FY07-09 proposal 200713700

Jump to Reviews and Recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Proposal titleOpen Channels
Proposal ID200713700
OrganizationFriends of the Teton River
Short descriptionOpen Channels has 3 elements: 1 Removing fish barriers to improve connectivity of tributary headwaters to the River 2 Improving flow conditions in tributaries during critical YCT reproduction 3 Stream bank restoration, improved habitat & less sedimentatn
Information transferAs part of FTR’s ongoing operations plan, FTR will monitor and evaluate results on Trail Creek, catalog replicable results and apply them to other tributaries with similar challenges and identify opportunities on other tributaries to address their problems under the Open Channels methodology
Proposal contact person or principal investigator
Form submitter
mitch felchle Friends of the Teton River mitch@tetonwater.org
All assigned contacts
mitch felchle Friends of the Teton River mitch@tetonwater.org

Section 2. Locations

Province / subbasin: Upper Snake / Snake Headwaters

Trail Creek Enter project or location description here

Section 3. Focal species

primary: Yellowstone Cutthroat

Section 4. Past accomplishments


Section 5. Relationships to other projects

Funding sourceRelated IDRelated titleRelationship
[Funding Source left blank] [no entry] FTR has conducted extensive research on YCT in the upper Teton Watershed, including: 1) Detailed hydrologic analyses of the valley (including two groundwater studies, and a surface water - groundwater study in the context of hydrologic alteration); 2) Study of the distribution and abundance of juvenile YCT, recruitment bottlenecks, and spawning distribution; 3) 2005 study of barriers to fish passage and entrainment hazards in Teton River tributaries; and 4) 2005 study of trout populations in the headwater tributary streams to the Teton River.
[Funding Source left blank] [no entry] [Relationship field left blank]
[Funding Source left blank] [no entry] YCT research [Relationship field left blank]

Section 6. Biological objectives

Biological objectivesFull descriptionAssociated subbasin planStrategy
YCT Objective—To increase the reproductive success of YCT on Trail Creek by improvements in connectivity to the Teton River, improving flow conditions during critical YCT reproductive periods and stream bank restoration and revegetation. Upper Snake F. Seasonal water needs, H. Maintain flows, I. Habitat alternation

Section 7. Work elements (coming back to this)

Work element nameWork element titleDescriptionStart dateEnd dateEst budget
Upland Erosion and Sedimentation Control Stream bank restoration E. Restore approximately 1500 linear feet of degraded streambank in the vicinity of the town of Victor, Idaho. Work will focus on stabilization efforts designed to slow bank erosion, capture sediment, foster willow growth, and provide fish habitat. By reducing the erosion of banks and stabilizing them, downstream spawning habitat will be restored by slowing the sedimentation which tends to plug interstitial spaces in spawning gravels. 1/1/2007 12/31/2008 $200,000
Biological objectives
Develop and Negotiate Water Right Transaction Irrigation management plan A. Evaluate each of the 10 irrigation diversions on Trail Creek and tributaries. Identify water rights holders, diversion flows and dates of use. Produce a GIS map of each diversion showing its associated canal network and individual water rights. B. Identify amounts of water that can be returned to the stream in key locations and at key times; conduct meetings with Trail Creek Sprinkler Irrigation Company to review options and discuss feasibility. C. Work to reach agreements on irrigation management strategies designed to restore flows in Trail Creek from the mountains to the Teton River during critical YCT lifecycle periods, and prepare irrigation management plan. D. Work with the Trail Creek Sprinkler Irrigation Company to implement the management plan. 1/1/2007 12/31/2008 $100,000
Biological objectives

Section 8. Budgets

Itemized estimated budget
Personnel [blank] $40,000 $40,000 $0
Supplies Restoration $60,000 $60,000 $0
Other water right transactions $50,000 $50,000 $0
Totals $150,000 $150,000 $0
Total estimated FY 2007-2009 budgets
Total itemized budget: $300,000
Total work element budget: $300,000
Cost sharing
Funding source/orgItem or service providedFY 07 est value ($)FY 08 est value ($)FY 09 est value ($)Cash or in-kind?Status
athur schultz foundation grant $7,500 $7,500 $0 Cash Under Review
Idaho Fish & Game staff $100,000 $10,000 $0 In-Kind Under Development
idaho state U staff $3,000 $3,000 $0 In-Kind Under Development
Landowners Contributions $5,000 $5,000 $0 Cash Under Development
On the Rocks Restoration material $5,000 $5,000 $0 In-Kind Under Development
snake river cutthroats grant $2,000 $2,000 $0 Cash Confirmed
trout unlimited grants $3,000 $3,000 $0 Cash Under Development
Totals $125,500 $35,500 $0

Section 9. Project future

FY 2010 estimated budget: $0
FY 2011 estimated budget: $0
Comments: Not capable of estimation toady

Future O&M costs:

Termination date: 121/31/2008
Comments: End of Phase 1 of Open Channels

Final deliverables: Improvements in place on Trail Creek to rebuild viable native trout and increase trout population in Teton River

Section 10. Narrative and other documents


Reviews and recommendations

FY07 budget FY08 budget FY09 budget Total budget Type Category Recommendation
NPCC FINAL FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS (Oct 23, 2006) [full Council recs]
$150,000 $150,000 $0 $300,000 Expense ProvinceExpense Fund
NPCC DRAFT FUNDING RECOMMENDATIONS (Sep 15, 2006) [full Council recs]
$150,000 $150,000 $0 $0 ProvinceExpense
Comments: Address ISRP concerns during contracting.


