Response for project 199401806: Tucannon Stream And Riparian R

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The Columbia Conservation District desires to continue implementation of the Tucannon River Model Watershed Plan to protect, enhance and restore habitat to maximize potential salmonid recovery. The current and proposed funding level of $318,417 will allow us to continue activities approved for the project. Our intent is to continue to separate administrative activities from project implementation. Administrative activities include identification & selection of projects, coordination, project management, reporting, and outreach. Project activities include M&O (past terrestrial & instream structure projects), passive habitat (alternative water systems, fencing, plantings, CREP, upland sediment control, and invasive species control), flow enhancement (irrigation efficiencies), passage improvement (screen & flow meter), and M&E (water temperature and turbidity). All project activities are supported in the Tucannon Subbasin Management Plan and the Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan, June 2005 version . The District intends to continue its management strategy of utilizing additional funding sources as match to maximize economy while implementing the greatest amount of habitat restoration and protection possible. Budget finalization will occur as individual project work elements are detailed; however planned administrative expenses are at $86,000 with project contracting/cost share at $232,417.

Accomplishments since the last review

Produce Inventory or Assessment2002-2004: Assessed 17 sites for irrigation efficiencies to determine possible trustable water savings & for new compliant fish screen and flow meters
Develop Alternative Water Source2002-2004: Installed 3 systems (3 wells, 3 tanks, 7 trought, and associated pipeline) - 116.5 acres of buffer created & 4,588 acres of range opened for more effective utilization
# of miles of fence (0.01 mi.)2002-2004: 4.0 miles of fence, 99.7 acres buffer
# of acres of vegetation planted (0.1 ac.)2002-2004: 674.1 acres planted to native trees & shrubs
# of riparian miles treated (0.01 mi.; count each bank separately)2002-2004: 32.5 miles of stream planted to native trees & shrubs
# of acres treated (0.1 ac)2002-2003: 1,070.7 production agriculture acres treated with direct seeding management techniques
Replace/Maintain Instream StructureRe-established habitat structure integrity (vortex weir, woody debris, j-hook vane) at 3 previously installed projects in areas utilized by 3 ESA listed species.
Quantity of water protected by screening, as determined by what is stated in the water right or calculated based on flow rate (0.1 acre-feet/year)2002-2004: 2,302 acre-feet/year has been screened at the 12 separate locations
Is the screen New or a Replacement? (N/R)2002-2004: All 12 screens are new
Does the screen meet NOAA/FSOC specs? (Y/N)2002-2004: All 12 screens meet NOAA/USF&WS new specifications
Flow rate at the screen diversion allowed by the water right. (0.1 cfs)2002-2004: 15.662 cfs has been screened at 12 separate locations
Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data2002-2004: work cooperatively with WDFW to maintain water temperature loggers to monitor progress toward addressing this limiting factor
Analyze/Interpret Data2003-2004: Conducted the Tucannon River Model Watershed Milestone Assessment to measure habitat protection, enhancement, and restoration projects conducted/installed since 1996.
Estimated # of miles of total stream reach improvement2002-2004: 3 projects - 12.73 miles
Amount of unprotected water flow returned to the stream by conservation (cfs)2002-2004: 3 projects - 8.998 cfs
Amount of unprotected water flow returned to the stream by conservation (acre-feet)2002-2004: 3 projects - 507.88 acre-feet
Estimated # of miles of primary stream reach improvement2002-2004: 3 projects - 10.0 miles

