2010 Wildlife project review

Proposal 199205900: Amazon Basin/Eugene Wetlands

1. Administrative
2. Location
3. Species
4. Past accomplishments  
5. Relationships
6. Objectives
7. Work elements   
8. Budget
9. Future
10. Narrative

Organization: Nature Conservancy

Short description:
Continue restoration and enhancement of Willow Creek Wildlife Mitigation Area. Habitats being protected or restored include riparian zones of seasonal streams, wet prairie, upland prairie, forested wetland, oak woodland, and dry coniferous forest.

Contacts

Contact nameRoleAddressPhoneEmail
Jason Nuckols Form Submitter The Nature Conservancy
87200 Rathbone Rd.
Eugene, OR 97402
541-343-1010 jnuckols@tnc.org

Section 2. Location

Province: Lower Columbia Subbasin: Willamette

Specific locations

Lat/longLocation descWaterbody (lake or stream)County/StateSubbasinResolutionPrimary?
44deg02'00", 123deg10'00" Located in the Willamette Valley ecoregion, situated at the margin of the valley floor on the western edge of Eugene. The site is in the Willow Creek watershed. Willow Creek is a tributary of Amazon Creek and the Long Tom River. Willow Creek Lane Oregon Willamette stream Yes

Section 3. Species

Primary: Wildlife: All Wildlife

Additional species: Bradshaw's Lomatium, Common Yellowthroat, Northern Harrier, Willamette Valley Daisy, Fender's Blue Butterfly, Kincaid's Lupine, Shaggy horkelia, Vesper Sparrow, Western Bluebird, White-topped Aster, Western Meadowlark, Western grey squirrel, Beaver, Black-capped Chickadee, Red-tailed Hawk, American kestrel, Chipping sparrow, Wood duck, Willow flycatcher, White-breasted nuthatch, Western Wood-pewee, Olive-sided flycatcher, Vaux’s swift, Green heron, Valley Quail, Yellow Warbler, Pileated woodpecker, Acorn woodpecker, River otter and Western Pond Turtle, Southern alligator lizard,

Section 4. Past accomplishments

FYAccomplishment
1995 Acquired conservation easement over 330 acres of habitat.
1996 Completed the Willow Creek wildlife management plan and Environmental Assessment proposing restoration and enhancement actions and wildlife mitigation credits that would be produced.
1997 Implementation of restoration and enhancement actions proposed in management plan.
1998 Implementation of restoration and enhancement actions proposed in management plan.
1999 Implementation of restoration and enhancement actions proposed in management plan.
2000 Implementation of restoration and enhancement actions proposed in management plan.
2001 Implementation of restoration and enhancement actions proposed in management plan. Completed baseline Habitat Evaluation on newly acquired tracts (99 acres). Performed follow-up Habitat Evaluation on 330 acres.
2002 Implementation of restoration and enhancement actions proposed in management plan.
2003 Implementation of restoration and enhancement actions proposed in management plan.
2004 Acquired conservation easement over an additional 167 acres of habitat (Willow Creek total = 497 acres).
2005 Expanded the implementation of restoration and enhancement actions to include the four new parcels acquired in 2004. Completed the largest prescribed burns to project date. Installed RAWS at project site.
2006 Began upland prairie/Fender's blue butterfly site preparation on 45 acres of old field. Cut, chipped and hauled to green waste facility approximately 200 tons of non-native woody material.
2007 Continued 45 acres of upland restoration to benefit Fender's blue butterfly. Continued 21 years of successful fire management completing four controlled burns, including burns within designated critical habitat.
2008 Planted 45 acres of upland prairie to benefit Fender's blue butterfly. Completed OWEB-funded technical assistance project to determine feasibility of restoring the conflience of Willow Creek. Cut, chipped and hauled 230 tons of non-native woody material.

