200721900 - Clackamas Watershed Prioritized Fish Passage Barrier Removal

Sponsor: Clackamas River Basin Council

Budgets: FY07: $21,520 | FY08: $164,520 | FY09: $20,020

Short description: Coordinate the repair of the number two prioritized fish passage barriers in the Lower Clackamas watershed in Clear Creek in order to re-establish full access to sixteen miles of habitat and increase production of coho salmon and winter steelhead.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $21,520 | FY08: $100,520 | FY09: $20,020

Comment: Sponsors should take the ISRP comments into account

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)

Comment:

This proposal is set in an area important to the recently listed Lower Columbia River (LCR) Coho ESU as well as to the LCR steelhead ESU and the LCR Chinook ESU. The proposal describes an opportunity to work with a willing landowner to fix a passage barrier on Clear Creek, a priority restoration target in the Willamette Subbasin Plan, the Clackamas River Basin Action Plan, and to general measures of the Fish and Wildlife Program, which will allow access to 16 miles of high quality habitat once removed. According to the Willamette Subbasin plan, the Clackamas is one of the last bastions of listed lower Columbia River coho salmon. The Clackamas lower river tributaries have considerable potential to add habitat and refugia for all anadromous fish populations in the Basin. These are habitat factors that are lacking in the heavily urbanized lower Willamette River. Obstructions (culverts) are key limiting factors in the Clear Creek tributary. Addressing key fish passage barriers in these tributaries will provide access to refugia, spawning and rearing habitat for Lower Columbia River ESU Coho and Winter steelhead. It is important to provide unrestricted access to this higher quality habitat that has lower temperatures, better riparian buffers, better spawning habitat, and better rearing habitat. The proposal has been exceptionally well done for a simple passage barrier removal project. Three objectives are measurable and specific; although not further explained in this section, they are consistent with discussions in an earlier section. Methods to develop a passage restoration plan are brief but adequate. Full marks are given for specifying a clear-span bridge; however, a more detailed explanation of the methods for replacing the ford with a bridge, and for monitoring would improve the proposal. The monitoring and evaluation is the weakest part of the proposal but Objective 3 and associated Task 3a indicate that post project monitoring for project evaluation will be done (snorkeling surveys). The proposal is put into the context of other Clear Creek projects being conducted through collaborations of Clackamas River Basin Council, ODFW, OWEB, OWHF, METRO, PGE and landowners. A number of habitat improvement projects are being undertaken. Information transfer is well described and a variety of avenues (Clackamas River Basin Council website, school tours, workshops, etc.) will be employed to publicize this project. Benefits from this project should persist for a long time for the focal species, coho and winter steelhead. Other species will likely receive long-term benefits from reconnected habitat.

State/province recommendation: Fundable, but at a reduced level

Review group: OSPIT - Estuary

Recommended budgets: FY07: $21,520 | FY08: $100,520 | FY09: $20,020

Comment: OSPIT recommends that The Nature Conservancy or NOAA's Open Rivers Initiative would be able to fund a portion of the implementation cost at approximately $64K, reducing the FY08 budget from proposed.