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
Lower Red River Meadow Restoration Project

BPA project number   9303501

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Pocket Water Inc/River Master Engineering

Sponsor type   ID-Consultant

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameSteve Bauer
 Mailing addressPocket Water Inc.
8560 Atwater Drive
Boise, Idaho 83714

BPA technical contact   Allyn Meuleman, EWP 208/334-1005

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   3.1B.3, 3.1D.1

Short description
Restore natural river functions, fisheries habitat, and riparian shrub communities in lower Red River Meadow that have been degraded over time. Historic stream meanders that were cut off by dredging activity will be reconnected to the existing channel. Native riparian shrub communities will be restored to provide bank stabilization, cover, and temperature control.

Project start year   1995    End year   2001

Start of operation and/or maintenance   2001

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
South Fork Clearwater River Habitat Enhancement, Nez Perce National Forest.

Project history
Red River is a tributary of the South Fork Clearwater River, an important anadromous fisheries production stream in central Idaho. The lower meadow contains 4.4 miles of steam channel which flows through four parcels of state and private land. In 1994 BPA and Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District (ISWCD) joined in partnership with Idaho Fish and Game to purchase the Little Ponderosa Ranch for chinook salmon mitigation required under the Endangered Species Act. The Ranch is managed as the Red River WMA and is dedicated to fish and wildlife enhancement. The IDSWCD initiated stream restoration planning in 1995 with contracts to consultants. The preliminary plan will be completed on March 15, 1996 and plans are to initiate stream restoration work in June, 1996.

This project continues the long-term effort of state and federal agencies to rebuild fish populations and restore fish habitat in the South Fork Clearwater River Basin. Since 1984 the Nez Perce National Forest and BPA have invested 1.2 million dollars on chinook salmon and steelhead trout habitat in this basin. The lower meadow project extends this effort on state and private lands and recognizes the leadership of a grass roots organization, the Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District, in providing the linkage to the private land owner. To date the project has completed planning and design and is ready to initiate implementation in the summer of 1996.

Biological results achieved
The Nez Perce N.F. completed habitat enhancement projects in Crooked River, Red River, Meadow Creek, Haysfork Gloryhole, Cal-Idaho Gloryhole, Fisher Placer, and Leggett Placer. Improvements are reported in number of pools, rehabilitation of areas of flood plain, number of instream structures, and area of spawning and rearing habitat improved.

In 1996 the Lower Red River meadow project will benefit 1,966 meters of stream, and provide 30,000 square meters of chinook salmon spawning and rearing habitat. During the next several years the project will improve over 4.5 miles of stream channel for salmon habitat.

Annual reports and technical papers
Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District. 1994. Lower Red River Meadow Restoration Project, Grangeville, Idaho.

Bauer, S.B. 1994. Red River meadow fisheries habiat reconnaissance. Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District, Grangeville, Idaho, 9 p.

Brunsfeld, S.J., D. Dawes, S. McGeehan, and D.G. Ogle. 1995. An analysis of riparian soils, vegetation, and revegetation options at Red River. Prepared for Idaho Soil and Water Conservation District.
Siddall, P. 1992. South Fork Clearwater River habitat enhancement. Nez Perce National Forest. Bonneville Power Administration, DE-A179-84B16475, Portland, Oregon. 90 p.

Management implications
The project will provide a useful model for improving streams that have been damaged by dredging, channelization, and riparian grazing. The project will provide a demonstration of the coordination of channel reconstruction with riparian shrub community restoration.

Specific measureable objectives
The overall goal is to restore the diverse physical and biological features which historically provided high quality habitat for chinook salmon spawning and rearing. Specific objectives will be measured by length of stable stream bank improved, area of spawning and rearing habitat restored, area of riparian shrub community restored, length of channel for fisheries habitat added to the existing channel length, and area of shade and canopy gained. Specific project objectives include:

1. Restore channel geometry.
2. Restore channel meander pattern.
3. Restore habitat type diversity.
4. Restore instream and overhead cover.
5. Restore riparian vegetation.
6. Increase bank stability.
7. Improve substrate condition and water quality.
8. Improve wildlife habitats.
9. Demonstrate stream restoration is compatible with private land management objectives.
10. Provide opportunities for education on fish and wildlife restoration methods.
11. Evaluate objectives by comparison of reconstructed channels to historic conditions using aerial photo interpretation and stream channel measures.

Testable hypothesis
The restoration project provides a demonstration project to test various methods in stream restoration. Specific hypotheses will be established in relationship to monitoring stream attributes in pre- and post project monitoring design.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Underlying assumptions relate to ecological principles of habitat restoration and natural reproduction of salmonids:
1. An important limiting factor to anadromous fish production in the project reach is the poor quality of the current habitat; restoring degraded habitat will increase spawning and rearing habitat and consequently increase smolt production from this drainage.

2. Restoring natural river function and process will move the stream toward a long-term trend in habitat recovery with minimal need for further human intervention.
3. Restoration of riparian shrub communities have far reaching benefits to riparian dependent species of wildlife and will provide critical refugia to head off future listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Methods are directed at achieving the goal of restoring natural river functions and processes. The existing river channel will be reconnected to historic channels through construction of short channel reaches. The overall channel length and sinuosity will increase, gradient will decrease, and the channel will narrow. The result of these physical changes is to increase number and frequency of pools and the diversity of macro-habitat types and the potential for the stream to create micro-habitat elements. The second major change is the increase in the water surface elevation to maintain wetted stream banks and riparian areas. Water table enhancement will increase the period of wetted soils necessary for restoration of the native shrub community. Revegetation will be accelerated by direct planting of nursery grown stock and protection of these areas from wildlife herbivory.