Section 5. Relationships to other projects

Funding sourceProject IDProject TitleRelationship
BPA 199107800 Burlington Bottoms Wldlf Mitig Complimentary habitat protection to improve the viability of focal species in the Willamette Basin
BPA 199206800 Willamette Basin Mitigation Complimentary habitat protection to improve the viability of focal species in the Willamette Basin
Other: McKenzie River Trust [no entry] McKenzie and Long Tom River Acquisitions Complimentary habitat protection to improve the viability of focal species in the Willamette Basin
Other: USFWS [no entry] Fender's Blue Butterfly Monitoring Funded monitoring of Fender's blue butterfly at Willow Creek from 1993 to 2009
Other: LCOG [no entry] Rivers to Ridges Project Planning Developing a comprehensive natural area and open space plan for Eugene and Springfield to link critical habitats
Other: NWOIWMP [no entry] NW Oregon Invasive Weeed Partnership Partnership is working to advance invasive species management in NW Oregon through the Upper Willamette Cooperative Weed Management Area
Other: BLM [no entry] West Eugene Wetlands Partnership Partnership to maintain, enhance and restore over 2500 acres of wetland and wet prairie in west Eugene
Other: City of Eugene [no entry] West Eugene Wetlands Partnership Partnership to maintain, enhance and restore over 2500 acres of wetland and wet prairie in west Eugene
Other: Long Tom Watershed Council [no entry] West Eugene Wetlands Partnership Complimentary habitat protection to improve the viability of focal species in the Willamette Basin
BPA 2007-260-00 Coburg Ridge Preserve The Nature Conservancy holds the easement and manages 1244 acres of prairie, oak savanna and fir forest for targets similar to Willow Creek.

Section 6. Objectives

Objective titleDescriptionRelevant subbasin planRelevant strategy(ies)Page number(s)
1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities Improve population trend for focal species by implementing wildlife habitat management activities as outlined in the Willow Creek management plan to maintain a baseline of 740 habitat units and provide additional habitat units through restoration and enhancement of wildlife habitats. Willamette
2 Monitor hydrology and water quality conditions Improve population trend for focal species through monitoring of hydrology and water quality conditions to compare with baseline conditions regarding stream flows and water quality inputs to the Willow Creek site. Willamette
3 Monitor native and non-native vegetation Improve population trend for focal species through monitoring of native and non-native vegetation and federal and state listed species and maintain annual photopoints. Willamette
4 Improve defensibility/Reduce unauthorized use Improve defensibility of the site and reduce unauthorized use and associated impacts. Willamette
5 Land and conservation easement acquisition Improve population trend for focal species through land and conservation easement acquisition Willamette

Section 7. Work elements

Work element nameWork element titleObjective(s)Start dateEnd dateEstimated budget>Sponsor performs work?
Maintain Vegetation Nonnative vegetation control 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 90,888 Yes
Description: Continue non-native vegetation control efforts focusing on reducing or eliminating habitat-modifying non-native plant species. In addition to new treatment areas, areas that have been previously treated must be maintinaed as well. A variety of methods have been, and will continue to be utilized to control invasive plant species. The methods of choice vary for different species, but include manual clipping or removal, mowing, shearing, spot and broadcast herbicide application. This work is done with a combination of The Nature Conservancy and contracted staff practicing best management practices.
Remove or Relocate Predaceous Animals Maintain adult bullfrog populations at <80% of pre-control levels. 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 3,592 Yes
Description: Reduce adult bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) in semi-permanent aquatic habitats. Adult bullfrogs are aggressive predators that have documented negative impacts on native fish, reptile and amphibian populations. At Willow Creek Preserve, bullfrogs are known to breed in the same waters as the existing populations of native Western pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata marmorata), Long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum macrodactylum), Roughskin newt (Taricha granulosa granulosa) and Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla). Beginning with treatments in 1996, we have been able to substantially reduce both adult and larva bullfrogs at Willow Creek Preserve. Continued annual larva and adult treatments are necessary as adult bullfrogs easily migrate on-site from upstream and downstream sources. The primary means we are using to reduce bullfrog populations is removal of egg masses during the breeding season and removal of tadpoles as they become concentrated in small pools.
Conduct Controlled Burn Controlled burns 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 28,057 Yes
Description: Prescribed burns will be conducted for the purposes of reducing the encroachment of native and non-native woody vegetation in wet and upland prairies, controlling certain species of non-native vegetation as well as enhancing certain native species and reducing young understory woody growth in oak savannas. We will consult with USFWS about T&E species within burn units, mow fire breaks, coordinate with burn contractor and complete approximately six prescribed burns over approximately 120 acres.