Recommendation: Response requested

NPCC comments: The exclusive focus of this proposal is on Yellowstone cutthroat trout, but other components of the community need to be taken into consideration including food sources. The sponsors take a habitat-based approach, and it is not clear what the fish benefits would be. Specifically, the actions proposed for the Yellowstone cutthroat trout would also benefit brook trout. So is there an overall benefit to the Yellowstone cutthroat trout? Reviewers suggest that consideration of fish populations be included, and collaboration with fish-centric groups like Idaho Fish and Game is needed for, among other things, effective M&E. The pilot habitat project is not adequately justified in terms of fish benefits. This area of the watershed has a long history of being de-watered and populated by non-natives. The portion of the project dealing with irrigation management strategy seems valuable. What more would this funding add to outcome of Idaho Department of Water Resources contract to develop an irrigation management plan? Irrigation planning methods seem reasonable, but what types of changes are envisioned that would provide the needed water? And what are the water rights implications of these? How many cfs are needed to restore flow and connectivity? The restoration proposal might be worthwhile, and the problem identification sounds reasonable. However, a response is needed on several questions related to the lack of an accurate description of where the restoration area is and how it functions in the larger landscape. How much stream habitat is degraded? Why is Trail Creek given highest priority for a pilot habitat restoration effort? No information was given on fish populations, and no specific information was provided regarding limiting factors. What gains in fish populations could be expected after project completion? How much sediment is being produced by damaged banks? Are these actions alone sufficient given the trout problem? Are there conditions up- or down-stream that might negate improvements? Who owns the land to be restored, and how will the improvements be maintained? Will the water saved be reserved for instream use? See the Columbia Basin Water Transaction Program’s criteria. Without such detail, it is difficult to assess suitability of the ("widely accepted") riparian restoration techniques selected. In-stream structures often do more harm than good and apparently no independent engineering assessment or review is planned. Permit reviews would not be sufficient in this regard. Most sources of technical and scientific background are in-house. The proposers note the subbasin plan and cite its objectives. It seems there are only Friends of Teton River projects and general partnerships, except for the contract with IDWR. The Irrigation District is not mentioned. Personnel appear experienced and qualified, but their role and degree of involvement is not explicit and the personnel section of budget is modest for this stable of personnel. Major equipment will be needed. Will this be contracted? Information transfer is not explicit, nor are any data issues addressed. Effectiveness monitoring is needed, and project objectives would need to be more specific to develop a sound monitoring and evaluation plan. It seems all that will be monitored is implementation of the irrigation plan. No plan to monitor fish response is proposed, nor any parameters associated with fish population declines. A response should better describe their monitoring and evaluation plans.

ISRP FINAL REVIEW (Aug 31, 2006)

Recommendation: Fundable in part

NPCC comments: The response provides a more complete justification for the original request, including details of appropriate collaboration with Idaho Fish and Game and an irrigation company, among partners. More monitoring has been explained, including that to be done by Idaho Fish and Game. The sponsors have addressed questions about expected fish benefits, the quantity of streamflow (cfs) needed to restore connectivity, and available resources. The portion of the proposal to develop/negotiate water right transactions is fundable. It is clearly described, preceded by strong preliminary study, and has a very high potential for benefiting native salmonids. Flow restoration in tributaries and removal of barriers to fish migration are justified. The ISRP recognizes the difficulties involved in formalizing water transfers in this area at this time, but encourages the sponsors to keep this future possibility in mind (see Columbia Basin Water Transaction Program criteria). It is not clear that streambank and habitat restoration as presently planned will be the most effective strategy to benefit Yellowstone cutthroat trout after flow restoration. Two-thirds of the cost of the work proposed is for restoring a section of the bank of Trail Creek. Unfortunately the "hard" approach proposed (rock "stabilization" and structure placement) is expensive and subject to failure. In addition, details were lacking and neither the proposal nor response provides enough material for thorough review of this project component at this time. Sponsors are strongly encouraged to fully explore softer bioengineering and passive restoration techniques. Habitat restoration design can be funded at this point, but not implementation. Monitoring results of the current Trail Creek restoration work described in the response will be useful in developing plans for the segment currently proposed.