The project is consistent with the intent of Section III. 2. of the 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program (FWP); this project is needed to meet one component of recovery efforts in a broad range of strategies. This habitat project is one element in the comprehensive Umatilla Program, which also includes artificial production, adult and juvenile passage improvements (ladders, screens, and trap and haul), in-stream flow enhancement, and monitoring and evaluation. The activities proposed under this project are also consistent with the Habitat Actions found in the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) 2000 FCRPS Biological Opinion. The primary goal of this project is to protect and enhance habitat for existing wild summer steelhead and re-introduced chinook and coho salmon on private lands throughout the Umatilla River Basin. Populations of the Mid Columbia Evolutionary Significant Unit of summer steelhead are currently listed as threatened in the Umatilla Subbasin. Restoration of habitat is critical to the recovery of diminished populations of steelhead in the subbasin.
This project is further consistent with NPPC's 1994 FWP, Sections 7.6-7.8. This project will assist in accomplishing the goals set forth in the 1994 FWP by: (1) protecting existing high quality habitat through local coordination and cooperation, (2) proritizing restoration projects through the use of watershed assessment, (3) promoting watershed and resource management and protection through public outreach and educational efforts, (4) prioritizing actions that maximize the desired result per dollar spent, (5) coordinating data collection, analysis and reporting, and adaptive management to monitor progress in achieving compliance with the Council’s habitat objectives, (6) managing riparian and floodplain areas to promote the protection and re-establishment of natural ecological functions and, thereby, protect and improve salmon and steelhead habitat, (7) developing and maintaining local and regional watershed approaches on the Reservation and Tribal ceded lands, (8) encouraging land management activities that maintain the quantity and quality of existing salmon and steelhead habitat, (9) initiating recovery actions where water quality or land management objectives for fish habitat are not being met, (10) improving livestock management by developing, updating and implementing livestock management plans, (11) implementing riparian easements of sufficient width to improve and maintain salmon and steelhead production in privately owned riparian areas and adjacent lands, and (12) seeking cost-share and encouraging the investment of volunteers.
Considerable time has been spent insuring that the goals of this project closely reflect biological needs of salmonid fish outlined in the Umatilla Subbasin Summary. The following table outlines some of these relationships.
Table 1. Strategies and associated actions in the Umatilla Subbasin Summary that this project will assist with meeting.
Project Actions for meeting Strategies
2. Protect, enhance or restore water quality to improve the survival, abundance and distribution of indigenous resident and anadromous fish.
Action 2.1 Reduce stream temperatures by restoring or enhancing riparian vegetation, floodplain function and increasing hyporehic and instream flows.
Action 2.7 Implement the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) and other pertinent State, Tribal and local programs along riparian zones and in other sensitive areas.
Action 2.9 Monitor and evaluate efforts to improve water quality and utilize data to assist in management decisions.
3. Protect, enhance or restore instream and riparian habitat to improve the survival, abundance and distribution of indigenous resident and anadromous fish.
Action 3.2 In the short term, plant native vegetation, construct pools and place large woody debris in streams to provide adequate pools and cover for fish. Maintain operation and maintenance of projects already in place.
Action 3.3 Over the long term, implement improvements to stream geomorphic features (sinuosity, width/depth ratio, pool frequency, depth and dimension, entrenchment, etc.) that will result in benefits to fish habitat quantity and quality.
Action 3.4 Over the long term, restore riparian vegetation and adjacent valley bottom and upland vegetation to result in the natural long term recruitment of large woody debris into streams.
Action 3.6 Reduce sediment deposition in area streams by reducing erosion and sediment delivery to waterways.
Action 3.7 Improve watershed conditions to reduce human-induced increases of flood peak flows and duration to reduce instream substrate scour, deposition or movement.
Action 3.8 Improve floodplain function to improve stream channel stability, hyporehic flows and instream habitat diversity.
Action 3.9 Improve or eliminate stream fords and other substrate disturbances.
Action 3.10 Protect critical habitat to improve production and survival of indigenous fish. Continue to refine delineation of stronghold areas.
Action 3.11 Monitor and evaluate efforts to protect, enhance and restore instream and riparian habitats.
4. Protect, enhance and restore instream flows to improve passage conditions and increase rearing potential for anadromous and resident fishes in the Umatilla River Basin.
