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Draft Umatilla Subbasin / Willow Creek
Subbasin Summary

August 3, 2001


Prepared for the

Northwest Power Planning Council


Writers Team Members

Darin Saul, Ecopacific

Craig Rabe, Ecopacific

Anne Davidson, Ecopacific

Dora Rollins, Ecopacific
Subbasin Team Leader

Gary James, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Carl Scheeler, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Contributors:

Tim Bailey, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Susan Barnes, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Kevin Blakely, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Don Butcher, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Craig Contor, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Allen Childs, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Dave Close, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Ray Denny, Umatilla Soil and Water Conservation District

Charles Gobar, U.S. Forest Service

Guy Hopkins, Umatilla County Soil and Water Conservation District

Shannon Jewett, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Tony Justice, Oregon Department of Water Resources

Jimmy Kagan, Oregon Natural Heritage Program

Mark Kirsch, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Russ Morgan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Scott O’Daniel, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Greg Rimbach, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Gerry Rowan, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Todd Shaw, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Amy Sexton, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

Jed Volkman, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation

William Warren, Human Dimensions Consulting

Brian Zimmerman, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation



DRAFT: This document has not yet been reviewed or approved by the Northwest Power Planning Council

Umatilla Subbasin / Willow Creek Subbasin Summary


Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Subbasin Description 1

General Description 1

Fish and Wildlife Resources 48

Fish and Wildlife Status 48

Habitat Areas and Quality 94

Watershed Assessment 116

Limiting Factors 118

Artificial Production 133

Existing and Past Efforts 137

Present Subbasin Management 143

Existing Management 143

Goals, Objectives, and Strategies 148

Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Activities 161

Statement of Fish and Wildlife Needs 165

References 176

Umatilla Subbasin Recommendations 186

FY 2001 Projects Proposals Review 186

Fish Objectives 247

Fish Strategies & Associated Actions 248

Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation Activities 273

Needed Future Actions 275

Appendix A - Peak annual discharge for the Umatilla River at Umatilla for the years 1904 – 1998 289

Appendix B - Peak annual discharge (above baseflow of 400 cfs) for Willow Creek near Arlington, OR 291

Appendix C - Wildlife species in the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 292

Appendix D - Hatchery releases of summer steelhead in the Umatilla subbasin 300

Appendix E - Hatchery releases of coho in the Umatilla subbasin 301

Appendix F - Hatchery releases of spring chinook salmon in the Umatilla subbasin 302

Appendix G - Hatchery releases of fall chinook salmon in the Umatilla subbasin 303

Appendix H - Management Plan (HGMP) 304


Umatilla Subbasin / Willow Creek Subbasin Summary


List of Figures


Figure 1 Umatilla/Willow subbasin within the Columbia Plateau ecoprovince 2

Figure 2 Assessment units and major features of the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 4

Figure 3. Elevation ranges in the Umatilla /Willow subbasin 5

Figure 4. Precipitation ranges in the Umatilla /Willow subbasin 8

Figure 5. Air temperature in Climate Zone 6 (North Central) of Oregon state (1895-1995) (Oregon Climate Service 1999). 9

Figure 6. Precipitation in Climate Zone 6 (North Central) of Oregon state (1895-1995) (Oregon Climate Service 1999). 10

Figure 7. Average monthly temperature for three climate stations in the Umatilla subbasin, 1961-1990 (Oregon Climate Service 1999). 11

Figure 8. Average monthly precipitation at three climate stations in the Umatilla subbasin, 1961-1990 (Oregon Climate Service 1999). 11

Figure 9. Average monthly precipitation at the Heppner and Boardman climate stations in the Willow subwatershed and Sixmile Canyon area (respectively) (Oregon Climate Service 1999) 12

Figure 10. Mean monthly discharge for stream gages at Yoakum (RM 37.7) and the city of Umatilla (RM 2.1) and instream flow recommendation (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation 1999). 15