Metrics:
# of upland acres treated: 60
# of wetland acres treated: 120

Plant Vegetation Develop and plant native plant materials prairie, oak and ash habitats 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 106,988 Yes
Description: The prairie and oak savanna habitats that once characterized the Willamette Valley are gravely threatened with extinction. Eighty-five percent of oak habitats and nearly 98 percent of native prairie have been lost. Because much of the habitat that remains is degraded it is clear that restoration will be a necessary part of a successful regional conservation effort. Restoring native plant diversity requires appropriate source materials. While the lack of native source materials continues to be one of if not the limiting factor in successful restoration, the West Eugene Wetlands Partnership lead by The Bureau of Land Management, City of Eugene and The Nature Conservancy have shared the costs and benefits of a successful native seed program for the last five years. Currently the Partnership has over 100 species of native prairie and oak savanna species in production in shared contracts with commercial growers and Government facilities. This Partnership has provided the necessary plant materials for successful restoration and enhancement of over 1000 acres of land in the West Eugene Wetlands. Continuation of this partnership and the growout contracts currently in operation are essential for continued restoration and enhancement efforts. By sharing contract costs, personnel and equipment, the Partners are able to provide appropriate low cost plant materials.

Metrics:
# of upland acres treated: 75
# of wetland acres treated: 150

Remove vegetation Site preparation for restoration of degraded prairie habitat 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 7,166 Yes
Description: Site preparation within wet and upland prairie including mowing, burning and herbicide applications for restoration of degraded prairie habitat. The focus of this restoration will be within or adjacent to federally recognized critical habitat for Fender's blue butterfly. These areas are currently dominated by non-native pasture grasses and non-native forbs. Multi-year, aggressive site preparation is the single most important step in ensuring a successful restoration of the site.

Metrics:
# of upland acres treated: 18
# of wetland acres treated: 9

Produce (Annual) Progress Report Annual Progress Report 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities<br>2 Monitor hydrology and water quality conditions<br>3 Monitor native and non-native vegetation<br>4 Improve defensibility/Reduce unauthorized use 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 2,739 Yes
Description: Produce an Annual Progress Report
Manage and Administer Projects Manage and Administer Projects 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities<br>2 Monitor hydrology and water quality conditions<br>3 Monitor native and non-native vegetation<br>4 Improve defensibility/Reduce unauthorized use<br>5 Land and conservation easement acquisition 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 47,976 Yes
Description: Provide oversight of the project. Respond to BPA as requested, providing financial, contractual and administrative documents. Prepare 2009 SOW and submit no less than 90 days before end of current performance period. The entire amount for the capital purchase of a vehicle in 2010 is within this work element. Also includes gas and maintenance of vehicle. It was difficult and artificial to divide the $30,000 amongst all the work elements for the project.
Produce Pisces Status Report Pisces Statue Reports 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities<br>2 Monitor hydrology and water quality conditions<br>3 Monitor native and non-native vegetation<br>4 Improve defensibility/Reduce unauthorized use<br>5 Land and conservation easement acquisition 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 6,219 Yes
Description: The Contractor shall report on the status of milestones and deliverables in Pisces. Reports shall be completed quarterly. Additionally, when indicating a deliverable milestone as COMPLETE, the contractor shall provide metrics and the final location (latitude and longitude) prior to submitting the report to the BPA COTR.
Produce Environmental Compliance Documentation Produce environmental compliance documentation 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities<br>3 Monitor native and non-native vegetation<br>5 Land and conservation easement acquisition 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 1,899 Yes
Description: Complete the necessary steps to obtain environmental compliance from BPA's Environmental Compliance Group. Produce environmental compliance documentation necessary for all work elements annually at the begining of the project cycle and as needed throughout the project year