Action 4.8 Continue to refine knowledge of flow limited stream reaches and results of enhancement efforts to address remaining needs.
5. Improve fish passage conditions at all human-made passage impediments for resident and anadromous upstream and downstream migrants.
Action 5.2 Modify or remove culverts, bridges, grade controls and water diversion structures as necessary to improve fish passage.
14. Monitor and evaluate the productivity, abundance, distribution, life history and biological characteristics of anadromous and resident fish and relationship with instream and riparian habitat conditions within the Umatilla River Basin to assess the success of management strategies.
Action 14.5 Conduct biological surveys to monitor and evaluate anadromous fish habitat use (coordinated with the CTUIR Umatilla Basin Natural Production Monitoring and Evaluation Project - BPA Project # 9000501).
Action 14.7 Measure the quantity and quality of fish habitat in the basin (coordinated with the CTUIR Umatilla Basin Natural Production Monitoring and Evaluation Project - BPA Project # 9000501).
Category: High Priority
Category: High Priority
Category: High Priority
Project: 198710002 Umatilla Subbasin Fish Habitat Improvement
Protect and enhance coldwater fish habitat on private lands in the Umatilla River basin in a manner that achieves self-sustaining salmonid populations and their associated habitat by utilizing natural stream functions to the fullest extent.
Initiated in 1987, the “Umatilla Subbasin Fish Habitat Improvement Project” protects and enhances coldwater fish habitat on private lands using both passive and active restoration techniques. Riparian exclosure fencing is the preferred tool for this work where applicable. Active remediation techniques are as used such as soil bioengineering techniques, stable channel designs (Rosgen 1996) native vegetative plantings, off-site water developments, and site specific instream structures. Long term riparian leases, cooperative agreements, and easements are developed with private landowners to protect project investments. Individual projects contribute to ecosystem/basin wide watershed restoration/management efforts that are underway by state, federal and tribal agencies. Project planning includes the participation/involvement of private landowners, state/federal agencies, tribes, stakeholders, and watershed council(s).
The Umatilla program goal is to rehabilitate and improve anadromous fish spawning, rearing habitat, and tributary passage to contribute to the NWPPC’s interim goal of five million anadromous fish returning to the Columbia River Basin. While summer steelhead are the focus of this project, spring chinook, coho, resident fishes, and many species of wildlife also benefit. In FY2002 the Umatilla program will implement restoration work along two miles of stream in the Birch Creek watershed and continue maintenance of existing projects.
Long term monitoring and evaluation is an ongoing and vital element of this program. Monitoring includes stream temperature data, physical & biological stream surveys, photopoints, and habitat transects.
Relationships to other projects
Nature of relationship
CTUIR - Umatilla Subbasin Fish Habitat Improvement
Implements fish habitat improvements on reservation lands and on Wildhorse Creek and mainstem Umatilla River.
Relationship to Existing Goals, Objectives and Strategies
The 2000 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program places a strong emphasis on habitat protection and restoration to accomplish program goals and objectives. A part of the vision for the fish and wildlife program states, “wherever possible, this program will be accomplished by protecting and restoring the natural ecological functions, habitats and biological diversity of the Columbia River Basin.” One of the policy judgements and planning assumptions states, “this is a habitat based program, rebuilding healthy, naturally producing fish and wildlife populations by protecting, mitigating and restoring habitats and the biological systems within them, including anadromous fish migration corridors.”
This project fits well within the framework of the 2000 Columbia River Basin Fish & Wildlife Program as described above. This project focuses on restoring native vegetation and natural form and function of target streams in the Umatilla Subbasin. While the project targets one species for restoration, summer steelhead/redband trout, actual habitat improvements are implemented to restore overall physical and ecological functions. Birch Creek, the primary target watershed supports a relatively abundant population of summer steelhead even though it is depressed from historical numbers. Approximately 30% of the wild adult summer steelhead escaping to the Umatilla subbasin return to the Birch Creek watershed. And as mentioned above, the Birch Creek watershed is managed as a sanctuary free from direct influences from hatchery programs; no hatchery-reared salmonid fish are released in the watershed. Monitoring activities indicate that few hatchery-reared summer steelhead released into other parts of the Umatilla subbasin stray into the Birch Creek watershed.
