Expand some populations beyond their baseline distributions. John Day Flow Restoration, Riparian Habitat Improvements, Protect Existing Habitat, Education & Outreach, and Upland Improvements. 240, 242-246
Quantitative performance for steelhead Within 25 years: Restore freshwater productivity of steelhead populations 7,450 with each adult producing 126 smolts. Within 50 years: Restore freshwater productivity of steelhead populations 12,417 with each adult producing 209 smolts. Both these benchmarks are for Lower John Day geographic area rather than the entire basin. John Day Flow Restoration, Riparian Habitat Improvement, Protect Existing Habitat, Education & Outreach, and Upland Improvements. 238, 242-246
Restore Riparian Systems Improve riparian spawning and rearing habitat on the John Day River and associated tributaries by enrolling 500 acres in CREP program John Day Riparian Habitat Improvements Protecting Existing High Quality Habitat Areas Education & Outreach 263, 270, 278

Section 7: Work Elements
Work Elements and Associated Biological Objectives
Work Element Name Work Element Title Description Start Date End Date Estimated Budget
01: Outreach and Education Outreach & Education To The Private Landowners Provide outreach and education to private landowners and community groups to inform and gather support and understanding for riparian restoration. This will be done by presentations made at the Bridge Creek and the Mid-John Day Watershed Council meetings each year, a presentation made annually to the Wheeler County Court, educational displays installed twice a year at the Wheeler SWCD annual meeting and dinner and at the Wheeler County Fair, informational fact sheet on CREP opportunities mailed out annually to all landowners in Wheeler County, one article submitted to the local newspapers regarding CREP/CCRP opportunities, one public on-site educational tour of a CREP project. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $55,729
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
* # of general public reached: 4,000

02: Identify and Select Projects Coordinate With Private Landowners & Partner Agencies Meet with interested landowners to assess eligibility of stream reaches for CREP/CCRP. Determine if specific sites are eligible based on the condition of the resources on site. Meet with the local NRCS and the FSA on a regular basis to assure process is correct and on target. Wheeler SWCD Riparian Buffer Specialist will obtain initial landowner sign-up (CRP1) for program. Once site is determined to be eligible and landowner signs CRP1, plan development begins. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $55,728
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element

03: Produce Environmental Compliance Documentation Prepare & Submit NRCS Environmental Checklist Prepare and submit NRCS environmental checklist for conservation plan. This includes threatened and endangered species (T&E) and the cultural antiquities (CCR). Once initial response is obtained, coordinate any required field visits. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) clearance is not needed for the project because BPA does not pay for groundwork. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $5,573
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element

04: Produce Inventory or Assessment Coordinate With Private Landowners & Partner Agencies Meet on-site with interested landowners to produce inventory and assessments on stream reaches for CREP/CCRP. Determine what conservation practices are required to improve conditions of resources on-site. Use programmatic inventory and assessment process created by the Farm Services Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) are used to make those assessments. Meet with the local NRCS and the FSA on a regular basis to assure process is correct and on target. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $41,796
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element

05: Produce Plan Produce Conservation Plan For Landowners Develop conservation plan design and specifications. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $39,010
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element

06: Coordination Sign CCRP/CREP Agreements With Landowners, NRCS, SWCD & FSA The final CREP/CCRP program application (CRP2) once signed by landowner and partnering agencies (NRCS, SWCD, FSA) signifies that commitment of desired property to CREP/CCRP rules, prescribed practices, etc. and is filed in local Farm Services Agency office. Part of the Riparian Buffer Specialist’s role is to ensure a smooth process and communication between landowners and partnering agencies. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $19,505
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element

07: Provide Technical Review Provide Technical Review On Implementation Of Conservation Plan After the CRP2 agreement with the landowner has been approved by the FSA County Committee, the Riparian Buffer Specialist will provide additional technical assistance and coordination necessary to implement the approved conservation plan and prescribed practices. This includes fencing, riparian plantings, off-channel water developments, spring developments as well as other conservation practices as deemed appropriate. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $27,864
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element

08: Other Produce Status Report Prepare quarterly status reports using on-line Pisces system. These reports will include a summary of all deliverables including outreach & education, landowner contacts, CREP/CCRP contracts signed. It will also include significant issues regarding project implementation. Track and report progress on streams protected by buffers in such a format as may be required to support BPA ESA reporting but not to breach the federal privacy standards required by partnering agencies NRCS and FSA. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $8,360
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element

