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
N. Fork John Day River Dredge Tailings Restoration

BPA project number   9605300

Short description
Restore floodplain function to 9 miles of the North Fork John Day River that was dredge mined in the late 30's

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
USDA Forest Service, Umatilla National Forest; Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameJohn Sanchez, Forest Fish Program Manager
 Mailing addressUmatilla National Forest, 2517 SW Hailey Avenue
Pendleton, OR 97801


Section 2. Goals

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

Target stockLife stageMgmt code (see below)
John Day River Spring ChinookSpawning adults and rearing juvenilesN, W
John Day River Summer SteelheadSpawning adults and rearing juvenilesN, W

Affected stockBenefit or detriment
Bull TroutBeneficial
Redband TroutBeneficial

Section 3. Background

Stream area affected

Stream name   North Fork John Day River
Stream miles affected   River mile 65.5 to 76.3
Subbasin   John Day River
Land ownership   Public
Acres affected   270

A $30,000 USDA Forest Service pilot project was completed in 1993. Additional project cost share totals $38,000 USFWS Acid Spill trust fund, Blue Mtn. Chapter Trout Unlimited $1,500, US Forest Service $40,000 from anadromous fish habitat and watershed improvement.

Biological results achieved
Stream cross-section profiles to measure floodplain recovery. Photopoints established to monitor riparian vegetation recovery.

Project reports and papers
R-6 Fish Habitat Technical Bulletin, Number 5, September 1994, North Fork John Day Dredge Tailings Restoration Project by Shaun P. McKinney and Edward Calame.

Adaptive management implications
Past dredge mining severely altered the North Fork John Day River floodplain and instream characteristics. The tailings piles left behind confine the stream to a strait, narrow, high velocity channel. The results of these activities continue to cause streambank erosion and loss of fish habitat. This project is an excellent example of adaptive management. Previous restoration activities were more structure oriented while this new approach seeks to restore ecological floodplain function. Techniques developed on this project would have application throughout the world where dredge tailing channel restoration projects could be considered to restore fish and wildlife habitat.

Section 4. Purpose and methods

Specific measureable objectives
The project will consist of redistributing dredge tailings piles within the floodplain of the river including intermittent side channels and the main river channel. This treatment will allow the river to pass high flows, dissipate energy, and deposit sediment and would allow the river to meander through the floodplain and create quality fish and wildlife habitat. The purpose of the project is to improve salmonid rearing habitat, water quality, streambank stability and riparian function. Physical channel parameters make excellent measurable objectives for this proposed project. The cone-shaped dredge tailings piles restrict high stream flows to a narrow channel that results in accelerated bank erosion. Channel profile objectives would be established for each project reach.

Critical uncertainties
Without this project critical salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing habitat would continue to be severely limited due to constraints on the floodplain function.

Biological need
The North Fork John Day River is home to wild runs of summer steelhead and spring chinook salmon. This multi-year project will restore the floodplain by re-depositing the dredge tailings allowing the river to flow over portions of the floodplain previously unavailable. Channel complexity and fish habitat quality and quantity will increase as the river reclaims its floodplain, dissipating the energy of high flow events and depositing sediment that promotes riparian vegetation growth.

Hypothesis to be tested

Alternative approaches
An alternative to construct a new channel with stable morphological characteristics was considered but eliminated because it would not meet visual standards for the Wild and Scenic River corridor, had a high risk of failure, and was very expensive.

Justification for planning

Restoration of natural floodplain function will be accomplished through the reconstruction of the natural floodplain strata disturbed by past mining activities using heavy equipment. Gravel and cobble tailing piles will be used to fill depressions in the floodplain following removal of built-up fine sediments. These sediments will then be used to cover the leveled tailings for recovery of natural riparian vegetation in the floodplain.

Section 5. Planned activities

Phase ImplementationStart 7/1/97 End 10/30/97Subcontractor
Project Construction
Phase O&MStart 1999 End 2001Subcontractor
Monitoring and riparian vegetation planting
Project completion date   1998

Constraints or factors that may cause schedule or budget changes
There are no known risks associated with the implementation of this project.

Section 6. Outcomes, monitoring and evaluation


Expected performance of target population or quality change in land area affected
During high flow events this project will result in channel building rather than streambank erosion when flows are allowed to spread out over the floodplain and dissipate their energy. This will help wild stocks of steelhead and salmon recover to their full ecological potential by conserving, protecting, and restoring cold-water fisheries habitat and their watersheds. Ultimately, this project will allows the river to discover its own course once we have freed it from the artificial tailings piles. Most of the tailings will be redistributed into dry side channels and floodplain, with an excavator with a 35 foot reach that will seldom enter the river. Increase sediment will also be minimized by working while the stream is at low flow levels. With the long arm of the excavator, dredge tailings will be removed with minimal disturbance of existing vegetation. Native riparian vegetation will be established in disturbed areas above the high water mark.