While on a unit basis this project contributes toward improving watershed conditions by treating streams and riparian zones, other entities are better suited to address uplands within the target watersheds. Therefore, the extent of this project’s efforts toward upland improvement are to advocate and facilitate groups such as Soil and Water Conservation Districts, watershed councils and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to implement upland watershed-wide improvements. The implementation of the Umatilla TMDL and Water Quality Management Plan should also help.
This project is linked to the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds by addressing factors for the decline of wild summer steelhead in the Umatilla subbasin. Executive Order No. EO 99-01 states in paragraph 1 “The Oregon Plan first addressed coho salmon on the Oregon Coast, was then broadened to include steelhead trout on the coast and in the lower Columbia River, and is now expanding to all at-risk wild salmonids throughout the state [emphasis added]. The Oregon Plan addresses all factors for the decline of these species, including watershed conditions and fisheries, to the extent those factors can be affected by the state.”
The Birch Creek watershed is the primary target for this project and where FY 2002 implementation work is planned. The Umatilla Subbasin Summary lists the following habitat limiting factors for the Birch Creek watershed: flow, water temperature, passage, channel conditions, instream habitat diversity, sedimentation, riparian vegetation. Habitat improvements implemented under this project are focused on improving riparian vegetation communities, improving stream channel form and function, and improving instream habitat diversity. The following benefits will be derived: 1) increased water table saturation zones and in-stream flow levels during summer months, 2) slower water velocities and narrower stream channels, 3) more abundant and diverse riparian vegetation communities, 4) more recruitable wood for instream cover, 5) increase shading, 6) increase insect drop, and 7) reduced sediment inputs. These benefits address all of the listed limiting factors except passage, which is covered in a separate project proposal submitted by ODFW.
The treatment methodologies described above are directly linked to Goals, Objectives, Strategies and Actions listed in the Umatilla Subbasin Summary. This project is tied directly to Goals 1, 3 and 4. Goal 1 states, “protect, enhance and restore wild and natural populations of summer steelhead, bull trout and other indigenous fish in the Umatilla basin.” The target species of this project is summer steelhead/redband trout in the Birch Creek and Meacham Creek watersheds. This project seeks to increase numbers of wild steelhead in both watersheds. In particular this project focuses on restoring steelhead runs in the Birch Creek watershed, which is currently managed as a wild steelhead sanctuary. Goal 3 states, “provide sustainable ceremonial, subsistence, and recreational fisheries; non-consumptive fish benefits such as cultural and ecological values.” This project contributes to this goal by increasing returns of summer steelhead. Goal 4 states, “Maintain genetic and other biological characteristics of indigenous populations and genetic viability of reintroduced populations.” This project contributes toward this goal by protecting and restoring habitats for wild fish in sanctuary areas as mentioned above. This project is directly linked to objective 4, “achieve and maintain an average run of 5,500 summer steelhead to the Umatilla River mouth by the year 2010.”
This project will play a major role in accomplishing strategies 2 and 3 of the Umatilla Subbasin Summary. Strategy 2 of the subbasin summary states, “protect, enhance and restore water quality to improve survival, abundance and distribution of indigenous resident and anadromous fish.” Strategy 3 of the subbasin summary states, “protect enhance and restore instream and riparian habitat to improve the survival, abundance and distribution of indigenous resident and anadromous fish. This project will address actions 2.1, 2.4, 2.7, 2.8, 2.9, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.10 and 3.11.
In the “Statement of Fish & Wildlife Needs” section of the Umatilla Subbasin Summary the following fish needs are identified of which this project contributes toward accomplishment of the need: improve instream flows, improve stream temperatures, improve riparian habitats, improve instream habitat quality and/or diversity, reduce sediment inputs and protect stronghold habitats.
The National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion regarding operation of the Columbia River Hydropower System, under “Habitat Actions” states that a Basinwide Recovery Strategy should focus immediate attention on priority subbasins with the potential for significant improvement in anadromous fish productive capacity as a result of habitat restoration. The fact that the Birch Creek watershed currently produces approximately 30% of the returning adults indicates that it currently has significant productive potential. Previous habitat assessments (Reeve et al. 1988; ODEQ et al. 2000) indicate that significant improvements could and should be made that will lead to increased fish production and improved water quality.