10: Manage and Administer Projects Manage & Administer Project Develop FY07-09 Statement of Work (SOW), budget, spending plan and inventory list. Attend any required BPA, NWPCC, CBFWA conferences or workshops. Maintain workplans, workforce and records. Manage project resources. 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $16,719
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element

11: Produce Annual Report Prepare FY Annual Reports Deliver Annual Reports to BPA Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) The annual report will include outreach efforts and summary of potential contracts. Annual Report will also address significant issues regarding project implementation. Report will cover the FY08 contract performance periods 5/1/2007 - 4/30/2008, 5/1/2008 - 4/30/2009 and 5/1/2009 - 4/30/2010 5/1/2007 4/30/2010 $8,359
Biological Objectives Metrics
Enhance Vegetation along Riparian Stream Systems
Quantitative performance for Redband trout
Quantitative performance for steelhead
Restore Riparian Systems
No Metrics for this Work Element


Section 8: Budget

Itemized Estimated Budget
Item Note FY 2007 Cost FY 2008 Cost FY 2009 Cost
Personnel Riparian Buffer Specialist $40,800 $42,000 $43,200
Personnel District Manager $7,800 $7,800 $7,800
Fringe Benefits 33% $16,038 $16,434 $16,830
Supplies office supplies, software upgrades, field supplies, education materials $6,000 $6,000 $6,000
Travel training per diem, mileage, lodging $1,140 $1,140 $1,140
Capital Equipment computer/peripherials $ 0 $2,500 $ 0
Overhead rent, telephone, internet, satellite phone $5,640 $5,880 $5,970
Other Fiscal Admin $8,162 $8,615 $8,554
Travel vehicle fuel & maintenance $4,200 $4,400 $4,600
Totals $89,780 $94,769 $94,094

Total Estimated FY 2007-2009 Budgets
Total Itemized Budget$278,643
Total Work Element budget$278,643

Cost sharing
Funding Source or Organization Item or Service Provided FY 2007 Est Value ($) FY 2008 Est Value ($) FY 2009 Est Value ($) Cash or in-kind? Status
Farm Services Agency Estimate-implementation cost share (50%) $467,698 $534,512 $668,140 Cash Under Development
Farm Services Agency Estimate-Incentive payments $30,374 $41,458 $47,888 Cash Under Development
Farm Services Agency Estimate-Lease payments 10-15 yr. contracts (100%) $11,746 $13,424 $16,780 Cash Under Development
Landowners Estimate-implementation costs (25%) $233,849 $267,256 $334,070 In-Kind Under Development
NRCS Training & technical supervison $15,500 $15,500 $15,500 In-Kind Under Review
OWEB Estimate-implementation cost share (25%) $233,849 $267,256 $334,070 Cash Under Development
Wheeler SWCD Partial office space/partial supplies & overhead, equipment use/staff support $52,016 $53,576 $55,183 In-Kind Confirmed
Totals $1,045,032 $1,192,982 $1,471,631

Section 9: Project Future
Project Future Costs and/or Termination
FY 2010 Est Budget FY 2011 Est Budget Comments
$94,094 $95,505 continuation of project
Future Operations & Maintenance Costs
possible lease of vehicle ~ $7,400 annual ($2,000 up front; $450/month)
 
Termination Date Comments
none
 
Final Deliverables
Annual reports, quarterly reports. internal publications and fact sheets on CREP/CCRP

Section 10: Narrative
Document Type Size Date

Part 2 of 2. Reviews of Proposal
Administrative Review Group (ARG) Results
Account Type:
Expense
No changes were made to this proposal


NPCC Final Funding Recommendations (October 23, 2006) [Full NPCC Council Recs]

FY 2007 Budget
$ 0
FY 2008 Budget
$ 0
FY 2009 Budget
$ 0
Total NPCC Rec
$ 0
Budget Type:Expense
Budget Category:ProvinceExpense
Recommendation:Do Not Fund
Comments:


NPCC Draft Funding Recommendations (September 15, 2006) [Full NPCC Council Recs]

FY 2007 Budget
$ 0
FY 2008 Budget
$ 0
FY 2009 Budget
$ 0
Total NPCC Rec
$ 0
FY 2007 MSRT Rec
$ 0
FY 2008 MSRT Rec
$ 0
FY 2009 MSRT Rec
$ 0
Total MSRT Rec
$ 0
Budget Category:ProvinceExpense
Comments:

Local or MSRT Comments: OSPIT notes the importance of the CREP projects to DEQ and their ability to draw matching funds. However, budgeting restrictions will not permit us to fund these projects.


