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
Idaho Model Watershed Habitat Projects

BPA project number   9401700

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Lemhi and Custer Soil and Water Conservation Districts

Sponsor type   ID-Model Watershed

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameRalph Swift
 Mailing address206 Van Dreff
Salmon, Idaho 83467

BPA technical contact   Mark Shaw, EWP 503/230-5239

Biological opinion ID   None

NWPPC Program number   7.7B.3

Short description
Develop Resource Management System (RMS) plans for land owners along the priority stream segments of the Lemhi, Pahsimeroi and East Fork of the Salmon River. The RMS would have the objective of maintaining or enhancing the stream side vegetative cover by controlling livestock grazing along the streams through best management practices.

Project start year   1995    End year   2005

Start of operation and/or maintenance   

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
Project 9202603: Idaho Model Watershed Administration/Implementation Support provides administrative and technical support for the model watershed work. Implementation funds for specific model watershed projects that are high prioritiy in the watershed plan are included in 9401700. The State of Idaho may also provide cost share for implementation.

Both Lemhi and Custer Soil and Water Conservation Districts have applied to the State of Idaho for funding under the State Agricultural Water Quality Improvement Program. This funding would become available in 1997 also and could be used to match BPA funding.

Project history
FY 1995
1. The Dowton/Chewning Fencing Project along the Pahsimeroi. This project was completed in January of 1996 with approximately 1.5 miles of the river corridor fenced. Funding was for materials only with construction by the Shoshone Bannock Tribes Salmon Corps.
2. Parkinson Foundation Seed Farm. This project was for a 50 percent cost-share and is 90 percent complete. The project will be finished by April 1, 1996.

FY 1996
1. The Gary Ingram fence is funded and planned for construction in the East Fork in May.
2. The Star Coleman fence for .75 miles of corridor fence along the Pahsimeroi has been submitted for funding and scheduled for construction by the Tribes in March of 1996.

Biological results achieved
One and one half miles of the Pahsimeroi have been corridor fenced to control grazing. This was joined to a fence that was installed and paid for by Idaho Power. The Coleman project will add to this and corridor fence the Pahsimeroi for about three miles from its mouth to Burstead Lane.

The Parkinson Project created seven miles of fair to good habitat previously blocked by an irrigation diversion and a previously de-watered section of the Pahsimeroi is now accessible full season. The total biological benefits are yet to be determined by future monitoring.

Annual reports and technical papers
See the Idaho's Model Water Project #9202603. Reports, papers and etc. will be a function of the above project.

Management implications
Funding of this initiative will mean the maintenance of at least forty miles of the most important habitat in the Lemhi, Pahsimeroi and East Fork of the Salmon. The stream segments targeted for funding produce approximately fifty (50) percent of the production of the endangered spring/summer chinook in the Upper Salmon River Drainage. Without funding this habitat will slowly degrade.

Specific measureable objectives
Objectives of the "Stream Side Vegetative Improvement Initiative" are as follows:

1. Reduce water temperatures in streams through shading of the stream with improved vegetative cover.

2. Reduce erosion of streambanks to decrease fine silts in spawning gravels.

3. Increase cover of streambanks to improve quality of fish resting and feeding cover.

4. Increased productivity of anadromous fish through increase egg to fry survival and fry to smolt survival.

Testable hypothesis
The hypothesis is that by increasing the quantity and quality of vegetation along the sixty miles of fair to good quality habitat in the three river basins will increase the egg to smolt production of these waters from the current seven to nine percent to fifteen to twenty percent.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Critical constraints to production were identified by using a watershed assessment, a habitat inventory and evaluation of the occupied habitat by chinook salmon in the watershed and through stream temperature monitoring. This inventory and evaluation determined that the factors currently limiting production are:

1. Above average sediment in the spawning gravels,
2. Stream temperatures exceeding anadromous fish thresholds during part of the season, and
3. Lack of protective cover from predators.

The underlying assumption of this hypotheses is that by improving the stream side vegetative cover, the above limiting factors would be treated. Another underlying assumption is that by implementing a management program to conrol livestock grazing along the streams, the quantity and quality of streamside vegetative cover will improve.

Streamside vegtative cover quality and quality is currently a result of the land use and management treatment. The main land uses in these three watersheds are pasture and hayland.

