Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program
SOW Report
Contract 24593: PI 1994-050-00 PL SALMON RIVER HABITAT ENHANCEMENT
Project Number:
Title:
Salmon River Habitat Enhancement
BPA PM:
Stage:
Implementation
Area:
Province Subbasin %
Mountain Snake Salmon 100.00%
Contract Number:
24593
Contract Title:
PI 1994-050-00 PL SALMON RIVER HABITAT ENHANCEMENT
Contract Continuation:
Previous:
19852: PI 1994-050-00 PL SALMON RIVER HABITAT
Contract Status:
History
Contract Description:
OVERVIEW


Historic hunting and fishing areas of the Shoshone and Bannock Tribes (Tribes) included all of central and southern Idaho.  Rights to continue traditional activities were guaranteed to the Tribes by the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868.  The downward trends in returns of anadromous fish have been and will continue to be a concern to the Tribes.  For many years the Tribes have been working to improve anadromous fish runs back to the traditional fishing areas.  These efforts have taken various forms, including:  sponsorship of habitat enhancement projects; development of low-tech, bioenhancement facilities; coordination and oversight of human activities in the Salmon River especially activities on state and federal land; cooperation and information sharing with other fisheries agencies and groups, land management agencies, and tribes on fisheries-related issues.

With the Salmon River Habitat Enhancement (SRHE) project, the Tribes continue to monitor and evaluate the three systems (Bear Valley Creek, Yankee Fork Salmon River, and East Fork Salmon River) in which they have sponsored habitat enhancement work.  For evaluating fish benefits, the life stage of primary concern to these projects is returning adults.  However, attempting to document increases in adult returns as a result of habitat enhancement has been difficult because of out-of-basin factors.  Our evaluation has instead concentrated on decreases in fine sediments as a result of enhancement efforts and increases in numbers of juvenile salmonids: decreases in fine sediments should result in higher egg-to-parr survival rates and an increase in juvenile numbers should result in an increase in adult returns.

Our evaluation to date has included both physical and biological parameters.  Information on the physical characteristics of the stream, stream substrate, streambank, and riparian community is collected.  Biological monitoring includes data on fish, invertebrates, and vegetation.

In addition to the monitoring and evaluation of the habitat enhancement areas, the Tribes have expanded their work in other traditional fishing areas.  The Tribes are monitoring spawning success of steelhead outplanted into the East Fork Salmon River and the success of the streamside incubator project throughout the Salmon River Basin.  In cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, parr monitoring sites on both the Middle Fork and North Fork Salmon River have been established.  In addition, SRHE has recently established macroinvertebrate monitoring sites to assess the impacts of mining in the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River.  The analysis of the macroinvertebrate community will enable us to detect community level impacts on this important juvenile salmonids prey base.  We have also added parr monitoring sites in Panther Creek to help document the status of anadromous fish in this degraded system.  The Tribes have been involved with habitat enhancement efforts on private land in the Salmon River Basin through project work on Herd Creek and the Yankee Fork Salmon River, and through the Model Watershed Project.  The Project continues to pursue new enhancement efforts and research, where appropriate, throughout the Salmon River basin to protect and restore anadromous fish habitat.  
Table 1.  Physical and biological parameters monitored as part of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Salmon River Habitat Enhancement program.


SALMON RIVER BASIN-WIDE

BACKGROUND

Over 90% of the Salmon River is under federal ownership.  Major human activities in the subbasin include logging, grazing, agriculture, and mining.  These activities, improperly implemented, can have tremendous negative impacts on the survival of anadromous fish through several mechanisms including sediment recruitment into a stream, destruction of riparian habitat, and toxic effluent discharge.

Several agencies and tribes are involved with the management of anadromous fish and their habitat in the Salmon River.  To avoid duplication and increase information sharing, it is important to coordinate activities among the involved entities.

To ensure Tribal participation in the above-mentioned tasks, funding was provided by the Bonneville Power Administration for Salmon River basin planning and inventory (coordination).  This funding allows the Tribes to participate in various activities found in sections 7.6A, 7.6B, 7.6C, 7.7, 7.8C, and 7.8D of the 1994 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program .

ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE

The Tribes have participated in many areas that involve the sections of the 1994 Fish and Wildlife Program listed above.  Personnel have been involved with changes to allotment management plans; oversight on mining operations including participation on CERCLA interagency trustee teams; efforts to improve fish passage including screening and consolidation of irrigation diversions; participation in regional committees which share information on habitat enhancement and supplementation; and participation with technical and basin advisory groups working in the Salmon River Basin.

On-the-ground work has increased in recent years.  As part of the Model Watershed Project, Tribal personnel assisted in habitat assessment of the Lemhi River, Pahsimeroi River, and East Fork Salmon River. Project personnel have recently been involved in the Model Watershed's Technical Team and Advisory Group since the Program Manager's hiring.  As the scope of the Model Watershed increases to include the entire upper Salmon basin above the confluence with the Middle Fork Salmon River, the potential for further involvement is likely.  Project personnel were actively involved in a joint U.S. Forest Service/Bureau of Land Management watershed analysis team for the Herd Creek watershed on the East Fork Salmon River, providing field assistance and technical assistance in drafting the report.  Project personnel provided technical assistance to the interagency Pahsimeroi Subbasin Review, and will continue to be involved in USFS/BLM subbasin reviews and watershed analyses in the basin.  Active participation with project personnel has occurred on the Interagency Trustee Team established for the CERCLA action currently underway on the Grouse Creek Mine on Jordan Creek, a tributary to the Yankee Fork Salmon River.  Recently, monitoring sites were established in the Yankee Fork Salmon River to assess the effects of the tailing pond diffusion on the biotic community.  Monitoring of Panther Creek, degraded due to toxic mine effluent, was begun in 1993.  Following the stocking of steelhead in Big Boulder Creek and Squaw Creek in 1992, the Tribes set up monitoring stations to help document spawning success.  The project will continue to monitor the success of the Tribes' hatchbox program through snorkel surveys and spawning ground surveys.  Project personnel have also provided representation at the Salmon Basin Advisory Group, the Upper Salmon Fisheries Technical Assessment Team, the Upper Salmon Bull Trout Technical Advisory Team, East Fork Watershed Group, Custer County Watershed Group, and the Challis Experimental Stewardship Program.  Project personnel provide technical comments on proposed stream habitat enhancement projects in the Salmon River Basin, assist with the Upper Salmon River Subbasin Management Plan, and provide technical reviews of Columbia Basin issues for the Fort Hall Business Council.

PROJECT GOAL AND OBJECTIVES

The goal of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes' Salmon River Basin-Wide effort is to increase the escapement of anadromous fish back to the Salmon River.

The Project has three objectives:

1. Improve communication and information sharing among entities working in the Salmon River on fisheries related issues.
2. Ensure that human activities on Federal, State, and Private lands have no detrimental effect on anadromous fish.
3. Assist other entities in monitoring overall populations of anadromous fish in the Salmon River Basin.



BEAR VALLEY CREEK

BACKGROUND

Bear Valley Creek (BVC) is a major tributary to the Middle Fork Salmon River.  The stream supports wild stocks of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and steelhead (O. mykiss).  Counts of chinook salmon redds that exceeded one thousand per year in the middle 1950's have decreased to less than 50 redds in the 1990's.  Numerous habitat-related factors within the Bear Valley watershed have contributed to this decline including dredge mining in the 1950's, logging, and livestock grazing.

The dredge mining left the stream meandering and downcutting through 2-3 km of unconsolidated mine spoils.  As a result of this floodplain disturbance, an estimated 380,000 m3 of fine materials were gradually deposited into the stream over a twenty-five year period.  The increased sediment loading into BVC has severely degraded aquatic habitat throughout its entire length.