Metrics:
Are herbicides used as part of work performed under this contract?: Yes

Remove vegetation Restore invaded wet prairie and oak woodland 1 Implement wildlife habitat management activities<br>4 Improve defensibility/Reduce unauthorized use 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 45,000 Yes
Description: Restore invaded wet prairie and woodland to wet prairie and ash savanna habitats. Bobcat mowers equipped with shearing units are used to remove invading ash and fruit trees in a historic wet prairie. Revegetation of the treated areas is completed as necessary following woody removal. This work will be done in late summer and early fall when impacts to the existing habitat are minimized. Spot herbicide application including stump spraying will be used where necessary. Overseeding with native grasses and forbs will be completed using a broadcaster or no-till drill. Response to similar work in adjacent areas has been positive with little to no resprouting, good germination of native seed and flowering native lily species that were dormant in the heavily shaded woodlands before restoration.

Metrics:
# of upland acres treated: 45
# of wetland acres treated: 15

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Monitor hydrology and water quality conditions. 2 Monitor hydrology and water quality conditions 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 10,252 Yes
Description: Ensuring that suitable hydrologic conditions are maintained is important to maintaining and improving wetland and aquatic habitats for wildlife. Under this task we will monitor a series of groundwater wells to document groundwater patterns and staff gauges to document changes in water levels along Willow Creek. We also will gather data on stream flows. The flow data will be used to document loadings of any pollutants that are detected in water quality monitoring. We will use an automated rain gauge as well as the BLM’s Remote Access Weather Station installed at Willow Creek in 2005 to document precipitation during the project period. We believe it is important to have a local precipitation record to use for calculating and modeling stream flows under alternative future land use conditions. We monitor turbidity at a series of sampling locations.

Metrics:
Primary R, M, and E Type [Status and Trend Monitoring, Action Effectiveness Research, Uncertainties Research, Project Implementation/ Compliance Monitoring]: unknown

Analyze/Interpret Data Analyze/Interpret data from hydrology/water quality, vegetation and wildlife monitoring 2 Monitor hydrology and water quality conditions<br>3 Monitor native and non-native vegetation 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 13,244 Yes
Description: Analyze and interpret species of concern and community-level data to determine the treatment effects of actions like mowing and burning.

Metrics:
Primary R, M, and E Type [Status and Trend Monitoring, Action Effectiveness Research, Uncertainties Research, Project Implementation/ Compliance Monitoring]: Status and Trend moniotring and Action effectiveness reporting

Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data Monitor vegetation, photoplots and listed/candidate threatened and endangered species 3 Monitor native and non-native vegetation 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 31,204 Yes
Description: Monitoring of permanent vegetation, photoplots, and listed/candidate threatened and endangered plant species, including Willamette daisy, Bradshaw's lomatium, Shaggy horkelia, Curtus's aster and Kincaid's lupine. The nested frequency data collected on over 75 plant species at Willow Creek has allowed us to track plant community diversity and composition over time. Monitoring of at-risk species has allowed us to track population trends. From the monitoring results we have begun to develop and modify thresholds for adaptive management and implement adaptive managment where applicable. The results of ongoing invasive species removal and habitat management have been and will continue to be monitored and documented though a combination of quantitative vegetation sampling, permanent photo plots, mapping of invasive species distribution, and use of air photos to document habitat changes. The response of selected wildlife species will be monitored by surveys of selective species, and documentation of noteworthy observations. All federal and state listed species including those with designated critical habitat at Willow Creek will be monitored and reports made available.