The method used is long term contracting with property owners along the sixty miles of stream to apply Best Management Practices for the maintenance and enhancement of the streamside vegetative cover. This is modeled after the Natural Resources Conservation Service "Great Plains Program", Idaho Soil Conservation Commission's "State Agricultural Water Quality Program" and the Farm Services Agency "Agricultural Conservation Programs Long Term Agreements". These are time tested methods of planning and getting conservation measures applied on the land for specific objectives. The Best Management Practices to be used are found in

the Soil and Water Conservation District Technical Guide or in the Idaho Agricultural Pollution Abatement Plan. The BMPs could include but are not limited to the following:

1. Pasture and Hayland Management
2. Critical Area Treatment
3. Livestock Exclusion
4. Planned Grazing Systems
5. Heavy Use Area Protection
6. Livestock Crossing
7. Stream Bank Protection
8. Fencing
9. Livestock Water Development
10. Proper Grazing Use, Riparian Area

BMPs would be installed using a variable cost-share rate based on a fishery benefit criteria. BPA funding may even be used as match for other funding when the fishery benefits are extremely high.

Brief schedule of activities
Approximately thirty contracts would be developed covering 15,000 acres along forty to sixty miles of stream over the next three years. Practice application would begin immediately and be completed by 2001.

The major task for FY 1997 would be to get under contract the following land:

1. Land from Cottom Lane to Leadore. This includes approximately ten miles of the Lemhi River and about six miles of Big Springs Creek. Big Springs Creek is a tributary to the Lemhi.

2. The land from the mouth of the Pahsimeroi to Fury Lane. This includes approximately eight miles of the Pahsimeroi plus numerous spring tributaries. Approximately three miles of this section will be treated by the end of FY 1996.

3. The private land in Herd Creek, a tributary of the East Fork of the Salmon River. This would cover about two miles of stream.

These stream segments were given top priority in the Model Watershed Plan for maintenance and enhancement through streamside vegetative cover improvement.

Biological need
The priority stream segments identified in the Model Watershed Plan and targeted for treatment with this program funding have consistently accounted for fifty percent of the redd counts for the upper Salmon River Basin. Maintaining and enhancing the productive capacity of these segments will continue to provide for diversity of habitat as well as improving the productive quality of the habitat. Streamside cover in these critical reaches have had increased pressure from livestock grazing as federal allotments have been trimmed in time and quantity. This habitat is slowly degrading with increases of sediment in the gravels, more unstable streambanks and increased stream bank erosion, and increases in water temperatures. Biologists have measureed water temperatures as high as 70o F during the day with a fifteen degree early morning to late afternoon deviation.

Livestock grazers cannot afford to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) on their own for the sole purpose of improving fish habitat. Because ninety percent of the habitat is on privately owned land, it is necessary to offer some incentives to get this improved management to provide for fishery benefits.

Critical uncertainties
The critical uncertainty is: Can a cost-share program be designed that will get participation from landowners to install BMPs to benefit the streamside vegetative cover and ultimately the fishery habitat of the targeted high priority stream segments?

The current perception of the Soil and Water Conservation Districts is that if it can be designed to have benefits for the landowner as well as the fish habitat, the landowner will participate. This is providing it is voluntary and that strings attached to such a program are not so restrictive that they or their neighbor become regulated by them.

Summary of expected outcome
The expected outcome of funding over the next three years would be treatment of seventy-five (75) percent of the priority stream segments to improve the quality and quantity of the streamside vegetative cover. The benefits would be improved spawning and rearing habitat on about sixty miles of stream in the Lemhi, Pahsimeroi and East Fork of the Salmon River watersheds.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
The success of this project is tied to continued funding for the Model Watershed Coordination project #9202603. It is aIso dependent on staff support from the Idaho Soil Conservation Commission or from the other technical agencies such as Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, Shoshone Bannock Tribes, U.S. Forest Service. These agencies supply the needed technical assistance to develop the Resource Mangement System plan and then to write and administer the contract. These agencies must have a continued commitment for staff to work with private land owners to improve fish habitat.

NEPA documentation on the plan and the necessary consultation on BMP's that are likely to have a short term effect but not adversely affect the existence of the salmon should all be complete by the start of FY 1997.

Risks are that you would plan and install the BMPs and the salmon would be extinct before the habitat benefits were achieved.

Monitoring activity
Monitoring would be done as per the Model Watershed Plan. It would be done individually on a watershed basis. For example, water temperature would be monitored on a stream-wide basis with several monitoring points. These would be done with Hobo Water Temperature meters or possibly using some infra-red photography methodology currently being developed in the Grande Ronde. Individually, each stream segment under the plan would have site photography and green line data gathered. This would be done on a yearly or bi-yearly basis. Follow up would also be done to see that management practices in the Long Term Agreement were being followed.

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
1995: 25,000
Obligation: 0
Authorized: 23,375
Planned: 14,225
1997: 200,000
1998: 100,000
1999: 100,000
2000: 150,000

* 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   $200,000

BPA 1997 authorized budget (approved start-of-year budget)   $175,000