High sediment levels in streams used by anadromous fish for spawning and rearing may affect the juvenile fish in a number of ways:  trapping fry in redds when they are attempting to emerge; depleting intergravel oxygen levels in redds, smothering the eggs contained within the redd; limiting aquatic invertebrate populations used as a food source for rearing salmonids; filling in large pools which serve as primary feeding and resting areas for juveniles; and filling the interstitial spaces in the substrate that serve as over-wintering areas for juveniles.

As a result of the degraded habitat, Bear Valley Creek has lower egg-to-parr survival rates than other Salmon River subbasins that support wild chinook salmon.  From 1986 to 2000, egg-to-parr survival estimates in Bear Valley Creek averaged 4.8% (range 0.9 to 10.8%) (Table 2), while in the headwaters of the upper Salmon River (above Sawtooth Fish Hatchery), egg-to-parr survival estimates averaged 27% (range 6.9 to 56.1%) from 1987 to 1993.  In other Middle Fork Salmon River tributaries less impacted by sediment, egg-to-parr survival estimates ranged from 11.6% in Sulphur Creek in 1989 to 32.5% in Marsh Creek in 1985.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE

The goal of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes' Bear Valley Creek habitat enhancement project was to increase adult escapement back to Bear Valley Creek by improving egg-to-parr survival of chinook salmon and steelhead.

The project had four objectives:

1. Decrease both surface and subsurface streambed sediment to less than 25% surface fines in low gradient reaches and less than 30% subsurface fines
                            by volume.
2. Increase streambank cover and stability.
3. Increase stream habitat diversity.
4. Improve egg-to-parr survival of all fish but primarily anadromous fish to levels similar to other less impacted Middle Fork and upper Salmon River streams.

In order to obtain these goals, the Tribes reconstructed and revegetated the floodplain to eliminate the dredge-mined area as an extraordinary source of sediment input into Bear Valley Creek.  Streambanks were also revegetated.  Finally, the Tribes worked with the Forest Service and others to reduce the impact of livestock grazing on streambanks in the Bear Valley watershed.

The construction phase of the Bear Valley Creek habitat enhancement project (1985 to 1989) has resulted in a substantial decrease in sediment input due to past mining activities.  The high cut banks were regraded to create a new floodplain along 2.5 km of stream, eliminating these streambanks as a source of sediment input into BVC.  The new floodplain was revegetated and the resulting vegetative cover should effectively eliminate the floodplain as a source of extraordinary sediment to the system.  The stream channel itself was not constrained but is allowed to reach its own dynamic equilibrium within the new floodplain.  Significant decreases in surface fine sediments have been observed, and non-anadromous fish densities in pools have increased in recent years in BVC.

The Tribes have been monitoring both biological and physical parameters in Bear Valley Creek since 1984.  Results of this monitoring have been presented in the Tribes' annual reports to the Bonneville Power Administration.  

PROJECT GOAL AND TARGETS

The primary goal of the project for FY2005 is to continue the monitoring program in order to assess the success of the Bear Valley Creek habitat enhancement project and to determine whether further actions, such as continued revegetation efforts, should be implemented.  The success of the habitat enhancement project will be determined by comparing the current status of the system against the following targets:

1. 80% vegetation cover on floodplain.
2. Less than 25% surface fines in low gradient reaches
3. Less than 30% subsurface fines by volume
4. Bank stability greater than 80%.  75% of banks should be undercut (<90  angles)
5. Large pools (>3 ft. deep) average 56 pools/mile (range 47-70 pools) in the project site and two miles downstream
6. Sinuosity of 1.7
7. Less than 10 for width-to-depth ratios
8. Egg-to-parr survivals similar to other less impacted Middle Fork and upper Salmon River streams.