Metrics:
Primary R, M, and E Type [Status and Trend Monitoring, Action Effectiveness Research, Uncertainties Research, Project Implementation/ Compliance Monitoring]: unknown

Operate and Maintain Habitat/Passage/Structure Fence, gate, access and signage maintenance 4 Improve defensibility/Reduce unauthorized use 4/1/2010 3/31/2012 9,502 Yes
Description: Maintain and update public use signage and entry controls (gates and fences) as necessary. This ensures that we are able to protect habitat quality from disturbance related to unauthorized uses of the site as best possible. Remove materials associated with unauthorized use of the site.
Land Purchase Acquisition of lands containing priority habitats 5 Land and conservation easement acquisition 10/1/2010 9/30/2012 16,297,750 Yes
Description: Acquisition of lands containing priority habitats through a combination of fee title and easement acquisition.

Metrics:
# of upland acres protected: 2012
# of riparian acres protected: 774

Produce Environmental Compliance Documentation Complete a Hazardous Materials Survey and NEPA 5 Land and conservation easement acquisition 11/1/2010 9/30/2012 45,000 Yes
Description: Bonneville Power Administration staff will complete a Phase I Hazardous Materials Survey of the property which will include gathering documents, conducting a literature and records review, site inspection and documentation. If any environmental conditions of concern are identified, a Phase II Hazardous Materials Survey will be complete.

Metrics:
Are herbicides used as part of work performed under this contract?: Yes

Produce Inventory or Assessment Produce Inventory and Assessment 5 Land and conservation easement acquisition 10/1/2010 9/30/2012 450,000 Yes
Description: In order to develop a meaningful restoration and monitoring plan, TNC will produce a baseline inventory/map of the current distribution and condition of important elemennts of flora and fauna including plant communities/forest types, plant species, bird species, butterflies, moths, invasive species. Depending on funding and contractor availability, TNC may also attempt limited surveys of herptiles and small mammals.
Prepare HEP Report Prepare HEP report 5 Land and conservation easement acquisition 10/1/2010 9/30/2012 90,000 Yes
Description: The Bonneville Power Administration will contract with qualified wildlife biologists to develop a preliminary HEP assessment of the property to incorporate into the draft Memorandum of Agreement between the Bonneville Power Administration and The Nature Conservancy. After this is completed, Bonneville Power Administration will contract with qualified wildlife biologists to develop a final HEP assessment of the property to set baseline conditions, and help identify management needs for the property. The habitat evaluation will be conducted to BPA approved standards. Wildlife habitat mitigation credits will be determined for protection of the habitat and possible habitat enhancement based on assessments of alternative future habitat management goals for the property
Conduct Pre-Acquisition Activities Complete a Fair Market Value Appraisal of the Property 5 Land and conservation easement acquisition 10/1/2010 9/30/2012 135,000 Yes
Description: The Nature Conservancy will contract for a Fair Market Value appraisal conducted to federal appraisal standards with a BPA approved appraiser.
work element budget total: 17,422,476

Section 8. Budget

Item Note FY 2010 cost ($) FY 2011 cost ($) FY 2012 cost ($)
Capital Equipment At the recommendation of Karl Weist we have included multiple acquisition/easement projects in this proposal. All preaquisition and acquisition costs are reflected in Captial Equipment. 3,388,875 10,240,000 3,388,875
Personnel 32,035 34,103 34,103
Fringe Benefits 12,814 13,641 13,641
Overhead Indirect rate = 23.28% and 3.00 % for contracts (capital equipment includes no overhead) 13,396 13,966 14,191
Supplies (includes vehicle gas and maintenance costs) 5,300 4,300 4,800
Travel 292 292 292
Other Contracted Services not performed by The Nature Conservancy 55,100 59,420 63,040
Capital Equipment Vehicle purchase to be used for all BPA Project implementation needs. 30,000
Itemized budget totals: 3,537,812 10,365,722 3,518,942

(No cost sharing noted)

Section 9. Project future

Outyear budgets 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Note
Level of costs are predicted to be approximately the same in 2010 and 2011.

Likely project termination/end date: none

Termination notes:
Project will develop permanent mitigation through habitat protection and long-term restoration and management.