Figure 11. Discharge in the lower Umatilla River by river mile, July 14-17, August 11-14, September 8-11 (Kreag and Threlkeld 1991). 15

Figure 12. Mean monthly flows for Willow Creek at three gauging stations: Willow Creek above Willow Lake, Willow Creek at Hepner, and Willow Creek near Arlington, OR. 16

Figure 13. Transient snow zone elevation band in the Umatilla subbasin 17

Figure 14. The impact of McKay reservoir releases on the Umatilla River at Yoakum (RM 37.7) (U. S. Geological Survey 1999). 20

Figure 15. Stream segments in the Umatilla subbasin listed on the Oregon State 303(d) list 22

Figure 16. Stream segments in the Umatilla subbasin listed on the Oregon State 303(d) list (continued) 23

Figure 17. Land cover types occurring throughout the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 30

Figure 18. Land ownership in the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 33

Figure 19. Land use in the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 36

Figure 20. Agricultural lands within the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 37

Figure 21. Umatilla County livestock (Oliver et al. 1994). NOT PROVIDED 43

Figure 22. Umatilla and John Day steelhead trends (Contor et al. 2000; Chilcote 1998) 50

Figure 23. Umatilla adult summer steelhead returns 1988-2000 (Contor et al. 2000). 52

Figure 24. Steelhead distribution, spawning and rearing areas in the Umatilla subbasin 57

Figure 25. Life history of Umatilla summer steelhead; shaded ovals represent areas and times where redds are at risk from scouring and/or sedimentation during high flows; shaded rectangles represent times and areas where high water temperatures may be limiting (Contor et al. 1998) 58

Figure 26. Sport angler catch and harvest of summer steelhead for spawning years 1990 – 1999. Data for years 1990-1992 are estimates derived from returns of angler harvest cards. Data for years 1993 – 1999 are from creel census (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife data). 60

Figure 27. Natural and hatchery spring chinook returns to the Umatilla subbasin 1989-2000 (Contor et al. 2000). 62

Figure 28. Umatilla spring chinook adult returns and the number of redds observed on spawning grounds, 1989-1999. 63

Figure 29. Spring chinook distribution, spawning and rearing areas in the Umatilla subbasin 65

Figure 30. Umatilla spring chinook adult returns and the estimated number of eggs deposited in redds. 66

Figure 31. Percent of observed Umatilla adult spring chinook carcasses that had spawned successfully plotted by river mile from 1991-1997. 67

Figure 32. Life history chart of naturally produced Umatilla spring chinook salmon; shaded ovals represent areas and times where redds are at risk from scouring and/or sedimentation during high flows; shaded rectangles and red arrows represent times and areas where high water temperatures may be limiting (Contor et al. 1998). 68

Figure 33. Life history chart of naturally produced Umatilla fall chinook salmon; shaded ovals represent areas and times where redds are at risk from scouring and/or sedimentation during high flows; shaded rectangles and red arrows represent times and areas where high water temperatures may be limiting (Contor et al. 1998). 71

Figure 34. Life history chart of naturally produced Umatilla coho salmon; shaded ovals represent areas and times where redds are at risk from scouring and/or sedimentation during high flows; shaded rectangles and redd arrows represent times and areas where high water temperatures may be limiting (Contor et al. 1998). 73

Figure 35. Bull trout distribution, spawning and rearing areas in the Umatilla subbasin 76

Figure 36. North Fork Umatilla bull trout redd survey data for the years 1994-2000 (ODFW data). 78

Figure 37. Winter and summer elk ranges in the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 90

Figure 38. Mean Monthly Discharge vs. Instream Flow Recommendations between Meacham and McKay Creeks 105

Figure 39. Changes in fire frequency and severity in the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 127

Figure 40. Umatilla/Willow subbasin streamflow restoration priorities (also includes Oregon portion of the Walla Walla subbasin). 169