The Tucannon River Model Watershed program has implemented habitat projects, based on a cooperative process with private citizens, technical agencies, government entities, and tribes. Projects have been identified and designed to address identified limiting factors through the Tucannon River Model Watershed, Tucannon Subbasin Plan, and the Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan, June 2005 version. The program implements a variety of project to address watershed scale habitat needs as identified though planning documents. Projects include upland management to reduce sediment impacts; buffer development through livestock prescribed grazing and/or total exclusion and the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP); and water conservation through screens, flow meters and irrigation efficiencies. The 3 water conservation sprinkler projects resulted in trusting 8.998 cfs & 507.88 acre feet through the Washington Water Trust (Washington Department of Ecology) for an instream stream flow and fish usage. Monitoring and evaluation activities have been and will continue to guide protection, enhancement, and restoration efforts.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Implement projects in priority Restoration and Protection Areas that address Plan Biological Objectives utilizing Strategies identified, developed and supported by agency technical staff and citizen input during Plan development. Plan Objectives targeted are reducing embeddedness, stimulating a decrease in percent fines and turbidity; continue riparian recovery efforts, increase complexity, width and reestablishment; decrease summer daily maximum temperatures; and increase instream flows where possible. Utilizing the identified strategies from the Plan which have cooperator and community support will enhance resource conditions and program success. Numerous Strategies identified are repeated across the various Biological Objectives and Geographic Areas providing multiple resource benefits when implemented. Aquatic Strategies were also developed for two additional categories: 1) Priority Protection Areas and 2) Imminent Threats as well as an Aquatic Special Topic-Instream Flow. Priority Protection Geographic Areas are those areas that EDT analysis or empirical data suggest would have the most negative impacts on focal species if they were allowed to degrade further. Because all Priority Restoration Areas are also considered Priority Protection Areas, these Strategies would apply to both types of Geographic Areas. Priority Protection Area Strategies include but are not limited to implementation of riparian buffers, upland enhancement, alternative water development, expanding participation in the Conservation Reserve Program & similar efforts and water conservation. District goals include the coordination and consistency of Strategy implementation between the various planning processes occurring in SE Washington, Subbasin Planning, Regional Recovery Planning and Ecology’s 2514 Watershed Planning. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has identified Major Spawning Aggregate (MSA) and Minor Spawning Aggregate (mSA) for guidance in prioritizing recovery efforts.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

Project proposal is consistent with and implements Plan Section 7.2 Aquatic Working Hypotheses, Biological Objectives and 7.3 Strategies addressing the three management categories identified in the Plan, Priority Restoration, Priority Protection and Imminent Threats as referenced on Management Plan pgs. ES 6-7, 7.3 Aquatic Strategies pg. 136, 7.3.1 Imminent Threats pgs. 136-138, 7.3.2 Priority Restoration Strategies, Working Hypotheses and Biological Objectives Table 7-4 pgs. 139-154, 7.3.3 Priority Protection Areas pgs. 155-158 and 7.3.5 Aquatic Special Topic-Instream Flow pgs. 159-160. In numerous cases implementing a given Strategy addresses various Working Hypotheses, Biological Objectives and crossover between the three categories of restoration, protection and imminent threats: Objective PM 1.1-Reduce Embeddedness, Strategy PM 1.1.1 pg. 140; Objective PM 4.1-Continue Riparian Recovery, Strategy 4.1.1 pg. 144; Objective PM 5.1-Decrease Temperatures, Strategy PM 5.1.1 pg. 146; Objective MT3.1-Riparian Recovery, Strategy (see strategies for Objective PM 4.1 pg. 149). This approach to linkages and consistency occurs though out the process. Variances between Strategies, Objectives and Geographic Areas where appropriate to address different resource needs as identified by technical and citizen review and input. The Snake River Salmon Recovery Planning process has adopted implementation Strategies as identified in the Subbasin Plan in their entirety and then expanded upon them to achieve Viable Salmonid Population (VSP). The Salmon Recovery Plan will be delivered to the Washington State Governor's Salmon Recovery Office in June 2005, then forwarded onto National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for inclusion in their Snake River ESU Recovery Plan. NMFS has identified and emphasized the importance of continued recovery efforts across their Major Spawning Aggregate (MSA) and Minor Spawning Aggregate (mSA) to ensure Spatial Structure (Population Dispersal and Abundance).

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

Project proposal accomplishes priority Strategy implementation utilizing Plan Prioritization Framework developed from EDT analysis and empirical knowledge. Implementation focuses on Priority Species, Geographical Areas, Biological Objectives and Strategies. The Snake River Recovery Planning process has adopted the Subbasin Plan Biological Objectives and Strategies in their planning process, expanding on them to meet National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Viable Salmonid Population (VSP) criteria. NMFS has also provided Major Spawning Aggregate (MSA) and Minor Spawning Aggregate (mSA) designations for the Washington component of Snake River ESU Recovery Planning. These NMFS designations match the Priority Restoration and Protection Areas as identified in the Subbasin Plan while identifying the importance in continuing with recovery work efforts in both MSA’s and mSA’s to ensure Spatial Structure (Population Dispersal and Abundance). Planning documents identify numerous instream habitat diversity Strategies as priority actions for recovery efforts, however the District acknowledges that current funding authorization doesn’t allow for implementation until the next provincial review cycle.

Other comments