YANKEE FORK SALMON RIVER

BACKGROUND

The Yankee Fork Salmon River (YFSR) is one of the major tributaries to the upper Salmon River.  Since the late 1800's when gold was discovered, the YFSR has been an important mineral resource in the basin.  Several miles of stream habitat in the lower Yankee Fork have been severely altered by dredge mining, which occurred from 1932 through 1952.  A relatively wide, straight channel dominated by boulder and cobble substrates with little habitat complexity characterizes the 9.6-kilometer, dredge-mined section.  Over 30 ponds of varying size, shape, and depth, and tailings piles consisting of large cobble materials are remnants of the dredging operation.  As a result of the mining, main channel rearing habitat in the YFSR was determined to be limiting to anadromous fish production.  This loss of critical rearing habitat, in combination with other out-of-basin factors, has contributed to the present depressed state of the YFSR Chinook salmon and steelhead stocks.  In 2003, emergency action by Hecla Mining Co. called for the diffusion of a large tailing pond into the YFSR below the confluence of Jordan Creek.  The diffusion of the tailing pond could potentially impact the biotic community in this system.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE

The goal of the Yankee Fork habitat enhancement project was to increase adult escapement back to the Yankee Fork Salmon River by improving survival and increasing production of Chinook salmon and steelhead.

The project had two objectives:

1. Increase rearing area for anadromous fish.
2. Incorporate the off-channel rearing area into a low-tech bioenhancement facility for Chinook salmon and steelhead in the YFSR. (This acility is currently in the planning stage.  We will work with Tribes Columbia River Fish Management program (CRFM) to bring facilities into existence. Facilities will have low-tech trapping facilities for collection and spawning of adults along with low tech-egg incubation facility for subsequent planting of fry into ponds. This objective was to occur in original construction phase of pond restoration, but due to political issues from State of Idaho, it was phased out.)

In order to obtain these goals, the Tribes interconnected four series of remnant dredge ponds as well as connecting them to the YFSR mainstem, thus creating approximately 1.5 hectares of additional rearing area.  This increased off-channel rearing area is expected to produce an additional 22,000 Chinook salmon smolts.

The construction phase of the Yankee Fork habitat enhancement project was implemented from 1987 to 1988.  In early years of this project (until 1991), Chinook salmon smolts and pre-smolts were reared in the Yankee Fork ponds, but the lack of available hatchery fish constrained further efforts.  Since 1996, steelhead eggs have been incubated and the fry that emerge from the hatchboxes have used the habitat available in the ponds extensively.  Snorkel surveys of the ponds in 1998 and 1999 have documented extremely high use of the pond systems by Chinook salmon parr (up to 165 fish/100 m2) and steelhead fry (up to 68 fish/100 m2).

The Tribes have been collecting information in the YFSR since 1984.  Results of this monitoring have been presented in the Tribes' annual reports to the Bonneville Power Administration.  In July, 2003, Hecla Mining Co., in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service, began the emergency dewatering of their tailing pond.  The tailing water is diffused into the YFSR upstream of SRHE off-channel rearing areas, and because of the location of the diffuser, contaminated water could possibly enter and settle in these off-channel areas, thereby affecting the biotic community.  In addition to the water quality monitoring coordinated by Hecla Mining Co. and the USDA Forest Service, SRHE is conducting monthly monitoring of the macroinvertebrate community above and below the Grouse Creek Mine Diffuser and controlling inflow of water into the off-channel areas during diffusion.  

PROJECT GOAL AND TARGETS

The primary goal of the project for FY2005 is to continue the monitoring program in order to assess the success of the Yankee Fork habitat enhancement project and to determine whether further actions should be implemented.  The effects of the Grouse Creek Mine Diffuser on the macroinvertebrate community will continue to be monitored as necessary. The success of the habitat enhancement project will be determined by comparing the current status of the system against the following targets:

1. Production of 22,000 smolts in the off-channel rearing area
2. Higher densities in off-channel rearing areas than mainstem YFSR, indicating greater use, greater lengths and weights indicating better condition factors.