Figure 41. Umatilla/Willow subbasin streamflow restoration priorities (also includes Oregon portion of the Walla Walla subbasin). 280




List of Tables


Table 1. Mainstem length and drainage areas of streams within the Umatilla subbasin. 14

Table 2. Umatilla standard project general storm (U. S. Army Corps. of Engineers 1955). 19

Table 3. 1998 §303(d) listed stream segments in the Umatilla subbasin (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 2000) 21

Table 4. Sensitive plant species on the Umatilla National Forest (Umatilla National Forest 1990). 28

Table 5. Land ownership and percentage of area owned in the Umatilla/Willow Subbasin. 31

Table 6. U. S. census data for crop production in Umatilla County (Bureau of Census et al. 2000). 34

Table 7. Umatilla County practices in acreage from 1986-2001 (U. S. Department of Agriculture 2000) 40

Table 8. U. S. census data for farms in Umatilla and Morrow Counties (Bureau of Census et al. 2000). 41

Table 9. Timber sales in the Umatilla subbasin by UNF (Umatilla National Forest 2000) 42

Table 10. Umatilla County Livestock Summary (Oregon State University, 1997) 43

Table 11. Population in the Umatilla/Willow subbasin (State of Oregon 2000; http://www.placesnamed.com/M/i/mission.asp) 45

Table 12. Protective management designations and relative area for lands within the Umatilla National Forest. (Umatilla National Forest 2000) 47

Table 13. Areas in the Umatilla subbasin that are protected and/or are managed using a conservation strategy. 47

Table 14. Fish Species present in the Umatilla River Subbasin 48

Table 15. Umatilla Summer Steelhead Adult Return, Harvest and Escapement Disposition 1987-88 through 1999-2000 return years (Contor et al. 2000). 50

Table 16. Adult summer steelhead collected at the fish trap on Birch Creek (T. Bailey, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, personal communication, January 2001). 53

Table 17. Number of Redds Observed in Index Areas for Spawning Surveys for Umatilla Summer Steelhead (Contor et al. 1997). 53

Table 18. Highest Densities of Juvenile Steelhead in the Umatilla Subbasin (Contor et al. 1996; Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Data [E. Birch Creek] 1996). 55

Table 19. Umatilla spring chinook adult return, spawning and harvest summary data. 61

Table 20. Spring chinook redd distributions, 1989-1996 (Contor et al. 1997; Contor et al.1998) 63

Table 21. Juvenile spring chinook abundance estimates in the Umatilla subbasin (Contor et al. 1996). 67

Table 22. Harvest estimates of Umatilla subbasin spring chinook (Contor et al. 1998). 69

Table 23. Umatilla fall chinook adult returns, disposition and spawning escapement, 1988-2000. 70

Table 24. Summary of Umatilla coho salmon adult returns, disposition and spawning escapement, 1988-2000. 72

Table 25. Status of bull trout populations in the Umatilla subbasin (1991 status: Ratliff and Howell 1992; 1996 Status: Buchanan et al. 1997). 77

Table 26. Bull trout redd counts from 1994-1998 spawning ground surveys (ODFW data cited in Umatilla/Walla Walla Bull Trout Working Group 1999; Northrop 1997). 77

Table 27. Listed wildlife species of the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 81

Table 28. Landbird species inhabiting the Umatilla/Willow subbasin with declining population trends 82

Table 29. Target Species Selected for the John Day and McNary Projects 83

Table 30. Characterization of the “best remaining salmonid habitat” in the Umatilla subbasin (Umatilla National Forest 2000). 95

Table 31. General habitat conditions throughout the Umatilla subbasin. Data provided and summarized from surveys conducted by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation over the years 1992-1997 (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation 1994; Contor et al 1995; 1996; 1997; 1998). 96

Table 32. Summary of key habitat parameters relative to benchmarks developed by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Aquatic Inventories Program. Habitat data was collected by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Aquatic Inventories Program from 1992 through 1996. 97