Action 150 of the NMFS Biological Opinion states, “In subbasins with listed salmon and steelhead, BPA shall fund protection of currently productive non-Federal habitat, especially if at risk of being degraded…” The Riparian leases developed by this project are used as a tool for protecting habitat as well as improving habitat. When high quality areas are adjacent to areas in need of improvement, those productive areas are sometimes included in the “leased” area.
Action 153 of the NMFS Biological Opinion states, “BPA shall, working with the agricultural incentive programs, negotiate and fund long-term protection for 100 miles of riparian buffers per year…” The proposed project will contribute toward meeting this annual goal.
This habitat restoration project is a necessary measure to accomplish natural productions goals as outlined in the Comprehensive Plan for Rehabilitation of Anadromous Fish Stocks in the Umatilla Basin (Boyce 1986) Umatilla River Subbasin Salmon and Steelhead Production Plan (CTUIR and ODFW1990a), and Umatilla Hatchery Master Plan (ODFW and CTUIR 1990b). Failure to meet biological objectives in the Umatilla subbasin will impact the Northwest Power Planning Council in realizing its goal of five million anadromous fish returning to the Columbia River Basin.
Additionally, failure to fund maintenance of existing projects will lead to significant losses in recovery gained. This would occur mainly through livestock entering exclosure fences that are not maintained. Without maintenance, cattle will enter these exclosures and rapidly destroy riparian vegetation that has been restored over the past 13 years. Accomplishment of maintenance activities by landowners would be variable.
The cost of this project continues to increase due to change in approach (I.e., active v.s passive channel restoration).
Category: High Priority
Category: High Priority
Category: High Priority
Project: 198802200 – Umatilla River Fish Passage Operations
Increase survival of migrating juvenile and adult salmon and steelhead in the Umatilla Basin by operating passage facilities, flow enhancement measures, trapping facilities, and transport equipment to provide adequate passage conditions.
In the 1980’s, CTUIR and ODFW began implementing the Umatilla Fisheries Restoration Plan. An integral part of that effort was to address inadequate flow and migration conditions by constructing fish passage facilities, initiating a trap and haul program, and implementing the Umatilla Basin Project flow enhancement effort. The Fish Passage Operations Project objective is to increase adult and juvenile migrant survival in the Umatilla Basin. The project provides survival benefits for both hatchery and natural production by operating and maintaining ladders, bypasses, screen sites, trap facilities, and hauling equipment and coordinating these operations with flow enhancement measures and diversion activities. The project also provides valuable support to other projects by refining fish passage criteria, collecting return and migration data, and collecting and transporting broodstock.
The project began in 1989. Since then, up to 3,800 adults and 100,000 pounds of juveniles have been trapped and hauled annually. These increases in juvenile and adult survival contribute directly to the NPPC rebuilding goals. In addition, recommendations based on project observations and operations are incorporated into subbasin management documents. The project is viewed as a long term O&M project required for maintaining the survival advantages achieved by implementation of the fish passage and flow enhancement projects in the basin.
Relationship to Other Projects
Nature of relationship
Power Repay - Umatilla Basin Project
Proposed project provides oversite and coordination of Umatilla Basin Project flow enhancement operations.
Umatilla Passage Facilities O&M
Proposed project works in coordination with project 8343600 to operate passage facilities and provides oversite to project 8343600 on maintenance of those facilities.
Umatilla River/WEID Screens M&E
Proposed project operates passage facilities that project 8902401conducts M&E at and provides migration information to project 8902401.
Umatilla Hatchery O&M
Proposed project provides adequate passage for juveniles produced at Umatilla Hatchery and provides broodstock for Umatilla Hatchery production.
Umatilla Hatchery Satellite Facilities O&M
Proposed project provides adequate passage for juveniles released by project 8343500 and collects and transports broodstock to satellite facilities operated by project 8343500.
Umatilla Hatchery M&E
Proposed project provides return data for hatchery adults and migration data on juveniles to project 9000500.
Umatilla Basin Natural Production M&E
Project provides adequate passage for natural adults and juveniles to and from natural production areas. Also provides return data for natural adults and migration data on juveniles to project 9000501.