EAST FORK SALMON RIVER

BACKGROUND

The East Fork Salmon River (EFSR) is an important spawning and rearing area for Chinook salmon and steelhead.  Agricultural, grazing, land development, and mining practices have degraded available habitat.  Although over 85% of the land in the East Fork basin is under Federal management (USFS and BLM), approximately 80% of the occupied Chinook salmon and steelhead habitat is on private land.  Egg-to-parr survival in Herd Creek, a major tributary to the EFSR averaged 23% from 1988 to 2000 (range 2.0% - 44.1%) (Table 5).  The 99.7% survival in 1992 in Table 5 was not included in calculating average egg-to-parr survival as we feel it is an artifact of the emigration of parr into Herd Creek from the mainstem East Fork due to high temperatures in the EFSR, and does not represent the true egg-to-parr survival of only Herd Creek Chinook salmon.  No redds were observed in Herd Creek in 1995, and no juvenile Chinook salmon were observed in Herd Creek in 1996.  Habitat enhancement efforts to date in the EFSR have focused on two tributary streams:  Herd Creek and Big Boulder Creek.  Enhancement measures include streambank stabilization, sediment input reduction, and access improvement to spawning and rearing areas previously unavailable to anadromous fish.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DATE

The goal of the East Fork habitat enhancement project was to increase adult escapement back to the East Fork Salmon River by improving survival and increasing production of Chinook salmon and steelhead.

The project had five objectives:

1. Decrease both surface and subsurface streambed sediment in the mainstem East Fork and tributaries to less than 25% surface fines in low gradient reaches and less than 30% subsurface fines by volume.
2. Increase streambank cover and stability.
3. Increase stream habitat diversity.
4. Improve egg-to-parr survival of all fish but primarily anadromous fish to levels similar to other less impacted Middle Fork and upper Salmon River streams.
5. Increase spawning and rearing area for anadromous fish.

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes East Fork Salmon River habitat enhancement project was implemented to improve degraded anadromous fish habitat in East Fork tributaries.  In a feasibility study, it was estimated that just a 30% reduction in streambed sediment embeddedness in Herd Creek would result in a net gain in smolt production of 69,500 Chinook salmon and 27,500 steelhead.  Benefits from removing the dam on Big Boulder Creek were estimated as an increased production of 32,800 Chinook salmon smolts and 4,800 steelhead smolts.  

Fencing was constructed on Herd Creek in 1992 to discourage livestock use of streambank and riparian areas.  In addition to the fence, willows cuttings have been planted along Herd Creek to improve stream/riparian habitat.  Recent plantings have had overwinter survival rates of over 80%.  On Big Boulder Creek, a debris jam was modified, and an abandoned dam was breached in 1991 to provide anadromous fish access to upstream spawning and rearing habitat.  An additional 3.2 km of spawning habitat and 7.7 km of rearing habitat is now available to anadromous fish.  Steelhead adults from Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Pahsimeroi Hatchery have been outplanted and sidestream incubators have been utilized for Chinook salmon and steelhead since 1992 to seed the newly accessible habitat.  In 1994, the Big Boulder Creek cutoff channel was stabilized and the affected area revegetated, thus eliminating a major source of fine sediment to the system.  Revegetation efforts in Big Boulder Creek, and experimental plantings of willow and cottonwood cuttings in Herd Creek are ongoing.

The Tribes have been collecting information on the EFSR since 1985.  Results of the monitoring have been presented in the Tribes' annual reports to the Bonneville Power Administration.

PROJECT GOAL AND TARGETS

The primary goal of the project for FY2005 is to continue the monitoring program in order to assess the success of the East Fork Salmon River habitat enhancement project and to determine whether further actions, such as continued revegetation efforts, should be implemented.  The success of the habitat enhancement project will be determined by comparing the current status of the system against the following targets:

Herd Creek:
1. Work with landowner to ensure exclusion of livestock in the fenced-off stream reaches
2. 80% vegetation cover on those areas of the floodplain which were revegetated
3. Large pools (>3 ft. deep) average at least 47 pools/mile
Big Boulder Creek:
4. Stabilize the affected reach of Big Boulder Creek near the trailhead in order to eliminate high levels of sedimentation into the stream.
5. 80% vegetation cover on those areas of the floodplain which were revegetated
6. Large pools (>3 ft. deep) average at least 70 pools/mile
7. Sufficient numbers of Chinook salmon and steelhead to produce 32,800 and 4,800 smolts, respectively
Herd and Big Boulder Creeks:
8. Less than 25% surface sediment in low gradient reaches
9. Less than 30% subsurface fines by volume
10. Bank stability greater than 80% - 75% of banks should be undercut (<90  angles)
11. Less than 10 width-to-depth ratio
12. Egg-to-parr survivals similar to other upper Salmon River streams
13. Abundant macroinvertebrate taxa typically intolerant to fine sediment.
Account Type(s):
Expense
Contract Start Date:
10/01/2005
Contract End Date:
11/30/2006
Current Contract Value:
$262,338
Expenditures:
$262,338

* Expenditures data includes accruals and are based on data through 31-Dec-2019.

Env. Compliance Lead:
Contract Contractor:
Contract Type:
Contract (IGC)
Pricing Method:
Cost Reimbursement (CNF)
Click the map to see this Contract’s location details.

Full Name Organization Write Permission Contact Type Email Work Phone
Kermit Bacon Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Yes kbacon@sbtribes.com (208) 239-4556
Jan Brady Bonneville Power Administration Yes COTR jebrady@bpa.gov (503) 230-4514
Mickey Carter Bonneville Power Administration No macarter@bpa.gov (503) 230-5885
Hanh Hansen Bonneville Power Administration No Contracting Officer hmle@bpa.gov (503) 230-3448
Paul Krueger Bonneville Power Administration Yes F&W Approver pqkrueger@bpa.gov (503) 230-5723


Viewing of Work Statement Elements

Deliverable Title WSE Sort Letter, Number, Title Start End Complete
environmental clearance obtained A: 2. NEPA and BiOp 09/30/2006 09/28/2006
Coordinate with the appropriate government agencies, interest groups, and private individuals B: 118. Coordination of Activities in Subbasin 09/30/2006 09/28/2006
Management and administration of project C: 119. Manage Administrate Activities for Project 09/30/2006 09/28/2006
willows planted D: 47. Willow Planting 09/30/2006
check structures maintained E: 19. EXPIRED: Maintain Check Structures 09/30/2006 09/28/2006
Monitoring methods developed and tested F: 156. Develop and test methods 09/30/2006 09/28/2006
Data collected, entered and validated G: 157. Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data 09/30/2006 09/28/2006
data submitted to IDFG H: 159. Submit Data to WWWeb 09/30/2006 05/01/2006
Maps completed and sent to interested parties I: 161. Develop Maps 09/30/2006 12/30/2005
Data analyzed and interpreted J: 162. Analyze/Interpret Data 09/30/2006 03/28/2006
environmental clearance obtained K: 132. Annual Report 09/30/2006 01/01/2006

Viewing of Implementation Metrics
Viewing of Environmental Metrics

Primary Focal Species Work Statement Elements
Chinook (O. tshawytscha) - Snake River Spring/Summer ESU (Threatened)
  • 1 instance of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 159 Transfer/Consolidate Regionally Standardized Data
  • 1 instance of WE 161 Disseminate Raw/Summary Data and Results
  • 1 instance of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
Steelhead (O. mykiss) - Snake River DPS (Threatened)
  • 1 instance of WE 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
  • 1 instance of WE 159 Transfer/Consolidate Regionally Standardized Data
  • 1 instance of WE 161 Disseminate Raw/Summary Data and Results
  • 1 instance of WE 162 Analyze/Interpret Data

Sort WE ID WE Title NEPA NOAA USFWS NHPA Has Provisions Inadvertent Discovery Completed
A 2 NEPA and BiOp
B 118 Coordination of Activities in Subbasin
C 119 Manage Administrate Activities for Project
D 47 Willow Planting
E 19 EXPIRED: Maintain Check Structures
F 156 Develop and test methods
G 157 Collect/Generate/Validate Field and Lab Data
H 159 Submit Data to WWWeb
I 161 Develop Maps
J 162 Analyze/Interpret Data
K 132 Annual Report
L 185