Table 33. Current Umatilla Basin Project target flows from McKay Creek to the Mouth of the Umatilla River (Bureau of Reclamation 1988). 99

Table 34. Low-flow statistics for the Umatilla River below McKay Creek (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 2000). 99

Table 35. Key species season of use for the Umatilla River below McKay Creek 100

Table 36. Known Fish Passage Barriers below McKay (A. Sexton, CTUIR, personal communication, February, 2001) 101

Table 37. Instream Flow Recommendations (CTUIR 1999; OWRD 1988) for the Umatilla River Upstream of McKay Creek. 105

Table 38. Low-flow statistics for the Umatilla River between Meacham and McKay Creeks (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 2000). 105

Table 39. Known Fish Passage Barriers from McKay to Meacham (A. Sexton, CTUIR, personal communication, February, 2001)) 108

Table 40. Known Fish Passage Barriers In and Above Meacham (A. Sexton, CTUIR, personal communication, February, 2001) 110

Table 41. Habitat losses of lowland vegetation types within the Umatilla/Willow subbasin (Kagan et al. 2000) 114

Table 42. General Characterization of Non-Habitat and Out-of-Subbasin Factors Limiting Salmonid and Lamprey Production in the Umatilla Basin 120

Table 43. Key factors limiting fish production (species and life history) by stream segments in the Umatilla subbasin 121

Table 44. Habitat relationships of focal species in riparian habitats of the Columbia plateau Landbird Conservation Planning Region (from Altman and Holmes 2000a, 2000b) 123

Table 45. Habitat relationships of focal species in shrub steppe habitats of the Columbia plateau Landbird Conservation Planning Region (from Altman and Holmes 2000a, 2000b) 124

Table 46. Habitat losses associated with hydropower development 130

Table 47. Elk densities at management objective level in the Umatilla/Willow subbasin 131

Table 48. Percentages of privately owned habitat in the Umatilla/Willow subbasin (Kagan et al. 2000). 131

Table 49. Fall chinook adult outplants released into the Umatilla River since 1996 134

Table 50. Rainbow trout stocked in Umatilla basin streams, 1991 – 2000 (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife data). 135

Table 51. Number of broodstock collected at Three Mile Dam and green eggs taken 137

Table 52. Umatilla basin fisheries restoration program habitat enhancement components 138

Table 53. BPA-funded Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program activities (Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority 1999; Bonneville Power Administration and Northwest Power Planning Council 1999; Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission 2001) 139

Table 54. Non BPA-funded fish and wildlife activities within the Umatilla River subbasin (Shaw 1997; Oregon Department of Environmental Quality et al. 2000; U. S. Forest Service 1990; Mark Kirsch, ODFW, personal communication January 11, 2001) 141

Table 55. Umatilla River Production Objectives and Fish Disposition. 149

Table 56. BPA-funded Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program research, monitoring, and evaluation activities (Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority 1999; Bonneville Power Administration and Northwest Power Planning Council 1999; Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission 2001) 162

Table 57. Non BPA-funded Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program research, monitoring, and evaluation activities (Shaw 1997; Oregon Department of Environmental Quality et al. 2000; U. S. Forest Service 1990; Mark Kirsch, ODFW, personal communication January 11, 2001) 164

Table 58. Fisheries resources management needs in the Umatilla subbasin 166

Table 59. BPA-funded Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program research, monitoring, and evaluation activities (Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority 1999; Bonneville Power Administration and Northwest Power Planning Council 1999; Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission 2001) 274

Table 60. Fisheries resources management needs in the Umatilla subbasin 276

Table 61. Non BPA-funded fish and wildlife activities within the Umatilla River subbasin (Shaw 1997; Oregon Department of Environmental Quality et al. 2000; U. S. Forest Service 1990; Mark Kirsch, ODFW, personal communication January 11, 2001) 286



Umatilla Subbasin / Willow Creek Subbasin Summary




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