Independent Scientific Review Panel Final Review (August 31, 2006) [Download full document]

Recommendation: Response requested
NPCC Comments: The SWCD projects as a group continue to be cost-effective approaches to leveraging a large amount of USDA money in CCRP/CREP contracts that would probably not be implemented without the funding of these development positions. The riparian buffer contracts have the potential for strong benefits to aquatic habitat, and so aquatic species, as well as to non-aquatic riparian species.

The proposal briefly but clearly describes the nature of the riparian problem and the need for private landowner cooperation. It specifically identifies how riparian buffers will address the aquatic habitat limiting factors identified in the John Day Subbasin Plan as well as the listing factors in the DEQ 303(d) stream segments in Wheeler County. Wheeler SWCD has developed, in collaboration with ODFW, and OWR, a map of passage barriers and habitat potential, and has used this map to prioritize riparian enhancement projects. This project has extensive links and collaborative efforts with other projects conducted through a number of different entities throughout the subbasin.

The proposal describes the project history in terms of what did or did not happen, but does not go beyond this to evaluate why things did or did not happen. The proposal would be improved if it presented the project history in more analytical terms, going beyond description to evaluation of why the position has been hard to fill, why landowners do not see it in their interest to sign on, and how to make it in landowner interest to adopt riparian buffer plans, etc. How was the 2002 enrollment target of 60 contracts developed? Why wasn’t it achieved?

Objectives are linked to the focal species of the John Day Subbasin Plan and reflect components of riparian buffer contracts. They are measured in: # contracts, acres, miles. It is good to have these objectives quantified, but as with other riparian buffer projects it would be helpful to know the basis for these numbers, to understand how the SWCDs develop their enrollment targets or how these targeted enrollments relate to the total need.

The work elements are reasonable and follow NRCS protocols. The project will monitor riparian buffer implementation and the effectiveness of livestock exclusion. Monitoring and evaluation will also be conducted through the application of NRCS protocols, in which a baseline visual stream assessment is followed by subsequent periodic assessments to assess terrestrial change within the riparian buffer. The ISRP recommends that to more completely assess post-project results and effectiveness a cooperative effort be implemented with ODFW to also monitor fisheries and stream habitat response to the implementation of riparian buffers.

The sponsors should clarify whether the conservation plans developed as part of CREP enrollment are kept confidential or are reported as part of the project results. If conservation plans are not reported, can they be synthesized in a way that will allow monitoring of progress toward meeting their objectives? The issue of project data provision vs. USDA confidentiality requirements should be addressed.

The proposal mentions low rates of adoption in the last funding period. It would be useful to have the sponsors explain how these will be addressed in the next funding cycle. Will outreach and education be conducted in a different manner or target specific areas of concern, or reasons for non-adoption? Will the outreach and education effort have the information to identify landowner concerns, for the purpose of understanding and acknowledgement of reasons for nonparticipation, and to better identify how it might be made in their interest? Has the project learned from its history and is it able to modify practice to improve the number of CREP/CCRP contracts?

As with other riparian buffer projects the evaluation aspect could be enhanced by evaluating factors influencing enrollment (although this proposal is notable for having included some discussion of this aspect in the rationale section) and lessons learned from the development and implementation of these contracts. The ISRP recommends that the Oregon SWCDs work together to identify general findings as well as outcomes that vary by SWCD. The evaluation could identify ways to tie in outreach and education with landowner incentives and constraints. Additional thinking might be developed on how to target new audiences.

The ISRP requests a response clarifying the following issues identified in the review:

1. The potential to develop a cooperative effort with ODFW to monitor fisheries and stream habitat response to the implementation of riparian buffers.

2. How enrollment objectives are determined.

3. Whether the conservation plans developed as part of CREP enrollment are kept confidential or are reported as part of the project results. If conservation plans are not reported, can they be synthesized in a way that will allow monitoring of progress toward meeting their objectives?

