Response for project 200201301: Water Entity (Rpa 151) Nwppc

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

NFWF desires renewal of "project 2002-013-01: Water Entity (Rpa 151) Nwppc" in FY 2006. The proposed FY 2006 budget of $5,000,000 is consistent with our expections and sufficient for the Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program (CBWTP) to implement water transactions and riparian conservation easements next year.

Accomplishments since the last review

Season of the lease in start and end month. (mm)In 2003, there were 32 water right transactions completed under the CBWTP. In 2004, there were 24 transactions. The season of use for the acquired water rights varies depending on the deal. The period of use typically occurs betweens April 1 & October 31.
# of miles of total stream reach improvement. (0.1 mi.) Includes primary and secondary reachesIn 2003, flow was restored to over 436 river miles of stream in the Columbia Basin. In 2004, flow was to nearly 238 river miles of stream. 2005 transactions are still under review and consideration.
Flow of water returned to the stream as prescribed in the acquisition (0.1 cfs)In 2003, there was 133.62 cfs of flow restored and in 2004 there was 319.11 cfs of flow restored. 2005 transactions are still under review and consideration.
Amount of water secured (0.1 acre-feet/year)In 2003, there was 30,641.28 acre-feet of water secured and in 2004 there was 32,201.47 acre-feet of water secured. 2005 transactions are still under review and consideration.
Start and end dates of the returned flow. (mm/dd/yyyy)The duration varies depending on the terms of the water transaction. However, in 2003 most deals were either annual or short-term. In 2004, a third of the deals were either long-term or permanent.

The CBWTP is currently implementing water right transactions for the third consecutive year. We have received 45 transaction proposals this fiscal year that are currently being evaluated and processed for funding by BPA. We will know the final metrics for FY 2005 in the Fall. The program has made significant progress in the quality of the transactions implemented and funded since its inception in April 2002. The CBWTP is also coordinating with BPA and the Council this fiscal year to pilot implementation of the Columbia Basin Riparian Conservation Easement Program in the Columbia Cascade Province.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Season of the lease in start and end month. (mm)The season of use for the acquired water rights varies depending on the deal. The period of use typically occurs betweens April 1 & October 31.
# of miles of total stream reach improvement. (0.1 mi.) Includes primary and secondary reaches2006 transactions are in development. We expect the total number of river miles with restored flow to be similar to those accomplished during FY 2003 to FY 2005.
Flow of water returned to the stream as prescribed in the acquisition (0.1 cfs)2006 transactions are in development. We expect the rate of flow restored to be similar to that restored during FY 2003 to FY 2005.
Amount of water secured (0.1 acre-feet/year)2006 transactions are in development. We expect the total amount of water secured to be similar to that secured during FY 2003 to FY 2005.
Start and end dates of the returned flow. (mm/dd/yyyy)The duration depends on the terms of each specific water transaction.

The QLEs are currently developing their FY 2006 transaction projections. Metrics are expected to be similar to results achieved in FY 2003 through 2005.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The CBWTP is implementing water right transactions throughout the Columbia Basin, consistent with 16 different subbasin plans in which local entities are developing water transactions. Given the character limit for this text box, it is not possible to fully demonstrate how this project is consistent with each of the 16 subbasin plans. These subbasin plans describe inadequate streamflows as a limiting factor and water right transactions as a response strategy. For example, Methow Subbasin Plan (pg. 355), 5.7.1 Spring Chinook, Objective 4: Strategy 8 - Increase and require spring flow augmentation; Okanogan Subbasin Plan (pg. 37), Assessment Unit: O4—Loup Loup, Strategy 1-1E - Pursue methods to acquire permanent water rights for in-stream use (i.e. water banking, increasing storage capacity, easement purchase and trust water donations); John Day Subbasin Plan (pg. 257), Section 5.2.2.4., Strategies C1 and C2--In-stream water right leases and acquisitions, and irrigation efficiency projects; Grande Ronde Subbasin Plan (pg. 262), Section 5.2.1.2.: Habitat Objectives and Strategies--Low Flow Condition strategy, Reduce irrigation withdrawals through an integrated program of irrigation efficiency improvements, diversion point consolidations, water right leasing and water right purchase, where applicable with willing landowners; Salmon Subbasin Plan, Aquatic Objective 9A: By 2010, complete stream reach-specific designations (and maintenance) of streamflows that are adequate for life history stages of focal species, and are sufficient for providing channel maintenance, 9A2: Lease or acquire water rights, 9A5: Use existing water banks to secure flows in appropriate areas, 9A6: Provide adequate flows to support spawning and rearing life stages of focal species. Consistency to the subbasin plans for muc of Montana is not possible due to the lack of subbasin plans for most areas. We have information demonstrating project consistency with the other 12 subbasin plans in which water transactions are in development. This information is available upon request.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

To varying degrees, the 16 subbasin plans prioritize water right transactions as key response to the limiting factor of inadequate streamflows. Again, given the character limit for this text box, it is not possible to fully demonstrate how this project is a priority within each of the 16 subbasin plans. Examples: John Day Subbasin Plan (pg. 251), Table 75: Ranking of strategies--Improving in-stream flow ranked 3rd, improving fish passage ranked 2nd; Umatilla Subbasin Plan (pg. 5-29 to 5-30), identifies Birch Creek as a priority geographic area for Steelhead species. Priority management strategies in the area include: "Purchase water rights from willing sellers," (ranked 2nd) and "Increase water conservation and irrigation efficiency" (ranked 3rd); Walla Walla Subbasin Plan (pg. 10), Section 1.3: Imminent Threat-type projects are a first priority and "Dry Stream Reaches" is one of the three identified Imminent Threats; Entiat Subbasin Plan (pg. 175), Section 7.6.3: Recommendations for Management--Strategies, Objectives, and Near-term Opportunities include reduce impact, and increase efficiency of water withdrawal during August and September by 2020. Transactions completed under the CBWTP are a priority as they concentrate on increasing flow and also affect fish passage depending on the specific agreement. We have information demonstrating project consistency with the other 12 subbasin plans. This information is available upon request.

Other comments