Present utilization and convservation potential of target population or area
Spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead trout wild stocks are depressed in the John Day River basin. Summer steelhead are presently proposed for further study by the National Marine Fisheries Service under Endangered Species Act Implementation.

Assumed historic status of utilization and conservation potential
Stocks were historically healthy and supported a Native American fishery.

Long term expected utilization and conservation potential for target population or habitat
Wild stocks of anadromous fish have excellent potential for recovery because of their position low in the Columbia basin. They need only negotiate three major dams on the main stem Columbia River.

Contribution toward long-term goal
Recovery of historic habitat by restoration of floodplain function.

Indirect biological or environmental changes
None Known

Physical products
150,000 cubic yards of dredge tailing piles redistributed to restore floodplain function.

Environmental attributes affected by the project
Riparian vegetation recovery will indirectly be promoted by restablishment of the floodplain.

Changes assumed or expected for affected environmental attributes
Temporary, short term increases in water turbidity with long-term improvement in water quality is expected.

Measure of attribute changes

Assessment of effects on project outcomes of critical uncertainty
No critical uncertainties were identified

Information products
Annual monitoring report will be produced in 1999 through 2001.

Coordination outcomes

The strategy for monitoring and evaluating the project results will be through suspended sediment samplers, photo point, and stream cross-section profiles. Suspended sediment samplers are used above and below project activities to measure suspended sediment concentrations. Photo points are established to monitor riparian vegetation recovery on both the floodplain and flood terraces. Stream cross-section profiles are surveys to measure changes in the river thalweg and to determine if the river channel is aggrading or degrading. Monitoring and evaluation will continue for at least 10 years in and around the project site.

Provisions to monitor population status or habitat quality
Annual redd surveys are conducted jointly by ODFW and USFS.

Data analysis and evaluation
Annual monitoring reports 1999 - 2001.

Information feed back to management decisions
Project Implementation began in 1997. Information from the pilot project each additional year of implementation has been used to improve the activities each year.

Critical uncertainties affecting project's outcomes
No critical uncertainties are identified.

Riparian vegetation recovery documented by photo points. Anadromous fish spawning and rearing within the project area.

Incorporating new information regarding uncertainties
Project implementation is conducted by our direction of equipment rental contract. We have complete control of on-the-ground activities and can easily adapt to new information.

Increasing public awareness of F&W activities
Many Forest visitors have been to the project site during construction and always leave with a greater understanding of floodplain function. Project accomplishments have been presented a local sportsmen club meetings, Regional stream restoration workshops, and to the Government of British Columbia.

Section 7. Relationships

Related BPA projectRelationship
5502800 8400800 The new proposal is an example of adaptive management. Project work was accomplished in the early 80's with contract 8400800.

Opportunities for cooperation
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and USDA Forest Service, Umatilla National Forest are Co-applicants on this proposed project. Earlier phases of the project have received support from the Acid Spill Trust Fund which is co-managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Blue Mountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited in an active participant in project activities with volunteer in kind services and a $500 cash pledge for 1996 activities as well as sponsoring the project for Embrace-a-Stream and Bring Back the Natives grant proposals. A letter of support for the project was received from the Pacific Rivers Council after their representatives coming. Charlie Dewberry and Willa Nehlsen spent a day of review at the project site.

Section 8. Costs and FTE

1997 Planned  $100,000

Future funding needs   Past obligations (incl. 1997 if done)
FY$ Need% Plan % Implement% O and M
1998100,000 0%100%  
199920,000 0%0% 100%
200020,000 0%0% 100%
200120,000 0%0% 100%
20020 0%0% 100%
FYOther funding sourceAmountIn-kind value
1998USFS Acid Spill Trust Fund Blue Mtn. Chapter Trout Unlimited $80,000 $20,000$1,000
1999USFS Acid Spill Trust Fund Blue Mtn. Chapter Trout Unlimited $10,000$1,000
2000USFS Acid Spill Trust Fund Blue Mtn. Chapter Trout Unlimited $10,000$1,000
2001USFS Acid Spill Trust Fund Blue Mtn. Chapter Trout Unlimited $10,000$1,000

Other non-financial supporters
Pacific Rivers Council Letter of Support

Longer term costs   None


FY97 overhead percent   10.7%

How does percentage apply to direct costs
Total direct project costs

Contractor FTE   _____ people for a total of _____ full time equivalents
Subcontractor FTE   Four equipment operators