Brief schedule of activities
Stream restoration activities are planned in Phases over the next six year period until the entire meadow has been treated. Construction monitoring, project evaluation monitoring, public information activities, corrective actions, and operation and maintenance activities will run concurrently with channel restoration activities.

Phase 1, 1996. Upper Red River WMA (Idaho Fish and Game)

A preliminary plan for stream restoration has been completed and is illustrated in Figure 3 and 4. The existing stream channel will be reconnected to the historic stream channel, i.e., original sections of the channel that were cut off by channelization. Historic channels have the appropriate plan form, gradient, and cross section to provide quality aquatic habitat. New channel sections will only be constructed to facilitate connection between historic and existing channels. Grade control structures at cross over reaches will be used to gradually raise the elevation of the water surface. A revegetation program will emphasize the use of native riparian shrubs. Methods to reduce herbivory by wildlife and assure survival during the critical summer low flows are being incorporated into project design. Erosion control methods will assure no degradation of downstream resources and will be monitored for compliance during the construction phase.

Phase 1 is considered a demonstration project and will provide answers to questions that have been raised by the interdisciplinary team regarding the stream restoration approach.

Phase 2, 1997. Lower Red River WMA (Idaho Fish and Game)

Detailed engineering surveys have already been completed for the lower section of the Red River WMA. Final design for this section will incorporate lessons learned from construction of the upper reach. This section will continue the same principles of design used in the upper reach, historic channels will be connected to the existing channel and the elevation of the channel will be raised gradually using grade control structures.

Phase 3, 1998 Lower Gibler Reach (Private Lands)

The Gibler section, located directly above Red River WMA, is a straight channel with little of the historic channel remaining. Restoration techniques may rely more heavily on construction of new channel reaches to achieve increased channel length and optimal cross-section dimensions. Fortunately, there are no structures or existing grazing systems in use that will conflict with stream restoration. This phase will include both channel design and implementation.

Phase 4, 1999 Upper Gibler Reach (Private Lands)

Completion of the upper Gibler reach will provide connectivity to stream reaches on the Nez Perce National Forest that have benefitted from earlier efforts at stream restoration.
Phase 5, 2000 Upper Johnson Ranch (Private Lands)

The Johnson property is operated as a riparian pasture and hay meadow. The restoration plan will emphasize working with the land owner to obtain both improved aquatic habitat and meet the land owner’s management objectives. There is an opportunity to reshape abandoned dredge piles and reconnect existing channels to abandoned historic channels.

Phase 6, 2001 Lower Johnson Ranch (Private Lands)

The lower section has similar opportunities and challenges as the upper Johnson reach. Completion of this phase will have restored all dredged and straightened reaches of the lower Red River meadow.

Biological need
The project addresses the mitigation requirements of the Endangered Species Act for chinook salmon. The project will provide high quality spawning and rearing habitat which is lacking in the South Fork Clearwater River basin. The project will also improve habitat for resident fish and wildlife.

Critical uncertainties
The project will assist in answering gaps in knowledge regarding stream restoration techniques. In many nearby projects establishing riparian shrub communities has not be successful. The project has begun investigating these problems and will develop additional approaches to overcoming the limiting factors of dry soils and wildlife herbivory in these high elevation meadows. Uncertainty in project implementation relates to the effect of variable climatic and hydrologic conditions which affect the available working period.

Summary of expected outcome
The project will assist the BPA in meeting the requirements of compliance with ESA for chinook salmon, but, also for sensitive species such as steelhead trout and bull trout. Over the long term additional high quality habitat will provide increased opportunities for spawning and rearing. This increase in quantity and quality of habitat provides the potential for significant increases in smolt production from the Red River drainage.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
The action is dependent on receipt of permits for stream channel alteration and completion of NEPA. These actions, however, have been in progress and no obstacles are anticipated. The activity in 1996 and 1997 occurs with the concurrence of a willing landowner. Future year activities depend on completion of agreements with private landowners. Cooperative opportunities occur with the Red River WMA Advisory Committee which includes public agencies and private foundations. Secondly, the Red River WMA is established in part to provide educational opportunities for primary and secondary education as well as the general public. Stream restoration activities provide exciting opportunities for participation by volunteer groups and cooperative research programs with university fish and wildlife programs.

Risks are associated with generation of off-site suspended sediment if sediment control practices are not successful. Flooding of adjacent neighbors is possible if contractors install grade control structures incorrectly.

Monitoring activity
Two types of monitoring are anticipated:

Construction Period Monitoring: Water quality monitoring will be completed throughout the construction period to assure compliance with water quality standards and permit requirements. Monitoring will include turbidity as a surrogate for suspended sediment to obtain a continuous record of sediment movement and quantity throughout the project.

Project Evaluation: A pre- and post project monitoring system will evaluate progress toward stream restoration goals to include channel morphology, fisheries habitat, riparian vegetation, and water quality parameters.

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
1993: 62,478
1994: 450,000
1996: 0
New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 729,000
1998: 500,000
1999: 500,000
2000: 500,000
2001: 500,000

* 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   Snake River

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $729,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $703,000