Response for project 199608000: Ne Oregon Wldf Proj (Npt)

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

Request a budget increase of $21,128 for FY06 for a total of $447,128. The project will be expanded by 760 acres in June 2005 because of a land purchase from the Oregon Division of State Lands. This land purchase will secure three inholdings along Joseph Creek that will need Operations and Maintenance work such as weed control, fire protection, and boundary signing, as well as some survey and inventory work to search for T&E or sensitive species. The proposed increase is based on current approved funding levels of $27.80 per acre on 16,085 acres = $447,128.00.

Accomplishments since the last review

Conduct Controlled Burn: Brush removal and pile burning on 20 acres since 2003. 2 acres of broadcast burn done in 2004. Develop Pond: A small pond was rehabilitated to remove encroaching cattails. One water trough installed. Improve Road: Maintenance on 5 miles of system roads and ~6 miles of access road. One bridge was re-decked. Install Fence: 1.5 miles of new fence installed. 12 miles maintained. Plant Vegetation: 100 aspen trees, 2000 wild rye plugs, 500 pine trees, 30 acres grass. Remove Vegetation: Brush removed near Basin Cabin to protect it during a wildfire. Over 400 acres of weed control. Operate/Maintain Facility: Three cabins and several barns are maintained for crew use and equipment storage. Investigate Trespass: Each year staff round up strays and repair fences. One case of motor vehicle trespass and one case of elk poaching where 3 people were cited. Remove Debris: 1 mile of old fence removed and several tons of metal debris recycled. Prepare HEP Report: HEP data collection and analysis done in 2003. Draft report done in 2004. The Project is providing ~20,000 HU for target species. Outreach and Education: Nez Perce Culture Camp in 2003, a 2004 job fair for high school students, and International Migratory Bird Day events for 3 years. Coordination: Participated in subbasin planning and reviews of proposed actions on the Wallowa-Whitman N.F. Staff is involved in the CBFWA Wildlife Committee. Manage and Administer Projects: Subcontracts include helicopter weed spraying, fire protective agreement, and property boundary survey and marking. Produce Plan: Draft management plan completed in 2003 and is being implemented. See Reporting: Status and annual reports are on the BPA website. Develop RM&E Methods and Designs: NPT developed protocols for M&E on the Project. Details in the draft management plan at Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data: Data collection for HEP, amphibian populations.

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

Conduct Controlled Burn: Broadcast burn ~15 acres of ponderosa pine forest Improve Road: Continue early maintenance occurs on 5 miles of system roads as well as ~6 miles of access road. Maintenance includes rock removal, cutbank stabilization, weed control, and deadfall/brush removal. Install Fence: 2 miles of new fence installation in high priority areas. 14 miles to be maintained. Remove Vegetation: Continue to remove brush and trees near buildings and facilities to provide defensible space during a wildfire. Treat 40 acres of noxious weeds with integrated methods of control Operate/Maintain Facility: Three cabins and several barns are maintained to provide crew quarters and equipment storage. Investigate Trespass: Trespass by livestock is an on-going management issue. Several times each year project staff round up strays and repairing fences. Remove Debris: One half mile of old fence to be removed and metal debris recycled as necessary. Outreach and Education: Continue efforts as opportunity presents itself. Participate in local International Migratory Bird Day event. Coordination: Participate in reviews of proposed actions on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest which may impact habitat for species within the project area. Maintain involvement with the CBFWA Wildlife Committee. Manage and Administer Projects: Subcontracted work may include native plant propagation, fire protective agreement, and property boundary survey and marking. Reporting: Status and annual reports will be completed and posted to the BPA website. Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data: Data collection for HEP vegetation monitoring, amphibian populations, butterfly inventory, breeding bird surveys, and small mammal monitoring will be completed. Submit/Acquire Data: Bird and amphibian data will be submitted to national databases. Manage/Maintain Databases: Species lists, monitoring data, and GIS themes are all maintained and managed yearly.

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

This project addresses the following goals, objectives, and strategies found in the Grande Ronde Subbasin Plan: Goals: (pg 258) Protect high quality aquatic habitats and provide connectivity. Over 16 miles of perennial streams protected by this project – most fish-bearing. The project addresses priority attributes for Joseph Creek by reducing sediment, improving riparian cover to mitigate for high temperatures and improve woody debris recruitment. (Pg 258). The following aquatic strategies are addressed: Improve density, condition, and species composition of riparian vegetation. (pg 260, 262) Maintain woody debris by promoting BMP’s for forestry (pg 260) Manage grazing in riparian areas to improve condition (pg 261) Promote minimum tillage practices (pg 261) Implement integrated weed management strategies (pg 261) Improve hydrologic function by managing for historic forest conditions (pg 263) The project addresses four of the high priority terrestrial cover types in the subbasin: ponderosa pine, aspen, riparian wetlands, and grasslands. (pg 267-269) The following terrestrial strategies are addressed: Ponderosa pine: Protect extant habitat, convert back to pine type, use prescribed fire, weed control, and protect wildlife corridors (pg 267) Quaking Aspen: Increase size & vigor of stands, conduct inventories and map stands, remove conifers in aspen stands, promote low-intensity ground fires (pg 268) Grasslands: Weed control, restore grassland function, protect wildlife corridors, and use of bio-control on weeds (pg 268) Wetlands (Riparian): Protect extant habitat in good condition, weed control, restore wetland function by re-planting natives, restore riparian function through livestock management, vegetation enhancement, and protect wildlife corridors (pg 268) Winter Range: Protect unconverted winter range in good condition through easement and acquisition, implement forage improvement activities (pg 269)

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The Grande Ronde Subbasin Plan Supplement provides the framework for prioritization of effort within the subbasin. Six priority themes were identified (pg 45) and the Precious Lands Project addresses three of those: Reduce upland erosion, restore channel condition, and restore riparian function. It also addresses the recurrent theme of habitat connectivity. The project lies in the lower portion of the watershed in what used to be private land. Proper management of these stream reaches provides habitat connectivity to mid-level and headwater areas where many fish spawn, and for returning juveniles as they migrate to the sea. Table 5-6 in the Grande Ronde Subbasin Plan Supplement (pg 46) details the screens used for prioritizing work in the subbasin. Precious Lands is consistent with the management philosophy outlined in that Table. It builds from strength by conserving intact, good condition habitat areas, it is working to restore watershed processes through passive and active measures, and is helping to preserve or restore riparian function. Terrestrial resources were not prioritized in the Plan or the Plan Supplement but the Precious Lands project addresses many of the resource issues and limiting factors in the subbasin plan as outlined above.

Other comments