Final deliverables:
1) Permanent protection of 497+ acres of 5 priority focal habitats for 26 focal species (2) Habitat Credits to BPA

Reviews

ISRP final recommendation: Meets Scientific criteria? Yes

The Amazon Basin Project is an appropriate land conservancy project as a mitigation and restoration effort. The project operates under a site management plan with appropriate partners. Each iteration since 2000 appears to have been improved, increasingly focused, and responsive to ISRP's review comments. In general, the sponsors show an impressively broad ecological and naturalist's approach to restoration/enhancement of the Willow Creek watershed habitats, flora, and fauna. The work is proceeding well with documented progress. Based on this group’s experience in the Willamette Valley (and success at Willow Creek) and their initial evaluations of other potential locations, land acquisitions with similar management approaches in other locations in the valley seem appropriate. 1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships Based on the ISRP site visit, the project appears to have an important focus on restoring Fender's Blue butterfly and its habitat (especially, Kincaid’s Lupine). In addition there are six habitat types that are addressed for restoration as well as the priority focal species that rely on these habitats. The technical justification is well written and persuasive. The proposal could be improved with maps showing the location of the specific projects. 3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods In some cases the objectives have well-defined and measured performance metrics and in others less so. There are several instances where comparisons with baseline data are proposed. If in fact this is the case (Objective 2), more details would be useful. Using a method described by Hulse et al. (2002) to rank 1 km sections of the mainstem Willamette River for floodplain restoration opportunities shows the proponents have a solid understanding of landscape heterogeneity and are taking a systematic approach to the problem. Especially critical has been the increasing inclusion of specific "effectiveness monitoring" metrics and work elements. These are important to demonstrate whether the various conservation efforts, e.g., weed removal, bullfrog removal, controlled burns, have improved or changed the habitat as a course-filter effect. Ultimately, future efforts will need to increasingly include fine-filter (specific population responses) monitoring. 4. M&E The sophisticated analyses of the Bradshaw's Lomatium at Willow Creek indicated that proper data are being collected and analyzed for adaptive management.

from May 19, 2009 ISRP 2009-17 report

ISRP preliminary recommendation: Meets scientific criteria? Yes

The Amazon Basin Project is an appropriate land conservancy project as a mitigation and restoration effort. The project operates under a site management plan with appropriate partners. Each iteration since 2000 appears to have been improved, increasingly focused, and responsive to ISRP's review comments. In general, the sponsors show an impressively broad ecological and naturalist's approach to restoration/enhancement of the Willow Creek watershed habitats, flora and fauna. The work is going well and progress is being made. Based on this group’s experience in the Willamette Valley (and success at Willow Creek), and their initial evaluations of other potential locations, land acquisitions with similar management approaches in other locations in the valley seem appropriate. 1. Technical Justification, Program Significance and Consistency, and Project Relationships Based on the ISRP site visit, the project appears to have an important focus on restoring Fender's Blue butterfly and its habitat (especially, Kincaid’s Lupine). In addition there are six habitat types that are addressed for restoration as well as the priority focal species that rely on these habitats. The technical justification is well written and persuasive. The proposal could be improved with maps showing the location of the specific projects. 3. Objectives, Work Elements, and Methods In some cases the objectives have well-defined and measured performance metrics and in others less so. There are several instances where comparisons with baseline data are proposed. If in fact this is the case (Objective 2), more details would be useful. Using a method described by Hulse et al. (2002) to rank 1 km sections of the mainstem Willamette River for floodplain restoration opportunities shows the proponents have a good understanding of landscape heterogeneity and are taking a systematic approach to the problem. Especially critical has been the increasing inclusion of specific "effectiveness monitoring" metrics and work elements. These are important to demonstrate whether the various conservation efforts, e.g., weed removal, bullfrog removal, controlled burns, etc. have improved or changed the habitat as a course-filter effect. Ultimately, future efforts will need to increasingly include fine-filter (specific population responses) monitoring. 4. M&E The sophisticated analyses of the Bradshaw's lomatium at Willow Creek indicated that proper data are being collected and analyzed for adaptive management.

from Mar 26, 2009 ISRP 2009-7 report