4. The potential for SWCD collaborative development of a report assessing the determinants of successful implementation processes for riparian buffer contracts and other USDA voluntary conservation programs.


Independent Scientific Review Panel Preliminary Review (June 2, 2006) [Download full document]

Recommendation: Response requested
NPCC Comments: The SWCD projects as a group continue to be cost-effective approaches to leveraging a large amount of USDA money in CCRP/CREP contracts that would probably not be implemented without the funding of these development positions. The riparian buffer contracts have the potential for strong benefits to aquatic habitat, and so aquatic species, as well as to non-aquatic riparian species.

The proposal briefly but clearly describes the nature of the riparian problem and the need for private landowner cooperation. It specifically identifies how riparian buffers will address the aquatic habitat limiting factors identified in the John Day Subbasin Plan as well as the listing factors in the DEQ 303(d) stream segments in Wheeler County. Wheeler SWCD has developed, in collaboration with ODFW, and OWR, a map of passage barriers and habitat potential, and has used this map to prioritize riparian enhancement projects. This project has extensive links and collaborative efforts with other projects conducted through a number of different entities throughout the subbasin.

The proposal describes the project history in terms of what did or did not happen, but does not go beyond this to evaluate why things did or did not happen. The proposal would be improved if it presented the project history in more analytical terms, going beyond description to evaluation of why the position has been hard to fill, why landowners do not see it in their interest to sign on, and how to make it in landowner interest to adopt riparian buffer plans, etc. How was the 2002 enrollment target of 60 contracts developed? Why wasn’t it achieved?

Objectives are linked to the focal species of the John Day Subbasin Plan and reflect components of riparian buffer contracts. They are measured in: # contracts, acres, miles. It is good to have these objectives quantified, but as with other riparian buffer projects it would be helpful to know the basis for these numbers, to understand how the SWCDs develop their enrollment targets or how these targeted enrollments relate to the total need.

The work elements are reasonable and follow NRCS protocols. The project will monitor riparian buffer implementation and the effectiveness of livestock exclusion. Monitoring and evaluation will also be conducted through the application of NRCS protocols, in which a baseline visual stream assessment is followed by subsequent periodic assessments to assess terrestrial change within the riparian buffer. The ISRP recommends that to more completely assess post-project results and effectiveness a cooperative effort be implemented with ODFW to also monitor fisheries and stream habitat response to the implementation of riparian buffers.

The sponsors should clarify whether the conservation plans developed as part of CREP enrollment are kept confidential or are reported as part of the project results. If conservation plans are not reported, can they be synthesized in a way that will allow monitoring of progress toward meeting their objectives? The issue of project data provision vs. USDA confidentiality requirements should be addressed.

The proposal mentions low rates of adoption in the last funding period. It would be useful to have the sponsors explain how these will be addressed in the next funding cycle. Will outreach and education be conducted in a different manner or target specific areas of concern, or reasons for non-adoption? Will the outreach and education effort have the information to identify landowner concerns, for the purpose of understanding and acknowledgement of reasons for nonparticipation, and to better identify how it might be made in their interest? Has the project learned from its history and is it able to modify practice to improve the number of CREP/CCRP contracts?

As with other riparian buffer projects the evaluation aspect could be enhanced by evaluating factors influencing enrollment (although this proposal is notable for having included some discussion of this aspect in the rationale section) and lessons learned from the development and implementation of these contracts. The ISRP recommends that the Oregon SWCDs work together to identify general findings as well as outcomes that vary by SWCD. The evaluation could identify ways to tie in outreach and education with landowner incentives and constraints. Additional thinking might be developed on how to target new audiences.

The ISRP requests a response clarifying the following issues identified in the review:

1. The potential to develop a cooperative effort with ODFW to monitor fisheries and stream habitat response to the implementation of riparian buffers.

2. How enrollment objectives are determined.

3. Whether the conservation plans developed as part of CREP enrollment are kept confidential or are reported as part of the project results. If conservation plans are not reported, can they be synthesized in a way that will allow monitoring of progress toward meeting their objectives?

4. The potential for SWCD collaborative development of a report assessing the determinants of successful implementation processes for riparian buffer contracts and other USDA voluntary conservation programs.

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